|Quoting Beaucaire (Thread starter):|
There are signs that Israel is willing to return the Golan to Syria in exchange for a peace-treaty.Several messages have been sent via German and Turkish diplomatic channels to Bashir al Assad.
Very interesting things happening on this front. From what I've read, Syria has pretty much floated the idea of resuming peace negotiations with Israel but the United States is not allowing it to happen, despite many in Israel wanting to do so. The United States views it as an attempt by Assad to divert attention from the Hariri tribunal and his activities in Lebanon. The US wants to keep the pressure on Syria not to interfere in Lebanon, and feels that an artificial "peace-process" will take the spotlight off of Syria's actions in Lebanon.
I tend to agree with the American position on this one. There have been many offers by Israel to return the Golan over the years. Rabin, Peres, Barak were all serious about it, only to have it undermined by the elder Assad every time. Even Bill Clinton concluded that Assad was playing everyone off each other to hinder the peace-process. The common theme was that Assad used the peace-process every time he needed to gain some international legitimacy, and then derailed it (usually through Hezbollah) every time it came close to fruition. He could then blame Israel for responding to Hezbollah's attacks, even though it was he who orchestrated the Hezbollah attacks in the first place!
So it is really no surprise as international pressure increases on Syria that there are whispers of returning to the "peace process." In 1991, Bush 41 bought into this notion and sold Lebanon down the river for 15 years of Syrian domination in return for nothing. As we all know though, Bush 43 is different in his outlook and rightfully so in this case.
And finally, it is my belief that Assad is not interested in recovering the Golan Heights. If it were really in their national interest to do so, they could have had it back many years ago. I think that the Assad regime (since it is a minority Alawite regime) needs to keep the conflict brewing with Israel in order to stay in power. Every time Assad's power has been threatened (for example, Hama in 1982), he has created conflict with Israel via Lebanon (since the Golan Heights is off limits) in order to remain in power. Since low-level conflict with Israel is a fundamental part of his regime, I don't believe that they will ever make peace with Israel.
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"