Monday, January 15, 2007

Peace Between Israel and Syria?

Little Green Footballs is passing on a report of an imminent deal to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Syria. The report arises from Haaretz an Israeli Newspaper. At least that is the idea I get from the story.
In a series of secret meetings in Europe between September 2004 and July 2006, Syrians and Israelis formulated understandings for a peace agreement between Israel and Syria.
Source: Haaretz – Secret understandings reached between representatives of Israel, Syria

The understanding comes down to Israel pulling out of the Golan Heights, Syria to pull away from Iran, Israel's unfettered access to water (Lake Kinneret & the Jordan River), a jointly accessible park set up along Lake Kinneret covering a significant portion of the Golan Heights, and Syria's termination of support for Hamas & Hezzbolah. Now, mind you this agreement is not an agreement but it sounds like the boundries for further discussion.

I do not trust the Syrians but:
It also emerged that one of the Syrian messages to Israel had to do with the ties between Damascus and Tehran. In the message, the Alawi regime - the Assad family being members of the Alawi minority - asserts that it considers itself to be an integral part of the Sunni world and that it objects to the Shi'a theocratic regime, and is particularly opposed to Iran's policy in Iraq. A senior Syrian official stressed that a peace agreement with Israel will enable Syria to distance itself from Iran.
Source: Haaretz – Secret understandings reached between representatives of Israel, Syria

This is very interesting. Syria is majority Sunni and the ruling elite are Alawite. From the linked article you can see Global Security categorizes the Alawite branch of Islam under Shiism, however the Assads and their buddies live in a sea of Sunnism. Iran and its problem makers in the Levant are Shia. Here is a good treatise on Shi'a Islam from what appears to be a Sunni Islam site. Anyway it is certainly no good for Assad to get his population worked up and while the site I link to on Shi'a Islam says there are no real bones between Sunni & Shi'a Islam at the very least there is a cultural friction between the Persians and the Arabs. Not too long ago I pointed out a blog by Michael Totten where he claims nuclear weapons by the Israelis did not bother the Arabs of the Gulf but now Iran is developing weapons so too are the GCC states.

Are the Arabs starting to coalesce against Iran?

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