24 May 2007 - U.S. gives the nod to Israel-Syria talks
A recent edition of Ha’aretz reported that the U.S. has given the nod to Israel to pursue negotiations with Syria. The Americans are denying that they ever held Israel back in the first place, but Condoleeza Rice’s statement is on the record:
During a recent visit to Israel, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice responded forcefully when the issue of Assad's call for a resumption of negotiations with Israel was raised.
"It is best that you avoid even exploring this possibility," she said.
Now, however, the Bush administration has changed its approach. My guess is that the U.S. and Israel spent the last few weeks coordinating their negotiation strategy, because the U.S. doesn’t want Syria to reach a separate peace with Israel, on its western border, without getting a firm commitment from Syria to stop jihadis from crossing into Iraq, on Syria’s eastern frontier. A deal may just be a matter of time.
The Ha’aretz article is worth reading in full, because it hints at all the complex maneuverings that went on behind the scenes—between allies, no less. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at those talks—what an education that would have been!