The British newspaper, The Sunday Times of London is reporting that Syria is willing to help the Americans in their quest to resolve the situation in Iraq only in exchange for the Americans securing the return of the Golan Heights to Syria which was conquered by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.
In an interview to The Times, Ayman Abdel Nour, a leading reformer in the ruling Ba’ath party said that Syrian President Bashar Assad wishes that the US and Britain will use their influence over Israel in order to secure the return of the Golan Heights to Syrian hands. Nour said that President Assad has had enough of US unspecified promises made to him by the US and has brought to a point of severe mistrust between the two countries.
Nour said that “Syria will not do anything unless it has secured guarantees from Washington and London that every action Damascus takes to help them will be reciprocated. It will be a step by step scenario: These actions for those actions,” he said.
This semi-official response from Syria comes at the time the bipartisan commission headed by former Secretary of State James Baker in the United States is due to suggest that both Iran and Syria must be engaged in order to assist the chaotic situation in Iraq as part of the strategy which will calm the parties, bring an end to the fighting, and will eventually bring to the withdrawal of US troops from the country.
The Times report also quotes Shaul Bakhash, an expert on the Middle East at George Mason University in Washington, D.C., who said that neither Iran nor Syria will do any favors for the US without getting something in return — “and what both countries want are things that the US is not willing to give them.”