Arab media calls Syria's bluff on peace

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 |  Ryan Jones

The editor of a major pan-Arab newspaper noted this week that if Syria was truly serious about peace with Israel and rapprochement with the West it would need to radically alter its relationship with Iran, Hizballah and Hamas.

"There cannot be Syrian-Israeli peace while there are normal Syrian-Iranian ties," Tariq Alhomayed, editor-in-chief of London-based Asharq Alawsat, wrote in Tuesday's editorial.

Of course, Syrian President Bashar Assad has been going in the opposite direction, publicly declaring his nation's "unshakeable" ties with Iran, refusing to rein in Hizballah and pushing ahead with his own Iranian-backed clandestine nuclear program.

The Jerusalem Post suggested in its Wednesday editorial that in light of the above, Assad's remarks this week indicating he is almost ready for direct peace talks with Israel should be seen as a ruse to mislead US President-elect Barack Obama.

The Post noted that Assad is "following a well-thumbed Syrian script - feigning moderation while stoking violence," and that it is already working on many European leaders.

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