Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Syria first

Someone in the mainstream media agrees with me on the Middle East Here is Aaron David Miller in the Washington Post arguing for a Syria first approach to the Middle East:

The more compelling argument is for a major push on another negotiation: between Israel and Syria. Here, there are two states at the table, rather than one state and a dysfunctional national movement. A quiet border, courtesy of Henry Kissinger's 1974 disengagement diplomacy, prevails. And there are fewer settlers on the Golan Heights and no megaton issues such as the status of Jerusalem to blow up the talks. Indeed, the issues are straightforward -- withdrawal, peace, security and water -- and the gaps are clear and ready to be bridged.

For a president looking for a way to buck up America's credibility, an Israeli-Syrian agreement offers a potential bonus. Such a deal would begin to realign the region's architecture in a way that serves broader U.S. interests. The White House would have to be patient. Syria won't walk away from a 30-year relationship with Iran; weaning the Syrians from Iran would have to occur gradually, requiring a major international effort to marshal economic and political support for Damascus. Still, an Israeli-Syrian peace treaty would confront Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran with tough choices and reduced options.

I've made a similar argument before. Also here.

Via Matthew Yglesias

Update: Itamar Rabinovich over at Jerusalem Post makes essentially the same arguments (hat tip FP Passport)

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