"But despite strong backing for Hezbollah, Syria remained keen to strike a peace deal with Israel... A political settlement with Israel is high on Syria's list of priorities and intelligence shows a will to reach an agreement – but on their terms, meaning a return of the Golan Heights and American involvement" [Brig. Gen. Baidatz of MI] said." - Haaretz One would think such an analysis, and others over the years, would lead to one simple conclusion: Get Syria out of Iran`s orbit and make peace with it. This will bring an end to military Hizballah and also bring peace with Lebanon. Problem: There is a price to be paid. Syria`s close alliance with Iran is not natural. Syria is secular, Iran fundamentalist. Syria is an Arab state, Iran Persian (long time no friends). Syria is mostly Sunni, Iran Shiite. Syria used to be friendly to the US, since they joined the coalition against Saddam in the 1991 war. Jim Baker visited Syria 15 times. After the 9-11 attacks Syria helped the US in hunting al-Qaida, even to the extent of torturing some on behalf of the CIA. But Syria continued to support Hizballah as pressure against Israel. However, Bush had larger (and confused) ambitions, so he made Hizballah one of his targets. Syria, as their supporter, became "evil", and Israel can now use this excuse to refrain from dealing with Syria and maintain its hold over the Golan. There is a price to the Israeli reluctance to talk peace with Syria. Since 1973, when Egypt got out of the Israeli-Arab conflict, Syria tried to cause trouble only indirectly, so as not to be attacked itself. Israel, though had to go to war twice already, in Lebanon, in 1982 and 2006. Another one is expected. All these were indirect Syrian wars. But now, Syria is willing to repeat the Hizballah strategy and engage Israel in its own war, perhaps as part of a larger war led by Iran.
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