"I have no doubt that it will be possible to start negotiating with Syria if it commits to ending violence and support of terror, Hamas, and Hizballah, and cuts off the contact with Iran" - Olmert Just like Master Bush, Olmert first wants the Syrians to relieve themselves of all their assets, and only then there will be talk. Bush can`t even be a Ballegoolle (carriage driver); he puts the carriage in front of the horses! Why do the Syrians support Hamas and Hizballah? Because they want their Golan back, but are afraid (at least until the recent Lebanon war) to confront Israel directly. The Syrians have already caused indirectly two wars in Lebanon, in 1982 (by supporting the PLO) and in 2006 (by supporting Hizballah). Another war is expected soon. Why do the Syrians have close ties with Iran? Because they are threatened by the US, their old supporter the USSR is no more, and they need some protector. They take the one they can get, even though Iran is not the most natural ally (Sunni vs. Shiite, Secular vs. Islamist, Arab vs. Farsi). The way you deal with other people is to agree on some "cease fire" for the duration. You do not ask the opponent to first turn its weapons into scrap metal. In the Syrian context, a "cease fire" could be some verifiable (temporary) stop to rearming Hizballah or some other gesture. Israel may be asked to commit to something equivalent. Instead of following Master Dumbya Bush, Olmert should try to educate him and explain to him that taking Syria out of the Iranian orbit will be very beneficial to the US. Let Israel educate the Israel-leaning neocons about the benefits to all, and they will get it into Bush`s head by constant repetition.
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