Exclusive: Syria hardens positions, retracts peace feelers to Israel
debkafile‘s Middle East sources report that in the last 48 hours, Damascus has broadcast new, intransigent policy positions through diverse channels under the influence of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert’s legal plight and the swift victories its ally, Hizballah, has achieved in Lebanon:
1. Leaders in Olmert’s position are only capable of making war – not peace, according to leaks from Damascus to Arab media. For this reason, Syrian officials claim after the fact that they exposed the secret meeting scheduled to take place between Israeli and Syrian officials in Turkey for sabotage, knowing it would go nowhere.
2. The Israeli prime minister’s offer to give up the whole of Golan for peace was likewise leaked by Damascus to discredit the prime minister at home.
3. Another message informed Jerusalem that any accommodation with Damascus was contingent on a peace deal with Beirut – or rather the real masters of Lebanon, Iran-backed Hizballah.
4. Israel must rescind the disputed Shebaa Farms enclave on Mount Hermon.
5. Syria’s relations with Iran are none of Israel’s business. This is a reference to the demands for the Assad regime to cool its ties with Tehran as a prerequisite for a peace deal.
6. As for the American-Israeli demand that Syria stop hosting terrorist headquarters, Damascus advises Israel to make do with the Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal’s last statement. He said that Hamas is prepared to accept – though not recognize – Israel within the pre-1967 war boundaries and offer a long-term informal truce. Syria finds nothing further to discuss with Israel on the subject of Hamas.