Saudi-Egyptian-Syrian summit in Riyadh – first Obama ME breakthrough

The summit conference planned in Riyadh for Wednesday, March 11, between the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Kuwait may be the Obama administration’s first Middle East breakthrough, according to debkafile‘s Washington and Middle East sources.
Many hopes hang on this event.
The US president and secretary of state Hillary Clinton see it as ushering in the parting of the ways between Syria and Iran as a result of their overtures to Damascus.
From the regional perspective, it is meant to signal Syrian ruler Bashar Assad’s reacceptance by the moderate Arab camp.
The Saudi King Abdullah and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak hope their meeting with Assad Wednesday will starting isolating Iran in the region and knock over the power bases it has built up in such places as the Gaza Strip.
They are optimistic, debkafile‘s military sources report, because Saturday, March 7 Hamas began commandeering the mosques and charities owned by Jihad Islami, the Palestinian terrorist militia created and funded by Tehran. By Monday night, 80 of its mosques and institutions had been appropriated, ending the first day in weeks without Palestinian missile fire against Israel.
Official circles in Washington, Cairo and Riyadh read this crackdown as evidence that Damascus is willing to begin wresting the control of Palestinian radical organizations from Iran.
They also note that Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas leader based in Damascus, has been muzzled since his hero’s welcome in Tehran. Downgrading Syrian ties with Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hizballah, would be welcomed too.
While optimistic, none of three partners can tell how far Assad will take his moves against Iran. They are not even sure if they are genuine or part of a sting operation with Tehran.
The outcome of the Riyadh summit and its aftermath are eagerly awaited for clues to the Syrian ruler’s intentions.

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