An Israeli–Syrian peace deal is a real possibility and would have a positive effect on the Middle East and U.S. interests there. But the two sides will not reach an agreement without U.S. leadership. The incoming administration should use a balance of pressure, incentives, and robust diplomacy to make the agreement a reality, concludes a new paper by the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center.
Paul Salem argues that President-elect Barack Obama should continue the Bush administration’s policy of pressuring Syria to keep out of Lebanon and Iraq, which has helped push Syria towards a peace agreement. But the new administration must pursue a more balanced approach with strong diplomacy to reach a land-for-peace deal over the occupied Golan Heights.
“The issues between Israel and Syria are complex, and the challenge of shifting Syria’s strategic posture is even more demanding. Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done an excellent job so far. But it will take a fully empowered U.S. secretary of state or presidential envoy—and, eventually, direct presidential engagement—to achieve a breakthrough on the Syrian–Israeli track.”
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