Hezbollah, Lebanon, Peace negotiations, Syria

Bashar: “I will work to involve Hizbullah and Hamas in the negotiations…”

I hate to say “I told you so…”, but this time I just can’t resist. Do y’all remember our lovely discussion from a few days ago, when I wrote a post about Lebanon’s role in the peace talks? The QN groupies (is it alright if I call you that?) said I was crazy to imagine that it would be in Syria’s or Israel’s interests to bring Hizbullah to the table. Well, here it is, from the horse’s mouth:

Syrian President Bashar Assad emphasized the importance of including major parties in a peace process with Israel, adding that he would work to bring Hamas and Hizbullah to the table. “I will work to involve Hizbullah and Hamas in the negotiations to achieve peace in the region,” Assad told Japan’s Asahi Shimbun in an interview published Wednesday.

He said his country could hold direct peace talks with Israel if the United States acted as an arbitrator.

Put that in your arghile and smoke it. 😉
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Discussion

9 thoughts on “Bashar: “I will work to involve Hizbullah and Hamas in the negotiations…”

  1. Assad also said that Syria did not kill Hariri and that they did not develop nuclear weapons.

    For Assad “involve” may mean notify when the negotiations end.

    I didn’t realize you trusted what Assad says.

    Posted by AIG | March 11, 2009, 8:59 pm
  2. For the love of all that is holy, do you not have a LIFE?! 🙂

    Seriously, AIG. What do you do for a living that you can camp out here and argue all day long?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 11, 2009, 9:06 pm
  3. I am a great multi-tasker, what can I say.

    Posted by AIG | March 11, 2009, 9:07 pm
  4. Aha! Not a weather girl nor a biblical scholar nor a latina, but QN is a blogging operative for bashar al-assad, himself.

    All we need is for Tony Badran to call you a ‘regime clown’ and your identity will be sanctified!!! Of course, such makes your cabbies syrian agents as well.

    Et-tu, QN?

    🙂

    Posted by dadavidovich | March 11, 2009, 9:39 pm
  5. QN,

    I never thought that i would live and see the day that you are called Assad lover ,

    Strange things seems to happen!.

    Posted by norman | March 12, 2009, 2:42 am
  6. Just to be clear, my point was not that it was not in Syria’s interests to join all parties. It clearly is, as they are the weak party and would want to strengthen their hand by adding Hizbullah’s muscle to their bargaining position. But the question is whether this type of negotiating will actually happen, and if it does, will it achieve results. and I highly doubt that. Even assuming that all the parties want to negotiate, the question is whether A) Hizbullah’s incentive is to basically allow Syria negotiate on their behalf in respect to Syrian grievances (Golan), and B) whether Israel would rather negotiate with Syria and Lebanon independently or together.

    Despite Syria’s views on negotiations, for example, how on earth do you expect Hamas to agree to allowing Syria to make concessions for Hamas within the context of Syrian/Israeli negotiations over the Golan? I mean, it makes no sense. What would Hamas do, agree to give up resistance against Israel so that Syria can get Golan back? Similarly, but to a lesser degree, how do you think Hizbullah can do that? Or even, why would Israel negotiate with Syria on issues that they know Syria can not deliver upon (Hamas/Hizbullah, or even any military threat against Israel)?

    So, I mean, I don’t think you are in a position to toot your own horn yet. Let’s see the tripartite negotiations first, before we go saying that you were right in this issue. Obviously the weakest party would want to lump everything into the same negotiation portfolio, but the question is whether that is feasible.

    Posted by Joe M. | March 12, 2009, 7:53 am
  7. “Seriously, AIG. What do you do for a living that you can camp out here and argue all day long?”

    Oh dear QN, you’ve not encountered the hasbara brigade before?

    Posted by mo | March 12, 2009, 11:49 am
  8. Hello,

    I’ve been reading some previous discussions here & I’d like to say that the quality of discussion here is very high.

    I would like to jump in on this topic to see what you think. It seems like this blog may be a place were I might get some answers on issues I often feel are avoided. As it seemed you all were agreed on in the previous thread, all analysis really relies on parties negotiating on good faith. They are not. I don’t see how Israel or Syria have all that much to gain or how they are otherwise incentivized to get anything signed.

    I think I might dispute the idea that Israel wants to further Hezballah. It’s status or rather non-status is what largely responsible for the group’s ability to continue its activities. Limiting it’s ability to dispense welfare or other non-military activities is both beyond Syria’s exclusive capacity & a little subtle for this sort of diplomacy. It’s certainly not something Israeli negotiators could sell at home.

    Basically, the threat to Israel from Hezbollah is not so much a function of the size of their arsenal. It is it’s ability to use that arsenal strategically. Political isolation is counter-productive in that paradigm. Other types of isolation are more difficult to police (remember the mutual distrust) & also of dubious worth.

    What I would really like some opinions on is how incentivized do you beleive Syria to be. Are they really interested in the Golan? Would they be willing to sign an agreement that loses face but regains the territories? Or in other words, is it simply a matter of national pride?

    {disclaimer: I am Israeli}

    Posted by netsp | March 17, 2009, 8:58 am
  9. netsp,

    All good questions, and you’ll get a million different answers. If you ask my interlocutor Abbas (a Hizbullah guy), he would say that the Golan actually means very little to the Syrians, and it is only a pretext to maintain the struggle against Israel and keep the regime in place. Joshua on the othe rhand thinks that the Golan actually does hold a lot of meaning to the Syrians, national pride, etc.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | March 18, 2009, 2:11 pm

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