Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another step towards ending Syria’s isolation from the West

The United Kingdom has reportedly re-established high-level intelligence links within the Syrian intelligence community. This was a key objective of U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s recent visit to Damascus.

Britain has apparently rewarded Syria with diplomatic talks and the exchange of intelligence information, despite Syria’s refusal to denounce and turn in terrorists operating openly on its soil.

On the one hand, Syria is known to have one of the best intelligence-gathering systems in the Middle East. On the other, Syria is believed to be complicit in multiple terror attacks in Lebanon, including the 2005 assassination of that country’s former prime minister, Rafik Hariri. Syria has also aided—or at least turned a blind eye to—al-Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni insurgent groups operating on its soil.

This development comes amidst reports that have been circulating since the spring that Syria and Israel have been holding back-channel talks in Turkey and are near to a peace agreement, awaiting only the blessing of the new U.S. administration.

Middle East politics is so convoluted it’s difficult to keep track of what is really happening there. However, there does seem to be an effort to loosen Syria’s ties with Iran so that the latter country can be further isolated, making future international sanctions more effective.

[Reference source]smleaf

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