“Syria continues Westward shift as US works to curb Iran’s regional influence”

“Syria continues Westward shift as US works to curb Iran’s regional influence”
September 27-October 6, 2009
     Syria is set to welcome Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah later this week as the two states work to overcome tensions over Damascus’ close ties with Iran and Hezbollah and alleged involvement in the 2005 assassination of Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited Saudi Arabia in late September (Daily Star). Paul Salem describes Abdullah’s visit as a “graduation ceremony” for Syria in its efforts to shift away from Iran and improve ties with Saudi Arabia, the US, European states and Turkey (The National).
     With Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad visiting Washington in the same week as the P5+1 talks with Iran, Mark Landler writes that Damascus and Tehran are each concerned that the other will strike a diplomatic deal with Washington first. Rapprochement with Syria, along with talks with Iran and Israeli-Palestinian peace, is a key component of Washington’s Middle East policy (New York Times). Joshua Landis believes Israel’s refusal to concede its settlements in Palestine and pursue a two-state solution is the main impediment to US efforts to reestablish ties with Syria and curb Iran’s regional influence. Landis argues that Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights and military superiority in the region will keep US-Syria rapprochement “limited” and allow Tehran to justify its nuclear aspirations (Syria Comment).
     Chris Phillips points out that Turkey’s important role in rehabilitating Syria’s image in the West is allowing Turkey to elevate its influence among Arab and NATO states while increasing Syria’s political and economic dependence on Turkey (The Guardian).
Daily Star | The National | New York Times | Syria Comment | The Guardian

Related posts:
“Syrian-Saudi summit, US ‘power play’ efforts aim to isolate Iran”

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