On Wednesday 05/21/2008 at 12:00 Israel Syrian and Turkey announced, simultaneously, that Israel and Syria are holding indirect talks, according to the guidelines of Madrid conference from 1991 (Which means without preconditions).
There is nothing new in the basis since Israel and Syria held talks, on and off, through Turkish mediator already from 02/2007. Syria still refuses to negotiate directly with Israel and disqualify any situation in which Israelis and Syrians will be in the same room at the same time. The importance of the enouncement is, therefore, the timing.
In the same morning an agreement was reached in Qatar between the Lebanese factions. The agreement legalized the independency of Hizbullah in Lebanon, granted the Hizbullah with the power to veto any governmental decision and bring Syria back into Lebanon through the back door as a dominant power.(See – Doha Agreement )
The first international issue for the new cabinet, which caused the Lebanese crisis, is the authorization by U.N of an international court to judge Rafik Hariris’ assassin suspects which can lead the responsibility for the murder straight to the presidential palace in Damascus, Syria. (See – LEBANON new crisis )
Although Syria has, now, the power to veto such a decision in Lebanese cabinet Syria anticipates international economic pressure from France and USA on this matter. It is almost certain that the “peace talks” announcement created a serious dilemma to France and USA whether now, when Syria shows first signs of readiness to abandon the Iranian led “Axis of evil”, it is the right time for sanctions on Syria. The announcement is a perfect preventive measure against any possible Western sanction while digesting Lebanon.
Israel threatened several times that if the Hizbullah will revenge Imad Mughniyah killing, on 02/12/2008 night, in Damascus, by a mega attack against Israeli or Jewish targets in the world, Israel will hold Damascus as co-responsible on the attack and will retaliate not only directly against the Hizbullah but also against infrastructures in Syria. Hizbullah did not, yet, revenge Imad Mugniyah death but the historical experience with Hizbullah is that at will happened sooner or later.(See – MUGHNIYAH AFTERMATH )
It is almost certain that in a political situation of supposed “peace talks” with Syria the military options of Israel, referring to Syria and its allies in Lebanon as well, will be very limited. Israel government will be blamed by opposition within Israel and by many International powers that Israel, once again, is disrupting the slim chance of peace.
The three parties’ enouncement of “indirect peace talks” between Syria and Israel broadened, dramatically, the options of Syria and caused genuine dilemmas to the Western powers, headed by France and USA, hwo to deal with the Lebanese situation and tightened the hands of Israel to use its military power against the build up of Hizbullah in Lebanon or against Syria. The chance that the talks will, eventually, bring upon peace is depended on the Iranian Supremacy and if Iran will, eventually, obtains nuclear weapon.