The Iran-Led Axis Vs US-Led Alliance.
Tehran is resisting the West with its nuclear ambitions and with its plan to become the super-power of the Middle East. Assad wants to kill a UN-backed tribunal to try the killers of former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri - a move on which his survival depends - meaning he wants to control Lebanon through a "national unity government" in which his Hizbullah-led allies insist on having a "blocking third" through a 19+11 cabinet where the 11 allies can veto anything he does not like, including the tribunal. Failing this option, Assad wants early elections to a new Lebanese parliament in which his Hizbullah-led allies must win and control the government. But to survive, Assad needs to have his father's Greater Syria project succeed, which is not what the Saudi/Arab peace plan calls for and not what Iran's theocracy has been betting on (see news4-IranSyriaAxisJan22-07).
Israel has lately tilted in favour of the Saudi/Arab peace plan. A set of principles, this offers Israel full recognition and permanent peace with the Arab states in return for a withdrawal to 1967 lines, establishment of an independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and "an agreed, just solution" to the Palestinian refugee issue in accordance with the 1948 UN Resolution 194.
Israel has problems with 194 and there has been talk of compromise in interpreting it, but Arab officials dismiss Libyan charges of a "Palestinian resettlement plot". The Saudi/Arab plan is being used by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a way to give important Arab regional support to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his discussions with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert. The support of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and other moderate Arab states is also intended to undermine the standing of Hamas, whose Damascus-based leadership refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist and is split with the Gaza-based Hamas leaders.
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|Publication:||APS Diplomat News Service|
|Date:||Mar 26, 2007|
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