Syria – A Reason to Engage

Leaders from 40 countries are heading to Washington today to attend a nuclear security summit that will likely dominate the headlines in the coming days. North Korea and Iran, two states with disputed nuclear ambitions, will not be there. It appears , according to  Associated Press, that Syria was left off the invitation list as well since the US believes Damascus also has nuclear ambitions. This is one American view on Syria. But another could be heard following Senator John Kerry’s recent meeting with President Bashar al Assad in Damascus where they spoke of “mutual interests” and a constructive role for Syria in the region. In the midst of this, a new American Ambassador is about to assume office in Damascus to carry out a new policy of engagement with Syria. My recent post attempts to outline a few agenda items with the hope that engagement will become constructive.

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A Reason to engage

Iranian Times International

In the midst of another round of violence in Iraq and following a summit with the Iranian and Hezbollah leaders hosted in Damascus, Senator John Kerry met President Bashar al Assad last Thursday in Damascus talking about “a mutual interest” and a “very frank exchange.”  The Senate, on its part, concluded the first confirmation hearing on the nomination of Robert Ford as its   ambassador there.  Manning the post, which has been vacant since 2005, might serve as another indication that the United States is moving to re-engage with Syria as  president  Obama seeks to  resuscitate Middle East peace talks.  Some are already criticizing the move perceived as one that will give the Syrian president an added legitimacy without a tangible return. Others argue that engagement, if used correctly, is a powerful policy tool that could promote American interests.  But on the side of this debate – and away from the political corridors of Washington – there are those who have long been waiting for American intervention. Their lives depend on it. Continue reading “Syria – A Reason to Engage”