The Greater Syria Plan and Palestine Problem: Historical Roots, 1919-1939
Source: The Jerusalem Cathedra: Studies in the History, Archaeology, Geography and Ethnology of the Land of Israel, No 1, 1982, pp. 259-271.
The emergence of a relatively stable and effective regime in Syria that is pursuing a dynamic foreign policy and acquiring influence over its neighbors -- Jordan and Lebanon -- as well as over the PLO has led in recent years to the assumption that President Hafiz al-Asad is seeking to set up a political entity in the territory of Greater Syria to be dominated by the Syrian state which he heads.
(INSS, April, 2009)
The Ba'ath regime's primary concern is its own survival. After nearly forty years of rule by the Asad dynasty, it does not face any serious domestic threats, but it is fully aware of the underlying instability of a regime dominated by members of a minority community. Bashar al-Asad, who succeeded his father in June 2000 as Syria's president, is more sure-footed and in firmer control than he was a few years ago, but both his persona and the full scope of his ability remain enigmatic to Syrian and foreign observers alike.
Narrowing the Gulf - Haaretz 06/01/2008
For many years the most influential Western cultural institution in the Arab world was the American University of Beirut (AUB). Founded in 1866 as the Syrian Protestant College, during much of the 20th century it was both an important university and a hub of intellectual and political ferment. But, the collapse of Lebanon's traditional political system, the civil war of the 1970s and the lingering crisis, the roles played by Iran, Syria and the radical wing of the Shi'ite community have all served to diminish the AUB's standing and role.
What will happen after Bush? Haaretz, 15/11/2007
In its latest issue, dated November 8, The New York Review of Books published in a prominent - if not screaming - manner a letter signed by eight famous individuals and addressed to United States President George W. Bush, warning him of the grave dangers inherent in a possible failure of the Annapolis conference.
Courting Syria - Haaretz, 29/11/2006
A change in the United States' Middle East policy seems to be in the offing. The reasons for this expectation are the failure in Iraq and the defeat of President George W. Bush and the Republican party in the midterm elections, a failure that led to the immediate resignation/dismissal of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
The article was published in the Brookings Institute website on March/April 2008
As Israel’s Ambassador to Washington in the mid-1990s, I worked closely with the now all too famous Israel lobby. But this was not the “Israel Lobby” described by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. At that time, the right wing of what they characterize as a “loose coalition” of pro-Israeli groups, organizations and individuals was dead set on undermining the peace policy conducted by the government of Yitzhak Rabin in concert with the Clinton Administration. Meanwhile, the left wing of this “loose coalition” had its own notion of Israel’s and America’s best interests, also considerably at variance with the view of the Rabin government. The neoconservative critics were neither friendly nor helpful to our policies, and we did not perceive by any stretch of the imagination the Tikkun Community to be our supporters, not even when Hillary Clinton was speaking to Rabbi Michael Lerner about “spirituality.”
In an interview conducted by Ari Shavit with national security adviser Dr. Uzi Arad (Haaretz Magazine, July 10, 2009), we find the following two references to negotiations on the Golan Heights: to the legal-diplomatic issue ("There is no such thing," Arad's reference to the paper "deposited" by Yitzhak Rabin with the U.S. secretary of state, in which he undertook to withdraw from the Golan Heights in the event of a peace treaty) and to the substantive issue ("territorial compromise" in the Golan). The two issues are intricately connected.
This is not a portion of U.S. President Barack Obama's address in Cairo, but a paragraph from a document that appears to be one of the most important sources of inspiration guiding his Middle East policy: the Baker-Hamilton report, published in December 2006. The Baker-Hamilton committee was a bipartisan task force headed by former secretary of state James Baker, for the Republicans, and Lee Hamilton, had chaired the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for many years, for the Democrats.
The Evolution of US-Israeli-Syrian Peace Negotiations, 1993-2000.
Arab-Jewish Relations: From Conflict to Resolution? Elie Podeh and Asher Kaufman (eds.), Sussex Academic Press, Brighton, 2005.
The current fighting in Gaza has for some time been "a disaster waiting to happen". When it finally did happen this came at an inopportune time, toward the end of the US presidential transition, as the Bush administration was fading and President-elect Barack Obama adamantly (and correctly) refused to make his opinion known, let alone be drawn into the politics of the crisis.