Saturday, January 26, 2008

Patrick Seale: on the stakes in Lebanon for Syria

Middle East Online

"The rumour in Damascus is that President Bashar al-Asad has asked Amr Moussa to travel to Riyadh in order to convey a conciliatory message to King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia. President Bashar is even quoted by some sources as saying that he will make no move without first securing the backing of the Saudi Kingdom.

"If these rumours are confirmed, they may signal a détente in inter-Arab relations -- and therefore hope for a breakthrough in Lebanon. President Bashar attended the Arab Summit in Riyadh in March 2007, when he conferred at length with King Abdallah. Lebanon was then the main issue, as it is today. Détente between Damascus and Riyadh is absolutely necessary, because the current coolness between them, verging on hostility, is one of the main impediments to a Lebanese settlement."

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