by Michael Rubin
"Not talking doesn't make us look tough -- it makes us look arrogant," President-elect Barack Obama declares. Throughout his campaign, he has promised renewed engagement after eight years of moribund diplomacy. Chief among his diplomatic targets is
Aaron Miller, another veteran Clinton-era peace processor, wrote on Nov. 4 about the Syrian temptation. A Syrian deal, Miller argued, would weaken "
In a congratulatory telegram to Obama, the Syrian leader expressed "hope that dialogue would prevail to overcome the difficulties that have hindered real progress toward peace, stability and prosperity in the
It is tempting to believe that
For more than a millennium,
In the 10th century, the Fatimid dynasty built
World War I shattered the
At times, two rivals would join forces but never has there been solidarity among all three. In 1958, for example,
The next decade saw Baathism's rise in
Impeded by pride, culture and history,
Diplomats seeking to flip Assad are asking him to commit political suicide.
Aid will not facilitate. For Assad to settle for less than
So why does Assad flirt with the West? He derives his power from rejection of the West and
When the time comes to reciprocate, Assad can walk away, as his father so often did, leaving
Michael Rubin, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, is a senior lecturer at the
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