Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The diplomatic dividend of dealing with Syria

It looks as if the Iranians are about to release the 15 British service personnel they captured in the northern Gulf. Earlier today the Syrians said that they had played a role in mediating between the Iranians and the British and bringing the matter to a conclusion. The British have been cultivating the Syrians for some time and this has brought a diplomatic dividend now.

Contrast that with the slating Nancy Pelosi has received from the White House for meeting the Syrian President Bashar Assad. The White House says that Pelosi is sending the wrong signals; but the fact is, whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation - and it is a complex one - the Syrians are influential in the region. No peace deal will be achieved without their backing, and that is something the White House needs to accept.

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