Policy advisers in Washington increasingly see improved relations with Damascus as crucial to peace in the Middle East
guardian.co.uk, Monday 23 February 2009
"......Officially Obama maintains the standard US positions that Syria must "change its behaviour" – meaning curb its backing for Hamas and Hezbollah, end political meddling in Lebanon and more closely support US objectives in Iraq and Iran.
But behind the scenes, it's becoming clearer to Washington's policy reviewers that better relations with Syria would serve multiple American purposes and that, with a bit of imagination and flexibility, previous sticking points might be finessed.
The US, for example, would not in practice demand an all-out Syrian break with Iran – an unrealistic aim. Rather it would look for a unilateral ending of some of their more objectionable joint activities, such as arms supplies to Hezbollah in Lebanon, pending a mooted US-Iranian dialogue and a possible change of government in Tehran.
Other parts of this nascent two-way bargain could include Syrian help in securing a smooth transition in Iraq; and bridge-building between Hamas and Fatah prior to the resumption of talks on a two-state solution....."