Across the Bay

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Why Saudi Arabia Doesn't Talk to Syria

Jamal Khashoggi, editor-in-chief of the Saudi al-Watan, was just on the political talk show Kalam al-Nass on LBCI.

He was asked why Saudi Arabia is no longer talking to the Syrians (despite all the idiotic propaganda by the regime's flacks about how the Riyadh summit set things back on course between them).

He said the crisis in Lebanon is all about the tribunal and nothing else. So the Saudis cannot talk unless there's something to be achieved, but in the case of Syria (as opposed to working with France or even talking to Iran), it is implicated in the murder. And when the issue is only about the tribunal, then basically there's nothing to talk about.

It's quite simple, yet people somehow still don't get it. To once again quote George Schultz, as I did in a recent piece, "you need to have something to talk about!" It's impossible when our interests and those of the other party are diametrically opposed. There's absolutely no common ground, and therefore, nothing to talk about. That's precisely why the Saudis have not talked to the Syrians in months, since Bashar, once again (who's counting?), showed that he has zero credibility and flexibility.

Addendum: The other guest on the show, analyst and former Hariri advisor Nihad Mashnouq, also hit the nail right on the head and said: "Syria is not willing to make a compromise (taswiye) not in Lebanon nor in Palestine nor in Iraq. Syria designates the government of Lebanon as an enemy government and is seeking to topple it by any means necessary, from the inside and the outside. That's what they've been trying to do."

Precisely. Fools and sinister flacks will talk about incentives and renewed negotiations for the Golan and what have you, but the reality is this: all this was offered and rejected. Numerous times too, and by a number of different delegates. The Syrians believe they can take Lebanon and kill the tribunal by force, thereby forcing the hand of the international community, and then still demand the rewards of the incentives afterwards, regardless!

In other words, as I have said numerous times before, there's nothing to talk about.