Some very brief, related and unrelated thoughts on the news from today about peace talks with Syria.
1. Contrary to the claims of Shelly Yachimovich this is not a diversion. Neither the talks nor their acknowledgment have been orchestrated to save Olmert's political career. If anything, these talks put Olmert in an even more precarious position domestically than he is now.
2. We do not know what the Americans think about all this, but the agreement goes entirely against the spirit of Bush's policy since 2003. Did the Turks keep the Americans apprised of developments in the process?
3. These negotiations cannot extract Syria from the Iranian embrace. They will not deliver Hizbullah or Hamas to Israel. All they can aim at is the formalization of the relative calm that has existed on the Syrian-Israeli border since 1973 - in itself hardly be an insignificant feat.
4. The recent Doha agreement, engineered by Qatar, formally delivered Lebanon into the hands of Hizbullah and the Iranian-Syrian-(Qatari?) axis. It diverges radically from the US-Saudi policy on Lebanon that has endured until now.