West’s forced victims in way of closing with Syria: Trend News commentator

Trend Middle East Desk Commentator Ulviyya Sadikhova

Cooperation between U.S. and Syria will be Barack Obama's first step in implementing a plan "2009 - peace year in Middle East". But Washington will have to forget break of one of the region's most durable political triangle - Damascus-Tehran-Hezbollah.

Europe and Washington realized that Syria plays a key role in security of Middle East, Damascus's influence on Lebanon and Palestine grows year by year despite political and economic isolation by the pro-western Arabian neighbors.

Blaming the Syrian senior officials for Rafiq Hariri's death and a solid alliance with Iran and its child - Hezbollah did not influenced on beginning the interrupted Syrian-American dialogue which Washington decided for the first time within last 5 years. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named negotiations with Syria as "a trial period" without hurrying to state to restore relations between the two countries.

Despite observers' skeptical attitude toward Obama Administration's Middle East policy, it will gain more successes than George Bush's policy.

What does Syria mean for the West in the Arabian world?

First, Lebanon. The Syrian government directed Lebanon's interior policy within last 30 years. A key issue is a murder of Rafiq Hariri, an ardent rival of Damascus and Tehran.  The pro-western Lebanese politicians' groundless accusations with U.S. and France's support on the "Syrian hand" fully broke Syria's shaky relations with the Sunni Arab states.

But at present the special tribunal is engaged in investigating this murder and released three persons suspected in the former premier's death. As one of the released persons is Syrian, the Syrian track in the murder gradually disappeared. Reasons of their release are still unknown.

A reason of Europe's and U.S.'s closing with Syria may be the parliamentarian elections in Lebanon in June. Observers believe Shiah grouping Hezbollah has more chances to win and it has the right to arming against any external aggression, particularly against Israel.

Therefore, the West hopes to use relations between Syria and Hezbollah to prevent weakening of the Lebanese government which is inclined to cooperate with Europe and U.S.

Damascus may be a good springboard to start a dialogue between Europe and Hezbollah. This could stabilize the situation on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Washington has sent a former ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman Daniel Shapiro to the talks with the Syrian government. Then Shiparo was Congressman assistant and was involved in designing of drafts to impose sanctions on Syria for its support to Hamas and Hsebollah.

The second is the relations between Syria and Hamas. Damascus supported Hamas during Israeli's military attacks. The traditional Arab powers and the Palestinian authorities said Hamas's shelling in Israel has caused death of civilians in the Gaza Strip. One of political leaders of Hamas Khaled Maashal leaves in Syria.

The improved relations between the West and Damascus could reduce the supply of Iranian weapons to Hamas via Syria. And this meets Israeli's security which is the main strategic and military partner of the U.S. and Europe in the Middle East. West's dialogue with Hamas is unlikely, but the suspension of military strengthening of the movement can make the central authorities in the autonomy led by Fatah stronger.

However, we should not expect cut of military and economic partnership between Damascus and Tehran after improvement of relations with Syria. 

Tehran remains the sole source of income for Syrian economy. Over thirty years, Syria has received large concessions for the import of Iranian oil, which is faithful to pay for the Syrian regime.

It is unlikely that Iran will miss control over the politics of Damascus and Hezbollah on the background of disputes with West due to the nuclear program. Damascus and Hezbollah are the main pressure levers on Sunni Arab states.  

Therefore, Syria's approach to West's policy does not mean weakening of the "Middle East triangle".

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