We’re Unwilling to Cease Contacts with Iran and HAMAS: Syrian President

Israel Materials 30 September 2008 17:49 (UTC +04:00)

Israel, Jerusalem, 30 September / corr Trend A.Gut / "Relations with Iran and HAMAS will continue irrespective of achievement of a peace agreement with Israel," Bashar Assad said during the talks with Melhem Karam, the chairman of the Lebanese Association of Journalists, Arab media reports.

The Syrian president stated that despite of talks with Israel, Syria continues upgrading its military forces and considers all possible scenarios for further developments in the Near East. "The US and Israeli pressures on Syria did not cease even for a minute, but we do not plan to refuse from further modernization of our armed forces. We do not also intend to cease contacts with Iran and HAMAS," Assad said. The Syrian President also stressed that talks held with Israel through mediators are still fruitless.

There are three problems, which will not be so easy to solve during the talks with Syria: establishment of coordinated border, regulation of security problems and Syria's union with Iran. The political establishment of Israel well realizes unchanged strategic importance of Golan heights, and it will be a cardinal mistake by Israel to push itself to danger and agree upon escape from this critical territory, which still remains to be of vitally strategic value to secure Israel.

At present central demand at Israel's diplomatic circles is Syria's isolation from union with Iran, 'axis of evil', as US President George W.Bush called it. However, the Iranian union with Syria is based on Syrian interests, which has no need in relations with Israel. Despite of its peace intentions with Israel, Syria under the full political and financial patronage of the Iranian regime backs the organizations such as Hezbollah and HAMAS. This is irrefutable fact that Damask will never go to direct talks with Israel, having close military political contacts with the Islamic Republic of Iran, despite of titanic diplomatic efforts of Ankara.

The Israeli political elite understand that Assad's preference to negotiations was dictated first of all with an attempt to consolidate the international positions of the ruling regime. Jerusalem paid at double price: agreeing upon indirect talks (though talks in Madrid were held directly) and enabling Damask to become an active participant of 'axis of evil'.

It is absolutely clear that if Bashar Assad made a real strategic turning in favor of peace, he would never insist on public and indirect talks, but take a gesture demonstrating his intention of ceasing support to terrorism. However, Israel did not demand such step from the Syrian president, gifting him foreign political success trough his own strategic interests.