Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jordan's King in surprise visit to Syria

King Abdullah II has made an unannounced visit to Damascus for talks with Assad.

It's been four years since his last visit to Syria, and relations between the two have been sour to say the least, so why the quick shuttle now?

Abdullah tends to assume more the role of an American diplomat in Arab affairs, more than that of an Arab king. His four year snub of Syria has mirrored Washington's four year snub of Assad. Suddenly the US invites Syria to a regional peace conference, and Abdullah lands in the Syrian capital?

Israel's PM has in the past week expressed hope that the Syrians attend the Annapolis conference, after Assad warned his country will not participate if the Golan Heights are not on the agenda. The Jordanian visit appears to be another attempt by the Americans to persuade Assad to send a high-level delegation to Annapolis. The Jordanians don't generally have any diplomatic leverage in regional affairs, unless they're carrying a message from the United States, which I assume Abdullah II is precisely doing on this trip.

Will it work is the question?

Ynet's full article.

Syria to release 250 Jordanian prisoners

Following their short chat, Assad instructed the release of 250 Jordanian prisoners held in Syrian jails.

After all these long years of struggles by Lebanese families to retain their loved ones trapped in Syrian prisons, it only took the Jordanian king 30 minutes to get the nod. If it's that easy, why don't we send our President to Damascus with some Tripoli sweets and win back our prisoners?

Of course, the hard part is to first elect a president.

AFP article.

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