Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Iran-Syria : how strong is the axis?

Last week Condelezza Rice thanked the Syrian government for its help in thwarting the attackers of the US embassy in Damascus. This week, it has been reported that President Bush has authorized James Baker to speak with a "high level" official in Tehran on the nuclear issue. Next week, Baker will send a task force to meet the Syrian foreign minister in Damascus. It is hard to predict where this diplomatic flurry is going. Will the White House now engage its despised enemies and attempt to break the Syria-Iran alliance?

An article in the Asia Times (see link above) seems to think that while the bonds between Iran and Syria may be a marriage of convenience, they have nevertheless proven strong for twenty years. It might take more than a change of rhetoric to effect a divorce. Syrian and Iranian governments are used to taking a longer view than their US counterparts.

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