One of the main points in Herr Baker’s ISG report is that the US should negotiate with Syria as opposed to the Administration position, which says we should wait until they stop supporting terror, and become truly interested in peace. Last week Senator Nelson of Florida made his semi annual pilgrimage to kiss the feet of Syrian President Assad. (He went two years ago to negotiate and came back with bupkus). Nelsons visit is expected to be the first of Senator’s visits with Assad; coming up will be Arlyn Specter, Christopher Dodd and the Ghost of Elections Past: John Kerry.

White House press secretary Tony Snow yesterday said the trip by Nelson, and those future visits to Syria end an unhelpful, mixed message to the Syrians.We want to make sure that they understand that just because they have visitors does not mean that the position of the United States government has changed,” Snow said. And he warned that the lawmakers could become ensnared in efforts by Damascus to burnish its image. “It may cost some people their credibility,” Snow said. “As I pointed out, Senator Nelson went and thought that he’d gotten concessions out of Bashar Assad two years ago and he came back empty-handed. Apparently what he thought President Assad had promised to him was not something that actually was offered.” (AP)

This confusion becomes even more problematic when you read this Mossad report that Syria is looking to use “start negotiate then attack” as a tactic and every day they grow more confident in their ability to defeat the IDF.

Dagan: Syria more willing now than ever to attack Israel

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Despite Syria’s peace overtures it is “more willing now than ever before” to take military action against Israel, Mossad Chief Meir Dagan told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday. Dagan said that following Israel’s war with Lebanon, Syria felt more secure and confident in having its own personal confrontation with Israel.

He went on to say that the Syrian army was building up its anti-tank missile units, after having seen that this was Israel’s Achilles’ heel in the Second Lebanon War. He also told the committee that Syria was secretly buying stocks of anti-tank missiles from Russia.

Dagan stressed that the condition was so volatile that if Israel were to send a warning signal to Syrian President Bashar Assad – as it did in June when IAF jets buzzed his summer palace while he was present – this would be reason enough for Syria to wage war. Dagan reminded the FADC that Assad’s modus operandi was to “whip out a white rabbit of a peace overture” to dispel international pressure coming from the US. In fact, said Dagan, on Sunday, when Foreign Minister Walid Moallem was interviewed by The Washington Post, saying that Syria was willing to start negotiations without preconditions, the Arab press printed the exact opposite; that Syria would not return to the negotiation table.

Dagan summarized the Syria enigma by saying that the Israeli government had no reason to believe that Syria was making any real moves towards peace.