Syria’s threats underscore its opposition to compromise. Yet, the Obama administration claims Syria is an “integral” partner for Middle East peacemaking. Last week, the State Department praised Syria for its “role to promote peace and stability” before announcing that a U.S. ambassador would return to Syria. Washington yanked the previous ambassador after the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Washington is courting Syria in the hopes of driving a wedge between Damascus and Tehran. However, Syria has openly stated that it will not spurn its alliance with Iran for the West. As analyst Tony Badran asserted in the spring issue of inFOCUS, the 30-year alliance between Syria and Iran is long-standing, and not one of convenience that can easily be “flipped.”