The U.S. is playing a dangerous and disingenuous game in the Middle East, Syria’s ambassador to the U.S. Imad Moustapha said last night at the Commonwealth Club. Yet he remains hopeful that peace will eventually prevail in that troubled region, saying “we believe peace between the Arabs and Israelis is inevitable.”
But first, the Bush Administration needs to stop demonizing and refusing to engage with countries like Syria and Iran and with democratically elected factions like Hezbollah, and to stop hindering peace talks. He said the White House was the biggest barrier to Syria reaching a peace treaty with Israel, and he predicted the Middle East peace conference that the Bush Administration called for the end of November will be a failure, mostly because there has been no preliminary work done, unlike most peace conferences that are preceded by frenzied diplomatic efforts to set the agenda and talk about a framework for discussions.
“We don’t seriously believe that this is a peace conference that will lead to anywhere,” Moustapha said. “Forgive us if we deduce that this is only about a photo opportunity and about people in Washington, D.C., telling their electorate, ‘Look, don’t accuse us of only starting wars; we’re working for peace in the Middle East.’ “