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Israel announces new appeasement talks with Syria.

On a more serious note, there’s this passage in the McClatchy article

“I think it’s the biggest game in the region,” said Paul Salem, director of the Beirut-based Middle East Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Salem, who recently spent time in Damascus talking to negotiators involved in the talks, said there is a growing unease among some Syrian leaders about the influence of Iran in the Middle East.

“Peace between Syria and Israel would cause a serious rupture in the Syrian-Iranian relationship as it would represent a fundamental parting of the ways,” said Salem. “And it would also cut off Iranian influence into Lebanon and Palestine.”

Reaching a peace deal with Israel that led to a return of the Golan Heights could also give Syrian President Bashar Assad a critical success to rebuild his power and influence in the region.

“He needs the Golan as a cornerstone of a new beginning,” said Salem, who was in Ankara on a fact-finding mission.

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