Assad's Telltale Russian Connection

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel officials said Syrian President Bashar Assad's affirmation of the Russian offensive in Georgia during his recent visit to Moscow proved he's not serious about achieving peace with Israel.

According to Washington Post correspondent David Ignatius, Syria wants the US and France involved in any substantive negotiations with Israel.

Meanwhile, Syria will not participate in another round of Turkish-mediated talks until after French President Nicholas Sarkozy's visit to Damascus next Wednesday and Thursday.

"It is not at all clear what the Syrians want," one Israeli official said. "They say above all they want American involvement in the talks with Israel, but then they side clearly with the Russians during a time of great tension with the US and NATO," he said.

Syria's alignment with Russia indicates that it's put America's role in negotiations with Israel on a back burner, he said.

According to some media reports, during his recent visit to Russia, Assad asked to purchase advanced weaponry and offered to host Russian missile batteries on Syrian soil.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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