July 26, 2009 String of Visitors Arrive in Jerusalem- Mitchell's Visit to Syria

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

July 26, 2009 String of Visitors Arrive in Jerusalem- Mitchell's Visit to Syria

Israel will be receiving a string of visitors in the next few day. Senator Mitchell arrived today, after visiting Syria. His message, when he arrived, was one of reassurance. Mitchell stated any differences between Israel and the United States were questions between friends that would be resolved as questions between friends. Later this week Secretary of Defense Gates arrives, as well as, Dennis Ross and National Security Advisor, General Lake. Last week's diplomatic blow up, (begun by Netanyahu about building in East Jerusalem) has mostly blown over. While the question of the American demand Israel stop all West Bank construction is yet to be resolved.

Mitchell was received warmly in Syria. Mitchell stated he believed Israeli Syrian negotiations will resume soon. Some observers think the US is now turning to the Syrian option for two reasons. First, a realization negotiations with the Palestinians are unlikely to go anywhere fast. They have begun to realize the differences between Hamas and Fatah are too large to bridge any time soon. Second, there is a sense that with the current problems the Iranian government is encountering, this may be the right time to try to wean the Syrians away from Iran.

Today in Iran, the news focused on the firing of four of the top ministers in Ahmedinejad's government. There seems to be an ongoing purge of anyone in the government who might be sympathetic to the opposition. Demonstrations have continued and there continues to be dissension within the ruling elite. In short, there is no end in sight to the turmoil gripping Iran.

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