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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

September 2, 2008- Assad Continues to Reap Peace Dividend Without Making Peace

French President Sarkozy is visiting Syria and President Assad is extracting all he can from the visit. This is the first visit to Syria by a western leader in many years, and ends the boycott of Syria from the west. Assad stated today that there is an opening for peace with Israel. He claims that a new round of indirect talks will begin soon. It is clear that Syria is enjoying the slow pace of negotiations. Assad wants to wait for a new US Oresident, so he does not want to move too fast. In the meantime he has made it clear that he will not down grade he relations with Iran. What does Israel get out of this? 

A new poll shows that Minister of Defense Ehud Barak has nothing to fear from anyone else in the Labor as he has more than double the support of Ami Ayalon, and after Ayalon no one gets the support from more than 8% of Labor voters.

Aryeh Deri is considering running for mayor of Jerusalem. Deri, who was convicted on charges of corruption a decade ago, may have difficulty being able to run because of his criminal record. Deri received the approval of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to run. Jerusalem has 530,000 voters, of which 170,000 are Arabs and do not vote. The remaining voters include 90,000 Haridim. The Haredim are divided into three groups the Ashkenaz Letvaks (30,0000) the Ashkenaz Hasidim (30,000) and the Sepharidic Shas supporters. An agreement exists between the Chasidim and Litvaks to rotate thus Lublanki is supposed to be replaced with Porush. But there are serious rifts within the Haredi and even the Hasidi community that are encouraging Deri to run. The secular community is putting forth Nir Barkat, who failed last time, and the Russian immigrant tycoon Arkadi Gydamak. Not an encouraging field.