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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

July 20 , 2007 More on Ahmadinejad's Visit to Syria

Yesterday's visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Syria has remained the major topic of analysis today in Israel. While a few commentators have tried to take the positive view, the general consensus is that this was an ominous development. One of IsraelŐs best analysts of the Arab world, Ehud Ya'ari, had the most insightful statement- Syrian President Assad said he is convinced that his father's decision to side with Iran in the Iran-Iraq War was his most important decision. He believes that it is better to tie Syria's fate with that of Iran, and not America, "the giant who is failing in Iraq". If that is the case, then all the talk of peace negotiations is just that: talk. It would seem that the Turks have been engaged as the intermediaries between Israel and Syria. However, if Assad has decided that staying with Iran is his most important strategic position, then it is all a smokescreen.

The question that needs to be asked is when Ahmadinejad talks about a heated summer, which front is he referring to? Many observers believe it will be in Lebanon, where a political confrontation is inevitable this summer- but that is just speculation- the possibilities are endless.

Yoel Marcus has an article in Ha'aretz today that reflects on the fact that Minister of Defense Barak has been very quiet, even in his new position. Marcus certainly does not think that this is a bad thing. Too many Israeli ministers say too much. He does, however, quote from what Barak said to the General Staff a few weeks ago, when he assumed his position and it is worth quoting. "There is no pity for the weak in the Middle East. Those who don't know how to defend themselves don't get a second chance. Agreements can only be reached from a position of power and self-confidence. Israel needs to stand with its two feet on the ground and its eyes open, and stop being afraid of looking at reality, no matter how grim it seems. One hand should be outstretched, groping in every crack, leaving no stone unturned in an effort to reach peace - but the other hand must keep a finger near the trigger, ready to press if need be. When this happens, we can look forward to the emergence of leadership on the other side that is capable of reaching agreements with us."

Reports from Gaza show a population that is rapidly all growing beards. On the beaches bathing suites are not allowed and in kindergartens the playing of non religious music is not allowed. A true religious state is growing in Gaza. It is just as much a threat to Egypt as to Israel iand the Egyptian leadership recognizes this.