Israel, Syria Find New Incentives to Make Peace After Stalemate

Israel and Syria have suddenly found fresh reasons to try to make peace after eight years of stalemate.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, concerned about the survival of his regime, wants to reap the political and economic benefits of ending his nation's isolation from the West. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, mindful of his own precarious political future, aims to wrest Syria out of Iran's orbit and stop it from funneling weapons to Lebanon's Hezbollah, which used them against Israel in a 2006 war.

``There is a possibility for serious diplomacy leading to a breakthrough,'' says Aaron David Miller, author of ``The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace'' and a former U.S. negotiator who participated in the last round of talks.

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