TEL AVIV – An Arab-American news site on Friday claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was told by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that Assad was committed to preserving the ceasefire with Israel and that the Golan Heights would remain a demilitarized zone as long as the Israeli prime minister doesn’t join the efforts to oust the Syrian dictator.
The Washington DC-based Watan weekly cited an unnamed Kuwaiti source who claimed Assad was looking to make a deal with Netanyahu in return for his loyalty. The Syrian president sent the following message to Netanyahu, according to the source: “Help me regain control over my region and I will guarantee quiet for Israel on the Golan Heights.”
The source also said that Israel is concerned over rumors that, in the event Hillary Clinton is elected president, former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk will be appointed envoy on the Middle East peace process. Indyk, who also served as assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs in Bill Clinton’s administration, has urged Netanyahu to cede the Golan Heights to Syria.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is reportedly attempting to induce Russia to pull its support for the Assad regime. The Moscow Times reported last week that Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said his country will offer Russia access to the Gulf Cooperation Council Market and regional investment funds if a compromise can be found on the Syria conflict.
“We are ready to give Russia a stake in the Middle East that will make Russia a force stronger than the Soviet Union [and] greater than China’s,” the Saudi minister said.
“It would be reasonable for Russia to say, that’s where our relations will advance our interests, not with Assad. We don’t disagree on the end game in Syria but how to get there,” he added.
“Assad’s days are numbered,” he said, “so make a deal while you can.”