The fact that Syria attended may mean something larger still. As David Brooks noted a few weeks ago in a very intriguing New York Times column (which, I'm told by someone else, was inspired by a briefing from Rice aboard her plane), the main goal of the then-impending Annapolis conference would be not so much the signing of an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty as the forging of an anti-Iran alliance. "Flipping" the Syrians offering them an incentive to break away from Iran would go a long way toward that goal. As NPR's Deborah Amos has observed, Syria's attendance might mark a step toward this flip.Steven Erlanger reported yesterday that it's not just the United States that has this goal in mind:
"The Arabs have come here not because they love the Jews or even the Palestinians," said an adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They came because they need a strategic alliance with the United States against Iran."All roads lead to Tehran.
....Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, put it this way: "This is the summit of our hope and their fear. It's our hope that at long last the Arab world will understand that the Israeli-Palestinian problem is not the core and can be solved, and their fear of Islamic extremism and Iran, which they call the Persian threat. This is what brought them here."