Monday, April 02, 2007

Bush: Get Out of the Way!

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and six other representatives visit Syria.... a trip the White House describes as a bad idea.... but Israel's Acting President Dalia Itzik, who is a member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's centrist Kadima party, said to her about her visit to Damascus "I believe in your worthy intentions."

A handful of Republican and Democratic lawmakers have already visited Syria and met President Bashar al-Assad in December after the bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommended a stepped-up diplomatic effort involving Syria and Iran to help calm the violence in Iraq. And, three Republican congressmen, Frank Wolf (VA), Joe Pitts (PA) and Robert Aderholt (AL), were in Syria on Sunday where they met with Assad.

Pelosi promised Israel she would raise with Assad the issue of three captive Israeli soldiers, two held by Lebanon's Hezbollah group and one by Palestinian militants. She is also conveying that "Israel is willing to talk if they [Syria] would openly take steps to stop supporting terrorism," Olmer's spokeswoman, Miri Eisin said.

In an hour-long meeting, Olmert and Pelosi's delegation talked "extensively" about a Saudi peace plan, dormant since 2002 and relaunched last week at the Arab League summit by Saudi's King Abdullah. Olmert has welcomed the plan, which calls for the recognition by all Arab states of Israel in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from territories captured in 1967.

Accompanying Pelosi on her second trip to the Middle East since assuming the speakership in January are Democratic Representatives Keith Ellison (MN), Henry Waxman (CA), Tom Lantos (CA), Louise Slaughter (NY), Nick Rahall (WV) and Republican David Hobson (OH). This trip also includes stops in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

Olmert has invited Arab leaders to a regional peace conference for an exchange of views about solving the Mideast conflict.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and said the European Union will try to help resolve the conflicts with Israel, stating she believes, "time is of the essence."

Unsubstantiated reports, fueled by Russian intelligence, predict an attack on Iran in early April by U.S. forces.... Operation Bite. These reports are believable mainly because The Decider has proven that he knows only one way to proceed in international affairs, by the use of force.

It's heartening that our lawmakers are aggressively pursuing the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. As for The Decider.... get out of the way!

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