SYRIA….Turkey is mediating peace talks between Syria and Israel. The New York Times comments drolly:

The public disclosure that Israel, albeit indirectly, is talking with Syria, one of its most implacable enemies and a sponsor of groups that both Israel and the United States consider terrorists, came less than a week after President Bush, speaking to the Israeli Parliament, created a stir by criticizing those who would negotiate with “terrorists and radicals.”

Indeed. But I guess the State Department didn’t get the message either:

A U.S. official in Washington praised the talks. “I think Turkey played a good and useful role in this regard,” senior State Department official David Welch said of the talks, according to the Reuters news agency. “Israel and Turkey have apprised us in the past of these discussions and kept us informed.”

This has been in the works for a while, so there’s not really anything all that new or surprising here. But even if Syria and Israel manage to reach agreement, Syria almost certainly needs direct assurances from the United States too before it would enter into any kind of comprehensive deal — something which would, among other things, have the salutary effect of cutting off Iran from an ally and increasing Hamas’s isolation. President Obama has made it clear that he’d be willing to be a part of that. President McCain, not so much. That’s your foreign policy choice this November in a nutshell.

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