President Bush offered Syria an Iran-for-Golan deal, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported.
Al Jarida said Friday that Bush made the offer in a handwritten letter delivered through Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president.
According to accounts of the story appearing in Israeli media, Bush wants an accelerated Syria-Israel peace process that would give Syria the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War, for Syria’s agreement to distance itself from Iran.
If true, the proposal would mark an about-face in the U.S. position, which has been to discourage Israel from talks it is already pursuing with Syria. Israel wants to reduce Iran’s influence in the region, but until now the Bush administration’s position has been that the Bashar Assad regime is not a reliable partner.