Dr. George E. Irani believes that Bashar Assad‘s Syrian regime is in the eye of the storm due to three factors: pressures from the Bush Administration, the UN investigation into the Hariri murder, and regional powers. Dr. Irani does mention the success Assad had in Arab solidarity against the US Congress-sponsored sanctions against Syria. However, Dr. Irani adds that Assad failed to achieve a consensus on both the Lebanon and Palestine arenas. Dr. Irani states that the regime is manipulating the remaining leverage it holds on Lebanon, and it hopes to continue using the Palestinian faction as a means to maintain Syrian intervention: Syria can always play for time and use US diplomatic blunders as a means to enhance and maintain some kind of respect.
Walid Salem states that in Palestine, separation between freedom and democracy was witnessed during the peace process, in two, contradictory experiences: the first occurred during 1996-2000, with the implementation of a strategy to obtain more freedom to the Palestinians was practiced within the Oslo peace process, yet this process was practiced without democratization. In the second experience (2000-2006), the Palestinians were asked to promote democracy as a precondition to obtain more freedom from Israel. According to Salem, now is the time to build a process of democratization – freedom for the Palestinians without separation. Moreover, he states there are two ways to reach this objective: negotiations resulting in two states solutions, or two, unilateral Israeli and Palestinian tracks, leading in the same direction.
Walid Salem says that beyond the panic, and the fear of Hamas success in the Palestinian elections and impact on peace and on the area, the international community has two political options towards Hamas, and also two financial options. First, working for a short term arrangement of conflict management that include Hamas extending the Tahdiya unilaterally (calmness) and second, helping for transformation of Hamas towards recognizing of Israel. Regarding the option of stopping the funding to the Palestinian Authority, Salem says it is problematic: it will lead to collapse mainly to the health and education sectors among other sectors, and this will be not more than a punishment to the Palestinian people, which will lead to more support to Hamas.