Saturday, January 3, 2009
It looks like Sarko will be embarking on an intense round of shuttle diplomacy next week, with stops in Ramallah and Cairo before his scheduled visit to Israel, which will be followed by a visit to Damascus. Since Israel has now launched a ground invasion of Gaza, the moment doesn't seem propitious for negotiating a cease-fire. But Sarko has little to lose: if the situation changes, he stands to reap the credit, and Israel would probably not be averse to doing him a favor if it decides to call a quick halt to the incursion. The EU president--now Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, not Sarko, called the invasion "defensive, not offensive." But it is Sarko, not Klaus, who will be shuttling among Middle East capitals on Monday and Tuesday, and there is always the possibility in this kind of operation that things can go quickly wrong.