Peaceful Straws In The Mideast Wind

An old Arab proverb goes, "take a load off my shoulders, and I'll take a load off yours." That's just what Syrian President Hafez al-Assad is doing for George Bush by giving his nod to the U. S. proposal for a Middle East peace conference leading to Arab-Israeli talks. The Syrian president is returning Bush's favors of granting him free rein in neighboring Lebanon and a significant role in the postwar Persian Gulf. Now, as Secretary of State James A. Baker III heads for his fifth tour of the Middle East, the Administration can say that it may be on the verge of achieving a breakthrough in the troubled region.

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