"It would be naive to think Syria will neglect or abandon its strategic alliances that do not stem from the Arab-Israeli conflict," the analyst, Dr. Samir Taqi, said in an interview with Al-Manar television.
When asked why Syria elected to trumpet messages from Israel and relayed by Turkey of Jerusalem's willingness to cede the Golan Heights in exchange for peace, Taqi replied that the intent behind the media campaign was "to solidify the right" of Syria to the strategic plateau it lost as a result of the Six-Day War.
As such, Taqi sought to emphasize that he is personally not involved in the recent developments, but is rather providing commentary on the matter.
Israeli officials told Haaretz Taqi was very close to decision-makers in Damascus and enjoyed the confidence of the Turkish government. People who know Taqi personally said yesterday they believed he was very well-connected to the Syrian intelligence services.
Taqi served for years as an adviser to the previous Syrian president, Hafez Assad. In recent years he received the official title of adviser to the prime minister, and heads the Center of Oriental Studies, a political think tank.
Prior to taking up his advisory posts, Taqi, who is a Christian, was a cardiac surgeon, who studied medicine in London. In recent years he has has frequently met with journalists and academics to discuss political issues.
Last year, the Turks welcomed Taqi's visit to northern Cyprus at the head of an unofficial Syrian delegation, when he met with with the foreign minister of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. His act aroused the ire of Greek Cypriots, who oppose recognition of the Turkish part of the island as an independent state, which only Ankara recognizes.
Haaretz has learned that Taqi was the bearer of Israel's main message to Syrian President Bashar Assad more than a week ago, following his visit to Ankara. Taqi's principal contact in Ankara is Ahmet Davutoglu, a close associate of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Taqi, in an interview broadcast on Saturday on Al Jazeera, spoke from Damascus and said Syria was interested in moving ahead in talks with Israel even during the present American administration. He said now was the time to prepare for for the pre-negotiation phase, to declare intentions and points of view, until the parties reach the point at which the Americans would be prepared to intervene.