Elizabeth A. Kennedy,The Huffington Post
The first American ambassador to Syria since 2005 arrived in Damascus on Sunday at a time of regional turmoil and with Syrian-U.S. relations still mired in mutual distrust.
Few expect immediate changes,but having career diplomat Robert Ford in Damascus offers Washington a better glimpse into Syria at a time of rising tensions – particularly in neighboring Lebanon,where the Western-backed government collapsed last week.
“Intelligence sharing is the most promising overlap in U.S.-Syrian relations,”said Joshua Landis,an American professor and Syria expert. He noted that like Washington,Syria’s secular regime is against al-Qaida and “takfiri”Islamists,referring to an ideology that urges Sunni Muslims to kill anyone they consider an infidel.