Israel: March 23, 2000


Syrian President Assad appears to be more ill than suspected. While he used to wear down foreign diplomats with eight-hour lectures on Middle East history, he now cannot continue a meeting more than half an hour, and his mind wanders. During one recent meeting, he could not remember the name of Israeli PM Barak. The Israelis, however, believe that only Assad has the stature to sell a peace deal to the Syrian people.--Stephen V Cole


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