Italy and Syria - friends again?
The elections in Italy are underway - Silvio Berlusconi, George Bush's man in Rome - is being challenged by Romano Prodi, a former Prime Minister, and head of the European Commission.
Prodi has already said that if he wins, he will immediately repair Italy's relationship with Syria: "I have the most sincere feelings of respect and appreciation to Syria as she occupies a distinguished place in addition to her constructive and very important role that contradicts what some media are trying to circulate,” he said.
Italy is one of Syria's oldest European allies, and it has never fittted that Berlusconi was a neo-con-Likudnik. In fact, it never fitted that Italy held such a right-wing leader for so long. This might be the rebirth of the Italian left.
And from there, stronger European relations with Syria will flow fast - especially if the Hariri investigation wraps up in the next year.
Even with the current Italian leadership, Italy is one of the countries pushing for the EU-Syria Association agreement to be signed quickly - that would open up trade between the two regions.
And if Prodi is elected, we can surely expect a visit to Damascus to the constanation of George Bush.
And then maybe we can stop bragging about the visits of the heads of Tataristan and Potatostan.