Drysdale and Hinnebusch offer two main arguments, one eminently sensible, the other open to severe doubts. They rightly decry the tendency to ignore Syria's role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, arguing that "there can be no comprehensive, lasting, or stable Middle East peace without a Syrian-Israeli peace." By way of support, they note Syrian influence over the Palestinians, Lebanon, and Jordan.
The authors then undermine their case by claiming, against nearly all evidence, that the Syrian government accepts that Israel is here to stay and sees an equitable peace settlement as serving its own interests. More: they contend that Damascus "is ready to make peace with Israel under the right conditions; that the kind of peace it wants is realistic and achievable; and that such a peace could be delivered by the regime of Hafiz al-Asad and upheld by his successors."
The study concludes with policy recommendations for the U.S. government: seek an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, involve Syria actively in diplomacy, don't exclude Moscow, don't despair when things go badly, and end the Middle East arms race. Though basically unobjectionable, the surprising thing about these suggestions is how little they have to do specifically with Syria; in particular, Drysdale and Hinnebusch say not a word about such matters as human rights, terrorism, the drug trade, and the Syrian occupation of Lebanon.