Once upon a time, things were not all that bad between Syria and the US. Syrian troops were stationed alongside US forces in the 1990–91 Persian Gulf crisis and war—to help Kuwait regain its independence from Iraqi control, rather than to assist the Americans, but alongside nonetheless. Syria was a key participant in the convening of the Madrid peace process sponsored by the US and the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the Gulf War, which led to Oslo, a Jordanian–Israeli treaty, and almost a decade of on-again, off-again US-brokered Israeli–Syrian peace negotiations. When Israeli–Syrian talks broke down in early 2000, both US President Bill Clinton and his lead negotiator, Dennis Ross, claimed in their memoirs that Damascus was serious about peace and that the unraveling of negotiations was at least as much the fault of the Israelis. 1 Syria was also the only one of the original seven charter members of the US-designated list of “states that sponsor terrorism” that has maintained diplomatic relations with the US, with embassies operating in each other’s capitals (today it is the only one of five).