Two alternate takes on the Israel-Syria mediator sweepstakes, by Jeb Koogler here, and Yigal Schleifer here. I think Koogler overstates the degree to which a French role would undermine an American involvement, or represents an attempt to rival America. That’s usually the rap France gets. But in this case, like many others, everyone knows that no deal is possible without American involvement. Still, the question of when America steps into the negotiations is significant. Getting France and Turkey to do some of the initial lifting can help avoid outcomes like the Obama administration’s initial setbacks on the Israeli-Palestinian track. (I’m not sure either why Koogler says that France’s involvement would mean returning the Golan Heights would automatically be left out of the negotiations.)
That said, an Israel-Syria deal is a tough nut to crack, and neither French or Turkish mediation represents a magic bullet.