Syria hopes that Iraq election results – due today – will usher in a government open to increasing trade. Previous attempts to boost economic ties were marred by Iraq's assertion that Syria was behind devastating 2009 bombings.
With the first Iraq election results coming in, Middle East countries are watching close and gauging what the vote means for their influence on the oil-rich state.
Syria and Iran have signed a new military cooperation agreement in the face of increased international pressure for Iran nuclear sanctions. Congress is considering two bills this week.
Iraq's accusation that Syria was behind the massive Baghdad bombing a month ago Saturday has pushed relations to a new low.
US envoy Mitchell was in Egypt Thursday, and arrives in Damascus Friday. Syrians hope for a new rapprochement under an Obama administration.