Main question: "What are the main obstacles to a settlement of the Israeli-Syrian conflict and how can the US contribute as a mediator to its settlement?"Abstract:Middle East politics has drawn much attention from the rest of the world. Several wars have been fought between the Arab states and Israel since the formation of the Jewish State in 1948.The end of the Cold War opened a "window of opportunities" in favor of peace achievements in the Middle East. When Israel and the PLO signed a peace agreement, followed by an Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty the year after, it gave new hope to those who had longed for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. But several difficult conflicts remain to be settled before this becomes a reality. The Israeli-Syrian conflict is often regarded the key to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. The Israeli-Syrian negotiations were stalled just before the Israeli elections in 1996 and reentered a stalemate. If a solution to this conflict is found it may have significant spillover-effects on the Arab-Israeli relations in general.As in a doctor-patient situation, the illness must be diagnosed before the right treatment or cure can be given with regard to a conflict. Hence, a problem diagnosis should be carried out in order to identify the core issues and political factors hindering the settlement of the Israeli-Syrian conflict. The core conflict in the Israeli-Syrian conflict is in this study considered to be the Golan Heights and relevant issue linkages. Hence, four variables are analyzed in order to determine the problem type of this particular case: military-security, settlements, water resources and issue-linkages, e.g. the Palestinian issue and Lebanon. A problem diagnosis should not only aim to identify the problem type or the nature of the main obstacles in Israeli-Syrian conflict, but should also identify the international, regional and national context in which it operates. When the Israeli-Syrian conflict has been given the right diagnosis, it is also possible to analyze problem-solving measures. In this study the problem solving analysis is defined as the potential of the United States to contribute as a mediator to the settlement of the Israeli-Syrian conflict. Five aspects of US mediation are discussed: preconditions for mediation, mediator typology, mediator motivation, mediator impartiality or acceptability and finally; implementation and monitoring.