Wars and Rumors of Wars: Hostilities are Heating Up in the Middle East
Lebanon and Syria
Two brigades of the Syrian 4th Mechanized Division numbering some 10,000 men for about a month now and are fully combat ready for instant action at this time. According to the Debka file they’re just sitting there waiting for the word to go and then they invade northern Lebanon. The latest word is that they’re waiting for some covert operation that will have an assassination of a high ranking Lebanese Official that will then necessitate or justify the forthcoming invasion. (Can you tell Syria has been speaking to the Russians a lot lately?) The Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora is supposed to have said that “Syria is turning the /Al Kebir River from a blue line to a red line.” The river marks the boundary between Syria and Lebanon.
The United States and Iran
Low level talks between the United States and Iran have broken off as the US becomes preoccupied with its financial crisis and Iran becomes more determined to use the cover of the crisis to accelerate their atomic bomb project. Earlier in the year the Bush administration had ruled out any kind of military strike on Iran and told Israel to wait and see what happened with economic sanctions and diplomatic pleasure. Israel complied and is feeling twice the loser in this agreement. Washington is consumed with the financial crisis, Bush has only a few months to go, and is largely a lame duck, the Iranians are ramping up their nuclear and Russia is turning the Middle East into a great power chess game because it feels aggrieved over the worlds reaction to its adventure in Georgia. The US has canceled indefinitely setting up a Diplomatic Outpost in Iran. As if all this were not enough the Iranians are back to training and supporting Shiite combatants for the purpose of destabilizing Iraq. There’s likely to be more trouble in Iraq soon due to the efforts of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hizbullah instructors as more crazies “surge” into Iraq.
Russia and Georgia
Just when you thought you could book that low cost vacation to Georgia the situation begins to heat up again! The Long Suffering Peaceful Russians are claiming that Georgia is launching a terrorist offensive against them with a series of assassination attempts and sabotage attempts over the last week. The Russians say that Georgia is attempting to provoke another war with Russia in spite of Russia’s gallant attempts to withdraw according to the agreed timetable. Georgia says it had nothing to do with the explosions, and the killing of seven Russian “peacekeepers,” nor with any other provocations of the former Soviet Union. It does strain credibility to think that little Georgia, having been handed its head by the Russians, would continue to provoke a war that could only result in the destruction of Georgia. But if Syria can pretend to have a legitimate context for invading Lebanon in the near future; than the Russians can pretend to have a context for invading Georgia! The world is busy wondering where all the money in all the banks went and can’t be bothered with another possible war between Russia and Georgia.
NATO and Iran
The NATO General Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that he wasn’t sure if the world could effectively thwart Iran from developing the Atomic Bomb. He complained that it was a major effort to stop Iran from getting the bomb and that the Security Council seems incapable of agreeing on further sanctions. NATO will likely prove as “incapable” as the security council if the Russians decide to finish what they started in Georgia because NATO is every bit as divided and ineffective as the UN when it comes to difficult decisions.
Israel and Iran
The French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, who recently visited Israel, assures the world that Israel will attack Iran before they can develop the bomb. He sees no advantage for Iran to develop such a weapon because Israel will be forced to strike before they are ready. Kouchner seemed to imply that everyone the world over knows that a showdown is coming and the development of such a weapon would be an existential threat to Israel.