To the South, or to the West?
Syrian propaganda is already blaming Israel for any future war
Jinsa Report (www.jinsa.org)
Syria, under pressure from the UN Tribunal investigating the murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and under additional UN (plus Lebanese, French and American) pressure to halt the flow of weapons and fighters into Lebanon and Iraq, has issued two sets of warnings: to the south and to the west. To Israel and to Lebanon.
A Ba'ath official told The New York Sun, "If Israel doesn't vacate the strategic Golan Heights before September, Syrian guerillas will immediately launch 'resistance operations' ... Damascus is preparing for Israeli retaliation following Syrian guerilla attacks and for a larger war... (The unnamed Ba'ath official) said that in the opening salvo of any conflict, Syria has the capability to fire 'hundreds' of missiles at Tel Aviv. 'Syria passed repeated messages to the U.S. that we demand the return of the Golan either through negotiations or through war. If the Golan is not in our hands by August or September, we will be poised to launch resistance, including raids and attacks.'"
As for Lebanon, the UN appears finally to be taking reports of Syrian infiltration seriously, including consideration of changing the mandate of UNIFIL to guard the border. Arab and Iranian press reports say Syria has told its citizens to leave the country. Hezbollah has been unable to translate last summer's military stalemate against the IDF into political gains in Beirut, but the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), in a special dispatch, reports that Hezbollah has now, "threatened to establish a 'second government' through 'historical steps' in mid July." Steps supported by Syria, as Syria has supported the Fatah al-Islam terror groups in their fight against the Lebanese Army from inside Palestinian refugee camps.
The IDF takes the Syrian threat extremely seriously, suspending changes in Israeli military personnel abroad and improving ground force operations. But the threat from Syria is likely to be primarily missiles, including chemical warheads. To that end, the Israeli government has moved defense funds to the Home Front Command, but acknowledged that the situation of gas masks for the population is unacceptable. Syria is known to have Scud-D surface-to-surface missiles, which were tested in coordination with Iran, and is believed to have Chinese C-802 missiles of the sort used against the IDF/Navy last summer - courtesy of Iran as well.
Syrian propaganda is already blaming Israel for any future war. The New York Sun quotes the Ba'ath official saying Syria "has 'proof' Israel is also readying for a war. 'We hear about special Israeli trainings to take Damascus. We see that Israel is reestablishing bases of the Israeli army in the Golan that are unusual and not needed except for war. We believe the Israeli government has an interest in confronting Syria to rehabilitate its image of losing to Hezbollah,' he said."
War in the Middle East has a way of building its own momentum.
Junior Assad, a pawn of Iran, may believe he has no choice but to continue his bluster against two countries closely associated with American interests in the region - Israel and Lebanon. Israel will have to take seriously any Syrian move against Lebanon, and the U.S. will have to take seriously any Syrian move against Lebanon or Israel.