Is it too much to hope for, that what we’re seeing is the beginnings of a serious effort to put two of the world’s leading supporters of terrorism in a box?
It’s been confirmed by the United States that Israeli jets overflew Syria last week and dropped munitions. Unclear what they hit. As the UK’s Telegraph newspaper noted, it could be arms bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon … could be arms bound for the Palestinian al-Qaeda offshoots, currently experiencing difficulties with the Lebanese Army, for that matter.
Or, the Telegraph notes, it may have been decided that the Russian Pantsyr air defense system recently shipped to Syria with provisions for transfer to Iran, under the military and economic cooperation deals between these two pariah-nation neighbors, was an unacceptable arrangement. The Telegraph speculates this may have been in furtherance of U.S. interests, in the event of a much-rumored attack on Iran.
We have seen recently the leaking of the broad outlines of Pentagon planning, calling for the destruction not only of Iran’s air defenses and nuclear facilities, but the destruction of a wide range of military facilities. To hobble Iran military. To prevent Iran from meddling in Iraq, from menacing shipping in the Persian Gulf, from threatening its Arab neighbors across the gulf, from coming to dominate some of the most valuable and strategically important real estate in the world.
Iran, after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, was seen to be nervous, flanked by the Great Satan. But as events have played out, we’ve seen how Iran, and its partner in terrorism and regional destabilization, Syria, have managed to flank the United States in Iraq. War is a difficult game that way. Like chess, wrestling, football, choose your game, things can turn quickly.
Which raises the question. Is what we’re seeing now a squeeze play on Iran? A shot across Syria’s bow as well. The Israeli Army is on full alert on the Syrian border, though I doubt Syria cares to revisit the humiliations of a direct military confrontation with Israel. Syria knows who wins that one, and Syria wouldn’t be likely to get any help from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, et all this time. Even Hezbollah and Hamas aren’t in much of a position to be more than a nuisance.
Whether by happy coincidence or design, what we appear to be witnessing may be shaping operations for a long overdue curtailing of the what are now the primary destabilizing forces of the Middle East … now that Saddam’s out of the way. As the Iraq Study Group stated nearly a year ago, both Syria and Iran needed to be spoken to. The Israeli-Palestinian situation needed to be addressed.
Hamas graciously saw to the latter, isolating itself in a spasm of unbelieveably murderous bloodshed that has given Mideast peace an unexpected boost. Iran and its partner Syria, with their intransigent meddling and obtuseness on several fronts, have given the United States an open to talks of a different sort than the disingenuous negotiations in Baghdad. At this late date, even Democratic presidential candidates who want us out of Iraq immediately say they are open to the idea of attacks on Iran.
Is it too much to hope for, that Iran and Syria are themselves being flanked?
Read more from Jules Crittenden at Forward Movement.