I’ll keep my wishes just as private as my predictions. This looks pretty bad inside Syria, though.
Originally posted on World:
Middle Eastern conflicts always unfold on multiple levels — think 3-D chess — and for Israel the most relevant level of the crisis in Syria is what it says about the world’s approach not to Syria, but to Iran. As the U.S. prepares to make good on its threats to launch military strikes punishing the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad for its alleged use of chemical weapons, Israel sees the situation as a test of international resolve on checking Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which Israel’s leaders call an existential threat.
“The Iranians are watching very closely how we respond,” says an Israeli official in Jerusalem. “The implications of this go beyond Syria.”
Yet at ground level, Syria is awfully close to Israel proper, and ordinary Israelis have reason to worry that an American air strike could produce consequences beyond the theoretical or geopolitical. Syrian forces stand just across 47 miles (76 km) of Israel’s northern frontier, and its ally Hizballah roams the grassy highlands of southern Lebanon that account for the remaining 49 miles (79 km). The former apparently has used chemical weapons on its own people, and the latter rained thousands of rockets into Israeli cities and towns just seven years ago.