repeated insistence that it does not want an armed conflict with Syria,
could the United States be encouraging the Israelis to attack Syria, or to goad
the Syrians into attacking Israel first?
to Sunday's Jerusalem Post, IDF officials have been "receiving indications
from the United States that the U.S. would be interested in seeing Israel attack
It is no secret that relations
between the U.S. and Syria are extremely strained. Syria's Ambassador to the
United States, Imad Moustapha, claims
he has not met with Bush officials in a year and a half and that, despite blaming Syria for much of it, the administration isn't willing to talk to him about
the Israeli-Lebanese crisis.
Long before the current conflict, the United States described Syria as a "rogue
nation" and part of the "axis of evil." As far back as three
years ago, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan
thought that U.S.-Syria tensions might destabilize the Middle East.
For its part, Israel allegedly has abandoned its plans to invade southern Lebanon
up to the Litani River; nevertheless, Israel has called up 30,000
reservists for training. Israel also
bombed positions in Lebanon that are extremely close to the Syrian border
– including the Lebanese-Syrian highway, which many refugees have used to escape
If it is indeed Israel's plan to widen the scope of the conflict so that Syria
must enter the picture, this could explain Israel's overreaction
to the capture
of its two soldiers on July 12. It could also explain why the U.S. continues
to support Israel in the face of almost universal condemnation for its attacks
on Lebanese civilians.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis.