From Snow to War…
That's the headlines shift in one day!
And it may not melt away to quickly.
For some time comments have been said about conflict looming between Syria and Israel – between Israel and the Middle East
The big quotes today are a bit more than speculative. The Syrian President Bashir Assad says Israel is pushing towards war. Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu told the visiting Spanish Foreign Minister, “I understood Assad senior well. To my chagrin, I simply cannot understand his son.”
Israel is often accused of sending mixed signals, and this situation is no different – as the political echelon speaks of turmoil, the military leadership is openly united in the opinion that a peace agreement with Syria, even at the price of returning the Golan Heights, is a positive step for Israel and is likely to weaken Iran's strength in the area.
However it was just recently that Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that all-out war is possible if no accord is reached. Now President Assad and the rest of the folks in Damascus see that as a threat. We've been given a quote by the Syrian Foreign Minister who said that that it is “Best not to test out fortitude; war would also reach your (Israeli) cities.”
So now we seem to be in a ratcheted situation of escalating tension. But apparently, according to the Hebrew press, Israel last night sent Syria a reassuring message: We want peace.
The problem is that message has been sent many times over the years – and may be falling on deaf ears. Nonetheless, Israel is placing the blame in all this squarely upon the Syrians saying they are the ones delaying the Peace Process.
But when we look to our own government we find an interesting thing. US National Security Adviser James Jones made a statement about the broader region recently that, “In response to sanctions, it is possible that Iran might encourage its regional minions – Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas – to attack Israel and set the entire region ablaze.”
Fire and snow don't mix… so lets hope for some signs of spring, which will be good for everybody.
Middle East Correspondent