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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Middle East in Precarious Balance

Right now, Israel and Syria are flash points, and Obama is waiting to strike the match. First up, Israeli leaders have said that they are not going to stand by this time if they are attacked in retribution for a U.S. attack on Syria. From the Los Angeles Times:

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Israel endured dozens of Scud missiles launched by Saddam Hussein's forces, but refrained from retaliating because of U.S. concern that Israeli involvement would fracture the international coalition it had built against Iraq. 
As the United States prepares for a possible military attack against the Syrian government over its alleged use of chemical weapons, Israeli leaders are making it clear that they have no intention of standing down this time if attacked. 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday issued the starkest warning to date in response to recent saber-rattling by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government, which has said it might respond to a U.S. strike by attacking Israel. 
"We are not part of the civil war in Syria, but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond with great force," Netanyahu said after huddling for a second consecutive day with key Cabinet members to discuss the possible ramifications of a U.S. strike against Syria.
 Russia may not idly stand by either:
Russia has deployed two powerful warships to the Mediterranean Sea to augment its normal naval presence amid rising expectations of Western airstrikes on its ally, Syria. 
A senior Russian naval officer denied Thursday that the dispatch of an anti-submarine ship and a guided-missile cruiser were in response to U.S. and European naval buildups in preparation for possible punitive strikes on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. 
But Russia's Interfax news agency this week quoted an unidentified Russian General Staff source as saying that "the well-known situation now in the eastern Mediterranean required us to make some adjustments to the naval force."

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