Israel has reportedly attacked inside Syria, near its capital Damascus. The attack’s purpose was to foil a convoy carrying anti-aircraft weaponry bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Syria says the attack was on a research facility.
The geopolitical context in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is once again on the path of brinkmanship. In Egypt widespread mistrust of government institutions has led to protests against the Morsi government of Muslim Brotherhood empowering secular elements seeking a unity government and provoking a less authoritarian reaction on the streets from Cairo to contrast Mr Morsi from Mr Hosni Mubarak; Iran, by some accounts, has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it is planning to upgrade the uranium enrichment facilities in Natanz to speed up enrichment; and Israel, tilting further right in its domestic politics, is eager in its pursuit of decapitating Iran’s nuclear program and so is the consensus on Iran in Washington.
US budget politics have a significant role to play in any of America’s engagements in the Middle East. The quid pro quo is clear: Republicans can get their way on Iran in exchange for not resisting a request by Obama to raise the debt ceiling for his domestic agenda, in particular on energy and climate change which he outlined in his Inaugural speech, especially given the likelihood of a Hezbollah-Syria-Iran response to Israeli strikes near Damascus even as Syria is facing the brunt of the Obama administration after unequivocal support of the United States for a Syria run by the rebel forces.
Should Israel’s incursion into Syria escalate into a regional war involving Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, Israel will have to fight its encirclement following UN Security Council’s due processes in the interest of regional stability because Iran’s nuclear program, Syria’s turmoil and Palestine are not only America’s conflicts.
Persian oil, not a war of the worlds, holds the key to rapprochement and peace.