Israel's failure in Lebanon one year ago humiliated Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and shredded the myth of Israeli military invincibility. Hezbollah remains proud, defiant and active. Round 2 in Lebanon, or war with Syria, whether provoked or orchestrated, might be what Olmert needs to prove his mettle.
By Sami Moubayed
".......Lebanon, Olmert found it increasingly difficult to explain to the Israelis why his army was not winning a battle against a small group of guerrilla warriors. It was feared that if pressure rose within Israel, Olmert would attack Syria to prove to the Israelis that he was serious and capable of fighting the problem (Hezbollah) and its backers (Syria and Iran).
Part of that argument still stands. Olmert is still in a difficult position and, on the anniversary of the war, has solved none of Israel's worries with Hezbollah. A Round 2 with Lebanon, however, would seem more likely than a Round 1 with Syria. The Syrian Arab Army, although untried in battle for many years, is well armed and well trained. It can fire real missiles at Israel - not just Katyusha rockets. It has a military pact with Iran. There is no real reason to attack Syria unless Olmert wants to fabricate an excuse to go to war against the Syrians.
That can easily be done in a variety of ways. One way would be if an attack were launched against Israel by one of the many armed groups in Palestine. This attack would be blamed on Hamas, which is supported by the Syrian government. Already there is a campaign to root out Hamas from within the occupied territories, with Israel attacking it from outside and Fatah fighting it from within.
Proponents of the Israel-versus-Syria war claim such a conflict would lead to a weaker Damascus and the flushing out of Hamas. All of that, naturally, would incapacitate Hezbollah. Another way to wage war on Syria would be if hostilities were created on the Lebanese-Israeli border, and then blamed on Damascus......"