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Repeating exactly the sequence of events which led to the 1967 war, Israel and Syria profess peace and escalate the situation move-by-move. Suspicious of each other, Israel and Syria spiral the arms race and military preparedness.
Syria arms Hezbollah and financed Hamas to punish Israel for annexing the Golan Heights. Syria expects Israeli retaliation and beefed up its army to deter Israel and counter the Israeli offense. Israel sought to block Syria’s purchases of defensive anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets from Russia. Syria increased its military presence in the disengagement zone at the Golan Heights. Though the Syrian buildup is within the ceasefire limits, IDF conducted massive exercises in the Golan Heights to deter Syria. Syria responded by dismantling roadblocks near the Golan Heights – a move that usually precipitates mobilization and rapid deployment of forces.
The US would love Israel to attack Syria to punish it for aiding the Iraqi guerrillas. A war with Syria offers Olmert a hope of re-election.
Syria might seek to repeat the Egyptian 1973 move: a limited war with the goal of regaining its former territory. Egypt lost the war (Israel increased her foothold to the other side of the Suez Canal), but won diplomatically: soon afterwards, the US pressed Israel to return the Sinai to Egypt. Similarly, Syria only needs to destabilize the region by attacking the Golan Heights. Even after Syria loses, the US and EU will urge Israel to relinquish the Golan Heights to avoid another war.
Syria needs not attack Israel first, but can launch guerrilla warfare on the Golan Heights, wait for Israeli retaliation, and then join the war with defensive stance.
One man – Bashar Assad – decides to launch a war on Syria’s side; a few politicians decide for Israel. The prospect of war hinges on several people’s (mis-)judgment.

after assassination attempt on Musharaff. Pakistani police clashed with Islamic students. Pakistan owns approximately 53 nuclear bombs. Some of the Pakistani nuclear bombs are believed to be hidden in Saudi Arabia.

Interior Ministry and Postal Service office workers continue strike.

EU mission at the Rafah Crossing with Gaza cut down on its personnel. European observers know from Israeli sources that the Rafah crossing won’t be re-open anytime soon, and happily abandoned dangerous mission.
Unable to cross at the Rafah for more than three weeks, Palestinians declared hunger strike instead of entering Gaza through any of the open crossings.

Condoleezza Rice lashed out against Iran, threatened the military option. Iran cannot retaliate against the US, but is capable of launching missile with bubonic plague against Israel. Iran possesses the Soviet bacterial culture resistant to many antibiotics.
Rice has no problem with nuclear Pakistan or with the continues production of plutonium by North Korea.

Hamas fired the first two rockets at Israel since it took over Gaza. The rockets were fired into the Negev Desert to avoid provoking Israeli retaliation. Hamas reverts to militarily purposeless but media-friendly attacks on Israel out of frustration. Israel forces Hamas to embrace the violent option by closing the border crossings and the IDF’s continuous incursions into Gaza. Hamas also have to show its sponsors that it didn’t abandon the anti-Zionist stance. Hamas will continue fighting Israel unless Israel allows Hamas to build an economically viable society in Gaza.

July 2007
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