The recent disclosure that Syria has transferred Scud missiles to Hizballah marks a significant turning point. If war on Israel’s northern border could have been avoided — and perhaps it was already a forgone conclusion — that is clearly not the case now.
With the addition of these missiles, which are capable of carrying chemical warheads, Hizballah changes from an irritant to an existential threat to Israel. It is now sufficiently dangerous that it cannot be permitted to strike first. Additional deliveries, such as advanced antitank and antiaircraft weapons — even intelligence that indicates that they will be delivered in the near future — may trigger a premptive response.
In my opinion, the US administration’s tilt away from Israel has caused Iran, Syria, etc. to think that they will be able to hit Israel hard enough to hurt her badly, while the US will step in immediately and prevent Israel from doing more than an acceptable amount of damage in return. And probably Israel’s decision-makers think so too. So this is another reason for Israel to choose to preempt.
We can be certain that in order to get the US and Europe to rein in Israel, Iran will take steps to cause the price of oil to hit the ceiling and splatter. Israel will have to act swiftly and without giving the hostile US administration advance knowledge. The US will make Israel pay for this, but the alternative is worse.
The US administration’s response to the delivery of the Scuds has been to make statements deploring it, while continuing its policy of ‘engagement’ with Syria. US policy is pushing the region toward war rather than away from it.
The simple fact that we don’t seem to be able to get straight is that the weaker we look, the harder they push.