Countdown to war? 253

Why has Israel not yet taken action to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations?

Perhaps because it has to deal with a more immediately urgent threat nearer home.

According to this report and commentary, Iran’s proxies – Syria, Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza – are poised to launch another war against Israel:

Defense minister Ehud Barak’s snap nomination of OC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant as Israel’s 20th chief of staff was necessary  … to pull the high command together in view of the preparations to attack Israel gathering momentum

The general expectation of a US-Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear sites has therefore faded into the background of the threatening stance currently adopted by Tehran’s allies, Syria, Hizballah and the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Jerusalem is extremely concerned by the placing of four hostile military forces on the highest level of war preparedness in the last few days and are asking why. …

Syrian prime minister Naji al-Otari and Abbas Zaki, one of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ closest aides, have spoken of a “very imminent” Middle East war

There is no telling in the Middle East when an isolated incident may not deteriorate rapidly into a major conflict when the climate is as tense as it is at present. It came dangerously close on Aug. 3, when a Lebanese army sniper shot dead an Israeli colonel precipitating a heavy exchange of fire.

Lebanon is on tenterhooks over the nine Hizballah leaders the international court inquiring into the 2005 Hariri assassination plans to summon as suspected perpetrators of the crime. Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah has given the Beirut government due notice that if his top people are surrendered to the tribunal, he will plunge the country in a civil conflict.

Hizballah, backed by Damascus, recently began accusing Israel of engineering the murder, so providing themselves with a neat pretext for going to war and avoiding facing the music.

Thursday, Aug. 19, all Syrian homeland defenses and emergency services were placed on the highest war readiness for an outbreak of hostilities without further notice.

We don’t doubt that all this is true. But our own view – admittedly from a distance – is that a devastating blow to Iran itself would stop the cat’s paw forces dead.

What else might be staying Israel’s hand against Iran? Bullying threats and orders from anti-Israel HQ, the White House?

Yes, we suspect that’s the answer. If we ‘re right, the danger of a widespread conflagration will intensify, and the pointless charade of “peace talks” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority’s powerless Abu Abbas, due to start September 2 on Obama’s insistence, can make not a jot of difference.