Despite Israel in the recent conflict pushing it right up to the edge militarily against Lebanon in order to provoke Syria into taking a more direct part in supporting its client Hizbollah which, in turn, would give Israel an excuse to attack Syria, the Syrians stood their ground and resisted the temptation to be drawn into the fighting. And, because Syria resisted getting into a fight with Israel, this meant that Iran would not be drawn in to support its ally Syria, which, yet again in turn, meant that the US would not have a legitimate excuse to come in to the fray to support their client, Israel, the end result being that Plan ‘A’, to start an all-defining war against Syria and Iran, just didn’t work. One now has to ask; so what’s Plan ‘B’?
The most important aspect of Plan ‘A’ – an aspect which led ultimately to its failure – was that it relied on Syria casting the first stone which would lead to the all-defining Middle East war that both Israel and the US are looking for. There was absolutely no way that Israel could be seen to actually cast the first stone directly against Syria. Such a scenario would have been far too obvious and there would have been a World-wide public opinion back-lash against it.
The Israelis and the US clearly believed that a massive pummelling of south Lebanon, Hezbollah heartland, involving the destruction of roads, villages, community resources, etc., would be enough to lure the Syrians in. When the Syrians didn’t bite the Israelis soon ramped it up. They started to deliberately target civilians including vehicles flying white sheets which civilians were using to flee the areas being bombed. The Israelis thought that maybe this would infuriate the Syrians enough to react. It infuriated them all right – and, indeed, the rest of the world – but still the Syrians resisted getting involved. At the same time as the Israelis were ramping up the destruction of Lebanon, and by now not just south Lebanon, so the US administration kept up with the rhetoric about the whole crisis being the fault of Syria and Iran.
Soon the entire world could see that this whole mess was just becoming a turkey shoot of the Lebanese people but the US, with the help of its ally the UK, allowed the carnage to continue by simply refusing to demand that the Israelis stop the onslaught. By the end of the fourth week it was becoming clear to the US and the UK that the Syrians were not going play ball. Still they dithered however, in the hope that if the Israelis invade and push hard enough up to the Litani River and the Syrian border they might just still get the Syrians to react and then have their war. But, no; it wasn’t to be. The UN eventually came up with a peace plan and the Israelis lost the war, not only by virtue of not even having realised any of their stated war aims of getting back their soldiers, something that still hasn’t happened at the time of writing, but also they did not get anywhere near destroying Hizbollah. And that was just their stated war aims – never mind the un-stated ones of trying to provoke war with Syria and Iran and drawing in the US for an all out battle to redefine the Middle East.
So what is Plan ‘B’?
The details of Plan ‘B’ are probably still being worked out but will more than likely consist of pushing for direct conflict with Iran rather than trying to get a war off the ground via proxy wars, i.e., as has already been tried with Israel fighting Hizbollah. It could however, be instigated by something in between like Israel attacking Iran direct because of Iran’s perceived nuclear threat which many Israeli right-wingers and pro-Israeli neoconservatives see as being quite intolerable. The American people would most certainly not support the US directly launching a surprise offensive against Iran. It would need first to go down the lengthy road of pushing for sanctions via the UN. President Bush simply hasn’t got time to do that especially if he was thinking of getting this thing out of the way by the November Mid Terms. Another alternative is some kind of ‘false flag’ terrorist operation whereby the US could point the finger at Iran and then make a retaliatory strike against Iran though, after the fiasco of 9/11 and the at first creeping but now snowballing doubts that are now sweeping America about that particular event, any future ‘attack’ on the US would have to be pretty convincing to get the American people on side again.
Of all of the possible scenarios it seems that the only alternative now is for the Israelis to attack Iran direct. As soon as it does, of course, the US will be there to help out.
There could also be a Plan ‘C’, but the world doesn’t really want to go there.