Monday, May 16, 2011
Violence, Syria, and Nakba Day
Israeli troops today clashed with Arab protesters along three hostile borders, including the frontier with Syria, leaving 16 people dead and dozens more wounded in an unprecedented wave of demonstrations marking a Palestinian day of mourning for their defeat at Israel's hands in 1948.
Along Israel's border with Syria, thousands of protesters stormed the fence and hundreds burst through, pelting soldiers with stones, the military said. Soldiers guarding the border opened fire to stop them. Dozens were wounded and four were reported killed. -- Daily Mail Online
Nakba ("the catastrophe") Day is an annual day of commemoration for the Palestinian people of the displacement that accompanied the creation of Israel in 1948. The prior unrest in the Middle East has marked this year's commemoration with a high level of violence. The violence may be one of the reason Osama bin Laden was killed even though by some accounts the US knew about his whereabouts for over a year. The unrest in Syria would eventually create a threat to Israel. Syria receives support and funding from Iran. Israel could retaliate with a strikes on either country (or perhaps both). The US may now need to shift focus away from Libya to the border region between Israel and Syria. Unlike Libya, establishing a no-fly zone will not be the answer.
The United States could not justify having three wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya) all going at the same time. Iraq has had a cessation of combat operations (but apparently rebel forces did not get the memo). Libya continues to show that airpower alone does not win conflicts, Desert Storm not withstanding. Any US involvement will risks re-igniting accusations that Israel controls US interests in the Middle East. The al Qaeda can use this to re-energize their efforts perhaps leading to attacks on US soil.