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With Hezbollah statement, Syrian conflict threatens to spread into multinational conflict

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 10th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The situation in Syria is threatening to escalate into an openly multinational conflict as Hezbollah in Lebanon says it's been promised "game changing" weapons from Syria. It is believed that Iran and the Syrian regime are looking to strike back at Israel as the Jewish state continues a pattern of preemptively striking Iranian shipments bound for Hezbollah in Syria.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL (Catholic Online) - Hezbollah chief, Hassan Nasrallah stunned the world yesterday when he announced that Syria would provide Hezbollah with "game changing weapons."

Hezbollah is a terrorist organization based in Lebanon and supports the regime of Bashir al Assad. Hezbollah is engaged in a long-running conflict with Israel that regularly turns violent. Most commonly, Hezbollah is launching Iranian-designed and home-built missiles at Israel. Israel often retaliates with airstrikes.

Hezbollah has been receiving material support from Iran, via Syria. Last week, Israel bombed a warehouse at the airport in Damascus which they say contained a shipment of Iranian missiles. That strike on Syrian territory has al Assad's regime angry and apparently prepared to support Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is anxious to receive the new weapons.

The resistance is prepared to accept any sophisticated weaponry even if it was to break the equilibrium," Nasrallah said. "We are worthy of having such weapons and we would use them to defend our people and our country and our holy sites."

"Syria will give the resistance special weapons it never had before. We mean game-changing."

Hezbollah fighters are already fighting Syrian rebels near the border with Lebanon. Their fighters have also attacked the UN secured Golan Heights on the border between Israel and Syria. Those heights form a protective buffer that prevents the Syrians from using them to stage attacks on Israel. Hezbollah says it will fight to retake those heights for Syria.

The key question that remains is just what did Nasrallah mean by "game changing"? Could this mean chemical weapons? Can Israel afford to wait and see?

The situation in Syria is growing worse by the day. The rebels clearly do not have the power to overthrow Assad on their own, despite lukewarm support from the U.S. and regional allies. Assad cannot likely regain control either, but he enjoys powerful material support from his allies, which includes Iran, Russia, and various terrorist organizations including Hezbollah.

Now, Syria is also pledging to strike at Israel, although it is unknown if this will be through their Hezbollah proxies or if they will stage direct attacks of their own.

Israel is capable of defending itself. The nation's military is not fully mobilized and their technology and expertise is unmatched in the region. However, Israel will face two problems. The first is military - it is difficult to destroy an enemy of irregulars that hides amongst civilians. The second is political, Israeli involvement in support of the Syrian rebels would be enormously unpopular. The United States has itself offered very little support for Israeli action.

Yet Israel cannot afford to wait for clouds of poison gas to burst over populated areas before going into action. This means the conflict may quickly widen into a multinational war.

If that happens, the U.S. may have no choice but to become involved to end the conflict by military means.

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