August. The holiday month, the month in which politicians close up shop to rest and relax. In theory, August is a fun month. But August is different here than it is anywhere else. Take, for example, the relations between Syria and Israel. Do they want to talk about peace, or are they preparing for war? Does Syria’s equipping itself with the latest in deadly weaponry derive from a fear that Israel will attack? Or is Syria preparing to launch a sudden attack? The threats of “a war this summer in the North” ratcheted up the tension well before August, which is considered the height of summer.
On both sides of the border, intensive military maneuvers are being conducted. Israel considered distributing gas mask kits, while Syria is being equipped with long-range missiles. Hassan Nasrallah has declared that if Israel attacks, “we will defeat it with all kinds of surprising weaponry.” As if his threats were not enough, our “military sources,” who have never missed an opportunity to frighten the public, have leaked the information that Hezbollah possesses advanced weapons. Between the various threats, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has once again started up with the familiar refrain that Israel must be destroyed. And as usual around here, our “military sources” have determined that if the United States attacks Iran, it is possible that Syria and Hezbollah will attack Israel with missiles.
Meanwhile, Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman, an important part of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s coalition, is also thundering that in the next confrontation with Hezbollah, Israel must destroy Syria, hit its refineries, infrastructures, airport, President Bashar Assad’s palace, government buildings and “break its desire to fight the way the U.S. did to Germany.” No less. It would be interesting to know how Bashar Assad would react if, after threats like these, an emissary of Olmert’s would turn up at his place with a peace agreement proposal.