Syria’s bloody hands?

Jonathan Cook, Antiwar, November 24:

Unlike my colleagues, I do not claim to know who killed [Pierre] Gemayel. Maybe Syria was behind the shooting. Maybe, in Lebanon’s notoriously intrigue-ridden and fractious political system, someone with a grudge against Gemayel – even from within his own party – pulled the trigger. Or maybe, Israel once again flexed the muscles of its long arm in Lebanon.

It seems, however, as if the last possibility cannot be entertained in polite society. So let me offer a few impolite thoughts.

Conversely, civil war may pose serious threats to Syrian interests – and offer significant benefits to Israel. If Hezbollah’s energies are seriously depleted in a civil war, Israel may be in a much better position to attack Lebanon again. Almost everyone in Israel is agreed that the Israeli army is itching to settle the score with Hezbollah in another round of fighting. This way it may get the next war it wants on much better terms; or Israel may be able to fight a proxy war against Hezbollah by aiding the Shi’ite group’s opponents.