Feb 12,2018 – JORDAN TIMES EDITORIAL
With downing of an Israeli warplane on Saturday by Syrian air defences, followed by more Israeli strikes at Syrian and Iranian military targets in Syria, the stage could be set for further escalation of tensions between Israel and Syria that could extend to Iranian military presence in Syria and in due course to Hizbollah in Lebanon.
The war rhetoric between Israel, on one hand, and Syria, Iran and Hizbollah on the other has become more bellicose than ever in recent days with pundits and military strategists on both sides of the fence now predicting eventually a full-scale armed conflict, and in the process setting the stage for a wider conflagrationin the region.
Judging by the fast moving escalations on both sides, such a scenario is no longer far-fetched as the recent war-like developments are quickly becoming a prelude to something wider and more ominous.
Former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro said in reaction to the last few days of escalation along the Israeli-Lebanese-Syrian borders: “Hopefully it [the war with Hizbollah] won’t happen, but I think everybody sort of assumes that there will come a point when it does.”
The former ambassador went on to say that such a war “will not be a walk in the park and there will be Israeli casualties more than in 2006 because Hizbollah has increased its arsenal and its ability to reach a much wider part of Israeli territories and with more precision”.
Should such a scenario take place, and from the looks of things it could happen, the region can expect additional turbulence the like of which it has not witnessed in the recent past. This would mean putting not only the Syrian conflict in deep freeze but also the Palestinian crisis on the back burner.
This is where the major powers can put their heads together and come up with a grand initiative for the entire region with a view to settle them collectively.
Major powers must get their acts together and come up with an initiative that would save the region from additional wars. A summit of sorts between world leaders for this purpose would seem necessary.