* bob parry:
"Amid the political and diplomatic fallout from Israel's faltering invasion of Lebanon, some Israeli officials are privately blaming President George W. Bush for egging Prime Minister Ehud Olmert into the ill-conceived military adventure against the Hezbollah militia in south Lebanon.
As part of Bush's determination to create a "new Middle East" - one that is more amenable to U.S. policies and desires - Bush even urged Israel to attack Syria, but the Olmert government refused to go that far, according to Israeli sources.
With U.S. forces bogged down in Iraq, Bush and his neoconservative advisers saw the inclusion of Israeli forces as crucial for advancing a strategy that would punish Syria for supporting Iraqi insurgents, advance the confrontation with Iran and isolate Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
Soon after the May 23 meeting in Washington, Israel began to ratchet up pressure on the Hamas-led government in the Palestinian territories and on Hezbollah and other Islamic militants in Lebanon. As part of this process, Israel staged low-key attacks in both Lebanon and Gaza. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com "A 'Pretext' War in Lebanon."]
The tit-for-tat violence led to the Hamas seizure of an Israeli soldier on June 24 and then to Israeli retaliatory strikes in Gaza. That, in turn, set the stage for Hezbollah's attack on an Israeli outpost and the capture of two more Israeli soldiers on July 12.
Hezbollah's July 12 raid became the trigger that Bush and Olmert had been waiting for. With the earlier attacks unknown or forgotten, Israel and the U.S. skillfully rallied international condemnation of Hezbollah for what was called an unprovoked attack and a "kidnapping" of Israeli soldiers."
* juan cole:
"Let me say this loud and clear, drawing on Pat Lang. Any US attack on Iran could well lead to the US and British troops in Iraq being cut off from fuel and massacred by enraged Shiites. Shiite irregulars could easily engage in pipeline and fuel convoy sabotage of the sort deployed by the Sunni guerrillas in the north. Without fuel, US troops would be sitting ducks for rocket and mortar attacks that US air power could not hope completely to stop (as the experience of Israel with Hizbullah in Lebanon demonstrates). A pan-Islamic alliance of furious Shiites and Sunni guerrillas might well be the result, spelling the decisive end of Americastan in Iraq. Shiite Iraqis are already at the boiling point over Israel's assault on their coreligionists in Lebanon. An attack on Iran could well push them over the edge. People like Cheney and Bush don't understand people's movements or how they can win. They don't understand the Islamic revolution in Iran of 1978-79. They don't understand that they are playing George III in the eyes of most Middle Eastern Muslims, and that lots of people want to play George Washington."
"Under threat of Turkish attack in the north, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki closed the Baghdad offices of the Kurdish guerrilla group, the PKK. Since the PKK doesn't have much of a presence in Baghdad, the gesture was a symbolic one. Turkish officials have cited Israel's attack on Hizbullah as a precedent for their coming after the PKK inside Iraqi Kurdistan. They accuse the PKK of striking at targets inside Turkey from their safe haven in Iraqi Kurdistan."the new middle east.