More Red Lines...and more Kabuki UPDATE
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels May 30, 2013 - 9:51am
Reading a fascinating book, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, I may have become over-alert to the kabuki dance that is the Syrian, Israeli, Russian, Turkey, Iran, Hezzbolah, Europe, and U.S. drama taking place over the Russian delivery of S-300 air defense missle system to Syria.
President Assad of Syria announced its arrival through the Hezzbolah news service. The Israelis have threatened retaliation if the system is delivered. The Israelis say that only "parts" have arrived and that the system is not yet operational, and they will strike then. Such a system would curtail, if not eliminate, Israeli air attacks on Syria and Hezzbolah.
Is this gambit a precursor to the June talks that have been announced by the U.S. and Russia, but not yet scheduled? Is this a Russian effort to save Assad and to stave off European arms delivery to the opposition? In the meantime, Lebanon is being drawn inexorably into the conflict.
NYTimes story here. Haaretz has this: "The Syrian president reiterated that his army would retaliate to any Israeli attack on its territory and said his government would not stand in the way of any Arab faction operating within its territory to "liberate" the Golan Heights from Israel."
Oh yes, about the outbreak of World War I, historian Christopher Clark, begins the countdown in Serbia on June 11, 1903 with an assassination that most of us have never heard of.
UPDATE: Discourse correction on what Assad said and what Israeli intelligence says. From Haaretz.
About the Author
Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.