An extremely serious escalation

Is Hezbollah being re-supplied with rockets by the Syrian army?

Although Hizbullah has suffered a harsh blow from Israeli air force strikes which took out a good percentage of their available weapons, Syria was continuing to smuggle arms into Lebanon to rearm the group, IDF Operations Branch Head Major General Gadi Eisenkot said during a press briefing Tuesday.

Thus far, the IAF managed to intercept a number of trucks transporting rockets from Syria to Hizbullah, including trucks laden with the 220mm-diameter rockets with warheads like the one that hit the Haifa train depot Monday, claiming eight lives. Maj.-Gen. Eisenkot said he would be very surprised if official elements in Syria were unaware of these transports.

“These are rockets that belong to the Syrian army. You can’t find them in the Damascus market, and the Syrian government is responsible for this smuggling,” Eisenkot said, but stressed, “We are not operating against Syria or the Lebanese army.”

If true, this would be a very serious matter indeed—an escalation of the activity that could legitimately draw an Israeli attack on Syria. How could the Syrians be so stupid?

From the beginning of the current hostilities I’ve noted that one of the effects of Israel’s actions may be to cause Syria to show its hand or lose its Hezbollah asset. That may be what’s happening.

UPDATE: Thomas Barnett has a tremendous post on the emerging wider conflict. A must read. The one thing I would add to Barnett’s analysis is that a complicating factor is the Bush Administration’s commitment to serializing our activities. This is a common problem, not unique to the Bush Administration but, unfortunately, events don’t stop to let you do things one at a time. Learning to walk and chew gum at the same time is a necessity.

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