ISRAEL WARNS OF WAR SPREADING TO IRAN AND SYRIA
WORLD UNITED IN OUTRAGE AT CIVILIAN BOMBINGS IN LEBANON
From the Wall Street Journal :
"Israel's escalating incursion into Lebanon -- with bombing attacks on Beirut's airport and a naval blockade -- could turn its border fight with militant Islamists into a regional war that Israel is openly warning might lead to Syria, and beyond that to Iran.
"Already the violence has engaged the Israeli military on two fronts, against Hezbollah militias in Lebanon to the north and Hamas forces that control the Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip to the west.
"But with Hezbollah sending dozens of rockets into Israel and striking the port city of Haifa, and Israel inflicting extensive infrastructure damage, the stakes have grown starkly higher.
"Israel now is fighting not with Palestinians or Arab nations, as in the past, but with the forces of radical Islam.
"While the Bush administration is largely sympathetic with Israel's plight, and also eager to restrain Iran, it is unlikely to be as keen to directly confront Tehran now.
"With U.S. troops tied down in Iraq and a serious diplomatic drive under way at the United Nations to impose economic sanctions to get Iran to curb its nuclear program, the White House has little desire for a broader regional conflict that could bring a head-on clash with Iran right now.
"It also would be difficult to bring along American allies in a direct confrontation with Iran. Israel has been warning for several years that Iran, much more than Iraq, has emerged as the Middle East's biggest problem and that Tehran's government represents a challenge Israel shouldn't have to confront alone. But it has found few countries willing to share that burden.
"As a result, the Bush administration faces an immediate decision on what it can do to contain the violence while allowing Israel to defend itself and its soldiers, three of whom have been kidnapped in recent days by Hamas and Hezbollah. "
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