Many Lebanese, Israelis fearful of being dragged into war due to Syrian crisis
- POSTED: 13 Oct 2013 23:32
This graph is an experimental feature that tracks number of views over time.
The prospect of a US-led strike on Syria is waning, but if a strike was to happen, one of the fears is that it would extend well beyond Syria's borders -- involving regional players like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel.
TEL AVIV, Israel: The prospect of a US-led strike on Syria is waning, but if a strike was to happen, one of the fears is that it would extend well beyond Syria's borders -- involving regional players like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel.
For weeks, the clouds of war have been gathering over Syria.
The signs were there -- Western powers, led by the United States, could attack the embattled country within days.
However, that option seems to have been put on hold, at least for now.
But not before Hezbollah, Lebanon's Shiite movement and a close ally of the Damascus regime, weighed in on the conflict.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah publicly stated that any US-led strike aimed at overthrowing Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad would prompt a swift retaliation against Israel.
Gill Hoffman, chief political analyst at The Jerusalem Post, said: “There are 50,000 missiles in Lebanon aimed at Israel today. There are more missiles aimed at Israel from southern Lebanon than in anywhere from anywhere else on this planet.”
Over the years, there have been several armed conflicts between Hezbollah and Israel.
But what is the appetite in Lebanon today, for another showdown with Tel Aviv?
Most Lebanese Channel NewsAsia spoke to are against it.
One Lebanese said: “We have lived a very long war here in Lebanon. We are fed up. We lost too many victims.”
Across the border in Israel, Ronny Edry has set up the “Peace Factory”.
"Peace Factory"’s online campaigns target the Iranian and Syrian public with a simple message -- that Israelis do not want war.
A new campaign called "Don't Shoot", is in direct response to America's threat to strike Syria.
Ronny Edry, founder of "Peace Factory", said: “I think Israelis are really divided, because in one place a lot of them are afraid of a war coming, that if the Americans strike on Syria it’s going to become a war in Israel. People are just like waiting for something to happen.”
But as unsure as many Israelis are about a possible war with Hezbollah, they are not taking any chances.
For weeks, the queues at gas mask collection points have been growing, and at times, people wait there for hours.
One Israeli said: “Recent unprecedented developments in the Middle East involving the use of chemical weapons may necessitate an armed strike against Syria itself. The response being that Syria may retaliate against the state of Israel.”
With Iran threatening to come to the aid of its Lebanese ally, while the United States is on Israel’s side, the chances of a wider war are increasingly real.
But for now, it looks like war is not imminent.
The US has thrown Damascus a lifeline -- destroy your chemical weapons, and we will not wage war.
So far, the Syrian regime seems ready to concede.
But US President Barack Obama has made it clear that military action could still be an option if Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad does not oblige.
It is often said that in war there are no winners, only losers -- and many in Israel and Lebanon are hoping they do not get dragged into a war that clearly most people do not want.