Israpundit asks whether the rumored 'Summer War' has begun after Syria blew up a Lebanese MP and Hamas continued to consolidate its hold on Gaza. "Israel so far is standing aside. The US strategy is in shambles. It is losing everywhere." Even Robert Fisk seems afraid that Lebanon is heading for the abyss. And he has curiously few bad words for America and Israel, besides a reflexive snarkiness.
Each assassination - of a communist politician, of a journalist, of a Christian MP - each outbreak of guerrilla violence - 61 soldiers have now been killed fighting Fatah al-Islam in the north - quick-marches Lebanon faster towards the abyss.
The "Summer War" has its Iraqi component too. The new attack on the Golden Mosque is so serious that President Bush has issued a public appeal for calm.
President George W. Bush condemned a bomb attack on a Shiite holy site in Iraq yesterday as an effort by al-Qaeda to fuel sectarian tensions in the country.
The attack at the Golden Mosque in Samarra is part of "al- Qaeda's scheme to sow hatred among the Iraqi people," Bush said, according to an e-mailed statement from the White House late yesterday. "I join Iraq's leaders in calling on all Iraqis to refrain from acts of vengeance."
The U.S.-led coalition dispatched a Rapid Reaction Force to Samarra, 96 kilometers (60 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, to assist Iraqi forces guarding the mosque, Bush said. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki imposed a curfew on Baghdad yesterday, the Associated Press reported.
In an Iraq now in the grip of sectarian tensions it is probably ironic that the single most neutral voice is probably that of the American President. The obvious threat is this: 1) Syria will make a play for Lebanon; 2) Hamas will consolidate in Gaza and maybe make a move on Fatah in the West Bank; 3) al-Qaeda will make a final attempt to push Iraq into a full-blown regional conflict. Maybe it isn't the Summer War, but it is a push of some sort.
Imagine if you can that a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq by fall were in effect as Congressional Democrats had demanded. The War on Terror isn't the same thing as combat operations in Iraq. It rages apace in Afghanistan and Levant. There is no walking away from it. There can only be a determination to win it, or else it will burn out many Muslim countries and much else besides.