August 22nd, 2008 10:27 EST
Russia Hooks Up with Syria's Militarily: What Will G.W. Do?
If the recent conflict and bullish Russian response in Georgia was an alarm clock, this week`s Russian "Syrian military alliance has been like throwing back the sheets and dumping on a bowl of ice water.
A few Russian missile deployments here, several Russian weapon purchases there, a revival of the Russian naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus and, suddenly, the Middle East is beginning to look a lot like it did during the Cold War "a prospect that is startling Israel and its Western allies into an increasingly uneasy feeling.
Retired U.S. Army chaplain and president of the JerUSAlem Connection, James Hutchens, PhD., is an expert on Israeli affairs, and is available for interviews to discuss the rising tensions in the region.
This development really changes an already tenuous Golan Heights situation, ? explains Hutchens. While Israel has been under some international pressure to give that territory back to its Syrian neighbor, perhaps as part of the peace deal the two nations have been quietly brokering, this Russian dynamic adds an unwanted wrinkle. At some point, Syria may be emboldened to try and take Golan Heights back by force. ?
Hutchens is prepared to talk about other issues as well, as the web of military and political movements in the Middle East between the U.S. and its former superpower rival continues to become a tangled complexity. For example:
? Does having this new alliance with Russia make Syria feel less isolated as a friend of Iran?
? How might Russia`s increasing presence in the region advance Tehran`s nuclear program?
? How might terrorist entities feed off of the defeat of Israeli-trained troops in Georgia?