By Walid Phares, Political Mavens
The latest dramatic military and terror events in Gaza and Lebanon can be viewed from a regional geopolitical perspective: A Syro-Iranian axis offensive on its (their) primarily western front stretching along the Mediterranean coast.
In previous analyses I have argued that the Tehran-Damascus axis is involved in a regional campaign to seize as much physical terrain and score as many victories across the Middle East in order to consolidate their strategic posture before 2008; the year they believe Americans will limit â€“ perhaps diminish â€” their moves because of the U.S. presidential campaign season.
Iranâ€™s and Syriaâ€™s offensives have been well-coordinated on battlefields across the Levant since last January, with a clear escalation since early spring.
In the final analysis, the axisâ€™ offensive on their western front is peaking. The immediate goal of the axis is to protect the Syrian regimeâ€™s western (Lebanon) flank and southern (Israel) flank.
Thrusting in Lebanon and spreading chaos, also would potentially shield Bashar al Assad from the upcoming UN investigation into the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (and others).
Seizing Gaza would, in their estimation, curtail U.S. efforts in Iraq, and pressure Israel away from Syria and Hezbollah. The Jihadi strategic mind is in its full offensive mode in the region.