It was a big mistake for Obama to appoint Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, a woman without experience and no talent in foreign affairs. (Her husband was also weak in this area.) Now Obama gets no help from her in an area where he lacks experience. Syria suppotrts Hizballah in order to pressure Israel to give back the Golan, not because the Syrians like fundamentalist Shiites more than fundamentalist Sunis. Syria`s close alliance with Iran is not natural. Syria is secular, Iran fundamentalist. Syria is an Arab state, Iran Persian (long time no friends). Syria is mostly Sunni, Iran Shiite. Syria used to be friendly to the US, since they joined the coalition against Saddam in the 1991 war. Jim Baker visited Syria 15 times. After the 9-11 attacks Syria helped the US in hunting al-Qaida, even to the extent of torturing some on behalf of the CIA. But Syria continued to support Hizballah as pressure against Israel. However, Bush had larger (and confused) ambitions, so he made Hizballah one of his targets. Syria, as their supporter, became "evil", and Israel can now use this excuse to refrain from dealing with Syria and maintain its hold over the Golan. There is a price to the Israeli reluctance to talk peace with Syria. Since 1973, when Egypt got out of the Israeli-Arab conflict, Syria tried to cause trouble only indirectly, so as not to be attacked itself. Israel, though had to go to war twice already, in Lebanon, in 1982 and 2006. Another one is expected. All these were indirect Syrian wars. But now, Syria is willing to repeat the Hizballah strategy and engage Israel in its own war, perhaps as part of a larger war led by Iran.
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from the article: Clinton: Syria's provocations may plunge Middle East into war