Is Syria's civil war a prelude to a larger Mideast conflict that would involve Israel, Iran, the Arab Gulf countries minus Oman (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain) and Israel?
Some knowledgeable military observers who have served or are serving in the Middle East say that the Arab Spring, which translated into chaos and intertribal warfare from Yemen to Libya to Syria, is a prelude to a much wider conflict involving Israel and Iran.
Saudi Arabia is assisting the Syrian rebels who now call themselves revolutionaries. Some "Gulfies," the colloquial label for Arab oil states in the Persian Gulf, assisted the anti-Gadhafi NATO forces in Libya last year, and Libya today is the chaotic domain of dozens of rival tribes once suppressed by the late eccentric and bloody dictator.
In Tripoli, the Libyan capital, Aldelkadir Elhaj, a former al-Qaida chief, once tortured by the Thais under the U.S. rendition program, holds sway with a big stick.
Privately, Persian Gulf leaders say Iran has concluded the United States' days as a superpower are numbered. Iran's aging theocrats tell their visiting gulf interlocutors that America has lost two wars in 10 years -- Iraq and Afghanistan -- and is pulling out of Europe and "pivoting" to Asia where China is already dominant. Read More