Warfare in Afghanistan is heating up. Allied combat deaths in Afghanistan have exceeded those in Iraq for two months in a row. (May and June 2008)
Most of the combat is occurring on the Afghanistan – Pakistan border. As could and was expected. In addition, 10 U.S. soldiers have died in Farah province in Afghanistan since May 25th. Farah province borders on Iran. Incidents are on the rise along the Afghan – Iran border as well.
So we have an unusual situation. Pakistan (Not necessarily with the full support of the government) is supporting attacks in Kashmir and Afghanistan. For Pakistan, this is a two front war. We have attackers coming at us in Afghanistan from both Iran and Pakistan, also a two front war. Iran is supporting attackers into Afghanistan and Iraq, another two front war. And in Iraq, we have attackers coming at us from Iran and Syria, another two front war. Even Syria has two fronts, Iraq and Lebanon. (And Israel, although that front is quiet)
So we have on one end of this ‘line’, Israel and Lebanon who borders Syria, who borders Iraq, who borders Iran, who borders Afghanistan, who borders Pakistan who borders India. Open warfare has been a constant along this ‘line’ for years now. (Exception: Iran/Afghanistan is rather new) The U.S. has two overt military positions within this ‘line’ of countries. Both of our overt military positions are being attacked from two sides. In both cases, our attackers are being supported from adjacent countries, with and without overt help from the government.
The supply of ‘insurgents’ and weapons are passing through the countries of Pakistan, Iran and Syria. Sooner or later, in order for our cause to prevail, we will have to have success in ‘converting’ the governments of Pakistan, Iran and Syria to become more active in pursuit of the enemy. It is most likely that this type of change will not occur internally. It will need to be forced from the outside.
In warfare, it is generally better to outflank your enemy than attack frontally, in the center. In this case, the ‘flanks’ are the countries of Pakistan and Syria.
Syria has the advantage of being the weakest link. Also, Syria has two fronts as well. Syria does not have nuclear weapons, so the overall risk is much lower.
Pakistan could be chosen because:
Pakistan has nuclear weapons and the delivery systems. Taking these out would be the highest priority once a regional war began. Iran is close, but does not posses nuclear weapons, YET. This does not mean to ignore Iran.
Pakistan also has a two front war going on between them and India.
Pakistan has a much greater risk factor because of nuclear weapons and the missile systems for delivery.
Please note that these are only general observations. Many more factors can influence the situation. I am speaking strictly from a military vantagepoint. I do not count Turkey as a strong ally. They backed out of the agreement to help us attack Iraq. If the war became a regional war, (Including a shooting war between us and Syria) I believe that at best, Turkey would remain neutral. Otherwise, they would most likely become an active enemy.
At the other end of this line, I believe that in a regional, shooting war, India would more likely be an active ally than a neutral, or an overt enemy. This applies to Israel as well. Israel would be a help for us on the other end because they share borders with Lebanon and Syria.