American peacekeeping turned into American bloodletting in 1983. More than any event since the war and oil embargo almost exactly ten years earlier, the October 23 suicide bombing of Marine headquarters in Beirut brought the Middle East conflict home directly to vast numbers of Americans stunned by the carnage that eventually claimed 241 lives--more casualties than in any other single incident since the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam.
Damascus did not commission Hezbollah's raid into Israel, but it did see the ensuing crisis as a chance to prove its importance. Western powers should realize that Syria is ready to be part of a regional solution -- as long as its own interests are recognized.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may blame Israel for his problems, but the Israelis are more ambivalent about their sometime antagonist. Yet with little ability to affect the outcome of the uprisings, Jerusalem can only watch nervously as events unfold.