MIDDLE EAST: Assad's Major Gamble

Syria plunged deeper than ever into the turbulent Lebanese civil war. In the cool, dark hours one morning last week around 3,000 infantrymen and nearly 100 tanks moved across the border into neighboring Lebanon. This was another desperate attempt to help end the 14-month-old fratricidal bloodletting that has already claimed more than 20,000 lives. It was also a high-risk gamble that could embroil the Syrians in a major confrontation with most of the Palestinian movement. Yet this new attempt at a Pax Syriana may just force the Lebanese to discuss their differences...