A few years ago, Syria announced that it had the chemical weapons capability to kill virtually every Israeli citizen. If the two countries were to go to war, the two WMD-laden states would face off in a situation where missiles with Nuclear or Chemical warheads could arrive with little or no warning given the close proximity of the two countries and their population centers. Any incoming missiles or bombers would necessarily have to be regarded as potentially carrying WMD warheads necessitating a similar response. If Israel believes she is under a massive chemical attack, she may find the need to launch nuclear strikes at all potential enemies given that her ability to respond to anyone conventionally after weathering the chemical attack would be severely compromised, this includes Hezbollah and the Palestinians.
I would not be the slightest bit surprised to find out that the strategic (read: WMD) arms of both the Israeli and Syrian militaries were on full alert. All of this is why I was completely dismayed to find out that the Bush administration and our head diplomat, Condi Rice were content to let the situation play out for at least a week or so before becoming engaged. It is bad enough that their skills in international relations and diplomacy were insufficient enough to let the conflagration happen in the first place. To let the situation progress to where players with large inventories of Weapons of Mass Destruction could face off against each other when we have the ability to step in and stop it is criminal and genocidal.
As if this were all not bad enough, the impact on the rest of the world would also be catastrophic. Is there any limit to what the price of oil might hit if this scenario plays out? Would you like to captain a large ship through the narrow seas of the straits of Hormuz or other Middle Eastern waterways while this was all going on? I do not have the expertise to determine what the limits of the price of oil could reach under this scenario, but suffice to say it would reach heights that cause major economic shocks to most if not all of the rest of the world. With so much at stake, again, the Bush administration is caught napping and is slow or unwilling to take action.