Asia Times (Link) - Victor Kotsev (April 28, 2011)
Spring has come to the Middle East - not the Arab spring, unfortunately - and it is time for the annual billion-dollar question: will there be a big summer war? Indeed, it is a question worth multiple billions of dollars, as it has been codified into an elaborate ritual featuring ever-shifting alliances, “incidents,” threats, ever-accelerating arms procurement, and (surprise?) large speculative bets on the financial markets.
Big military campaigns in the Middle East have historically happened during or around the summer. With some exceptions, this continues to be true today, for a variation of the same historic reasons - the weather is best, meaning that air power is most efficient and ground maneuvers by large forces are easier, and the harvest has largely been collected, meaning that manpower is more readily available and war poses a lesser challenge to the national economies.
Thus, every spring politicians, investors and pundits become unusually restless and try to predict - if not determine - what will happen. It is a flare-up of activity in a game of intricate tactics and strategies, where war and politics form a full, endless circle. The game includes risky bets, secret maneuvers and intense though usually short bouts of violence (hardly any major war in the Levant since 1948 has lasted for longer than a month, mostly because of the enormous costs of modern warfare and resupply issues).