Washington: As the White House is close to launching a military strike on Syria, questions have been raised over the extent to which such an attack could trigger a wave of terrorism directed at the US and Israel.
Some analysts said that Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia fighting in support of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, would likely be inspired to ramp up operations in Iran`s `shadow war` with the US and its allies.
According to the Washington Times, tensions between the West and Iran over the country`s nuclear programme have fuelled the protracted and secretive war.
Matthew Levitt, who heads the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that the type of asymmetric activities that have already been seen in the context of the shadow war over Iran`s nuclear programme would continue with an American military strike in Syria serving as yet another factor motivating Hezbollah.
Iran`s government, which most in the US intelligence community think exerts heavy influence over the activities of Hezbollah, sought to downplay the likelihood of a US strike.
Some officials in Tehran however said that if a strike occurs, Israel would be targeted in response.
Hossein Sheikholeslam, a member of Iran`s Islamic Consultative Assembly, said that `the Zionist regime,` a reference to Israel, will be the first victim of a military attack on Syria.
Senator Robert P Casey Jr, the Pennsylvania Democrat, said that addressing the crisis in Syria at this stage will be extremely difficult, but every day that Assad remains in power helps Iran and Hezbollah and threatens stability across the region.
He added that Iran and terrorist organisations, like Hezbollah, are plotting against the United States and its allies every day.
According to the report, some Middle East analysts, meanwhile, said a US strike likely would inspire the cadre of military and intelligence officials running Syria to commission their own terrorist activities with the goal of disrupting the existing US military presence in the region and deepening instability surrounding Israel.