Last night, Syrian President Bashir Assad told the country's armed forces to "raise their readiness." It was a deliberate statement, timed amid rising tensions in the region and meant to remind the world that Syria should not be ignored.
President Assad did not mobilize more troops. He did not increase the number of military vehicles at the border. He simply told the forces to train harder and to be ready for whatever comes next.
Amid growing calls for a diplomatic solution, Syria is trying to make enough noise to let the world know it doesn't want to be left out of the discussion.
The United States, among others, has been wary of calling for an immediate cease-fire, fearful violence will return to the region after the world stops paying such close attention. Instead, "sustainable peace" is the phrase bandied about by American and Israeli leaders. There are, they say, root issues, such as getting rid of Hezbollah's militia -- labeled a terrorist group by the United States and Israel -- that must be dealt with permanently before lasting peace can be achieved.
But a permanent solution seems increasingly elusive. Since the tragic attack in Qana, Lebanon, there have been demonstrations across the Muslim world, from Tehran to Damascus to Baghdad. Not surprisingly, many demonstrators screamed anti-Western slogans, burned American and Israeli flags, and voiced support for Hezbollah.
But from where I sit it in Syria, it seems that those impassioned voices are finding more sympathy in Arab countries. Where there were some skeptical Arab voices when it came to Hezbollah, there are now more and more impassioned supporters. Hezbollah's infrastructure can be decimated by Israel's military, but allegiance among a new generation is rising by the day.
Clearly, the region's problem will not be solved in the weeks ahead by any simple means. At the end of the day, this may be one of the key questions: For real peace in the Middle East, does everyone in the region need to be at the negotiating table?