Moshe Ma’oz writes that the back-to-back elections of George W. Bush as U.S. president in 2000 and of Ariel Sharon as Israel’s prime minister in 2001 marked a crucial change in the U.S.-Syria-Israel triangular relation. The American occupation of Iraq in 2003 further aggravated these relations and contributed to a tightening of Syria’s ties with Iran and Hezbollah. He warns that if the United States and Israel continue their refusal to engage Syrian President Bashar, he is likely to strengthen those ties and, in a worst-case scenario, may be dragged into war with Israel. Ma’oz concludes that if Bashar believes he can achieve Syria’s strategic goals of regaining the Golan Heights, accruing American and Arab financial support, and influencing Lebanon, he would be prepared to contain Hezbollah’s military power and relax relations with Iran.