LOS ANGELES, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Israel's ground invasion of the Gaza Strip has abruptly increased the stakes for Washington at a delicate time, the Los Angeles Times said on Monday.
The invasion came "at an awkward moment when President Bush's power is ebbing and his successor is choosing to remain on the sidelines," the paper noted.
Possible high casualties on both sides "would heighten international pressure on the United States to intervene in an attempt to end the conflict," said the paper.
"World powers are already clamoring for Washington to play its traditional lead role in finding a way out of the crisis," the paper noted.
"Although Bush administration officials insist that they have been pressing hard diplomatically, questions remain about whether they have the leverage to produce a settlement -- or even want on eat a moment when there is no clear victor," the paper pointed out.
"If the fighting ends in ambiguity, it could be read around the region as a victory for the radical Hamas movement that controls Gaza, as well as its supporters in Iran," said the paper.
The ground attack "intensifies the conflict and, with that, more and more people are now going to be looking to Washington," David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said in remarks published by the paper.
As Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that the incursion "will not be short," there appears to be a growing possibility that U.S. President-elect Barak Obama "will be faced with a shooting war to contend with as soon as he is sworn in," the paper said.
This would distract the new administration from its intentions on the financial stimulus package, the paper noted.