Monday, July 17, 2006


I've been wondering why Israel has begun attacking Lebanese army targets. The reason may be allegations that sources in the Lebanese military provided information to Hizbullah that led to its attack on the Israeli naval vessel. With that issue out of way, I think I need to change back to my original view of Israel's motives in this conflict. It is part of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's desire to establish Israel's ability to remain secure following withdrawals from occupied territory, and the kidnapped soldiers were just the excuse, at least on the Lebanese front. I'm still not as willing to give Israel the benefit of the doubt on Lebanon as I was on Gaza, though, if for no other reason than the fact that at least in Gaza there was anarchy anyway and it was hard to see how Israel could make things that much worse in the long term.

Hizbullah is still something of a question. Many people want to link their actions directly to Tehran. The only evidence they have, however, is the fact that Hizbullah is close to Iran and gets weapons from them. By that logic, the United States must be responsible for the Israeli assault on Lebanon, something none of these commentators are suggesting. Furthermore, in order for Iran to demonstrate Hizbullah's military capacity, they would have had to foresee the scale of Israel's response, and if they did that, then it's not clear why Hizbullah would go along with it given the price they are paying. If foreign interests are involved, and Husni Mubarak definitely claims there are, then Syria seems much more likely to be the major player, and certainly its interests align more closely with those of Hizbullah regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Lebanese politics.

Finally, Juan Cole has a good post for the "I Hate Everybody" school of thought. Because two of his specialties are Shi'ism and Lebanon, I take his opinion pretty seriously.

(Crossposted to American Footprints.)


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