fallibilist

"I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth." (Karl Popper)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Iran's hand in Hizbollah's provocation

The question that seems to most exercise most of those reporting on the Israel-Hizbollah conflict raging in Lebanon is: When will Israel stop the bombardment? Leaving aside whether one believes Israel should have launched such a counter-attack, the desire to see the bombing stop is understandable. No one wants Lebanon's government to collapse and Hizbollah to extend its de facto rule from the southern region to the entire country: in other words, for democracy in Lebanon to collapse. But another question has more or less slipped under the radar: Iran's involvement. Hizbollah's missiles, including ones of far longer range and more devastating power than have yet been deployed, come mostly (if not solely) from Iran. Its only ally in the region, apart from Syria, is Iran. The question that must be asked is: Why now? Why was this operation planned for now?

The answer may lie in a desire on Teheran's part to have the international spotlight move from its nuclear programme. Having Israel's air force shelling Lebanon and killing scores of civilians has had that effect. It had the effect, eminently desirable from Iran's point of view, of splitting the Europeans and Americans. Tony Blair is only European leader whose government has not denounced Israel. After all, the matter of Iran's nuclear programme was on the agenda of the U.N. Security Council in New York; it was to be discussed by the G8 at St.Petersburg. This year saw Iran's president Ahmadinejad unilaterally end the suspension of enriching uranium and it saw America's position draw closer to the Europeans', culminating in the offer of negotiations. Pressure was rising on the mullahs of Teheran. And then, as Con Coughlin wrote in yesterday's Telegraph:
"just as world leaders were steeling themselves to confront the threat that Iran's nuclear programme poses to international security (the subject was also due for discussion at last weekend's G8 summit in St Petersburg), two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbollah, Iran's proxy militia in southern Lebanon, thereby lighting the current conflagration.
Just how much responsibility Teheran bears for initiating hostilities remains unclear, but certain facts are now emerging that indicate the timing of the Israeli soldiers' abduction was no coincidence. To start with, there is the visit Mr Larijani paid to Damascus last week after his discussions in Brussels with Javier Solana, the EU's foreign affairs representative, ended without agreement. Apart from fulfilling his
duties as chief nuclear negotiator, Mr Larijani, a former Revolutionary Guards
commander, is chairman of Iran's national security council and a close confidant
of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, spiritual guardian of the Islamic revolution and the
driving force behind the attempts to acquire a nuclear weapons arsenal.
During his stay in the Syrian capital, Mr Larijani briefed Syrian intelligence officers about the nuclear talks and the latest developments in Iran's mutual defence co-operation with Damascus. Mr Larijani then met senior Hizbollah representatives.
The following day, Hizbollah launched its operation against Israel's northern border, kidnapping two soldiers and killing eight others. The operation had been more than a month in the planning, and Teheran dispatched a team of 20 Iranian Guard commanders to southern Lebanon in mid-June to oversee the preparations. There were also shipments of military equipment, including surface-to-surface and anti-ship missiles: the Iranians were well aware that Israel would not tolerate an attack on its northern border with impunity.
Apart from helping Hizbollah to carry out the initial attack, the Revolutionary Guard contingent has remained in Lebanon to operate the sophisticated Iranian-made weapons systems that are being used against Israeli military and civilian targets. They have worked with Hizbollah to direct the missile barrages that have caused havoc in the northern Israeli port of Haifa, and Revolutionary Guards fired the Chinese-made Noor anti-ship missile that hit an Israeli warship, killing four sailors."

1 Comments:

Blogger EWI said...

Leaving aside whether one believes Israel should have launched such a counter-attack, the desire to see the bombing stop is understandable. No one wants Lebanon's government to collapse and Hizbollah to extend its de facto rule from the southern region to the entire count

I notice that the argument that recklessly (and that's being charitable) killing innocent Lebanese might be wrong didn't occur to you. I have an answer (or sorts) from 'Abu Jahil' on how this year it seems that nubile young Lebanese women seem to be out of fashion with the former FI-types, but what's your excuse?

Sat Jul 22, 01:32:00 PM GMT+1  

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