Monday, July 17, 2006

Iran's Bloddy Nose 

I think this is spot on. From Debka:
This poker game between Tehran and Washington is going back and forth over the heads of Israel and Lebanon. It is the cause of the muddled statements coming from Israeli leaders with regard to the targets of the Lebanon campaign. They range from recovering the kidnapped soldiers, to smashing the Hizballah, breaking up its terrorist infrastructure (what about its personnel?), moving their positions back from the Israeli border to one kilometer or more (depending on the estimated range of their rockets), and forcing the Lebanese government to displace the Hizballah in the south and disarming the Shiite terrorists as ordered by the Security Council.

Meanwhile, no more than 25% of Hizballah’s arsenal has been destroyed in Israel’s six-day air blitz and cannonade, and no one is quite sure what surprises are in store in the form of long-range, heavy rockets or missiles, what hardware is being smuggled from Iran via Syria past the Israeli blockade, and whether either or both will intervene at some point – and how.

The green light flashing in Washington may give Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert a latitude never before granted any Israeli premier. But it also tells the Islamic Republic that its rulers’ meddling in Iraq carries a high price tag. By pulverizing Iran’s surrogate, Israel is articulating America’s determination to smash Iran’s strength and positions of influence around the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

This determination was sparked by an unnoticed incident in Iraq on July 4, 2006.

On that day, for the first time in the Iraq War, Nasrallah activated the three-year old sleeper terror and sabotage networks Iranian and Hizballah intelligence had established across Iraq shortly after the US invasion. He was obeying orders from Iranian supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

America’s Day of Independence 2006 was selected for this group to make its first low-key attacks against US forces in Baghdad and British units in Basra and break surface under the name of The Abu al Fadal al Abas Brigades. No one had heard of it because Tehran had kept this Iraqi arm of Hizballah dark as the ultimate weapon to spring on the Americans in Iraq at the appropriate moment.

President Bush saw that if he looked away and let Iran’s challenge burst into full-blown action without responding, America’s standing in Iraq and the rest of the region would be forfeit. He was further stirred into a response by Tehran’s developing appetite for quick gains. On July 12, believing they had got away with it in Iraq, Iran and Hizballah followed it up by opening a second front against Israel, America’s ally: the Shiite terrorists kidnapped two Israeli soldiers.

That was the last straw, but George W. Bush turned it around as a boomerang to hit Tehran. The Israeli Defense Forces, there to hand, were more than ready to punish Hizballah and had been raring to go after five years of forced restraint against the Lebanese group and Palestinian terrorists. For Bush, this course offered America the chance of a bold, efficient blow against a Shiite extremist terrorist group without a single American soldier having to step onto the battlefield.

Therefore, Israel’s Operation Just Reward, which started out as a rescue operation for its two abducted soldiers, then a campaign to push Hizballah back from its border, within six days opened Lebanon up as a major arena for the showdown building up between the United States and Tehran over a whole bagful of issues - not least Iran’s nuclear defiance. However, the unacknowledged object of Israel’s campaign is none of the highly rational goals outlined by officials. It is to satisfy Washington that Tehran has been given a bloody nose and is ready to pull back from its deepening political, military and intelligence interference in Iraq.
What we're seeing is a proxy war, with Iran and the U.S. pulling the strings. I don't like the idea of giving the Israelis carte blanche, but I'd rather see them doing our dirty work than our men and women, who have their hands full in Iraq. I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing a major crackdown on Shiite forces in Iraq that are closely supported by Iran. IF Hizballah, Hamas AND Iranian-supported-Iraq-terror groups are cracked down on, don't be surpsised if the bombs start falling on Iranian nuclear sites. Things are happening for a reason.


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