A Middle East chess match
Lipscomb's analysis is dead on. The only variable is whether Israel will take the step necessary to win decisively, or whether the U.S. will pressure Israel to the usual premature cessation of hostilities with a band-aid ceasefire and meaningless international force policing the border area. This is far bigger than that. If Iran isn't confronted, it is in a position to seize an enormous victory here, not only against the West, but also as the pre-eminent leader of the Islamic worldwide jihadi movement. That's why the Saudis et al. have criticized Hezbollah -- not from any love of Israel. And why Zawahiri is jumping on the bandwagon with a "me too" approach. Suddenly they see that Iran has stolen their thunder, and Al Qaeda is seen as increasingly irrelevant.
A Middle East chess match -- The Washington Times
A Middle East chess match
By Thomas Lipscomb
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published July 27, 2006
The Israeli military has already been surprised by the carefully prepared defenses of Hezbollah, just across the Lebanese border. Their leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, and his Iranian sponsors have clearly not been wasting their time over the past six years. Israel's military has been facing first-rate defenses that are breaking up the effectiveness of invading Israeli armor with both fixed defenses like mines and IEDs and well-employed flexible defenses like anti-tank missiles. Israeli armor is already responding with a quick fix, like installing belly armor to save their highly trained crews if they can't keep their tanks from being knocked out. [....]
Under these circumstances, the Middle East may well be facing another of those interim truces being pressed by the usual clueless international entities that have solved nothing and only ramp up the next level of confrontation. Even if a NATO force moves in to occupy the area south of the Litani River the Lebanese Army couldn't, or wouldn't, occupy according to U.N. Resolution 1559 and Israeli forces declare victory and go home, in reality Hezbollah and Iran become more empowered and Israel becomes the most vulnerable it has ever been.
That kind of "solution" may eliminate any useful Katuysha sites, but it also leaves Mr. Nasrallah's Hezbollah firmly emplaced with its most effective standoff weapon arsenal and the trained forces to employ them no matter what kind of idiotic "demilitarization" clause they agree to and ignore in the negotiated truce. And Lebanon will have made a giant step in undoing its "Cedar Revolution."
Freed from direct Syrian control, Lebanon will have only moved from the host of a stateless terror group to another failed state politically now under Hezbollah's direct control. And Iran becomes the real beneficiary of this proxy war against Israel, gaining a stunning victory in its real battle for the leadership of the Middle Eastern Muslim world -- without a direct confrontation with either Israel or the United States -- that will significantly alter the balance of power in the Persian Gulf. [....]