Friday, August 04, 2006

Hezbollah in Lebanon is the tip of a global iceberg

This piece via CFR points out that the IDF-HA conflict we are reading about has global implications. Hezbollah worldwide has cards that can be played in distant places, but at this moment they have yet to be used.

As Ely Karmon detailed in ‘Fight on All Fronts’: Hizballah, the War on Terror, and the War in Iraq (The Washington Institute, 2003), Hizballah has a long history of conducting terror attacks outside Lebanon and Israel. Significantly, these targets include not only Israeli and Western interests, but several Arab states as well, most notably Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Perhaps Hizballah’s most notorious attacks, however, were its bombings in Buenos Aires of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and the Jewish Community Center in 1994. Each of these attacks was in retaliation for Israeli actions and is believed to have been conducted with Iranian assistance. The sophistication of these attacks demonstrated the ability of Hizballah and Iran to project power globally and to conduct substantial covert planning to execute attacks on short notice. It must therefore be assumed that in the years since the Argentine attacks Hizballah has continued to improve its capabilities for overseas terror attacks and that off-the-shelf plans for such attacks are available to Iran and Hizballah’s military planners.

Of additional concern is the close relationship both Iran and Hizballah enjoy with other terrorist organizations of global reach, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Given the close relationship these organizations have with Iran, they can be expected to provide some operational support for such an attack. Both Hizballah and Hamas, it should be noted, are of particular concern inside the United States for the FBI. As Matthew Levitt noted in his recent book Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terror in Service of Jihad (Yale University Press, 2006), an FBI analysis conducted in 2002 found that “fifty to one hundred Hamas and Hizballah operatives had infiltrated the United States.” Because these individuals are likely to be graduates of terrorist training camps in Lebanon, they represented a potential threat to the United States.

This is a proxy war. The Hezbollah operatives know very well what the global implications are but everyday Lebanese seem to have been either unaware or unconcerned about their role in a global struggle.

Before we get too smug about that, it might first be wise to take the pulse of everyday Americans regarding the same issue. What do they/we know? What catches their/our interest? How well-informed are they/we? These are revealing and embarrassing questions.

From the same CFR link...

Not surprisingly, Hezbollah strongly opposes any international force in Lebanon. While many reports say Hezbollah is experiencing a surge in popularity across the region (AP), Robert Rabil of Florida Atlantic University writes that international observers are overstating the boost in Hezbollah's standing. What many see as unified support of Hezbollah is just Lebanon's wartime solidarity, he says, while warning that the current crisis is increasing sectarian divisions within the country.

If they seem to be "winning" in the arena of public opinion, there is no reason to expand the conflict to a global stage. To do so would be counterproductive. I guess the flypaper concept is still working, but it is costing a lot of lives.

Update, November 21

I see Cernig refers to Taheri as a "neocon shill" with serious credibility stains.
I yield to his more informed description. He keeps up with these things better than I.

I have linked to writing by Taheri more than once or twice. He may be a "shill" but he comes across as an informed shill. As with Seymour Hersh and Michelle Malkin, I have learned to read carefully between the lines what I read, not always swallowing what I read without chewing first.

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