Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ISRAEL & HEZBOLLAH OR ANOTHER 'WAR-IN-SIGHT' CRISIS IN THE OFFING?



"Let us say right away....that today Russia is not in a position to back up political threats with arms....but the political evaluation of Russia's military strength will be very different three to four years hence. The recovery of its finances....have put Russia on a course the goal of which, if it can move ahead undisturbed, will be reached in the autumn of 1917. Of whom is Russia most likely to turn the weapon which it will have at its disposal in a few years time? Two years ago there was still some reluctance to say so but now it is admitted openly, even in official military journals, that Russia is arming for war against Germany."

Kolnische Zeitung, "Der Kommende Kreig mit Russland," 2 March 1914.


"An American source says that Syria allowed Hezbollah operatives to train within its territory in the use of advanced SA2 anti-aircraft missile batteries, the Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported Sunday.

In an interview, the senior U.S. official warned that if Syria supplies Hezbollah with this type of missile, Israel will bomb Damascus and a war will likely ensue.

According to the official, Israel has warned Syria not to allow the transfer of the SA2 missiles into the hands of Hezbollah, and views the transfer of such missiles as the crossing of a red line.

He added that he did not believe that a war would break out soon, unless one of the sides violated the undeclared agreement not to cross the red lines defined by both sides.

The Second Lebanon War, waged in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah, turned southern Lebanon into a territory not unlike the Golan Heights, in that it does not enjoy the absence of conflict but rather a fragile cease-fire, the official said.

Since the war ended, the international intelligence community and the United Nations have been closely monitoring the smuggling of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah, but the ongoing smuggling has not yet crossed the so call red lines.

The official added that Israel's top priority at this point is to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining the SA2 missiles, which are controlled from a remote command center. The official stressed that if Syria turns these weapons over to Hezbollah, Israel will not hesitate to strike Syria, including the capital Damascus".


Jack Khoury, "US Official: Arming of Hezbollah could spark Israeli-Syrian War," 17 January 2010 in www.haaretz.com


As every student of pre-Great War diplomatic history knows, one of the defining moments in the prelude to that conflict was the newspaper war in the late Winter and early Spring of 1914, between the German and Russian official and semi-official presses. In which the coming conflict between (to use the terminology of the time) 'Germandom versus Slavdom', was highlighted for all to see. The article in the Kolnische Zeitung, a mouthpiece of the Wilhelmstrasse since the days of Furst von Bismarck, being the opening salvo of both the coming newspaper and real wars. It is with this background in mind, that I would like to emphasize the importance of what appears to be a semi-inspired piece in the (admittedly) left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Sunday. And, while I for one do not believe that the 'source' for the article was in fact American (I am sure that the entire American establishment, other than some neo-conservative lunatics, would be horrified by the prospect of another Israeli-Lebanon War), I do believe that there was an Israeli 'source' behind the article. And, that there is a current, perhaps a predominate tendency in the Netanyahu government, which would indeed be willing to take the steps cited in the article. Nay, would probably welcome, such a conflict, in order to (as they might put it) to wipe away the 'debacle' of the 2006 conflict with Hezbollah. And, that the only way to do so is to administer a 'crushing defeat' to Hezbollah and any allies it might have (including perhaps Persia) among the regional powers. Syria being of course the only other possible candidate for that role. The Syrian regime being of course a much, much weaker target for Israeli attacks then say Persia.

Will the above scenario outlined in the article come true? One presumes that one of the purposes of the gentleman who inspired it is to pre-empt such a scenario by in effect 'warning off', Syria from heavily arming Hezbollah in the first place. If the Syrian regime does indeed refrain from acting in this way, and, in effect crossing a perceived 'red line' then the article has served its purpose. One indeed hopes so. Still we shall see, will we not?

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