Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Is This What Nasarallah is Thinking?

From Bret Stephens' piece in the World Street Journal on what the Hizb Allah leader could be thinking:-

What worries you? Not the "international community," which dependably finds more to fault in Israel's actions than in yours. Not an enlarged U.N. peacekeeping force; the U.N. has been in southern Lebanon for ages, without ever obstructing your designs. The Americans tilt toward Israel, but there's no chance of them intervening: They learned their lesson after you bombed their Marines' barracks in 1983.

As for the Israelis, so far they have not meaningfully degraded your capacity to fight. Their chief of staff, Dan Halutz, is every bit as tough-minded as Ariel Sharon was in his prime. But their prime minister is untested, and their defense minister is a political dove. You also suspect the Israeli public is in no mood for a reprise of their full-scale invasion of 1982, the only scenario that really frightens you. So at worst it's back to an Israeli "security zone." Been there; beaten that.

Things could go wrong: Maybe the Israelis will find and kill you; maybe they'll put the squeeze on Syria. But as they say about these sorts of conflicts, anything except total defeat is victory. Your masters in Tehran -- Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- are well pleased.

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