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Friday, August 18, 2006

Hezbollah Plays Oprah

Richard Baehr at The American Thinker talks about why Israel is likely to be at war with Lebanon and Iran soon....
Hezb’allah, of course, does not print Lebanese currency (counterfeiting American currency, however, has been one of their enterprises for years), so the money they are now spreading around is almost certainly coming from Iran. Like Oprah Winfrey giving away Pontiacs to her studio audience after Pontiac gave her the cars to give away, Hezbollah is giving out the money of its patron.

Destroy the country, then rebuild it, that’s the new Iranian/Hezb’allah theme. Lebanese officials have provided a preliminary estimate of $10 billion in war damage to their country. Israel has released an estimate that government spending alone on the war exceeded $5 billion, not even counting reconstruction costs in the North, or the losses in economic activity. And finally there is Iran’s weapons supply to Hezb’allah, much of it used or destroyed in the fighting, that may have cost $4 to 6 billion for Iran to provide, according to some estimates.

Sweden is now in the lead preparing a donor conference to raise money to help rebuild Lebanon. Not a penny of course will be raised for rebuilding in Israel, where a significantly higher percentage of the population was forced to live in bomb shelters or displaced than was the case in Lebanon. The nearly 4,000 rockets launched indiscriminately at civilian targets in northern Israel really are not a concern of the international community, which from the beginning viewed this as a war between Israel and Hezb’allah, with Lebanon the unfortunate victim, due to Israel’s supposedly “disproportionate” response.

We must now all take moral lessons in how to behave during war from the Swedes, who chose profitable neutrality, selling iron and other war materiel to Nazi Germany, rather than joining the Allies to fight them during World War II.

The real purpose of the Hezb’allah rebuilding effort has, I think, little to do with either guilt for what their war with Israel wrought in southern Lebanon, or any earnest desire to help their neighbors. Shiites are the primary group in southern Lebanon, and Hezb’allah has metastasized among them for decades. By providing the public services that the Lebanese government is unable to, Hezb’allah becomes the de facto functioning government. The idea that they will depart southern Lebanon and surrender their arms is a ridiculous proposition. Hezb’allah and Nasrallah now speak with far more authority (and power) in the country than any official Lebanese government representative.

There were conflicting reports in the last day as to whether France had decided not to provide any additional troops for an expanded UNIFIL force in southern Lebanon unless Hezb’allah were first disarmed in the area below the Litani River. So far, only Indonesia and Morocco have offered troops without the disarmament requirement, and Israel has expressed concerns about any force with soldiers from countries that do not recognize it. The Lebanese Army, which may be half Shiite, is starting to move south already, but it has no ability, nor the will to take on Hezb’allah.

So we are approaching, I think, the first of a series of tripwires that are almost certain to lead to renewed fighting.


This war was a real war between players with their own goals and agenda, but also a proxy war between Iran and the West, principally of course, the United States. The US gave Israel a month to accomplish what it could on the battlefield. Normally an attacker loses far more troops than an entrenched defender. That did not happen here, and Israel took out a significant percentage of the Hezb’allah fighting force. By working on the assumption that they needed to use their rockets or lose them, Hezb’allah fired 4,000 rockets, and a few thousand more were destroyed by Israel. Hezb’allah’s primary victory in the Muslim world is that it is still standing, and now can crow about its power and leadership of the fight against the Zionist entity. In the NHL, it would be an overtime win, and 3 points.

This is an unresolved conflict between Israel and Hezb’allah, and of course between the US and Iran. And it will have more fronts, and I think soon. Would Iran with nuclear weapons be acceptable to us, if the mullahs did not run the country? How can we help to accomplish a regime change before its nuclear program is completed, if in all likelihood, the best that can be accomplished even with a military strike against Iran is a delay in the program, and not its elimination? Contemplating regime change after Iran joins the nuclear club seems to be little more than wishful thinking.

Israel well understands that its war with Hezb’allah was also a war with Iran, and that the nuclear threat from Iran is an existential risk for the state. As Chairman Mao talked of trading nuclear bombs with an under-populated America and surviving such a face-off, Ahmadinejad has made the same kind of threat to Israel, a nation of 6 million, with Iranians numbering 70 million. The Iranian leader’s delusions about the return of the 12th imam, and the ruling clerics’ brand of Islamic doctrine, one that worships death over life when given over to martyrdom, eliminates most of the deterrent theories about how nations with nuclear weapons never use them against each other.

Herman Kahn never studied an Iran with the bomb in his nuclear scenarios. Dr. Strangelove considered nuclear war a feasible option, and accepted the results, so long as the surviving male/female ratio was suitable. Had he lived, perhaps Stanley Kubrick could have produced a modern version of Mullah Strangelove.

Comedy aside, the West’s work is not nearly done, and the problems emerging from Iran, Al Qaeda, and an aggressive Islamic radicalism grow larger.
Read the whole thing.


At 8:12 PM, Blogger M. Simon said...

Consider this a track back:

Cash Flow Jihad Meets Aftermath


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