Thursday, July 20, 2006

Defanging Hezbollah?

Israel's goal now seems clear.

The Los Angeles Times:
WASHINGTON — Although wary of multinational peacekeeping operations, the Bush administration is working with allies to find a way to insert a robust military force and a civilian international presence in Lebanon to strengthen the frail government and break the grip of Hezbollah, U.S. and foreign diplomats say.

The peacekeepers would be positioned along Lebanon's southern border in an effort to prevent future Hezbollah attacks on Israel, whereas the civilian officials would be scattered elsewhere in the Arab country, including at key entry points, to halt the flow of military equipment from Syria and Iran to Hezbollah, the officials say.
Iran's role

The Los Angeles Times:
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because intelligence matters are involved, said Hezbollah fighters, once viewed as a ragtag group of guerrillas, appear to have received training by Iran in sophisticated missile technologies. Some of the training may have taken place in Iran, they said.

"The analysis around here is they have more expertise than the Lebanese military," a senior U.S. military official said.

U.S. defense and intelligence officials said that — despite the speculation of some analysts, including Israeli officials, that Iran was directly involved in the combat — there was little evidence that its special operations groups were fighting alongside the Shiite Muslim militants.
Britain's view

The Times of London:
BRITAIN fears that Israel’s assault on Hezbollah is failing to cripple the guerrilla group and that continued bombardment will bring huge civilian casualties in Lebanon for little military gain.

The rising concern that any further Israeli military action could intensify the crisis, expressed by senior officials yesterday, strikes a much more urgent tone than the American position, which accepts a continued Israeli campaign to crush the Shia militant group.
Israel's view on an occupation

The Philadelphia Inquirer:
"Look at what happened when the United States sent troops to Iraq," said former Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan, who commanded an Israel Defense Forces division in 1993 and now heads Israel's West Bank security barrier project.

He said an invasion of Lebanon was unlikely for two reasons: "One risk is that you usually pay a price in the loss of lives, and the second reason is you usually stay for 18 years."

Dayan was referring to Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 to go after PLO forces who had gathered in southern Lebanon and were attacking northern Israel in a fashion not dissimilar to what Hezbollah has been doing.


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