May 22, 2006

Is Hezbollah's Preemptive Surrender a Tip-Off?

It looks liked Iran's hoped for "second front" in the event of U.S. military intervention into the future of its nuclear program development has just signaled a preemptive surrender:

Lebanon's Hizbollah, a close ally of Iran, would not jump to Tehran's defence if the U.S. launched a strike against its nuclear programme but would step in if the conflict spread to Lebanon, its deputy chief said on Monday.

Sheikh Naim Kassem told Reuters that the guerrilla group, which was established by Iran in the early 1980s but has since grown into a political party with 14 seats in parliament, had no plans to get involved in regional battles.

"Hizbollah is not a tool of Iran, it is a Lebanese project that implements the demands of Lebanese," Kassem said in an interview in the Hizbollah-controlled southern suburb of Beirut.

"Iran is a big country with real capabilities and can defend itself if it is exposed to American danger."

Kassem's message is more circumstantial evidence for those of us who feel that Iran is likely to be a nuclear provocateur if allowed to continue uranium enrichment unmolested. His statement of Hezbollah's military neutrality and defensive posture in the event of an Israel-Iran conflagration would seem to indicate that:

  1. Hezbollah has reason to believe that a conflict between Iran and Israel is a near term possibility.
  2. Hezbollah believes that the conflict will be of sufficient magnitude that a potentially debilitating counterstrike would pose a serious threat to their operations.

But what magnitude or retaliation could be so sufficient as to threaten a decentralized organization such as Hezbollah? The final graph of the article seems to indicate the expected conflict could be a region killer:

"If we assume the worst possible scenario, that Iran was completely cut off, Hizbollah would continue because it is based on faith. We are a political, ideological and jihadist party...," Kassem said. "This is a religion we believe in whether Iran is there or not."

Sheikh Naim Kassem, friend of Iran, speaks of a worst possible scenario that envisions his ally no longer existing.

Determing why he might feel this way, and why he might feel this way now is of the utmost importance.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 22, 2006 07:33 PM | TrackBack

They were for them, before they were against them.

Posted by: TexasRainmaker at May 22, 2006 08:39 PM

The problem with Iran will be resolved passively. There will not be open warfare.

Rather, it will be asymmetrical in both directions, with the US not realizing the asymmetrical power it actually has over Iran.

Posted by: Tudalu at May 22, 2006 08:47 PM

People tend to forget that Iran is non-Arabic. It is a theocratic state, not secular like the Arab states. It promotes a version of Islam quite different from most Arabs. Iranians despise Arabs. Iran tried to subvert the secular Arabs governments in its region, which led in part to the Iraq-Iran war.

I wouldn't be surprised if, in the private councils of Arab governments, Iran were seen as being more of a threat to the Arabs than Israel. Afterall, the Iranians are talking crazy.

In any event, if Iran fires off some nuclear missile, who knows where it would land?

BTW, have you notice that people have just stopped talking about suitcase atomic bombs? What ever happened to them?

Posted by: joel at May 22, 2006 08:55 PM

I think the USA recognizes its asymetrical power and is using it.

At War With Iran.

Posted by: M. Simon at May 22, 2006 08:59 PM

If Hezzbollah starts a fight with Israel, the Israelis are likely to tour Damascus.

Politically and militarily such a move would hurt Hezzbollah.

Thus: its not our war.

Posted by: M. Simon at May 22, 2006 09:07 PM

Hezbollah might be lying. They are modelled after the Iranian revolution, have been funded by Iran over the decades, and have operated at the behest of Iran since their inception. It would behoove them to declare a low-level position to facilitate further strikes down the road.

Hezbollah might not be lying. They may have run the numbers, so to speak, and may have decided that Iran will lose all scenarios. Iran may have redirected some of Hezbollah's money to Hamas and they might be pissed about that. Hezbollah might have seen Syria get pushed out of Lebanon and they might not want to be targets for the next purge, so best to lie low for real.

They might not know what is going on and just want to be a small target period.

My assumption is that they are lying. Of course they will retaliate. They don't have any qualms about lying to the infidels either.

Interesting times.

Posted by: Ursus at May 22, 2006 09:08 PM

While I am a Bush supporter, what I never quite figured out is why, after 9/11, when the relatively more sane Khatami was in power in Iran, didn't Bush negotiate a cold alliance with Iran. Iran hated both the Taliban and Saddam, and we knew we were going to topple both. This could have made things a lot easier for us, and might even have prevented Ahmadinejad from coming in.

We could have cut a deal, where they offer indirect support of our efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq. They must give up their nuclear program, support for terrorism, etc. In return, they get $3 billion a year in aid (like Egpyt gets from us now), and don't have to worry about the US attacking them. This might have kept the relatively sane Khatami in place, and avoided this problem today.

No Iranians participate in the Sunni Al-Qaeda. To the extent they are a threat, it is an entirely separate threat than Al-Qaeda is.

Posted by: Tudalu at May 22, 2006 09:10 PM

This is part of the the enemy's asymetrical warfare- THEY ARE LYING.
With Syria weakened, Iran has infiltrated the ranks of Hezbollah to enough of a degree that they will ask "How high?" when told to jump.

Posted by: Kazman at May 22, 2006 09:11 PM


"While I am a Bush supporter, what I never quite figured out is why, after 9/11, when the relatively more sane Khatami was in power in Iran, didn't Bush negotiate a cold alliance with Iran."

Because the Presidency of Iran is a figurehead position. The real power rests with the mullahs, and they were the ones ultimately responsible for putting Ahmadinejad in. Do not for one moment think that Iran is a real democracy, or that the person holding the presidency is not the one the mullahs want at that point in time.

If you're going to negotiate, you have to negotiate with the people who *actually* hold power. And the ones who hold power in Iran aren't willing to negotiate in good faith with us. They want nukes, and they want an insane pit-bull in the presidency.

Posted by: Evil Otto at May 22, 2006 09:52 PM

I certainly found this to be interesting:

May 22, 2006 -- WASHINGTON - The Hezbollah terror group - one of the most dangerous in the world - may be planning to activate sleeper cells in New York and other big cities to stage an attack as the nuclear showdown with Iran heats up, sources told The Post.

The FBI and Justice Department have launched urgent new probes in New York and other cities targeting members of the Lebanese terror group.


Posted by: crosspatch at May 22, 2006 10:48 PM

Who can read a map? U.S. forces are in Afghanistan which is no longer a potential ally of Iran. The land route to Pakistan, another potential ally, is blocked.

U.S. forces are in Iraq. Iran is cutoff from a potential ally, Syria. Iran is cutoff from its clients in Lebanon, who have caught on that they are isolated.

Got 'em surrounded. You think this happened by accident?

Posted by: Max at May 23, 2006 12:51 AM

W is not as stupid as the LLL's want to beleive.

Posted by: ziggy'sGrammy at May 23, 2006 01:32 AM

Hezbollah's interest is in increasing their political power in Lebanon & the Arab Lebanese see no sense in defending Persian Iran. The comments seem directed to Israel in the essence of "If you Israelis decide to attack Iran there is no need to attack us preemptively unless you want trouble." This might be a real split. Were reports of Hizbollah attacking Israel if Iran was attacked blustering by Iranian gov't Revolutionary Guard types or some annonymous speculation?

Posted by: moremeaning at May 23, 2006 02:43 AM


Not to mention, by "cutting a deal" with Iran in advance of toppling Saddam, we would have been frittering away any goodwill we might have expected from the Iraqi people in advance.

Posted by: Rocketeer at May 23, 2006 09:38 AM

I would have said everything Old Soldier said, but as he already said it, it's not necessary.

I will say that this is a very thoughtful post, and I will believe the allegations when they are proven to be true. I have gotten to where I don't believe anything the NYT's puts out.

I also agree with your comments concerning Murtha. But people of his ilk can't seem to keep their mouths shut and wait for simple things such as the facts. They don't bother themselves with facts, ever. They are only interested in one thing and that is grandstanding. Do they really care about this country at all? I don't believe so.

Posted by: Gayle at May 27, 2006 12:22 PM