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Filed under: Middle East — Rick Moran @ 5:11 pm

Welcome Hugh Hewitt Readers! Join me this morning from 7:00 AM - 9:00AM Central time for The Rick Moran Show on Wideawakes Radio. Click the “Listen Live” button in the left sidebar to access the stream.

We’ll be talking about the situation in the Middle East all morning and taking your calls. Join the discussion at 1-888-407-1776.


The news out of the Middle East today is grim and getting more grim by the hour. Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran are nerving themselves for a confrontation that could turn into a general war if things were to get out of control.

First, visit my friends Kit and Heidi at Euphoric Reality. They will have regular updates throughout the day and night. Their sources appear solid and their analysis is sharp. Also, they will be on WAR Radio tonight from 10:00 PM - 12:00AM Central with their thoughts and reactions to the days events.

And these events seem to this observer to be slowly spiraling out of control. This is not the sudden spasm of war as we experienced in 1967 and 1973. This is like a slow motion explosion, almost a steady, determined march toward the battlements by Israel and its enemies as the IDF put more and more pressure on Hamas and the Palestinians to relent and release their captured soldier. It was perhaps inevitable that Hizballah, believing the Israelis tied down in Gaza, felt it an opportune moment to pull the tail of the lion thinking that they would be relatively safe from retaliation. This morning, the terrorist group launched dozens of rockets and mortar shells into the disputed Shebaa Farms region in southern Lebanon killing several IDF soldiers. They then kidnapped two surviving IDF men which precipitated the massive raid by Israel involving planes, helicopters, gunboats, and tanks. So far, the Israelis are making Hizballah wish they had stayed in bed.

Meanwhile, the United States is pointing the finger right where it belongs; Syria and Iran. If not aware of Hizballah’s attack prior to its launch, there is little doubt that the terrorists felt they would have the support of their two major backers in case things got sticky. Given what the IDF is doing to Hizballah pretensions of being a viable military outfit, things couldn’t get much stickier for them than they are right now.

Israel is calling up reserves and sources have revealed that unless the kidnapped soldiers are returned, Israel will escalate even further:

The IAF on Wednesday began to issue call up orders in preparation for retaliatory air strikes against Hizbullah targets in Lebanon, Channel 2 reported. The air force will target power stations and Hizbullah outposts inside Lebanon.

The army was also calling up reservists. Only weeks ago, an entire reserve division was drafted in order to train for an operation such as the one the IDF is planning in response to Wednesday morning’s Hizbullah attacks on IDF forces along the northern border.

A very high ranking military officer said that if the soldiers were not returned in good condition, Israel would turn Lebanon back 20 years by striking its vital infrastructure.

Clearly, the Israelis have had just about enough of Hizballah and their constant provocations and are giving the Lebanese government pretty much of an ultimatum; rein in the terrorists or suffer the consequences.

It appears that Israel may have reached a point that, surrounded as they are by peoples that wish to wipe them off the map, they feel that confronting their tormentors now rather than later is strategically advantageous to them. Hence, the IDF raid into Lebanon to retrieve the two captured soldiers (and pay a visit to Hizballah) is not only a challenge to Syria (who view themselves as Lebanon’s “protector”) but also Iran who may be eager to flex their regional muscles on behalf of their Syrian allies.

And Iran’s most powerful proxy in the region is Hizballah. It may be too much to believe that the Iranians urged Hizballah to take action in order to relieve pressure on Hamas - another Iranian proxy - in Gaza but it’s a possibility that can’t be dismissed. More likely, Hizballah’s leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah initiated the military action as a result of a combination of internal Lebanese politics and a belief that he could bargain for the thousands of Lebanese prisoners (many of them Hizballah terrorists) languishing in Israeli prisons.

Nasrallah has been under increasing pressure from the March 14 coalition to get on board the democracy bandwagon and disarm his militia. He has played games with the Lebanese government for months, dangling the possibility that he would fold his militia into the Lebanese armed forces all the while insisting that Hizballah be called “The Resistance” for their confronting Israel over Shebaa Farms, a small village claimed by Israel, Syria, and Lebanon. It could be that Nasrallah saw the opportunity for a quick “victory” over Israel by taking the soldiers and then exchanging them for Lebanese prisoners. If so, he has miscalculated monumentally. The Lebanese government has disowned his actions, the Israelis are shelling Hizballah positions unmercifully as I write this, and after all is said and done, the Lebanese people could blame Hizballah for the misery their actions inflict on the country.

And the Israelis aren’t letting the Lebanese government off the hook that easily. They are blaming them for the attacks. And why not? The attacks were initiated from Lebanese soil. The downside to this is that the Lebanese government may feel compelled to defend Hizballah even though they really don’t want to. This kind of thing could set back efforts to achieve Lebanese stability and democracy many months.

Iran, of course, has its own agenda. If Syria feels some kind of military demonstration is in order (and as Lebanon’s protector, Assad may feel he absolutely must do something or lose credibility in that regard), Israel may feel compelled to respond to any attack or demonstration with a strike of their own. Escalation would be virtually automatic after that happens.

This doesn’t help Baby Assad in Syria. Relatively speaking, Iran is a long way away and it is doubtful that Syria’s larger but vastly inferior armed forces could stand up to Israel long enough for Iranian intervention to make a difference. But the Iranians may have other plans which could include missile strikes on Israel’s cities.

God help us if the Iranians are stupid enough to initiate a missile exchange. Could the IDF be absolutely sure that those missiles contained conventional warheads? Would they wait to find out or would Israel go with a “launch on warning” policy where they just assume that any missile launched from Iran contains WMD?


None of the players want war (save possibly Iran). But the longer Israel remains in Lebanon, the shorter the fuse of war will burn. Let’s hope that Israel can get their captured soldiers back very soon. The alternative would be devastating to everyone involved.


First, Allah has a massive round-up at Hot Air, a dizzying array of links and commentary including a link to a Debka article that confirms some of my speculation - which worries me a little given their reputation for exaggeration and publishing outright rumor. For what its worth, they say that the attack by Hizballah was indeed meant to take the heat off Hamas and was approved by Iran. They also say that Syria is beating the war drums and that the Iranians also are on high alert.


Also, Kit and Heidi are reporting that Israel will declare war tonight.

Judging from the information contained in their updates, this looks like the real thing folks. If, as ER is reporting, Israel goes after Hizballah hammer and tongs, do not expect Syria and Iran to stand idly by while their number one proxy in the region is ripped to shreds. Right now, the only question is how severe their response will be. Will they take the risk and confront Israel directly? Or will they stop short of that and settle for demonstrations?

Time will tell.


  1. I’m watching right now on Fox — Shep says there is war now and I am afraid this is gonna get bad if the Iranian madman gets pissed and decides to join in. Then the maniac from NKorea may feel he isn’t getting enough attention and try to hit my dream vacation spot in paradise.
    All joking aside, may God be with Isreal and with us here in the States, I have no idea where this is gonna lead — we have war on two fronts now — FIGHTING TERRORISTS.

    Comment by Drewsmom — 7/12/2006 @ 6:09 pm

  2. Tension in the Middle East

    Rick Moran on the razor’s edge in the Middle East:Iran, of course, has its own agenda. If Syria feels some ki …

    Trackback by Chris At Home — 7/12/2006 @ 6:40 pm

  3. Chris, do you think this is funny or am I misunderstanding you?
    All the freaks are gonna come out and I for one am quiet disstrssed but if I misunderstood you I am sorry, I am a blonde chick ya know.

    Comment by Drewsmom — 7/12/2006 @ 6:44 pm

  4. A New Crisis for Israel

    Have no doubt that Hizbullah took this action to try and relieve the pressure on Gaza, because Israel will be seen as an aggressor into Lebanon despite the repeated provocations and now capture of its citizens. Israel has taken casualties in the effo…

    Trackback by A Blog For All — 7/12/2006 @ 7:35 pm

  5. The goal for Israel is not to merely get its two soldiers back. Israel must take the action needed to prevent future attacks. What goes does it do Israel if they get these two guys back, if Hezbollah simply does the same thing next week?

    Comment by steve sturm — 7/12/2006 @ 8:39 pm

  6. Israel: “An Act of War” By the Bear

    There was a statement out by the anti-Israeli liberal media which said the war was “unfair” because Israel has superior weapons. Also unfair is a hundred million Arabs against six million Jews.

    Trackback by The Absurd Report — 7/13/2006 @ 3:13 am

  7. Israel please be strong and bomb Hezbolla and Syria to dust goddimmit!!
    And while they are at it we should nuke Tehran.
    Send these animals back to the stone age where they belong!

    Do it now while we still have the chance.
    Do it now while we still have New York and L.A and Tel Aviv and Toronto.

    Comment by max Muller — 7/13/2006 @ 3:21 am

  8. It is about time we stop playing around with these guys. hit them hard now.

    Comment by Bob Z — 7/13/2006 @ 4:02 am

  9. I hope this is resolved quickly with maximum casualties amongst the Islamofacists.

    Comment by Jefferson R — 7/13/2006 @ 4:28 am

  10. The whole peace loving world is being drawn in to this war with Islam. Make no mistake about it. This is a war with Islam. Their theology is quite clear, there can be no compromise with the infidel, that is all the rest of the non-Islamic world. We must all try to follow God and do what is right. The real war is spiritual, and we are neck deep into it now! MAY gOD HAVE MERCY ON US ALL.

    Comment by ZionisticAmerican — 7/13/2006 @ 8:23 am

  11. [...] Rick Moran sees war coming as well: The news out of the Middle East today is grim and getting more grim by the hour. Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran are nerving themselves for a confrontation that could turn into a general war if things were to get out of control. [...]

    Pingback by The Real Ugly American.com » Blog Archive » The Brink of War? — 7/13/2006 @ 9:05 am

  12. I fault Israel for not doing exaclty this decades ago but hey, better late than never. The real moral of the story, the one that will NEVER be told by the terrorist-coddlers of the MSM is that, when dealing with islamic extremists, no good deed goes unpunished. All the concessions and statecraft these 50 odd years has come down to war. The Palis have declared ad nauseum that they long for war; they long for the chance to kill every Jew down to the last child. Now, let them pay and pay and pay.

    Comment by squidgie — 7/13/2006 @ 10:42 am

  13. They have sown the wind for years, for decades.

    Now they reap the whirlwind.

    Iran is a spectator. They don’t have the ability to project their military force. If they fire missiles, they will more than likely be shot down, and the retaliation will give the Ayatollahs a fast track back to the Stone Age they so desire to recreate.

    Syria is high on the list, too. Assad and his Allawite Ba’athists have been allowed to operate far too freely. They have been fomenting unrest in the West Bank and Gaza, on the Lebanon-Israel border, and in Iraq. It’s time the chickens came home to roost.

    Ironic that Syria may have managed to bring “regime change” upon themselves without ever making the “A” list of the “Axis of Evil.” At best, they are part of the “Axis of Weasels,” and justice is on the way already. Oops.

    Comment by Adjoran — 7/13/2006 @ 10:58 am

  14. Great timing on W.A.R to come online.

    Comment by DEagle — 7/13/2006 @ 5:44 pm

  15. I’m listening right now on klintoon news network the idiot syrian ambassodor blaming this on us for blaming other countries for defending themselves. He is a stupid ass wipe and he needs to release Lebanon from his countries influence.
    cnn has all the lefties on — boxer made me want to puke.

    Comment by Drewsmom — 7/13/2006 @ 8:44 pm

  16. Kill em now or kill em later, I like now. All the P.C. pussies will be wailing now…

    Comment by terry — 7/13/2006 @ 9:34 pm

  17. Jefferson R Said:
    4:28 am

    I hope this is resolved quickly with maximum casualties amongst the Islamofacists..

    Good Show!
    But make that total casualties as in
    DON’T LEAVE ANY LEFT ALIVE. The only safe Islamonazi is a dead one.

    Comment by max Muller — 7/13/2006 @ 9:42 pm

  18. My apologies to Max Muller you are right but maybe a few could have a slow painful death.

    Comment by Jefferson Ross — 7/14/2006 @ 12:54 am

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