Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Ethics, Iran, Lebanon, Middle East, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 10:55 am

The other shoe dropped today in Israel’s war against Hamas when two rockets were launched from southern Lebanon, striking an old folks home and slightly injuring a resident.

Israel responded with an artillery barrage at the site. Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora played the moral equivalencey card to perfection, decrying the attack launched from Lebanon - almost certainly by a Palestinian faction - while condemning Israel for their response.

In this, Siniora proves how much of a figurehead he really is. The man calling the shots in Lebanon at the moment is Hezb’allah “spiritual” leader Hassan Nassrallah. And the Palestinians responsible for launching the rockets were, at the very least, acting with his knowledge and approval. There is not much that happens in the south of Lebanon that escapes the attention of Nasrallah so despite Hezb’allah claims that they were not responsible for the attacks, the action has Hezb’allah’s fingerprints all over it.

Does it also have Iran’s?

It is sometimes too easy to draw a straight line from Iran to Hezb’allah in Lebanon and proclaim that the mullahs in Tehran ordered the attack. Nassrallah has his own agenda and to call him a simple puppet of Iran simply isn’t true. However, there is little doubt that when Hezb’allah’s interests coincide with Tehran’s, they are more than eager to help facilitate Iran’s strategic vision. And in this case, because of the meshing of interests between the two, it is too obvious to dismiss this action as anything except an attempt by Iran to open a second front against Israel, hoping perhaps to get the Jewish state bogged down in another Lebanese debacle.

Writing in Haaretz, Yoav Stern:

Several days before Israel launched Operation Cast Lead …, Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki called several of his European counterparts and warned that Israel would face additional fronts if it attacked [Hamas in Gaza].

The rocket fire on Thursday morning … can be seen as the realization of the Iranian threat.

It is safe to assume that Palestinian operatives, working in coordination with Hizbullah and sponsored by Iran, are responsible. …

For now, Hizbullah is too sophisticated to claim responsibility. …

However, Nasrallah’s rhetoric from recent days says it all: “We are prepared for all Israeli aggression,” he said. In other words, Hizbullah won’t take responsibility for the rockets into Israel, but will claim credit for standing up against any Israeli retaliatory attacks, should there be any. …

Israel must now decide what the price tag will be for Thursday’s attacks on the north, knowing that a harsh response is likely to bring with it an escalation on the northern front and increasing international criticism.

Iran has played this card well. Israel, winding down operations in Gaza and under intense international pressure to stop fighting, can hardly be expected to launch any major military operations against the south of Lebanon - especially with the UN “peacekeepers” there.

David Hornik, writing at Pajamas Media:

If the border tensions escalate, it will also be a test case for the arrangements in place since August 2006 when, at the end of the Second Lebanon War, UN Security Resolution 1701 mandated the deployment to southern Lebanon of the Lebanese army and a beefed-up UNIFIL force ostensibly to keep Hezbollah in check and prevent further hostilities.

Critics have charged that 1701 is a flop because, since that time, Hizbullah has tripled its arsenal of missiles under the Lebanese army and UNIFIL’s vacant gaze. Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has continued to claim that 1701-and the Second Lebanon War itself-is a success because Hizbullah hasn’t been firing any of these projectiles and is supposedly deterred. Reports that UNIFIL and the Lebanese army had been stepping up their border patrols since Cast Lead began seemed to bolster the more positive view

An escalation in the north, though, would put an end to much of this speculation. It would show that 1701 has prevented neither Hezbollah’s armament nor its use of the arms, which would seem logical since terror organizations and other entities don’t generally amass arsenals just to look at them. It would also show that Iran is indeed interested in expanding the war even at a time when it is in economic distress from falling oil prices.

In fact, one of those UNIFIL patrols stumbled on some rocket launchers in southern Lebanon last week not far from where today’s attack was initiated.

Too bad they missed the other 39,999 rockets shipped to Lebanon by Iran through Syria that Hezb’allah now has in their possession.

We know what’s in it for Iran by opening a second front; embarrass Israel, tempt them to overreact, deflect attention from their nuclear program, perhaps even take some pressure off of Hamas militarily.

But what’s in it for Nasrallah?

The most important elections in Lebanon’s history will take place on June 7 of this year when Lebanese go to the polls to elect Members of Parliament. A new electoral agreement signed at the conference at Doha last year will give fewer seats to members of Christian sects while increasing the number of Shia representatives in the fast growing south of the country. It is possible to imagine - although a long shot at this point - that a coalition of Shia parties and the Christian Free Patriotic Movement led by Michel Aoun as well as a few minor pro-Syrian groups could win control of the parliament.

The March 14th coalition of democrats, led by Sunni Rafiq Hariri and containing a coalition of Christian and moderate Sunni parties, is still expected to poll a majority of seats - if the election is free and fair and Nasrallah doesn’t try any bully boy tactics. That last is hardly a given, however, and it remains to be seen if any election in Lebanon can be free from the taint of Hezb’allah’s menacing influence. After all, they are the ones with the guns. And they have shown in the past that when they don’t get their way politically, Nasrallah will unleash his militia to attack other Lebanese factions.

But Nasrallah would prefer a little international legitimacy and to do so, he will probably play as fair as he is able where the election is concerned. To that end, he needs to constantly remind the voters of who their real enemy is (Israel) and who actually safeguards Lebanon (not the army). US attempts to strengthen the Lebanese military have been well meaning but much too little to make a difference in that moribund, barracks bound army. This suits Nasrallah fine as he desires no competition for the role of “Protector of Lebanon” and showing off Hezb’allah as the official “resistance” to Israel.

The rocket attack on Israel - almost certainly personally approved by Nasrallah - plays into both Iran’s strategic requirements to weaken Israel (and by extension, the West) while giving Nasrallah an opportunity to remind the Lebanese voter of Hezb’allah’s independence from the marginally pro-western government of Siniora and the terrorist’s claim as the guarantor of Lebanese sovereignty.

Might we expect more rocket attacks from southern Lebanon? I think it is almost a certainty that as long as the IDF is active in Gaza, more provocations will come from that quarter.

This post originally appears at The American Thinker


Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has a different take:

When Hezbollah goaded Israel into a war in the sub-Litani region in 2006, they launched a large number of missiles, and more effective missiles, in their attack. Firing three old missiles sounds more like the actions of a Hamas auxiliary crossing the border in order to stir up another war to distract Israel from Gaza. However, it also seems unlikely that any group could haul around missiles without getting Hezbollah’s permission to do so, and Hezbollah might not mind the idea of Israel engaging them at this point.

The Lebanese government issued a statement saying that they would investigate the rocket fire and try to determine who attacked Israel. Their army defused eight Katyushas in December in the same town where this missile attack originated, but their ability to hold the line on attacks is obviously limited. Hezbollah dominates the sub-Litani, even after Beirut promised in 2006 to have its own army take control in that region and the UN bolstered its UNIFIL mission. Their writ does not consistently run in that area, thanks to Hezbollah, which means thanks to Iran and Syria.

Ed reports that suspicion for the rocket attacks has fallen on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command and their notorious leader Ahmad Jibril. The PFLP-GC is closely allied with Syria (they have training bases there) and also are closely associated with Hezbullah and Iran. In fact, Jibril is the first old gaurd Palestinian to seek aid from Iran.

I would think this information buttresses my contention that Iran-Hezb’allah rather than Hamas (who has taken responsibility for the a missile attacks from Lebanon) are also interested in opening a second front against Israel - for their own reasons.

UPDATE II: Welcome Michelle Malkin Readers!

I appreciate it when Michelle posts a link to my stuff in her sidebar. Not only do I get a nice bump in traffic but the quality of the comments rises as well!

Perhaps you may have heard that Right Wing Nuthouse was nominated in the “Best Conservative Blog” category for the weblog awards. Michelle, of course was nominated in the same category.

Please head on over and vote for one of us. If you are feeling charitable and would like to take pity on an old fat man, please vote for me.

The 2008 Weblog Awards


  1. I wonder if today’s large demonstration in Damsascus spewing hatred at Israel and the fact
    that Iranian officials are in the same city meeting with the Syrians is a bad omen ? I feel that Iran would love to have both Hezbollah and Syria engage Israel militarily, but Iran does not want to be seen as the bad guy. Also, if the war is expanded and Obama supports and resupplies Israel then it gives Admadineajad a chance to prove to the Muslim world that Obama is just another Bush.

    Comment by Norm — 1/8/2009 @ 12:10 pm

  2. In another comment I said that America should always put America’s national interests in the middle east before the interests of Israel. If American interests diverge from Israel’s we must have an America first policy.

    When I wrote that, I didn’t see how the interests of the two countries could diverge very much. Now I do.

    The war is widening. It is in Israel’s interest to respond. The wise move for them tactically and morally is to respond aggressively. Israel must show that terrorist violence will not change its resolve. Israel should attack Lebanon and increase its retaliation in Gaza. If they don’t, they will look weak and irresolute, which would only encourage the terrorists. Unfortunately, this could possibly lead to a wider war with Syria, Lebanon, and Iran.

    America’s primary strategic interest in the middle east is to ensure a safe and reliable flow of oil to the United States and the rest of the global economy. It is especially important now because of a global economic slow down. A wider war in the middle east would significantly reduce the supply of oil. It would create havoc in world oil markets. We could see $200 barrels of oil again. This would be very bad for the U.S.A.
    in a time when she is already struggling. (Do you think Obama could handle the type of crisis I am describing?)

    Right now it is in America’s strategic interest to avoid a wider war with Lebanon, Syria and Iran. We don’t need the oil shock and we don’t need to open up three more fronts in the war against Islamo-facism. Not now. Not with Obama as commander in chief.

    Sadly, this is a lose/lose situation for the U.S.A.
    If the war widens it will prove a disaster for our interests. If we diplomatically prevent a wider war, we will look like terrorist loving appeasers.

    Both outcomes weaken our interests in the region.

    Not very well played.

    Comment by bs jones — 1/8/2009 @ 3:02 pm

  3. Rick, you really ought to debate this with my fellow associate blogger at OTB, Alex Knapp. Alex won’t even accept that Hamas are Iranian proxies even though they obviously fit the dictionary definition of the word.

    Comment by Dave Schuler — 1/8/2009 @ 6:08 pm

  4. you do realize that Israel said the headline was not accurate.
    you do realize it is not that hard to fire a rocket, and pushing the false facts you are makes it seem you want a larger conflict in the middle east… so I ask you, Why?

    Comment by Thomas Paine — 1/8/2009 @ 10:01 pm

  5. To the aptly-named “BS”

    Not now. Not with Obama as commander in chief.

    Get something straight: Mr. Bush and the GOP have zero credibility in this or any other area of policy. Zero. You may regain some at some point. But right now a Republican sneer at Obama is like Zippy the Pinhead dissing Einstein.

    Not with Obama as Commander in Chief? Nah, it’d be so much better with the current Commander who was, um, commanding us up to and including the moment this latest mess blew up.


    Comment by michael reynolds — 1/9/2009 @ 12:12 am

  6. The quality of the comments rises? You have got to be kidding. Oh yeah, it’s definitely a renaissance over there for pedestrian conservative thoughts……

    Comment by the Fly-Man — 1/9/2009 @ 7:22 am

  7. michael reynolds,


    I mean…


    Oh, just forget it.

    Comment by bs jones — 1/9/2009 @ 3:59 pm

  8. [...] “Iran Opens Second Front Against Israel” Originally published:  8 January 2009 Submitted by:  U.S. Common Sense Summary:  Examining if Hezballah’s rocket attack on Israel was actually an attack by Iran. [...]

    Pingback by Political Blog Weekly: 16 January 2009 | U.S. Common Sense — 1/15/2009 @ 3:02 am

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