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Second Postcard From Lebanon

By: Meir Javedanfar

14/01/2009

The new round of Katyusha attacks by Hezbollah have increased the possibility that a second front may open in the north. There are questions about the timing and motivation of the new attacks.

What these attacks primarily show is that Iran is worried, for a number of valid reasons:

So far, after 19 days of fighting, the international community, especially the West is still not reigning in on Israel’s operation in Gaza. This does not bode well in Iran’s dealings with the EU and the expected upcoming negotiations with the US. Iranian strategists will be justified to ask: if the West is ignoring Iran now, how will it treat Iran over the all important nuclear negotiations? How quickly is this affair reducing Iran’s position vis a vi the West? What will this do to Iran’s position in the future?

There is also the question of Iran’s balance of power politics with moderate Arab states in the region. Since the beginning the fighting, numerous trips have been made by Iranian officials such as Secretary General of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani to regional countries such as Syria and more recently to Turkey. In all such trips, through their connections, they have tried to place pressure on Egypt, while rejecting the terms of the French – Egyptian peace proposal. Larijani even went as far as calling it a “honey injected with poison”. However these statements and efforts have still nothing yielded results. Egypt is still pressuring Hamas against Iran’s wishes while the EU and US for now seem to extend Israel’s visa in Gaza.

The Katyusha attacks this morning from the north were meant to send a message to Israel that Iran still maintains its powerful Hezbollah card and reserves the right to use it, if Tehran’s interests continue to be ignored or worst, threatened. Therefore current attitudes have to change and Iran’s point of view must be taken into consideration.

However it is probably unlikely that Iran will want a full war between Israel and Hezbollah, and this is why Palestinian militant factions are being used instead of Hezbollah to launch the attacks. Such a war could cost Hezbollah politically in the upcoming Lebanese elections in May 2009. It would make it very easy for Hezbollah’s rivals to justify their claims that Hezbollah is an Iranian puppet.

Also, so far in his career, Ayatollah Khamenei has been known to be a savvy politician. He has already seen how Hamas is in trouble. Would he be willing to risk losing two assets (Hamas and Hezbollah) in one fight? Some Iran analysts would disagree. However if he is willing to do that, Khamenei may be about to make a big mistake as such actions justify claims by Israel and the moderate Arab states that Iran is an element of instability in the region and thus it should be isolated even more. In the future, this could cost the Iranians in their efforts to improve their position in the region, especially if Obama is brought around to the anti Iran camp.

It would be in Israel’s interest to contain its response. For now, Israel seems to be placing significant pressure on Hamas and is winning in the diplomatic front. Focusing on the current struggle against Hamas and winning it will do much more damage to Iran and Hezbollah, than by opening a full second front in the north.


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Israel Does Not Want Another Hizbullah

By: Meir Javedanfar

As the world watches the flare-up in fighting between Israel and Hamas, it is important to analyze the wider goals of the IDF’s operation in Gaza.

To read the full article click here


Posted on : Dec 29 2008
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Posted under Hezbollah |

Has Nasrallah Been Poisoned?

By: Meir Javedanfar

22/10/2008

This afternoon, Haaretz, quoting the Iraqi site Almalaf ran the story “Hezbollah chief poisoned; Iranian doctors saved his life”.

Haaretz is one of, if not the most credible newspaper in Israel. The journalist who broke this story, is Yoav Stern. He is a fluent Arabic speaker and a strict professional when it comes to the reliability of his sources.

Therefore the story could be true.

But we must be aware of the circumstances surrounding this story.

There is currently a psychological warfare going on between Israel and Iran.

For example, the other day, Iranian press ran a story that the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan has been assassinated in Amman, Jordan. It quoted a blog in Montreal called Filka Israel, which it says belongs to the Blogspot community. Later on, it ran another story which said that the news is false, and is part of a “Zionist psychological warfare”.

The Nasrallah story may be part of the same game. It is possible that the Iranians may feel that they were tricked by the Israelis over the Dagan assassination story. And now they are getting their own back with the Nasrallah poisoning story.


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Posted on : Oct 22 2008
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Posted under Hezbollah |