April 9, 2003


Jerusalem Urges Bush: Next Target Hezbollah: Warns of Threat To U.S. Security (ORI NIR, 4/11/03 FORWARD)
Critics of Hezbollah argue that the group's global network of sleeper cells and its ability to destabilize the region with missile attacks against Israel make it impossible for the Bush administration to ignore. Israeli sources said that one plausible scenario would be an American green light for Israeli strikes against Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, following American diplomatic measures to ensure that such Israeli actions would not spark a Syrian reaction.

"Clearly, we would have to work together closely on this one," said an Israeli diplomat in Washington.

Several experts warned that any military or diplomatic action by the United States against Hezbollah could trigger a string of devastating, retaliatory terrorist strikes.

"They have dormant cells around the world, which they can easily decide to use," said Gal Luft, an expert on Hezbollah who co-directs the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, a small Washington-based advocacy group dedicated to ending America's dependence on Arab oil.

Israel's position is that after stabilizing the situation in Iraq, the United States should act against Hezbollah, regardless of the organization's behavior during the war, sources said.

Israeli sources told the Forward that even if Hezbollah does not actively fight with Iraq in the war, action must be taken because the organization has both the motivation and the ability to launch future attacks. Israeli officials have warned that Hezbollah boasts a military capability exceeding that of some Arab states, and a global network of dormant cells with the ability to hit American targets around the world.

Also, Israeli officials warn, Hezbollah could at any moment destabilize the region by provoking Jerusalem with cross-border attacks.

"Hezbollah can easily flare up Israel's northern border and drag us into a war with Syria," said an Israeli diplomat in Washington. "This is potentially very dangerous." [...]

During a conference on terrorism last September, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said that "Hezbollah may be the 'A team' of terrorists," while "Al Qaeda is actually the 'B team.'"

Armitage said that Hezbollah is "on the list, their time will come, there's is no question about it." He continued: "they have a blood debt to us and... we're not going to forget it," referring to several anti-American attacks for which the group has claimed credit.

"All in good time we're going to go after these problems, just like a high school wrestler goes out for a match: we're going to take [them] down one at a time," he told the conference, hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace.

This one probably has to wait until there's a Palestinian state, so that the main irritant is removed and we can take Syria while Israel goes back into S. Lebanon. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 9, 2003 10:10 PM

No Palestinian state. Nope. Nada. Never. Well, maybe after monkeys fly out of my butt or the so-called Palestinian people become peaceful, which ever happens first.

Posted by: Paul A'Barge at April 9, 2003 10:23 PM

Take Syria first, and the Palestinians will be more inclined to accept a democratic state and abandon war with Israel.

Posted by: pj at April 9, 2003 10:50 PM


We can't realistic fight a war with Israel as our main strategic partner unless we're prepared to just kill Arabs by the hundreds of thousands..

Posted by: oj at April 9, 2003 11:28 PM

If that's the case, then we can do it single-handedly, without Israel, just as we did in Iraq.

At some point, we have to put our foot down and say clearly, "Terrorism is intolerable, and we won't tolerate it. All terrorists have to be destroyed and all regimes that support terrorism have to be overthrown. And we will continue to destroy terror groups - yes, even in Palestine - until terror ends."

The Arabs will be unhappy but they'll live with it.

Like Harry in a comment on another post, I think we give way too much deference to wrong-headed Arab opinion. When they make moral sense, let's defer to them; but not before.

Posted by: pj at April 10, 2003 10:19 AM

Is the presense of Iraq's leaders in Syria (if that's where they've gone) a pretext for taking them out? How about a whiff that Saddam's WMDs have gone there? Is that something the administration seems to be hinting at? Maybe I'm just reading between too many lines.

Posted by: NKR at April 10, 2003 11:39 AM

NKR - I think they're trying to deter Syria from hurting us, but also to spread public knowledge of Syrian misdeeds. War is impossible without persuading the public first, as the Syrians know. Letting the public know about Syrian acts of quasi-war helps create war as an option, and gives our diplomacy more teeth.

I don't think there's an intention to go to war, so I wouldn't say they're searching for pretexts.

Posted by: pj at April 10, 2003 12:38 PM

We can definitely do it ourselves.

Posted by: oj at April 10, 2003 1:03 PM