Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Another Middle East War?
Earlier today, two katyusha rockets fell on northern Israel, raising fears that "Islamic" militants in southern Lebanon are trying to spark a new war in the Middle East upon President Bush's arrival in the region. One rocket slammed into a house and the other hit a lamp post, but no injuries were reported. Shortly after the rocket attack, a UN peacekeeping patrol was hit by a roadside bomb south of the Lebanese capital, Beirut. Two soldiers from the Spanish contingent based in the country;s south received injuries. In response to the attacks, Israel has raised its alert level along its border with Lebanon. It's not clear who was behind the attacks, but suspects include Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group that fought a war with Israel back in 2006, and the Al-Qaeda linked Fatah Al-Islam group that waged a bloody battle with Lebanon's army last year in the Nahr El Bared Palestinian refugee camp.
United World Analysis:
It seems just a little too coincidental that this is happening a day after Iranian patrol boats engaged in a hostile confrontation with US warships in the Persian Gulf. It is very likely that Iran and Hezbollah would like to see the Middle East go up in flames just in time for President Bush's visit. What better way to make the USA look like a complete failure than to have a repeat of the Summer '06 war?
Although this seems unlikely, it's also possible that Sunni militant groups like Fatah Al-Islam are competing with Hezbollah for dominance in the region. Back in June, Al-Qaeda linked militants captured in southern Lebanon admitted to firing rockets into Israel in order to put blame on Hezbollah. Again though, it does not seem likely that Sunni and Shiite militant groups in Lebanon are allowing their hatred for each other to get in the way of their hatred for the Jewish state of Israel.
Israel has done the right thing by holding itself back. Today, the Israelis said they will not respond until the situation is carefully assessed and they figure out who was behind the rocket barrage. If the IDF had responded by launching an assault on Hezbollah or other militant positions in southern Lebanon, they could have done exactly what the terrorists want, which is to make Israel look like the bad guy.