Thursday, June 20, 2013

WSJ: "The West has to destroy Hezbollah!"

"... Hezbollah's decision to intervene in Syria is the result of another reassessment of strength by its leaders and their partners in Tehran. How the West responds will ultimately prove whether their calculations were correct....
Hezbollah's adventure in Syria has captured the attention of everyone from its adversaries in the Persian Gulf to Assad's investors in Moscow....
Meanwhile, Hezbollah's victories have reassured Russia and Iran that Assad's troops will continue to be augmented by an arguably more effective and motivated fighting force. Weeks before the Qusayr campaign, in April, Mr. Nasrallah met with Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran and with Russia's deputy foreign minister in Beirut, presumably to coordinate their positions. Since the Qusayr offensive, Moscow has remained conveniently silent, and Tehran has boosted its troop presence in Syria, according to ground reports.
Israel more than most stands to lose from a resurgent Hezbollah. Despite sustaining hundreds of losses in Qusayr alone, Hezbollah's fighters are gaining valuable combat experience that could be useful in a future conflict with Israeli forces. After witnessing Hezbollah's ability to capture large swaths of territory in Syria, Jerusalem can no longer shrug off Mr. Nasrallah's threats to invade Israel's Galilee region in the next war.
Iran is also likely to continue leveraging the Assad regime to transport weapons to Hezbollah's coffers, despite threats of additional Israeli airstrikes. Hezbollah's acquisition of Iranian anti-air, anti-ship and surface-to-surface missiles would not only guarantee Mr. Nasrallah long-term military hegemony within and without Lebanon. It would also provide Tehran with a greater deterrent against any future Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities.
It's doubtful whether the West fully comprehends the implications of Hezbollah's growing involvement in Syria. The European Union continues to fumble over whether or not to blacklist Hezbollah as a terror group, which would do untold damage to the group's financial operations across the Continent. The U.S., meanwhile, has only begun to warm up to the idea of arming the Syrian rebels.
Rather than confront the looming threat of Hezbollah, Western strategists are still grappling with concerns over which rebel group to arm, or what regime might replace Assad's. They fail to realize that if Hezbollah's involvement continues unchecked, these questions will become irrelevant. The time has come for the West to stop obsessing about the risks of stopping the Assad regime, Hezbollah and Iran, and start considering the consequences of not stopping them."

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