Nuclear arms in the Middle East
Israel is attacking the Iraqis
The Syrians are mad at the Lebanese
And Baghdad does whatever she please
--The Envoy, Warren Zevon
Can one preach at home inequality of races and nations
and advocate abroad good-will towards all men?
I was dead wrong. Now the bodies have been returned in a prisoner exchange for closure for the country and the families.
"Kantar, who had been serving multiple life terms in Israel for a grisly 1979 attack, wiped away tears as he stood before a crowd in the coastal border town of Naqoura.
"The five later flew to Beirut, where they received an official welcome from the president and were congratulated by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, who was last seen in public in January.
"Your return is a new victory and the future with you will only be a shinning march in which we achieve the sovereignty of our land and the freedom of people,'' President Michel Suleiman said in his address. 'I congratulate the resistance (Hezbollah) for this new achievement.' (Lebanese Militant Released in Israeli Prisoner Exchange Swap.)''
And just what is this " new achievement" for which Lebanese President Suleiman praises Hezbollah?
Beyond the story, this episode is instructive of the spectrum of warfare. Hezbollah has progressed beyond terrorism to become a true military force. This is true despite killing Israeli soldiers in violation of the rules of war and the dictates of common humanity. But who can blame them when U.S. policy also violates the Geneva Conventions on a daily basis?
If one doubts this transition one need only look at the photo of murderer Kantar as he arrives to a hero's welcome in Beirut. Hezbollah has reached the status of a military force within a state and beyond the control of that state, or so goes the fiction.
Hezbollah is not a rogue actor but an instrument of state policies which allows them plausible deniability. The group may be acting as the unofficial army of the Lebanese state. If George Bush is so bone-headed that he is considering a military strike on Iran, or he is considering unleashing Israeli forces in a proxy attack, the Hezbollah wild card should be fully considered prior to any ill-advised strikes being launched against Iran.
Hezbollah is a counterforce that is more powerful than any nuclear weapon that could be developed by Iran. The entire Middle East is out of the control of U.S. policy.