Monday, August 14, 2006

Sy Hersh: White House Interests in Israel vs. Hezbollah

It's been widely assumed that Israel and the neocon faction in the White House have had common interests in weakening Hezbollah. It's also been assumed that Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, and Iran have common interests in raising the terror activities against Israel.

It's easy to see the Israel vs. Hezbollah conflict as a proxy and beta test for U.S. vs. Iran.

Assumption and speculation is something we can all do. But what Seymour Hersh does is find people who know and are willing to spill. His latest New Yorker piece is online. It's granular and specific and worth close attention.

According to Hersch there was more than a common interest between the White House and the Olmert government, there were also cooperation in planning and intelligence. Hersh quotes an unnamed former U.S. intelligence officer:
“We told Israel, ‘Look, if you guys have to go, we’re behind you all the way. But we think it should be sooner rather than later—the longer you wait, the less time we have to evaluate and plan for Iran before Bush gets out of office.’ ”
It remains to be seen how significantly Israel has managed to degrade Hezbollah's ability to attack and harrass. But the past month has clearly shown the limits of an air war. Hersh writes:
The surprising strength of Hezbollah’s resistance, and its continuing ability to fire rockets into northern Israel in the face of the constant Israeli bombing, the Middle East expert told me, “is a massive setback for those in the White House who want to use force in Iran. And those who argue that the bombing will create internal dissent and revolt in Iran are also set back."
Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival tells Hersh that if the U.S. bombs the Iranian nuclear facilities, “you may end up turning Ahmadinejad into another Nasrallah—the rock star of the Arab street.”

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