Steven A. Cook

From the Potomac to the Euphrates

Cook examines developments in the Middle East and their resonance in Washington.

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Living Dangerously in Lebanon

by Steven A. Cook
October 29, 2010

Not a lot of time for blogging today. I have a post in the works for the weekend.

In the meantime, things are heating up in Lebanon. Hizballah Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah, declared today that cooperating with the international tribunal investigating the murder of former Prime Minister Rafiq Harriri is an “assault” on the “resistance” (i.e. Hizballah).

As anticipated, the Obama administration has started talking tough about the Syrians. Susan Rice laid into Damascus for destabilizing Lebanon.

Also, Terje Roed Larsen, the UN’s Special Envoy for Lebanon called the country “hyper-dangerous.”

This turn of events should not surprise anyone. The Doha Agreement of May/June 2008 never resolved the differences among Lebanon’s many factions and its foreign patrons. It was not really supposed to, however. The agreement was just a stop-gap. A year and a half later we seem to be back to a more dangerous square one.

Stay tuned.

Post a Comment 1 Comment

  • Posted by Morgan Kaplan

    Interesting development. The question is what renewed civil war in Lebanon would mean for Iran’s deterrence against Israel in the event of a preemptive strike on its nuclear reactors.

    If we assume – as we probably could – that Hezbollah would achieve a quick and decisive victory over other Lebanese factions (including the Lebanese Army), then Hezbollah’s military posture would likely not change vis-a-vis Israel.

    However, should Hezbollah become preoccupied in an elongated and resource consuming civil war, Hezbollah may no longer be in a position to carry out immediate retaliatory strikes against Israel on behalf of Iran. If so, Israel may find itself with a rare window of opportunity to execute a preemptive air strike on Iran’s reactors. Of course, whether air strikes would be conducted under any circumstances is a debate in and of itself, but it is still an interesting point to consider.

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