Thursday, 4 June 2009

Election battle

Kaveh Afrasiabi writes in Asia Times on what is at stake in the Lebanese elections:

Where Iran has Hezbollah, Israel has Jundallah, given Israel's apparent efforts to destabilize Iran by playing an "ethnic card" against it. This, by some reports, it is doing by nurturing the Sunni Islamist group Jundallah to parallel Tehran's support for Lebanon's formidable Shi'ite group, Hezbollah, that is favored to win parliamentary elections on June 7.

Should the Hezbollah-led coalition win as anticipated, the result will be even closer military-to-military relations between Iran and Lebanon, reflected in Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrollah's recent statement that he would look to Tehran to modernize Lebanon's army.

Afrasiabi develops this theme in a second piece :

Israel, it appears, is not wasting any time in cultivating the seeds of a future conflict with Lebanon, where a military defeat for a Hezbollah-controlled government would be devastating to Hezbollah's political fortunes.

It has recently been revealed by former Israeli chief of staff General Dan Halutz that Israel failed to assassinate Hezbollah's political leader, Hassan Nasrallah, during the 2006 Lebanon war.

This, together with the Lebanese government's arrest of nine Lebanese who were spying for Israel's Mossad, reflects the basic tenor of Israel's one-dimensional security approach toward the evolving political developments in Lebanon.

Conspicuously absent in the US and Israeli calculations about the political and geostrategic implications of a Hezbollah victory is any appreciation of how this may actually deepen Hezbollah's moderation.

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