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Another Lebanon War Brewing?

5:27 PM, May 11, 2010 • By JOHN NOONAN
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This could have serious ramifications:

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday accused nuclear power North Korea of supplying Syria withweapons of mass destruction.

Lieberman's office quoted him as telling Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama at a meeting in Tokyo that such activity threatened to destabilise east Asia as well as the Middle East.

"The cooperation between Syria and North Korea is not focused on economic development and growth but rather on weapons of mass destruction" Lieberman said.

In evidence he cited the December 2009 seizure at Bangkok airport of an illicit North Korean arms shipment which US intelligence said was bound for an unnamed Middle East country.

Lieberman said Syria intended to pass the weapons on to theLebanese Hezbollah militia and to the Islamic Hamas movement, which rules Gaza and has its political headquarters in Damascus.

It's also been reported that Hezbollah is taking SCUD missile shipments from an unnamed supplier (probably Syria). This combination could get dangerous very quickly. Both Syria and Hezbollah seem to be itching for a repeat of the 2006 Lebanon War, which wasn't the IDF's best battlefield showing. Hezbollah has fully recharged and recovered since the summer war, with advanced new weapons ready should they be inclined to use them. 

But that's not the real concern. The IDF can still control battlespace adequately. Israel's problem is that every time they take legitimate measures to defend against unwelcome and unprovoked attacks, they are immediately the target of strong condemnation from the international community. I've read this script before: Hezbollah or Hamas deliberately provokes Israel into military response, Israel catches hell from the international community for just use of force in an unquestioned case of self-defense, and has to tuck tail and run before their military objectives are accomplished. So we wash, rinse, and repeat -- with each military incursion by the Israelis into Gaza or Lebanon or the West Bank predictably spun as more brutal than the last. 

Hezbollah's strategy to dismantle the Jewish state is not reliant upon battlefield victory. It's wholly centered around provoking Israel into military action,then waging a devastating PR campaign when the IDF inadvertently, and inevitably, kills the Lebanese civilians in close proximity to gun and rocket emplacements. That Hezbollah crafts these conflicts deliberately, then places innocents directly in the line of fire, seems to be of little concern. 

Deploying WMDs and SCUDs in southern Lebanon is unacceptable. Israel, Syria, and Hezbollah all understand this. And even though the move might be an Iranian sideshow designed to keep their nuclear program safe, it's unlikely that Israel will allow such an overtly aggressive move slide by unchecked. The IDF will go to the mattresses, Hezbollah will go to the media.

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