October 28, 2006

Lebanon's Aftermath

Via Lebanon's Aftermath:

Two months after the end of the Middle East's summer war the good news is that the Israeli-Lebanese border is quiet and looks as if it may remain so for some time. The bad news is that neither the small nor the large factors that triggered the fighting - the abduction of Israeli soldiers by Hamas and Hizballah, and Iran's new drive for power in the region - have been alleviated.

Judging from what Israeli raids have been uncovering in Gaza, Palestinian militants are eager to imitate what they perceive as Hizballah's success in standing up to the Israeli army in the villages of southern Lebanon - and Iran's agents are just as eager to help them. Entering the border zone between Gaza and Egypt last week for the first time in months, Israeli forces found some 15 tunnels that they say were being used to smuggle sophisticated weapons, such as Russian-made Concourse anti-tank missiles, 122-millimeter Grad rockets, and more than 15 tons of TNT. Firings of Kassam rockets from Gaza at nearby Israeli towns have continued, along with Israeli raids to capture or kill the militants behind them.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues to harbor one of the architects of the war, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, who ordered the June raid inside Israel that began the fighting. Now, from his perch in Damascus, he torpedoes attempts by Egypt and other Arab governments to broker accords to release the Israeli captive in Gaza and create a more moderate Palestinian government.