Crossfire War – Tehran – Beirut – Damascus Watch – West Asia Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Damascus – Beirut/Jerusalem – Cairo – Paris – Rome; Lebanon Fires Anti-Aircraft Guns At Israeli Reconnaissance Flights
Night Watch: BEIRUT – Tehran is having more and more influence over Beirut’s decision making, despite Western ally Fouad Siniora. He is still hanging on as Prime Minister. The AP reports that Lebanese anti-aircraft guns have fired on Israeli reconnaissance flights for the first time in years.
Reconnaissance have been routine missions for Israel’s Air Force ever since Tehran had Hezbollah establish itself in Lebanon more than 20 years ago, but with Hezbollah having completed its re-supply, through Damascus-Tehran, Lebanon’s army has now had its second armed encounter with Israel in south Lebanon. The first was an exchange of fire between ground forces on Feb. 7 and now this targeting of Israeli warplanes. [AKI]
The official reason for the firing was that Israel “violated Lebanese sovereignty, posing a challenge to UN Resolution 1701.” That was the resolution, which ended the 34-day war last summer between Israel/Hezbollah, but it was mentioned, during and after the fighting, that Hezbollah had excellent relations with Lebanon’s military. Though Lebanon has not fought a war with Israel since 1948-49, right after Israel’s re-establishment, Beirut seems ready to join the next one.
After the ceasefire in August, Lebanon has deployed 16,000 troops near the border with Israel and they are definitely not opposed to Hezbollah, or to Iran and Syria, but to Israel and UNIFIL, which has 12,000 troops from European countries also in south Lebanon.
Tehran-Damascus know the next regional war will have a far greater impact than the limited one last summer and will again distract the UN and the Allies from concentrating on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. We may now be witnessing the opening moves of the next war, one that Tehran and especially Damascus are ready to enter.