A Man Who Might Be Iran’s Next Supreme Leader Appears on Israel’s Border

In recent months, Tehran’s forces and proxy armies in Syria have crossed the country’s eastern border to link up with their counterparts in Iraq. More recently, the former Iranian presidential candidate Ibrahim Raisi has been seen on the Lebanese border with Israel, accompanied by Iranian and Hizballah officers. Elliott Abrams comments:

Raisi . . . is a member of the Assembly of Experts that will choose a successor to the “supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei and is a candidate for that position himself. Visiting Beirut, he took time to talk with the head of Hizballah and to pay his respects at the home of the late terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh. . . .

[This] visit delivers several messages. First, borders have no meaning for Iran; the Islamic Republic is determined to be the dominant player in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Second, the governments of those countries have no control of their own borders and territory; Iranian military and terrorist leaders can come and go as they please. Third, whether Lebanon gets into a conflict with Israel will be determined by decisions made in Tehran, not in Beirut.

That is a sad development for most Lebanese, who are not fanatical Hizballah supporters. But it is one the United States should keep in mind as we assess our relations with Lebanon and our military aid to that country.

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More about: Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Middle East

No, Israel Hasn’t Used Disproportionate Force against Hamas

Aug. 15 2018

Last week, Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza launched nearly 200 rockets and mortars into Israel, in addition to the ongoing makeshift incendiary devices and sporadic sniper fire. Israel responded with an intensive round of airstrikes, which stopped the rockets. Typically, condemnations of the Jewish state’s use of “disproportionate force” followed; and typically, as Peter Lerner, a former IDF spokesman, explains, these were wholly inaccurate:

The IDF conducted, by its own admission, approximately 180 precision strikes. In the aftermath of those strikes the Hamas Ministry of Health announced that three people had been killed. One of the dead was [identified] as a Hamas terrorist. The two others were reported as civilians: Inas Abu Khmash, a twenty-three-year-old pregnant woman, and her eighteen-month daughter, Bayan. While their deaths are tragic, they are not an indication of a disproportionate response to Hamas’s bombardment of Israel’s southern communities. With . . . 28 Israelis who required medical assistance [and] 30 Iron Dome interceptions, I would argue the heart-rending Palestinian deaths indicate the exact opposite.

The precision strikes on Hamas’s assets with so few deaths show how deep and thorough is the planning process the IDF has put in place. . . . Proportionality in warfare, [however], is not a numbers game, as so many of the journalists I’ve worked with maintain. . . . Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against the anguish that the action might cause to civilians in the vicinity. . . . In the case of the last few days, it appears that even intended combatant deaths were [deemed] undesirable, due to their potential to increase the chances of war. . . .

The question that should be repeated is why indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians from behind Gazan civilians is accepted, underreported, and not condemned.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict