Israel’s Unnamed War in Lebanon

From 1985 to 2000, Israel and its Lebanese allies maintained a security zone in southern Lebanon, meant as a buffer to protect northern Israel from attacks by the PLO and, later, by Hizballah. The nameless, low-intensity war between Israel and Hizballah is the subject of a new book by Matti Friedman, who served with the IDF in the security zone for two years. He discusses the war’s lessons, and his changing attitude toward Israel’s situation. (Interview by Mitch Ginsburg).

[At the time of the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000], I still believed that [such concessions would lead to some sort of reconciliation between Israel and its enemies]. I got through [my tour of duty in] Lebanon . . . believing that. I thought that Lebanon was the end of something. I thought that the problem was on the way to being solved and I thought that reasonable and generous moves on our part would move things in a better direction. When the army pulled out of Lebanon, I was happy. I thought that the problem was resolved by the withdrawal.

But everything that happened that year, after the withdrawal—with the collapse of the peace process and the beginning of the intifada, the attack on the border, and the kidnapping of three soldiers from the old security zone which we had just given back—that’s when, like many other Israelis, I started to understand that things don’t work the way we want them to work, and that the Middle East does not respond to our dictates or desires.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Hizballah, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Lebanon, Matti Friedman, PLO, Second Intifada

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy