Hizballah’s Limited Warfare and Iran’s Race to Build Nuclear Weapons

Antony Blinken wasn’t the only American diplomat visiting the Middle East this week. Yesterday, the presidential adviser and frequent envoy to the Levant Amos Hochstein arrived in Lebanon—following a trip to Israel last week—in an attempt to forestall a major escalation between Jerusalem and Hizballah. The Lebanon-based terrorist group has been involved in frequent exchanges of fire with the IDF since October 7. As Avigdor Haselkorn points out, Hizballah also has in its possession medium-range ballistic missiles, “some of which undoubtedly are slated to carry nuclear warheads when those become available.” Haselkorn delves into this Iranian proxy militia’s strategy:

Hizballah’s main mission is the same as that of Iran’s long-range missiles, namely to deter its enemies from attack and especially to prevent them from preempting Iran’s evolving nuclear program. Hizballah is Iran’s second-strike force, designed exclusively to launch paralyzing retaliatory strikes in case Israel attacks its nuclear sites—which, Tehran calculates, should dissuade the “Zionist regime” from such a “foolish adventure.”

Hizballah’s current restraint is geared toward tying down the IDF on Israel’s northern border in a protracted sideshow for as long as possible and thus necessarily forcing it to forsake going after Iran.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship