Even Bashar al-Assad Recognized the Absurdity of Hizballah’s Claims to Har Dov

April 13 2021

Ostensibly founded in the early 1980s to drive Israel out of Lebanon, but in fact created to extend Iranian power, destroy the Jewish state, and fight America, Hizballah frequently speaks about seeking to end the Israeli “occupation” of what it calls Shebaa Farms, a strip of territory known in Hebrew as Har Dov. Frederic Hof, who spearheaded an American attempt to broker peace talks between Jerusalem and Damascus between 2009 and 2011, explains the background of this claim:

[I]n early 2000, Hizballah—the “Lebanese resistance” fighting Israeli occupation for nearly two decades—anxiously confronted the implications of possible catastrophic victory: complete, unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. If the occupation were to end, what would there be to “resist”? With nothing to resist, how could Iran’s Lebanese proxy justify maintaining a militia independent of the Lebanese Armed Forces?

Seven Shiite villages in northern Palestine had been separated from related communities in Lebanon by the Anglo-French boundary demarcation of Palestine and Greater Lebanon, completed in 1924. . . . Hizballah, anticipating Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, propagated the idea that the villages would have to be “returned” to Lebanon for Israeli occupation to be considered complete. It knew Israel would never comply with this outlandish demand. And Israel’s noncompliance would supposedly justify continued armed “resistance.” Syria—which wanted the “Resistance” to continue as a pressure point on Israel—fell quickly into line with Hizballah’s claim.

Despite the fraudulent nature of the claim, successive Lebanese governments have been obliged by Iran, working through Hezbollah, to accept it as genuine. The subject was addressed during my February 28, 2011, meeting with Assad. . . . [T]he land, said Assad, is Syrian. Full stop. So much for the “Resistance”!

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Read more at Newlines

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Golan Heights, Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon

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