|The news out of Lebanon and Israel just gets crazier this morning.
According to the Associated Press, Israeli ground troops briefly crossed into Lebanon overnight to conduct an "operation." Says AP:
A military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said that a small group of Israeli troops had crossed into Lebanon overnight to attack a Hezbollah position, but then returned to Israel.
"There was a small operation in a very limited area overnight," the official said. "That is over."
Israel has been reluctant to send ground troops into southern Lebanon, an area that officials say has been heavily mined by Hezbollah and could lead to many Israeli casualties.
Israel would also want to quickly withdraw from the area, rather than get involved in a prolonged conflict like its 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon that ended in May 2000. The bloody nature of the fighting at the that time and the high number of casualties finally forced the government to cave into public pressure to withdraw from southern Lebanon and end the contentious occupation.
And while it isn't getting as much press, Israel continues to pound it's former fundee, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip.
And Hezbollah rockets, possibly supplied by Iran, continue to stream into Haifa, with growing fears that the militant group may have advanced Iranian rockets that can reach Tel Aviv or Jerusalem (although something tells me that an Islamic movement wouldn't do something that could destroy Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.
Who exactly is Hezbollah? One take from the BBC. Another from Wikipedia.
The Counterterrorism blog ponders the unthinkable: a Hezbollah-al Qaida marriage of convenience... and the analysts there ask what could be the implications of Hezbollah rage in the U.S.
A Red Stater sees George W, and feels the love...
Meanwhile, uber-neocon Bill Kristol brings the crazy... suggesting that now would be a great time to widen the war! Or as Brother Newt calls it, the World War III! (Per the increasingly hillarious George Will, "why put off till tomorrow when you can have another war today?)
On FNC this weekend, Juan Williams chumps Kristol in a single round of verbal combat mayhem...
KRISTOL: Look, our coddling of Iran — if I can use the neutral term like that — over the last six to nine months has emboldened them. I mean, is Iran behaving like a timid regime that’s very worried about the U.S.? Or is Iran behaving recklessly and in a foolhardy way?Bill?
WALLACE: But isn’t that the result of what’s happened in Iraq?
KRISTOL: No, it’s a result of our deducing from the situation in Iraq that we can’t stand up to Iran. I mean, when we stand up over and over and say Iran is shipping Improvised Explosive Devices into Iraq and killing U.S. soldiers, and Syria’s providing a line for terrorists to come into Iraq and kill U.S. soldiers, and that’s unacceptable. That’s not helpful. And then we do nothing about it. When Ahmadinejad says provocative things, continues to ship arms to Hezbollah, and we say, okay, maybe now we’ll give you direct talks. That, unfortunately, that weakness has been provocative. Ahmadinejad feels emboldened. Now we need to show him, and I think the administration has done a good job the last couple of days of showing him, that he miscalculated. And indeed, this is a great opportunity. I think our weakness, unfortunately, invited this aggression, but this aggression is a great opportunity to begin resuming the offensive against the terrorist groups. Israel is fighting four of our five enemies in the Middle East, in a sense. Iran, Syria, sponsors of terror; Hezbollah and Hamas. Al Qaeda doesn’t seem to be involved. We have to take care of them in Iraq. This is an opportunity to begin to reverse the unfortunate direction of the last six to nine months and get the terrorists and the jihadists back on the defensive.
WILLIAMS: Well, it just seems to me that you want…you just want war, war, war, and you want us in more war. You wanted us in Iraq. Now you want us in Iran. Now you want us to get into the Middle East, where I think there’s a real interesting dynamic at play. I think it’s psychological on the part of Israel and many of its supporters, and I’ll throw you in here. Somehow you see Israel as weak, and you see Ehud Olmert as weak –
WALLACE: He’s the new prime minister —
WILLIAMS: The new prime minister of Israel. And the defense minister as weak. Everybody is weak in the aftermath of Sharon, and so everybody has to prove what a man they are in the Middle East, including — you’re saying, why doesn’t the United States take this hard, unforgiving line? Well, the hard and unforgiving line has been, we don’t talk to anybody. We don’t talk to Hamas. We don’t talk to Hezbollah. We’re not going to talk to Iran. Where has it gotten us, Bill?
Tags: Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Terrorism, Hamas, Politics, Middle East, Iran, Gaza, Iraq