I’m not usually one for speculation, but when Laura Rozen starts tossing up warning flags of a protracted conflict involving Hezbollah erupting in the next few weeks, my ears perk up. When she writes things like this, I really pay attention (emphasis mine):
We’re most likely not going to have a big war – with Iran – before Bush leaves office. But it seems we may be in for a bunch of small wars, or near wars, involving Lebanon, Hezbollah, Israel, Gaza, peripherally Syria and in the background Iran, upheaval deeply threatening to a country like Jordan whose internal stability is a balancing act.
There was some mention of the USS Cole being deployed off the coast of Lebanon this week, but you can find some context here:
In reality, the Cole is a show of support to Administrations allies in Lebanon and Israel, and a warning to Syria, Iran, and the Lebanese militia Hizballah to stop meddling in Lebanon’s political crisis. It’s perhaps also a warning for Hizballah to think twice about retaliating against Israel for the assassination of its operations chief, who was killed by a bomb in Damascus earlier this month.
Even with the country busy watching the presidential nomination, I wonder how long this might stay under the radar (some are reporting the Saudi embassy in Lebanon is urging nationals to leave the country). I do imagine, however, that it could throw a monkey wrench into things come November.
Rozen’s place might be a great site to keep in your bookmarks for the next few weeks.