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  •  the Iranians may be restraining Hezbollah (0+ / 0-)

    via Juan Cole:

    On the other hand,  Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has intervened to stop Iranian suicide bombers from leaving the country and heading toward Palestine / Israel. Hard line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had called for such practical action against Israel, but the Supreme Jurisprudent foresaw that this step would risk widening the war and stopped them. Rumors of a rift between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have proliferated for some time, but this is the first time they have been clearly visible in public on a major policy initiative.

    In fact, Iran seems to be restraining Hizbullah in Lebanon, as well. This article speculates that the Iranians do not want to derail the possibility of better relations with the US under Obama.

    We don't have time for short-term thinking.

    by Compound F on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 07:17:36 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  That doesn't make a lot of sense. . . (0+ / 0-)

      Why restrain Hezb'allah and not Hamas?  If they were concerned about relations over the issue of Israel would they have allowed this war to start at this time?

      Iran might share Hezb'allah's desire not to risk their expected political gains in the upcoming elections.  But regardless of whether that pressure is coming from Hezb'allah alone or from Hezb'allah and Iran it still means that the threat of another major shooting war is seen as a negative political event by the powers-that-be in Lebanon.

      On the one hand, that's a good thing — it means that domestic civilian political pressure is being seen to ease tensions somewhat, or at least avoid another civilian catastrophe.

      On the other hand, it serves to strengthen the public view in Israel that massive bombing and civilian death tolls can help to relieve the danger of cross border attacks.  That can't be a good thing.

      John McCain, you are _not_ my friend.

      by LarryInNYC on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 07:25:28 PM PST

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      •  Hezbollah Shia (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Hamas Sunni ..

        Maybe it's really what it boils down to, in the end.

        What we may be seeing is a proxy struggle between Al-Qaeda elements as al-Zawahiri, who is calling for massive attacks on 'Jews and Christians' everywhere, is presenting an interesting dilemma to Khameni in Iran.

        This is how things usually go.

      •  Iran is smart (1+ / 0-)
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        Fire bad tree pretty

        Perhaps more than everyone gives them credit for.  While Hezb'allah is an independent organization with its own set of aims and goals, Hezb'allah was started, or at the very least given the support- by both monetary supporting and providing training to Hezb'allah- by Iran as a tool to destabilize the region (see The Secret War with Iran by Dr. Ronen Bergman).  While definite links exist between Hamas and Iran, they are not as strong as those between Iran and Hezb'allah.  

        Iran has some agenda- maybe they want really do want to improve relations with the US.  I think it is more likely that by attempting to curtail unrest in Lebanon, they appear supportive and empathetic, while continuing to support Hamas operations in Gaza where the real "work" is being done.

        Just my take on it.

        Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism

        by Gaius Gracchus on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 08:46:09 PM PST

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