Things are unraveling at a pretty astounding clip, now, with Israel’s invasion of Lebanon today. James Joyner has a good analysis up (here), including an unnerving escalation update.
There are also rumors floating that Israel intends to declare war tonight. From here, I’d say that’s merely putting a comma and period into the sentence already written.
Whatever we thought the situation was in the Middle East — including Iraq and Iran — it’s all about to change.
Update Thursday 7/13: Some links (and a couple thoughts) to share:
The Lebanese bloggers have a window into events as they’re seeing/hearing about them. There are a number of posts up, including one that I found particularly engrosssing.
A Boston Globe editorial writes that Israel is being drawn into a trap of Iran’s making:
Knowing that Iran is behind Hezbollah’s act of war, Israeli leaders — who are openly warning of devastating strikes on Lebanon’s infrastructure — would be well advised to avoid a reflexive military response that lands Israel in an Iranian trap. If the regime in Tehran wants to provoke Israel to bomb Lebanese power plants, roads, and bridges, maybe this kind of military retaliation is not such a good idea.
This, actually, is the aspect that’s bothering Polimom, although I’ve reached different conclusions. Iran is in this up to their necks, but I think they’re expecting the situation to function as a wild card in their negotiations with the US (and others) over their nuclear ambitions.
Iran set this into motion, but for it to be a useful negotiating ploy (i.e.: we’ll shut down Hezballah and Hamas if we can continue our peaceful nuclear plans), it can’t continue very long before spinning totally away from their control… and likely already has.
I think it’s possible (this is a scary thought, actually) that Israel is going into this with an assurance that we (and other allies) will leverage events to join in full-scale war against “terrorism”, and Islamic radicalism. Gloves off, all the way around.
Clearly, I’m feeling a bit paranoid… right? (somebody explain to me why I’m wrong so I can relax…)