by Michael Rubin
1st part of 2
The Obama administration would like to move
Key points in this Outlook:
* The Lebanese and Israeli border is calmer today than during the 2006 war, but the potential for regional conflict is great.
* Both the Syrian and Iranian governments have used Hezbollah to conduct proxy warfare against
* The Obama administration has tried to move
The 2006 war between
While Arab governments remained conspicuously silent, unwilling to support Hezbollah publicly, if at all, Iranian authorities egged on the militia. Speaking six days after the war began, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the speaker of
United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1701 restored calm, but only a tenuous one. While the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) returned to
The Obama administration, meanwhile, has reached out diplomatically to both
A Proxy Is Born
Hezbollah formed against the backdrop of
After the Israeli invasion of
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) supported the new group as it fought or co-opted other Shia militias in southern
Correspondent Manal Lufti described Akhtari as "the operational father" of Hezbollah, "engineer of the special relationship" between Syria and Iran, and "coordinator of Iran's relations with Palestinian organizations in Damascus," groups listed annually as terrorist organizations in the State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism. Indeed, according to Ash-Sharq al-Awsat, "the Iranian embassy in Damascus became the most important Ira-nian embassy in the world. It represented something akin to a 'regional center' for Iran's diplomatic activities that extended from Damascus to Beirut and the Palestinian territories and became privy to files on several matters, chief of which was Iran's relations with Syria, Hezbollah, [and] the Palestinian organizations."
Hezbollah thrived under Syrian occupation. Both the Syrian and Iranian governments used Hezbollah to conduct proxy warfare against
The Syrian government not only turned a blind eye toward the group's activities in
The Israel Defense Forces' failure to eradicate Hezbollah in the 2006 war led many analysts to declare Hezbollah the victor. Hezbollah had survived Israel's onslaught and become the first Arab entity to hit Haifa since Israel's founding in 1948. Robert G. Rabil, director of graduate studies at Florida Atlantic University and a well-regarded Syria and Lebanon analyst, went further, suggesting that Hezbollah's rise may have come at Syria's expense.
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