Wretchard connects some dots, noting that Hezbollah and its sponsors (Syria, Iran) appear to be startled at Mugniyeh’s assassination, uncertain of who did it, how, and why. Hezbollah is on full alert.
Is Hezbollah preparing to be struck or preparing to strike?
…The question on both sides of the line is who is going to move next. Judging by reactions Mughniyeh’s death was both a tactical and strategic surprise. Internal investigations into security breaches indicate Syria, Iran and Hezbollah themselves ares still trying to figure out how Mughniyeh was hit. But the secret appointment of a new Hezbollah head and evacuation of their buildings in South Lebanon suggests they also haven’t decided why they were hit. There is palpable uncertainty in Damascus over whether Mughniyeh’s death was a one-off or the first blow of a wider campaign against them.
Syria in particular must be nervous, following the recent destruction of a mysterious facility in the Syrian desert in which Israeli cyberwar played a large part and the suspicious outage in undersea fiber optic cables serving the Middle East.
The problem facing Syria and Iran (together with the terrorist menageries based in their capitals) has two aspects: where to strike back and how quickly. In deciding the terrorist leaders must calculate whether their response will provoke a full-scale attack by Israel and or if their return blow will come too late to prevent yet another blow upon them.
The terrorist dilemma is compounded by the 2008 Presidential elections in the US. An attack on an American target would re-energize the conservative base. A war with Israel would force every American Presidential candidate to take a definite stand in the conflict. Either could doom Barack Obama’s bid for the White House — as well as efforts by Congress to defang the surveillance of terrorist suspects.
I’m guessing that the silence on who or why Mugniyeh was hit, like the silence that followed Israel’s raid on Syria or the fiber optic cables incident, suggests two things: (1) a high level of international cooperation in the planning and execution of these actions, and (2) an international plan, quite possibly with the active support not only of Israel and the United States but of Britain, France, and Germany, to target Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, and Iran.
If I were President of the United States, recognizing a strong possibility that Barack Hussein Obama will be the next President and that my last few months in office might be the West’s last chance in years to strike a serious blow against radical Islam, I would be preparing to do everything I could, with all the quiet international support I could muster, to devastate Hezbollah, Hamas, and the fighting capacity of Syria and Iran, ideally bringing about regime change in the latter two. I would do all this in silence until the time when the bombs start to fall. In fact, as cover, in the meantime, I might start making “realist,” pro-Palestinian statements, convening conferences about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to misdirect attention from my real intentions.
I can hope.