Assad: Give me a taste (Update: Israel issues ultimatum to Syria?) (Update: Arab FMs line up against ... Hezbollah) (Update: Zapatero blames Israel)

“Full support” for Hezbollah against Israel, by Baathist decree.

They don’t call him a moron for nothing.

In fairness, it might not have been his call. As Captain Ed notes with eyebrow arched, his participation in matters of state lately has become somewhat more “selective”. And even if it was his call, it wasn’t really his call. He or the Baathists or whoever’s nominally steering that crazy train wouldn’t move on this without approval from their Iranian masters, especially given the mutual defense pact between the two.

So the real worry isn’t what this signals about Syria’s intentions, but what it signals about Iran’s. Maybe the mullahs want in too and this is their way of setting the tripwire.

Meanwhile, in Baghdad, another Iranian client is stirring the pot. Maliki’s got him in the crosshairs and he knows it, which means it’s time for a little self-preservational anti-Zionist populism. He’s positioning himself now so that later, when the Iraqi military finally comes calling, he can accuse the government of being Jew puppets who are only targeting him because of his opposition to Israel.

Hey — if it didn’t work, demagogues wouldn’t use it so frequently.


Back in Lebanon, there’s a report in the Daily Star that Israel has taken out large parts of the country’s infrastructure, including two major bridges and several power plants.

Update: Rick Moran‘s tracking the rumor, first reported at Ynet, that Israel’s given Assad 72 hours to turn over the two kidnapped soldiers or suffer the consequences. At least one Israeli officer has denied it, but Ynet is a credible source.

Update: I think it’s now safe to say that Iran has overplayed its hand with the nuke program. Not only is Bush blaming Hezbollah for the crisis, but get this:

Foreign ministers of 18 Arab countries held an emergency summit in Cairo on Saturday over Israel’s expanding assault on Lebanon, but squabbles over the legitimacy of Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel – including the capture of two Israel Defense Forces soldiers that sparked the 4-day battle – appeared likely to keep participants from reaching a consensus, delegates said.

The Saudi foreign minister appeared to be leading a camp of ministers criticizing the guerrilla group’s actions, calling them “unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts.”…

Supporting his stance were representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, delegates said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

The members of the summit have passed a resolution calling for UN intervention. Lebanon’s prime minister agrees. Amr Moussa, about whom you’ll find voluminous posting in the LGF archives, somberly declares the Middle East peace process “dead.”

Update: Catching up with stuff I missed overnight, Israel has stationed three Patriot missile batteries in Haifa in hopes of intercepting the next rocket attack. They’ve also struck areas of Beirut not controlled by Hezbollah for the first time, taking out a lighthouse and attacking the city’s seaport. They’ve also destroyed Lebanon’s coastal radar stations.

Update: Appeasement poster boy Jose Luis Zapatero holds true to form.

Update: Hezbollah continues to show off the range of its rockets by striking Tiberias, a town more than 20 miles south of the Lebanon border.

Update: Not surprisingly in light of today’s summit, Iran would like a word with Saudi Arabia.

Note that Ali Larijani is the Iranian diplomat whom Debka said would remain in Damascus until the end of the crisis. Either Debka was wrong (ahem) or there’s since been a change in plans. Time magazine has analysis suggesting, reasonably, that Tehan doesn’t want to get involved here, but if that’s so, then how to explain Syria’s declaration that it will come to the aid of Hezbollah?

For its part, Israel has accused Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops of having helped fire the missile that damaged its ship yesterday.

Update: Not wanting to be outmaneuvered by al-Sadr on his anti-Zionist credentials, Iraqi PM Maliki has denounced the Israeli raids on Lebanon.

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