Friday, January 08, 2016

When Reality Raises Its Ugly Head

Israel and Turkey are edging toward restored relations as Turkey discovers they could use a friend, what with Russian troops mucking around in Syria. Could Hezbollah be the first to suffer from a renewed alliance?

Islamist-friendly Turkey broke relations with Israel in an effort to appeal to Moslems. Turkey is having regrets about that decision.

Hezbollah is playing with fire under the new circumstances:

On the Lebanese border, near the disputed Shebaa Farms (occupied by Israel but claimed by both Lebanon and Syria) Hezbollah used a roadside bomb to attack an Israeli convoy. Some vehicles were damaged but there were no casualties. Israeli artillery retaliated by hitting several Hezbollah facilities in the area. Hezbollah declared the attack more damaging than it actually was and said it was another act of revenge for Israel killing Hezbollah commander Samir Kuntar on December 19th. On December 20th Hezbollah fired four rockets into northern Israel from Lebanon but did no damage. Russia is demanding that Hezbollah cease the attacks on Israel. Iran is apparently saying the same thing, but not in public. Iran wants revenge as well because Kuntar was also working directly for them. Russia and Iran understand, where Hezbollah does not, that starting another war with Israel right now, while Hezbollah, Iran and Russia are fighting in Syria to try and keep the pro-Iran Assad government alive, would be counterproductive.

Could Hezbollah be the target that cements a renewed Israel-Turkey security relationship?

Turkey wants a buffer zone in northern Syria to shield Turkey from the spillover from the Syria civil war and to assist in the overthrow of Assad. Because Hezbollah provides the main shock troops of the Syrian ground war effort, Turkey would benefit from Hezbollah being torn up.

Israel would like to end the Hezbollah rocket threat looming over northern Israel, and with so many Hezbollah troops fighting in Syria, they have an opportunity to really tear up Hezbollah.

And taking nuclear-bound Iran down a peg or two by crippling Hezbollah and defeating Assad would be helpful to Israel, of course.

And Syria would not only be largely unable to help Hezbollah--showing the alliance to be a one-way street where Hezbollah dies for Assad but Syrians do not die for Hezbollah--but would have to think hard about resisting a Turkish move if they have to look over their shoulder to the Golan border--and the Lebanese border as Israeli troops move north in Lebanon.

And could Iran react strongly to a Turkish move while the Iranians find themselves in a crisis with Saudi Arabia, too?

You know, when I write this all down, it almost seems like a plan aimed at Iran.

But then again, it is easy to piece together wholly unrelated dots and make a picture out of them.

So I lean to this just being stuff happening and not a plan really aimed at Iran.

UPDATE: Related story about the Turks moving closer to the Saudis:

As Turkey has moved closer to Saudi Arabia, it has also joined the kingdom in voicing concerns about what it sees as Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, including supporting Mr. Assad and funding proxy forces in the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Shiite militias in Iraq and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Israel fits into a potential anti-Iran coalition--especially in regard to the Lebanon front.