❊ Is the Region on a War Footing? The Context for Sayyed Nasrallah's Speech

Today, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made a rare public appearance. One of the things he said was:

I address our enemies when I say that the Resistance is here to stay; day after day our troops are growing, our arms are developing and they are being constantly renewed

This can of course be dismissed as regular jaw jaw designed for local political consumption, but is it? As I look at the region, I see many signs that things aren’t quite right. A war between Iran and the west could very well be looming.

Consider the following points:

  1. November 8: The IAEA releases a damning report on Iranian nuclear weapons that surprises and alarms western powers and pushes the British foreign minister to issue threats
  2. November 14: A Big blast targets a missile depot in Tehran and is seen as a major setback to Iran’s Missile program.
  3. November 16: Israeli leaks news of a secret plan for attacking Iran, as the war drums in Israel get louder and louder.
  4. November 29: Iranian demonstrators storm British embassy in Tehran with the apparent support of the state.
  5. December 3: Israeli Prime Minister announces that sometimes leader have to make big, unpopular decisions. While he spoke, Syria tested a SCUD B missile.
  6. December 5: Iran captured an American surveillance drone with top American secrets in it.
  7. December 6: The Telegraph reports that Iran is now on high military alert and is expecting and preparing for an attack.

And I haven’t even started with the implications of the Syrian revolution, the success of which could be a major strategic setback for Iran and Hezbollah. It is against this backdrop that we have to read Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech.

Am I worried? Yes. Should you cancel your Christmas vacations in Lebanon? Not yet, but some caution can go a long way.

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  • Bronxman

    For the moment I feel that the West has other options available less dramatic than all-out war. Low key covert operations against Iran and indirect support for the opposition in Syria come to mind. I doubt that Russia would want to get involved in military operations any more than the West would. The possibility that Iran could make up an excuse to attack Israel (and apparently Turkey for harboring NATO’s early warning anti missile radar site) certainly is there if Iran feels that totally threatened, but I’d like to feel that military planners on the other side would make sure to allow for an escape route to lessen the possibility. And then, Israel might feel that they are entitled to a pre-emptive strike. Hezbullah doesn’t seem to be in a situation where an escape route will be made available. If push comes to shove Iran and Syria will be occupied with their own immediate problems but would count on Hezbullah to create diversions to help reduce the pressures on them. Lessening the pressure on Hezbullah doesn’t seem to be immediately obvious. Added to the mix would be Hezbullah’s supply system being severely interrupted, which would act as a time limit on their participation. Israel will concentrate most of their conventional efforts against Hezbullah, while Iran, having attacked Turkey, will have to also have to handle NATO. At this point Russia will reluctantly join in, but by then we would be looking at a world war. Russia will use its influence to keep this scenario from happening, and so will the U.S.

    Is it a time for worry for non-combatants (aka civilians) everywhere? I like Mus’s word “caution” much more.

    I think we all might wish that we lived in less interesting times.

  • Dania

    I dunno Mustapha, I mean your points are valid there but if u take a look at the economy in Europe and the States, its not all that rosy. Where will they get the money to finance sucha war we all know will be regional and very costly?? US presidential Elections arent that far either, french too and I dont think Obama nor Sarko( le pti’ nain) wanna take risks right now. That being said, my fear is that as usual everybody will agree that a war in Lebanon is the best way to “blow off some steam” on behalf of the entire region and beyond. Lucky us :(

    • ali

      I agree, but it didn’t stop Rome from committing suicide when they were a world empire.

    • ali

      Right now, it looks more like Syria is a good place to blow off some steam, not only Lebanon. Assad has lost control of the majority of the Country and civil war in Syria has already started to a degree.

  • ali

    Something seems brewing. Also don’t forget there are over 10 thousand or so foreign boots on the ground in Lebanon that could come into the mix.

    There have been a few of those mysterious explosions in Lebanon as well. I don’t know if there will be a full fledged war, but these mini wars will continue for some time. Slowly, but surely the West is cranking the pressure on the “axis of evil + 1″.

    No offense intended, but this really does seem to favor the Sunni in the region.

    I personally believe it will start with Turkey occupying northern Syria, which will trigger a regional reaction that could lead to full scale conflict. It’s not like your hearing a lot of rhetoric these days between Turkey and Israel. Maybe they kissed and made up?

    You can easily write 10 pages on this stuff.

    • Bronxman

      Ali, your comment “…. there are over 10 thousand or so foreign boots on the ground in Lebanon….” intrigues me. Since you may be refering to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, I would have thought they would have tried not to publicize the figure. Is this general knowledge or was it in some publication? Or are you counting U.N. troops? They’ll just cut and run when the first shots are fired. Just curious. Thanks.

      • Dude

        10,000 IRGC troops hidden where exactly?

  • Wael

    A war at this time will give Bashar excatly what he wants to turn all attention from Syria. Maybe this is how Israel will save him? Let’s see!!

  • gk

    I did not listen or read the transcript of the speech yet but here what I think about the situation in the area.

    - Everyone is waiting for the other to start the war.
    - Iran will not commit a suicide by hitting first (also Hizballah).
    - Syria wants a war limited to Lebanon but HA is not willing to do that (see above)
    - Israel is afraid of the day after. They want Iran, Syria or HA to start it so they will tell the whole world “we did not start it” and when Iran and HA retaliate, Israel will request a very needed support from the US and Europe.
    - The US is trying to recover economically from the last adventures of the Bush Administration. The US people is not ready for another war. Obama does not want the people to be unhappy because he wants to be reelected.
    - There will be no occupation of any country except Israeli occupation of part of Lebanon for few months!
    - I doubt that Turkey will take part unless it was attacked and it will respond accordingly!
    - The same for Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf countries and Jordan. They will provide assistance to the US and NATO if they need it and may retaliate if they were attacked!
    - If Iran is involved in any war, the price of oil will jump to at least $150/barrel.
    - Russia loves that. It is not party to the war, not spending any penny just the opposite it is getting more for its oil and selling weapons to Iran and Syria, and its archenemy (the US) is the one who is suffering!
    - If the war started, no one, I mean no one will know when to stop it!!! There will be weapons that were never used before!

  • Mustapha

    Have you guys seen the Alarabiya news bulletin? They’re already showing 3D animations of how a war would play out and talking with military strategists. An American Nuclear submarine just crossed the Sinai strait and several American and russian warships are on their way to the eastern Mediterranean..

    The drums of war are deafening..

  • Nagging is a reflection

    Its certainly scary..lets hope its just posturing. Although, when countries start acting this way, things build their own momentum and its hard to know where to stop. If there is war, its going to be nothing like we have seen before…..

  • http://oussama-hayek.blogspot.com OH

    I think the probability is high. I’m going to Beirut, only because I have to attend some meetings. I would rather do it via skype, but the internet speeds suck. I’ll stay for 24 hours. I have no intention of getting stuck in Beirut this Christmas. I hope I’m wrong and that they have a good holiday.

  • Antidisestablishmentarianism

    War? How come the u.s. and france are returning their ambassadors to syria? This is in the news today. And in this economy, war cannot be profitable unless it is about the destruction of capital a la ww2. That means it has to be all or nothing, and that is impossible in syria, lebanon and iran as resistance would persist for decades just like in iraq and afghanistan. The libyan scenario is difficult to emulate in these countries for many reasons. So it would be a suicidal move by any actor to go to war there.

  • Antidisestablishmentarianism