Elite Iranian troops helped Hezbollah fire a sophisticated radar-guided missile at an Israeli warship, Israeli officials said Saturday, describing an apparent surprise blow by militants who had been using only low-tech weapons.
Iran denied that it had any troops in Lebanon.
Israel initially believed that an aerial drone armed with explosives hit the warship, but it became clear that Hezbollah had used an Iranian-made C-802 missile to strike the vessel late Friday, an Israeli intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information. ...
One Israeli sailor was killed and three were missing after the attack. The ship was returning to its home port in Israel, the army said.
About 100 fighters from Iran's Revolutionary Guard helped import, equip and fire the missile at the Spear, a missile ship cruising off the coast of Lebanon, which is under an Israeli naval blockade, Israeli officials said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned Israel's military offensive in Lebanon, saying "the Zionist regime behaves like Hitler," Iranian state television reported.
Hezbollah is widely believed to have been trained, funded and guided by the Revolutionary Guard since the militant group was founded during Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The Islamic republic's elite corps of more than 200,000 fighters is independent of the regular armed forces and directly controlled by Iran's supreme leader.
"We can confirm that it (the ship) was hit by an Iranian-made missile launched by Hezbollah. We see this as a very profound fingerprint of Iranian involvement in Hezbollah," Brig. Gen. Ido Nehushtan told The Associated Press.
Robert Tracinski has an excellent editorial at Real Clear Politics about Iran's war: The War Comes to Us.
If, in the face of repeated threats and provocation by an aggressive dictatorship, you refuse to go to war, the war will eventually come to you.
That's the meaning of Iran's de facto declaration of war against Israel--which is, ultimately, a new war Iran is waging against the US. Iran is so desperate for war with the West that it is bringing the war to us, openly and willfully initiating a regional conflict that may soon involve three of Iran's proxies--Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria--fighting against America's proxy, Israel.
The danger for us is that, in seeking to avoid an unavoidable war with Iran, we have allowed Iran to start the conflict on terms that it believes will be most favorable to it. ...
In my view, the issue is not why Iran chose to begin a shooting war now; the issue is where it chose to do so. Iran is striking at the point where it thinks it is strongest and the West is weakest.
This is an Iranian strong point because it controls a whole network of proxy forces that can attack Israel on two fronts. As for the weakness of the West, the craven Europeans, crushed by leftist self-loathing over their "colonialist" past, seek to apologize for their sins by offering a scapegoat for sacrifice: the Jews who fled Europe to establish the one outpost of Western civilization in the Middle East. As for America, Israel is the one area where we have consistently suspended every virtue of American war policy.
Worse, the Palestinian Authority is the one area where we have tolerated the creation of a new Islamist terrorist regime, on the grounds that it is "democratically elected." As I explained in "The Weapon of Democracy," in TIA's last print issue, this is how the US has been disarmed by the dangerously vague concept of "democracy": if we claim that we are fighting for liberty, and then we equate liberty with "democracy"--then how can we condemn a "democratically elected" terrorist regime?
Thus, predictably, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon split the West, with the European Union taking its usual anti-Israel stance, even as the US vetoed a proposed Security Council resolution condemning Israel.
The Iranian provocation of Israel is also calculated to roll back one of the recent achievements of US foreign policy: the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. After Syrian troops were forced to withdraw from Lebanon last year, the advocates of Lebanese independence began calling for the disarmament of Hezbollah, the Shiite militia in Southern Lebanon that has long served as a Syrian ally and proxy. But, using the "weapon of democracy," Hezbollah has long had a large representation in Lebanon's parliament.
And for those not familiar with the game depicted in the cartoon, here's more about Rock'em Sock'em Robots.
UPDATE II: Bush is still ridiculously urging "restraint" from Israel, but at least we're sending them jet fuel for their warplanes.
UPDATE III -- July 17: From The Telegraph: Israel fights West's cause against radical Islam.
The last thing Washington needs is for Syria and Iran to win a proxy victory in Lebanon.
Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader who had been a strong foe of Israel during the civil war but then became a powerful critic of Syria, summed up the situation as follows: "The war is no longer Lebanon's … it is an Iranian war. Iran is telling the United States: You want to fight me in the Gulf and destroy my nuclear programme? I will hit you at home, in Israel."
UPDATE IV -- July 18: In a recent interview with Bill O'Reilly (see it at Hot Air), Dan Gillerman, the Israeli ambassador to the U.N., expressed the sentiment that we tried to capture in this cartoon:
"Iran is no longer just a threat to Israel, just as terror is no longer a threat just to Israel. A few years ago, terror was an Israeli affair, a local affair, Iran was a local threat. Today both terror and Iran are global threats. Therefore we feel that it's the international community that should deal with Iran not just Israel. ...
"I feel even today, as we do what we're doing in Lebanon, that much of the world feels and thinks that we're doing the right thing, and in a way that we're doing its work for them. Because this is no longer just a war against terror; this is a war against extremist, fundamentalist, dangerous Islam."
UPDATE V -- July 21: From FrontPageMagazine: Iran's Proxy War Against America by Kenneth R. Timmerman.
The Iranians created Hezbollah in 1983. Unlike many parents, they never let their “child” alone, and have carefully nurtured it with funds, weapons, ideological guidance and military orders ever since.
When Hezbollah damaged an Israeli gunboat off the Lebanese coast last week, Iranian officers supervised the launch of the Iranian-built C-102 radar-guided missile.
Posted by Forkum at July 15, 2006 08:10 PM