Monday, May 29, 2006

This is starting to get a little scary

Picture taken at from an anti-American demonstration held by Lebanese supporters of Hizbullah and Syria in January 2006.
Courtesty of "From Beirut to the Beltway" - a Lebanese-American blog

Lebanon has to begin exercising its power as a sovereign country. If the reports of Ze'ev Schiff, Ha'aretz's well-connected military correspondent, are true, then south Lebanon may now be regarded as a strategic Iranian base. Is Lebanon willing to accept that the risks that this entails? Many Lebanese certainly aren't, although the expatriates among them are most vocal. Lebanon's leaders are going to have to get their acts together fast. Iran's decision to put long-range missiles in the hands of a militia is no joke. Here is what Schiff had to say:


Tel Aviv within range of new Iran-supplied Hezbollah rocket

By Ze'ev Schiff, Haaretz Correspondent

Iran has equipped the Lebanese-based radical Islamic group Hezbollah with long-range rockets capable of hitting targets up to 200 kilometers away, putting all of Israel's major urban centers - including the southern city of Be'er Sheva - within striking distance.


The rockets delivered to the Hezbollah have appeared under different names. One is Zelzal-2, and its earlier model is the Zelzal-1. Another Iranian name for the rocket is Nazeat.

The rocket was first seen in a military parade in Tehran in September 2005, the first such event following the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. Six Shehab-3 surface-to-surface ballistic missiles were also on display.

In response to slogans written on the Shehab-3 rockets, calling for "Death to Israel" and "Death to the U.S.," the military attaches of France, Italy, Greece and Poland, invited to the event, left the VIP platform.


Iran later provided Hezbollah with Fajr-5 rockets with a range of 75 kilometers; it is capable of striking the Haifa bay and its strategic industrial installations.


Ze'ev Schiff's article got a lot of coverage on Radio Sawa, the American Arabic language radio station which broadcasts throughout the Middle East and can also be listened to online. In the station's short newscasts (most of its content is actually American and Arab pop music), he was introduced as "al-khabiir al-'askari al-Isra'iili Ze'ev Schiff" (the Israeli military expert Ze'ev Schiff). Another appropriate job description might be "Septuagenarian journalist commissioned to 'leak' military 'secrets'".

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