According to the commander of IDF Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, Israel's raid in Syria on September 6 against what was reportedly a North Korean-supplied nuclear installation in eastern Syria restored Israel's deterrent posture which was so weakened in last summer's war in Lebanon.
Yet as the execution of anti-Syrian Lebanese parliamentarian Antoine Ghanem in a Christian suburb of Beirut on Wednesday indicated, Israel's successful raid did not derail Syria's and Iran's pursuit of their strategic goals. Those goals involve achieving regional domination through their proxies in Lebanon as well as in Iraq and the Palestinian Authority.
In Iraq, the Americans pursue a policy of military confrontation against Shi'ite and Sunni forces that are supported and directed by Iran and Syria. In contrast, in Lebanon and the PA, the Americans and the Israelis have avoided decisive confrontations, opting instead to advance a diplomatic course aimed at bringing about the political defeat of Iranian and Syrian proxies. In Lebanon this involves supporting Prime Minister Fuad Siniora's government against Hizbullah. In the PA it involves supporting Fatah against Hamas.
It is still too early to know how the American strategy of military confrontation against Iranian and Syrian proxies in Iraq will pan out. But it is already clear that the American-Israeli strategy for contending with Lebanon and the PA has failed.
Ghanem was a member of the Christian-Phalange party. He had announced his intention to run in the presidential elections that will take place next week in the Lebanese Parliament. With his assassination, the Syrians and Iranians effectively completed their campaign of murder and intimidation aimed at anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians.
With Ghanem out of the picture, the anti-Syrian forces lost the parliamentary majority of 72 out of 128 seats that they won in the 2005 general elections. Today, the anti-Syrian coalition has only 64 sure votes. A presidential candidate needs a 65 vote majority to be elected. Now the pro-Syrian forces have the ability to force their presidential candidate on the country.
Led by Hizbullah, the pro-Syrian parliamentary bloc demands that a "compromise" candidate who will bring "national unity" be elected to the presidency next week. Their demand is openly supported by France, the UN and Saudi Arabia. The Americans have not weighed in on the issue and so it can be assumed that they, too, support it.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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