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The Wedge as Tactical Tool: What is Hezbollah Doing and What is the US Strategy?

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The tactic of dividing allies by any number of means is not new or novel in the arena of international affairs. It occurred to us on the 4th of July that North Korea's missile launches, perceived by Japan, South Korea and the United States as a blatant act of provocation, might not elicit the same response from China and Russia.

As it turned out, both China and Russia resisted the government of Japan's UN proposal to sanction North Korea. While Japan and others fear a Communist and unpredictable North Korea armed with longer-range missiles and perhaps nuclear weapons, China and Russia fear more a strategic shift in Asia should North Korea collapse, leading to a united and democratic Korean peninsula.

Japan's proposed sanctions against North Korea were rejected, though the UN Security Council did ultimately issue a strongly worded admonition to North Korea.

What is Hezbollah? Is it a Different Animal From Other Terrorist Organizations and Groups?

Today, after years of cooperation in undermining Lebanon and dividing possible US and Israeli allies, Hezbollah --the Lebanese Shi'ite militia --and Iran have formed an alliance to destroy Israel. They vocally proclaim their intentions in ugly language we will not republish here.

Many Americans view Hezbollah as a "terrorist group," which is what it is. But Hezbollah is, in many ways, more like a small but sovereign and very dangerous regional power, than it is like the 9-11 terrorists.

Hezbollah is not a street gang camping out in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah owns southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah controls its own media (newspapers, radio and TV), operates a thriving economy in southern Lebanon, and manages "government affairs" out of a downtown office building the locals call "the Embassy." Hezbollah's embassy is, in fact, larger than Beirut's.
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Iran and Middle East expert Amir Taheri wrote this in the London Times on Sunday, July 23:

"Hezbollah is a state within the Lebanese state. It controls some 25% of the national territory. Almost 400,000 of Lebanon's estimated 4m inhabitants live under its control. It collects its own taxes with a 20% levy, known as "khoms", on all incomes. It runs its own schools, where a syllabus produced in Iran is taught at all levels. It also runs clinics, hospitals, social welfare networks and centres for orphans and widows."

Hezbollah has already launched about 1,000 small Katyusha rockets in to Israel. Armed with explosive warheads surrounded by ball bearings, these missiles are designed to produce a flesh-tearing fragmentation grenade when they reach their targets. The Katyusha family of rockets are of Soviet design and most are old and relatively small and short range. They are unguided and often unpredictable. But they have apparently been modified and are reaching further into Israel than ever before. These Katyusha's are being referred to as "Katyusha's on steroids." Katyusha's are still killing Israelis and causing some fear and terror among people near the Lebanon border.

But as a missile expert, what caused me more concern this last few weeks was one particular missile. On July 14, a Chinese designed C-802 "Silkworm" anti-ship missile slammed into an Israeli warship, damaging the vessel and killing one sailor. This one missile caused some to pause, because no intelligence source had warned that Hezbollah might have such a sophisticated, modern weapon. No terrorist group ever used such a weapon before. The action was totally unprecedented.

The use of the C-802 missile might be another indicator that Hezbollah is not your father's terrorist group.
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So Hezbollah (the party of God), is something altogether new and more dangerous than previously known terrorist groups. And they are supported and armed by Iran, which we know has long-range ballistic missiles, a deep hatred of Israel, a nuclear weapon program, and a total disregard for the mandates of the UN and the US.

Hezbollah and Iran make for a formidable, dangerous alliance.

When Hezbollah was created in Lebanon, it committed itself to "creation of an Islamic republic in Lebanon." It looks to many that they have accomplished just that. How do Hezbollah and Iran view Israel? Without re-telling the obnoxious, hateful, anti-Israeli language routinely used by Iran's Mullahs and government leaders, we quote Ann Leslie of London's "Daily Mail" newspaper.

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http://peace-and-freedom.blogspot.com/
John E. Carey is the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

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