Saturday, May 10, 2008

Iran-backed Hizballah offensive closes in on Israeli border

May 10, 2008, 12:05 PM (GMT+02:00)

DEBKAfile's military sources report: Hizballah's advance on two key Lebanese locations Saturday, May 10 had immediate effect on the strategic balance between the Iran-backed Shiite group and Israel. Sidon in the south, Lebanon's second largest city, which provides Hizballah with control of a continuous coastal strip from its southern Beirut district all the way to Tyre.

The second point is on the northern slopes of the Hermon range. After Hizballah seizes control of this enclave and the Syrian 10th and 14th armored divisions step over the border into Lebanon, the two forces can join to form a strong military line opposite Israel near the Litani River.

Our military sources report that the vanguard of the 10th Division has already moved across to the Lebanese side of the border.

Hizballah's victory in taking over western and central Beirut therefore has had the effect of adding another link to the pro-Iranian chain encircling Israel. In many ways it is a more damaging setback for Israel's national security than the Palestinian Hamas' seizure of the Gaza Strip

Yet Israel's prime minister, defense minister and foreign minister are all too busy with the political fallout of the bribery case against Ehud Olmert to lift a finger to arrest Lebanon's decline to a Tehran satellite before it is too late - any more than Hamas was stopped from developing into a major military menace.

Equally inert are the two presidents who are pledged to support the Siniora regime, George W. Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy. The United Nations, which maintains 15,000 armed peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, backed by marine forces off the shores of Beirut, has no thought of stopping the Iranian-Syrian-backed terrorist militia from capturing the country.

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