Friday, August 11, 2006

Expert: Iran Poised To Be 'Mother of All World Threats'

Dave Eberhart, NewsMax:
For anyone who still thinks the Israeli-Lebanon war is just a border scuffle, one Middle East expert shouts a dire warning:

"As soon as a cease fire occurs, the "Hezbollah Blitzkrieg" will crumble the "Lebanese Republic of Weimar" and install its own "Khumeinist Republic" on the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean. The consequences of such a development are far beyond imagination for the region and the world. Hezbollah would have paved the way for Iran to create the mother of all world threats since Hitler."

So cautions Professor Walid Phares, author of "Future Jihad," a visiting fellow with the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels, and a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C. READ MORE

In an exclusive interview with NewsMax, the Lebanese-born Phares likens the current Hezbollah offensive in Lebanon to a "putsch" -- with the convoluted aims of reestablishing a pro-Syrian-Iranian regime in Lebanon, reconstructing a third wing to the Tehran-Damascus axis, reanimating the Arab-Israeli conflict, rejuvenating Syrian dominance, isolating Jordan, reaching out to Hamas, crumbling Iraq, and unleashing Iran's nuclear programs.

The author also sees half-measures and premature truces as catalysts to even bloodier future conflicts:

"If Israel takes 40 kilometers [into the southern belly of Lebanon] and sits, Hezbollah and its allies will take the rest of the country and eliminate the Cedars Revolution [the Lebanese Democracy movement]. That is a certainty. Then the two camps will clash in a wider war in few more months."

As a corollary, however, the expert advises that if Israel gets even more aggressive and moves instead through the Bekaa (a fertile valley in Lebanon and Syria, located about 19 miles east of Beirut), it would shut down the Syrian-Lebanese borders (a major supply line for war materials flowing to Hezbollah).

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But such a definitive move, says the author, would bring Syria to the conflict, and Israel will have to engage the Assad regime [Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria].

Meanwhile, Phares suggests, under the scenario outlined above, Iran would not sit still but would intervene in a more covert way than has been thus far seen.

However, he advises, Iran doesn't have a land passage to Syria, so it would strike back by igniting an "intifada" in Iraq.

"But this will put Iran on the path of the U.S. coalition, leading the region to global confrontations," Phares predicts. "Israel could also reach the Syrian borders, but instead of a war with Damascus, Assad would accept a MNF [Multi-National Force] at this time to save his regime, which sounds the most realistic."

Phares then projects that a MNF in control of the borders would isolate Hezbollah from Syria and Iran -- enabling a new Lebanese Army to slowly take back the control of the country, leading Israel to withdraw behind the borders.