Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What Did Iran's $6 Billion for Hezbollah Buy?

Iran DailyFrom Jack Wakeland with TIA Daily: (highlights are mine)
DEBKAfile reports (in this link and in several previous items) that Iran’s foreign ministry and its supreme national security council are very unhappy that the war in Lebanon has used up most of the $4 to 6 billion in arms Iran has given to Hezbollah. They're particularly unhappy that all their armament program for Hezbollah seems to have accomplished is to teach Israel and (to a lesser degree) the US how to fight Iran. The IDF is about to embark on a major review and improvement in its training and tactics, and the US now knows a great deal about what to expect if American mechanized infantry forces — or commandos — enter Iran.

Reports from these two groups indicate that the war was not planned. It did happen just as the head of Hezbollah's parliamentary delegation said: Hezbollah never dreamed that Israel would go to war over the kidnapping of two soldiers.

Iran is particularly unhappy with the timing of the conflict. It comes three or four months before the expected American or Israeli air attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities might occur. Now, with the majority of Hezbollah's military capacity used up just to counter 5 to 20 km deep probes by the IDF, they will not be available to divert any significant amount of the military power of either nation in the event that that power is used directly against Iran.

Iran is dissatisfied with the performance of Hezbollah's 333mm Farjr-5 rockets (Hezbollah calls this 70 km rocket with its 90 kg warhead, the "Khaibar-1"). It also bothers them that the Israeli Air Force destroyed 22 Zezal-2 launchers, about half of Hezbollah's short-range ballistic missile launching capability. (The Zelzal-2 is a 610mm rocket based on the Soviet FROG-7. It can carry a 600 kg warhead and has a range of 210 km.)

Most of Iran's $4 to 6 billion investment in the Hezbollah military buildup was consumed in the 33 days of fighting. This was a huge expenditure for Iran, which, according to the CIA’s factbook, has a total military budget of less than $5 billion per year, about 7% of the government's annual expenditures (or about 2% of GDP).

What DEBKAfile did not report on is any broader observations that the Iranians may be making. Hezbollah's adventure has not only taught the West, in specific military terms, how to fight Iran. It has taught many in the West that it will be necessary to fight Iran.

The extensive public demonstration of the regime's malignant evil is a major moral defeat for Iran.

In their reports, Iran's foreign ministry and its supreme national security council conclude that Iran must do everything in its power to keep the fighting going. If the war can be extended into October and November, it may divert military resources and distract the political culture of the US and Israel long enough to stave off the air attack the Iranians expect.

To this end, Bashar Assad stated today, according to DEBKAfile, that "the tenacity with which Hezbollah fought has shown him that peace is not Syria's only option." The dictator of Damascus said that one possibility is that “Syrian hands will liberate Golan.” He went on to say that it was time for Fouad Siniora's government in Lebanon to fall.

With Israel having failed to reach Hezbollah's sponsors in this war, their sponsors may reach Israel, provoking the direct military attack by Israel or the United States that they fear.

Such is war with an enemy who operates on a suicide premise.
Some very interesting points here. My suspicions have been that Iran was behind the timing of the aggression with Israel, but not according to this.

Regardless, much of the Arab world is seeing this through state-sponsored media as a victory for Hezbollah. Iran may not be comfortable with the rising star of Nasrallah, fearing that their control may be lessened as his power and ego grows in Lebanon Hezbollistan.

Subscribe to TIA Daily here. Well worth it.

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