Iran's Motives in Lebanon ??
Interesting calls, but I disagree, in the main.
While Hezbollah forces are busy dodging Israeli missiles, their backers in Iran are throwing out words of support in their defense -- and not much else. Iran is watching as its most prized militant asset in the region gets clobbered by Israeli forces, which raises the question of why Tehran played a part in orchestrating this flare-up in the first place.
To begin delving into the psyche of the Iranian regime, we must step back a few days to July 10, the day before the Hezbollah attack in which two Israeli soldiers were abducted in the disputed Shebaa Farms area. The international community at that time was screaming about North Korea's provocative long-range missile test, and the threat of a nuclear-armed Pyongyang dominated the headlines for weeks.
The Iranians and North Koreans regularly play off each other's carefully timed nuclear "crises" -- to the extent that Iranians were reportedly present at North Korea's July 5 missile tests. With North Korea grabbing the world's attention, Tehran had considerable room to maneuver with its own nuclear agenda and skillfully evaded a U.N. Security Council demand for Iran to respond to a package of incentives designed to curb the Iranian nuclear program. The door was open for some adventurism in other areas where Iran possessed assets.
Next door in Iraq, sectarian violence was soaring to unprecedented levels -- Sunni guerrillas continued their attacks, and Shiite death squads roamed relatively freely on the streets, pulling Sunnis out of their homes and cars and shooting them to death. The rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq was driving the U.S. exit strategy even further into the ground, as Shiite political leaders with close links to Iran refrained from taking any action to rein in the Shiite militias.