Tags: iran | israel | hezbollah | naim qassem

No, America Is Not on the Brink of War With Iran

No, America Is Not on the Brink of War With Iran
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Thursday, 27 June 2019 05:07 PM Current | Bio | Archive

If you rely on pundits for your information about foreign affairs, you are probably under the impression that the entire Middle East is a tinder box about to explode. You are probably convinced that the United States is on the brink of war with Iran. And you probably tremble when thinking about the repercussions that will befall the United States when there is a retaliatory strike against Iran.

I don't have a crystal ball — but neither do other pundits. And I'm here to tell you to take a deep breath and relax. It's not so clear that chaos and catastrophe are in our immediate future. And if there is a counter strike by Iran (a possibility not a probability), it will not directly involve the United States and Iran. It will involve Israel, a.k.a. the United States' ally, and Hezbollah, a.k.a. Iran's proxy.

You might take some small comfort in knowing that the Arabic press is as full of speculation as is the Western press.

Hezbollah's number two is Sheik Naim Qassem. His official title is Deputy Secretary General of Hezbollah and he has been representing the organization and getting a lot of press. In an interview that Sheik Qassem gave to the Lebanese daily Joumhouria, reported by Reuters, he said that: "At the regional level, we see as unlikely an American war against Iran for many reasons, the most important of them being firstly that Iran is a strong state with important defensive capabilities."

The Deputy Secretary General went on to explain that President Trump would not be able to control the outcome of a war. Why? Because, as Qassem intimated, there are too many Iranian proxies with the ability of attacking the many interests the United States has in the region. He said that the U.S. president "does not benefit from a war that he can start but whose results he cannot control and which might begin with Iran but may be accompanied by the region being set on fire."

For his part, President Donald J. Trump has indicated that should there be war between the United States and Iran it would be over very quickly. Again — a possibility, by no means a probability.

Hezbollah was created by Iran, in 1982, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. There is no doubt that if any serious conflict erupted between the United States and Iran, Hezbollah would be best poised to attack Israel. They are positioned on Israel's northern border and have accumulated over 100,000 rockets and missiles. Most importantly, over these past few years and many regional conflicts, Hezbollah has amassed extensive experience fighting in Syria and defending the Assad regime. They are not a ragtag band of zealots, they are now polished, trained, experienced soldiers.

Hezbollah's prowess, all of it, comes courtesy of Iran. Iran sponsored and trained them. Iran provided the arms and weapons. Iran gave them rockets on the condition that they be used only and exclusively against Israel and only after Teheran issues the launch order.

Bluntly put, Hezbollah exists because of Iran. Hezbollah is indebted to Iran. And Iran calls in their debts.

By Qassem's own admission Iran has created a great alliance across the Middle East. He takes pride in speaking about "the great accomplishments" of the alliance led by Iran over the last two decades in "Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere."

These comments by Hezbollah's Number Two do not fit the classic rhetoric that permeates the Middle East. Other leaders tend to bluster and make grandiose statements about the power of Islam and the invisibility of Islam. They speak of how believers (Muslims) will defeat the non-believers (you, me, and everyone else). More typically, Hezbollah statements announce that the Saudi royal family has become servants to Israel or that Hezbollah rockets can hit every square inch of Israel.

Over the past few years the comments made by Sheik Qassem have become very useful tools for Westerners. They help us interpret and assess the tone of the region. These most recent comments indicate, thankfully, a level headed response to the rising tensions between Iran and the United States. Qassem, quite literally, lays out a sequence of events.

Iran hits U.S. interests. The United States responds with a surgical strike against the Iranian targets responsible for the hit. Iranian proxies attack Israel or other U.S. interests.

Measured and controlled responses. Not the best case scenario, but certainly a far cry from war.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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If you rely on pundits for your information about foreign affairs, you are probably under the impression that the entire Middle East is a tinder box about to explode. You are probably convinced that the United States is on the brink of war with Iran.
iran, israel, hezbollah, naim qassem
803
2019-07-27
Thursday, 27 June 2019 05:07 PM
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