April 13, 2010

About those Scuds...

I don't really have all that much analysis to add to the allegations that Syria has transfered Scud missiles to Hizballah. So let me just contribute two points:

  1. Acquiring scuds from Syria would give Hizballah some interesting options in the event of another conflict with Israel. In the past, Hassan Nasrallah has articulated a kind of measured response to Israeli attacks: You bomb southern Lebanon, we rocket northern Israel. You bomb the southern suburbs, we rocket Haifa. You bomb Beirut proper, we rocket Tel Aviv. Hizballah's ability to do the latter, of course, depends entirely on whether or not they have the capability to do so and whether or not the IAF is able to knock out Hizballah's long-range rockets early enough in the conflict (as the IAF claims to have done in 2006). So for Hizballah to have a credible deterrent, Israel has to know they have long-range rockets.
  2. The problem with this, of course, is that the next Israel-Lebanon war starts when either a) Hizballah or Israel does something stupid or b) Hizballah acquires "equilibrium-breaking" weaponry like powerful long-range rockets or anti-aircraft weaponry. Israel might decide, in the event of the latter, that it must act preemptively and that the very fact that Hizballah possesses such weapons is casus belli enough.

So everyone hold your breath. Because this is how wars start.