Across the Bay
And there’s something else that people who think the solution lies in Damascus should bear in mind. The relationship between the son and Hezbollah is different to the relationship that existed between the father and Hezbollah. For Hafez al-Assad, Hezbollah was a tool in his hand to remind Israel that if they didn’t negotiate the return of the Golan Heights, he could hurt them in Lebanon. And he used that—it was like a tap that he could turn on and off.
The relationship between Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah is very different. He is dependent on Hezbollah to maintain Syrian influence in Lebanon because he no longer has the troop presence that gave him control of Lebanon. He is dependent on Hezbollah to defend against an Israeli ground attack through Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley into Syria. And therefore, his ability to curb Hezbollah is much more limited, if it’s there at all.
Translation by ThreatWatch from Le Figaro from the French Foriegn Minister after his trip to Tehran:
“..the French respond that it is preferable to address the issue with the true decision-maker, more so than its Syrian vassal.”
…the hostility of Tehran to the deployment of troops with the objective of neutralizing Hizballah along the border with Israel. This Iranian veto would be in any case negotiable, in exchange for Western concessions in regard to the nuclear issue. Tehran has made no secret in practice of its intention to relate the crisis in Lebanon to that arising from its nuclear ambitions…