If this mess explodes on two fronts, the volatility of the situation increases exponentially. Just another piece of the BushCo legacy! Lebanon's parl
January 6, 2009

If this mess explodes on two fronts, the volatility of the situation increases exponentially. Just another piece of the BushCo legacy!

Lebanon's parliament majority leader Saad Hariri on Monday claimed that Hezbollah would not respond to Israel's devastating offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

Hariri said that Saeed Jalili, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, told him that Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant organization, would not attack Israel from Lebanon.

"What Jalili said greatly calms us," Hariri said.

The lawmaker's remarks came despite the fact that observers in both Lebanon and Israel are starting to believe some kind of escalation along the Lebanese border is likely if the military operation in Gaza continues.

It is far from clear what form this escalation might take. One possibility is relatively small-scale rocket launches, either by Lebanese groups affiliated with the cause of global jihad or by Palestinian groups in Lebanon, which generally coordinate their activities with Hezbollah.

Another option is an operation by Hezbollah itself, which would probably be broader in scope.

That Hezbollah has been increasing its forces' preparedness in recent weeks is no secret: The organization's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, announced it publicly the day Israel's operation in Gaza began, and Sheikh Nabil Kauk, the Hezbollah official in charge of south Lebanon, reiterated it Monday.

Lebanese analysts believe there is disagreement within Hezbollah: Some senior members favor restraint, while others charge that mere speeches in support of the Palestinians are insufficient, and must be backed up with attacks on Israel.

The prevailing view, however, is that if Hamas appears to be weakening, pressure on Hezbollah to intervene would intensify greatly. "Hezbollah cannot allow Hamas to lose this war," said Ibrahim al-Amin, editor of the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, who is considered close to Nasrallah.

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