Israel’s Poker Face

TEL AVIV -- There are three new cards in Israel's game of chance and opportunity with its enemies. The first is the "bomb Iran" card, the second is the "Hezbollah smack-down" card and the third is new Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

In recent days the Israeli press has been all over Hezbollah's actions along the Israeli/Egyptian
border, where agents of the self-styled Party of God have been allegedly using resource-starved Bedouins to smuggle guns and money into Gaza. There have also been reports of Hezbollah drug smuggling operations into Israel along the Lebanese border. From Israel's point of view, Iran's ayatollah's are pulling Hezbollah's strings, so these aggressions alongside the Iranian nuclear question mean Israel won't have to look far for a smoking gun if it decides to send its F-16s to Tehran.

This must make American negotiators in the region very nervous, particularly those whose job it is to restart talks with Iran. From the American point of view, gun smuggling Bedouins may seem like small potatoes compared with Shahab missiles carrying nukes, but as long as Israel is feeling the heat from the Iranians it will be of little use in any negotiating scenarios involving a scaling down of aggressive planning against Iranian nuclear sites.

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