BACK TO THE FUTURE….The Israeli security cabinet hasn’t approved this yet, but it now seems likely that Israel will end up the current war by occupying an even greater portion of Lebanon than it did after its 1982 invasion:

Defense Minister Amir Peretz told Israel Defense Forces officials on Thursday evening to begin preparing for the next stage of the military offensive in south Lebanon, which would extend the IDF’s control to all Lebanese territory south of the Litani River.

….Such an operation would extend Israel’s control past the security zone it held until the withdrawal of its troops in May 2000.

Laura Rozen posts the following comment:

From a colleague covering the conflict in Israel: “Almost everyone I talk to here is now saying the Iraq war has presented one of the most significant threats to Israel in its history.” Namely because it has so empowered Iran, and reduced US ability to deal with Iran now.

And of course there was this assessment of Iraq’s future on Thursday from General John Abizaid:

The commander of American forces in the Middle East bluntly warned a Senate committee on Thursday that sectarian violence in Iraq, especially in the capital, Baghdad, had grown so severe that the nation could slide toward civil war.

….The tone of the testimony at the Armed Services Committee?s three-and-a-half-hour hearing was strikingly grimmer than the Pentagon?s previous assessments.

….The security situation in Iraq was described in even starker terms by a senior British diplomat in Baghdad, according to British news reports. He contradicted the official stance in London and Washington by concluding that Iraq was closer to civil war and partition than to democracy.

So to summarize: The invasion of Iraq has failed to create a stable state, let alone a democracy. Instead, it has produced chaos and civil war, strengthened Iran, and endangered Israel. In turn, Israel’s war in Lebanon has failed in its goal of significantly weakening Hezbollah. Instead, it has turned Hassan Nasrallah into a regional folk hero and is about to end in a rerun of the disastrous occupation that created Hezbollah in the first place.

Perhaps a different strategy is in order for the future?