Following the prisoner exchange, nobody noticed the importance of Lebanese President Michael Suleiman’s announcement that his government would seek to gain the Shabaa farms region from Israel even if it took a war. Lebanon’s government is unlikely to attack Israel directly but he’s now officially endorsed Hizballah cross-border raids. The Shabaa farms area has always been regarded as part of Syria by Syria itself and the UN. Suleiman’s statement makes Lebanon’s government a Hizballah satellite, ensuring that any future Israel-Hizballah war will be an Israel-Lebanon war with dangerous consequences and high costs for his country.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).