Israeli Flyovers - Pretext for Iranian Intervention?

Israeli flights over Lebanese territory provide an opening for Iran to engage in the internal Lebanese political struggle and present itself as a potential provider for Lebanese factions currently not aligned with Iran.

After talks Saturday with LAF General Michel Suleiman, Iran's ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Reza Sheibani stated this weekend that "Iran is ready to supply modern anti-aircraft arms to Lebanon." Sources in the Lebanese Army are considering the offer.

At the same time, Lebanon's political factions were to hold talks on the demands of Hizbullah and its allies for a national unity government, in an attempt to prevent escalating political tensions from erupting into violence.

The Reut Institute suggests that Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty through flyovers provide an opening for Iran to engage in the internal Lebanese political struggle. Iran can present itself not only as the Sponsor of Hizbullah, but also as a potential provider for the Lebanese factions which are currently not aligned with Iran.

Furthermore, this places Prime Minister Siniora in a dilemma since, due to his alliance with the US, he may have to refuse the Iranian offer to strengthen the LAF. Such refusal could be interpreted locally as compromising Lebanese patriotic interests for the benefit of US and Israeli concerns.

In addition, Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty highlight the weakness of the Lebanese government's Delivery Capability. This supports Hizbullah's claim that it alone can protect the Lebanese people.

Sources