Ynet.com reported on Monday:
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton sent a message to Beirut that Washington cannot prevent an Israeli strike in Lebanon as long as arms smuggling to Hezbollah continues.
It is always interesting when the US claims to be unable to prevent Israeli aggression. I’m not one of these conspiracy theorists who believes every action taken by Tel Aviv must first be approved by Washington (see the Ozirak Reactor bombing in 1981). However, Clinton’s statement above implies that the US has no influence over Israel’s military decisions. Given that it was US (and British) refusal to call for an immediate ceasefire at the UN which prolonged the fighting and destruction during the 2006 Lebanon War, it is a complete fallacy to say that Washington is powerless. Even if the US cannot stop a preliminary strike by the IDF on Lebanon (which itself is highly debatable, not least because they would mostly be using the expensive military hardware given or sold to them by Washington) it certainly has the power to prevent a single strike or raid from escalating into a repeat of 2006.
The subtext of Clinton’s message is that she believes Israel would be justified in her eyes to use military strikes against Hezbollah once more. That the build up of arms is a legitimate casus belli. What is uncertain is whether this is just more bluster to indirectly threaten Syria and Iran, or whether she really does believe that Israel has the right to decimate Lebanon once again. Moreover, given Clinton’s long-standing pro-Israel views, can this stance be seen as official Obama administration policy, or just that of its Secretary of State?