Iran Calling the Shots in Mideast

Israeli military strikes against Lebanon are a justified reaction to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers and years of continuing attacks on Israel by Hezbollah, the Tehran-backed terrorist organization.

This latest outrage is nothing short of an act of war by Hezbollah against Israel.  It was unprovoked, vicious, and designed to further destabilize the situation in the Middle East.

The Israelis are not just responding to one incident, but to years of terrorism by Hezbollah.  Viewed in the wider context - six years of continued Hezbollah aggression notwithstanding Israel's withdrawal from Southern Lebanon - the response clearly is justified.  In fact, if anyone is going to call Israel's response disproportionate, let them say Israel is not doing enough.

It is worth noting that the Hezbollah attack was foreshadowed by a warning on Tuesday by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel would be hit by an "explosion" of Muslim anger.  "The fury of Muslim nations is getting more intense," he said. "It is likely to reach an explosion point soon."

During a National Press Club appearance on Thursday with Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon, I quoted the Iranian leader's inflammatory rhetoric and stressed that the kidnappings and attacks were not only an act of war by Hezbollah, but an act of war by proxy by Iran.

The links between Hezbollah and the regime in Tehran are well documented. Hezbollah was created by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in 1982, and it receives most of its external support from the Iranians.  It is highly unlikely that such a provocative act would be undertaken without the knowledge and approval of people at the highest levels of Iran's government.

Clearly, Iran is calling the shots here.