In the tales of "One Thousand and One Nights," some of which were written in ancient Persia (today Iran), a genie rises from a magic lamp and carries out the orders of his master. This legend has been reproduced by Hollywood and, more recently, satirized in Beirut. Over the weekend, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah emerged from the depths of his refuge, appearing as a weakened genie, to threaten Israel. It was an exercise in transparent psychological warfare, threatening Israeli citizens with missiles while licking the backsides of the "powerful" Persian leadership of today. Nasrallah said he would be happy to destroy Israel if he "finally" got the opportunity to.
There was something grotesque, to the point of suspicion, about Nasrallah's gestures and empty threats. It was evident that Israel's destruction of Hezbollah's infrastructure in 2006, attacking the property and lives of the organization's supporters, has not been forgotten. The nature of a genie's role is total obedience to his master's wishes. The frightened and deterred Nasrallah feels in his own broken bones that such actions will be devastating to him and his followers. But now things are bad for the Iranians, and Nasrallah has to make threats and carry out attacks as their messenger. Presumably, Nasrallah hopes that Iran will have a bomb in the future, and then he can be crowned as a master in his own right.
It seems like Nasrallah and Iran understand that Israel, armed with unprecedented powers of attack and defense, is actually preparing to take deadly action against Iran, and even perhaps against Hezbollah. The Arabic proverb "the wet does not fear the rain" seems to apply here. Their nightmare is that Israel and the U.S. will attack Iranian nuclear sites, with the assistance of Sunni Arab states, using bunker-busting bombs, and that they may even contaminate the sites with radioactive fallout that won't allow access to them. Consequently, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week promised that "the new Middle East will be free of the U.S. and Israel." After this speech, millions of Iranians took to the streets screaming "death to America and Israel."
As the chain of Iranian-Syrian-Alawite cooperation breaks apart, opposition to Hezbollah in Lebanon grows. Now Lebanon is the stage for violence, inter-ethnic kidnapping of politicians and citizens and activities against Syria and Hezbollah's terrorist militia. However, the murderous organization still draws positive re-enforcement from the EU's refusal, "righteous generation" that they are, to officially declare Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, residents of Shiite villages in southern Lebanon and Beirut's Shiite Dahiya neighborhood are grumbling. Even today, they have still not yet received the full compensation Iran promised to repair the damage Israel caused in 2006. It is clear to all the Lebanese people that it is not worth their while to enter into a similar adventure. Nasrallah doesn't need to whip himself bloody with chains to understand that if Iran gets hit, so will he. He also knows that his patrons in Iran are hungry because of Western sanctions, and can't afford to fund the Ayatollahs' terrorist satellite in Lebanon.
It's likely that the Arab world understands that Ahmadinejad, whose nation is suffering under severe sanctions, isn't carrying this burden because of a few conflicted Zionists, and that the "liberator of Palestine and Jerusalem" intends to devour the Arabs and their assets in the Gulf. In the meantime, until the U.S. elections, the CIA will translate for whoever is elected president the commitment of Iran's leaders to destroy Israel and eliminate the U.S. presence in the Middle East. After that, everything will be simpler.