Blanford, who has good sources in the Hezbollah leadership, said, "They seem to be convinced that sooner or later there's going to be an Israeli-Arab conflict. In the long term, Israel cannot put up with this threat from Hezbollah." It seems clear that in ordinary times Israel would already have moved against Hezbollah. But these are not ordinary times. Intelligence officials told me that Israel cannot act preëmptively against Hezbollah while America is trying to shore up Arab support for, or acquiescence in, a campaign to overthrow Saddam Hussein. To do otherwise would be to risk angering the Bush Administration, which needs Israel to show restraint. One Israeli Army officer I spoke to put it bluntly: "The day after the American attack, we can move."
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