Q. WHAT ARE Israel's goals in carrying out this assault?
Achcar. STRATEGICALLY SPEAKING, both Israel and the United States consider their main enemy in the Middle East to be not bin Laden or al-Qaeda--these are only minor nuisances in their eyes, if conveniently useful nuisances--but Iran.
There is what they call the Shiite axis or crescent, which has its source in Iran, and goes through the pro-Iranian Shiite forces in Iraq, through the Syrian government, which is allied to Iran, and reaches Hezbollah in Lebanon.
This is why they consider Hezbollah a very important enemy--because with their kind of conception of the world, they see everything through their obsession with what they consider to be their main enemy state. At the time of the Cold War, they used to see everything worldwide in terms of a confrontation with the former Soviet Union. Now, they see everything in the Middle East in terms of a confrontation with Iran.
* Senior Bush Official, May 2003