By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
"Whereas a stalemate or even quagmire may benefit Iran's position with respect to the nuclear crisis, the obverse possibility of Hezbollah's substantial weakening, not to mention the squeeze on Damascus, will translate into a more vulnerable Iran confronted with the distinct possibility that Phase 1 of a multi-stage conflict with the US and Israel has already started in Lebanon and Gaza. On a related note, historian Immanuel Wallerstein has predicted that Israel's military gambit in Lebanon will prove to be a "catastrophic blunder" paralleling the United States' predicament in Iraq. This is a distinct possibility, if the net of Israel's ground invasion expands, as it has almost on a daily basis, one that Iran is banking on to happen. But the chances are reasonably high that Israel, learning from the past, will ultimately frustrate Tehran's hopes by making it a limited war followed by an international buffer that would tie the hands of whatever fighting was left in Hezbollah."