JUST POSTED ON...

JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE RULES OF THE GAME. Earlier today, Laura Rozen talked to Mark Perry, co-founder of the Beirut-based Conflicts Forum, which has administered dialogues between Hezbollah and former American and British officials for the past several years. Perry assesses the current crisis, and doesn't pull punches:

We�ve been hearing the theory that the timing of Hezbollah�s Tuesday kidnapping of the two Israeli Defense Force soldiers was planned well in advance and with coordination from Tehran or Damascus. Can you speak to that?

Oy vey. There are a lot of people in Washington trying to walk that story back right now, because it�s not true.

Hezbollah and Israel stand along this border every day observing each other through binoculars and waiting for an opportunity to kill each other. They are at war. They have been for 25 years, no one ever declared a cease-fire between them. � They stand on the border every day and just wait for an opportunity. And on Tuesday morning there were two Humvees full of Israeli soldiers, not under observation from the Israeli side, not under covering fire, sitting out there all alone. The Hezbollah militia commander just couldn�t believe it -- so he went and got them.

The Israeli captain in charge of that unit knew he had really screwed up, so he sent an armored personnel carrier to go get them in hot pursuit, and Hezbollah led them right through a minefield.

Now if you�re sitting in Tehran or Damascus or Beirut, and you are part of the terrorist Politburo so to speak, you have a choice. With your head sunk in your hands, thinking "Oh my God," you can either give [the kidnapped soldiers] back and say "Oops, sorry, wrong time" or you can say, "Hey, this is war."

Read the whole interview.

--The Editors

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