Middle East: Tangled Ties

The attacks in Israel and Lebanon lay bare a complex web of relationships across the Middle East. Can the region avoid a wider war?

THE POWER BROKERS

IRAN Helped create Hizballah as a Shi'ite force in Lebanon and continues to sponsor its activities. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed a "crushing response" if Israel moves against Syria

SYRIA President Bashar Assad has disclaimed any ties to Lebanon since the withdrawal of Syrian troops in 2005 but remains a sponsor of Hizballah and is host to Hamas leaders

THE FACTIONS

HIZBALLAH Formed in 1982, the terrorist group has grown into a national movement under Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Many in Lebanon credit Hizballah with forcing Israel to end its 18-year occupation in 2000

HAMAS A Palestinian extremist...

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