The Crime Of Lebanon And Palestine -
Are Iran And Syria Next?
Parts I & II
By Stephen Lendman
July 24, 2006
By any interpretation of international law, Israel today is committing massive and egregious war crimes and crimes against
humanity against the defenseless people of Palestine and Lebanon. It's doing it with the full support and encouragement of
the US and willful compliance of the West, most of the Arab world, the UN and the dominant corporate media worldwide acting
as cheerleaders for the mass killing, crippling destruction, and immiseration of innocent civilians in Lebanon and the Palestinian
Occupied Territories. Israel falsely claims its duel assaults are in response to Hamas' capture of an Israel Defense Forces
(IDF) soldier near Kerem Shalom crossing, southeast of Rafah, on June 25 and Hezbollah's cross-border incursion on July 12,
killing eight IDF soldiers in the exchange that followed and taking two others prisoner.
soldiers were captured, not "kidnapped" as falsely reported. But nearly 10,000 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were
forcibly abducted, are now held in indefinite detention in Israeli prisons, many administratively without charge, and are
grievously abused or tortured according to Amnesty International and B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights monitoring group.
in fact, reported in 1998:
"By Israel's own admission, Lebanese detainees are being held as 'bargaining chips'; they are not detained for their
own actions but in exchange for Israeli soldiers missing in action or killed in Lebanon (during the Israeli occupation
there). Most have now spent 10 years in secret and isolated detention (and many are still there or have been replaced
by other abductees)."
The "civilized world" rails about the three IDF prisoners of war, yet is unconcerned about 10,000 Arab victims
because they're Muslims, not white enough, and no criticism of Israel is allowed or tolerated publicly for whatever it does.
Still, no nation claimed it had a right to declare war on Israel to free its prisoners unjustifiably held
nor would the world community tolerate it if one did.
But that's just what Israel did and is getting away with
it with the full support of the US and world community. Clearly the events of June 25 and July 12 in no way justify Israel's
right to wage all out retaliatory war, and in doing it Israel is grievously violating international laws and norms. Nonetheless,
it's known Israel planned to wage them long before it got the pretexts to do it. Both "wars" were planned well in advance,
Israel intended to wage them all along and only needed an excuse to do it in each case. Had not Hamas and Hezbollah obliged
(insignificant as their provocations were), Israel would have "manufactured" pretexts as it's done in the past to
execute the plans it had in mind. The result since has been the mass suffering and death of innocent men, women and children
(in numbers far greater than reported as they always are) who always pay the greatest price when conflicts begin.
But that's part of Israel's plan as their strategy is always to deliberately inflict great pain on the civilian population
of its targets hoping the people affected will blame their ruling authorities for it and turn against them. In Palestine and
Lebanon that means Hamas and Hezbollah that Israel intends making every effort to destroy. The strategy never worked before,
and it won't now as evidenced by how events are now unfolding. Instead of turning the people in the Occupied Territories and
South Lebanon against Hamas and Hezbollah, both these authorities are gaining support in response to Israel's extreme and
unjustifiable reign of terror that eventually will come back to haunt it and its US ally as it always does.
Plan Is to Wage a Scorched-Earth Reign of Terror Similar to What the US Is Doing in Iraq
quickly and overwhelmingly to the Hamas and Hezbollah provocations. It initiated "Operation Summer Rain" against Hamas and
the Palestinians and "Operation Change of Direction" against Hezbollah and the people of Lebanon. Both IDF assaults continue
unabated so far through intensive attacks from the air and on the ground.
It's not the purpose of this article to document
the carnage inflicted thus far in each conflict area. It's been brutal, unrelenting and excessive involving suspected use
of illegal weapons including chemical agents, depleted uranium (DU) munitions that will leave deadly irremediable toxic radiation
forever over the areas struck and beyond, and white phosphorous bombs and shells, known as Willy Pete, that burn flesh to
the bone and can't be extinguished by water that only makes it worse when used. The IDF is also reportedly testing in real
time some new terror weapons, possibly for the first time. One of them is a thermobaric bomb reported being used freely across
Lebanon. This bomb contains polymer-bonded or solid fuel-air explosives in its payload. It also has a fuse munition unit (FMU)
used on the nose of Israeli artillery shells able to penetrate buildings, underground shelters and tunnels creating such a
blast pressure that all the oxygen is sucked out from the spaces and the lungs of anyone in the vicinity. The Lebanese, and
likely the Palestinians as well, are their lab rats with consequences to them too horrible to imagine.
Much of this
is being well covered daily with graphic pictures of destroyed bodies (including of young children) in the alternative
media online, in print, on Aljazeera and in other independent media sources uncorrupted by their governments or corporate
affiliations. Sadly, as usual, it's impossible to have any understanding of what's going on or why through the US corporate
media, so-called US National Public Radio and TV that have sunk as low as Fox News in their corrupted one-sidedness, and the
"vaunted" and "venerable" BBC that's about as bad.
As it always is, especially in time of war, the first casualty is truth that's being suppressed
in the mainstream and replaced with Israel and US-friendly propaganda.
Nonetheless, those seeking alternative
sources of news and information to learn and understand the truth know that Israel's response to two minor incursions against
it has been disproportionate in the extreme. But it's part of Israel's long-standing strategy to provoke conflict deliberately,
to get the PLO in the past and Hamas and Hezbollah today to respond, falsely label them "terrorists" for doing it, and then
claim a justifiable right to strike back with brute force in "self-defense" that's, in fact, an act of aggression.
It's always done to avoid a political solution with them which Israel has no intention of
In executing its current plan, the IDF has now maliciously and willfully attacked innocent civilians in Palestine
and Lebanon and created a humanitarian disaster in both countries. The world response to these atrocities has been tepid,
shameless and disgraceful, and hundreds of thousands of defenseless people are paying a dreadful price as a consequence. Israel
is being allowed and even encouraged to get away with murder and mass destruction, and most world governments through their
acquiescence are, de facto, willing co-conspirators. As a result, nothing is being done to help the innocent victims whose
suffering continues daily with no letup.
Israel's assaults on the Occupied Territories and Lebanon were planned well
in advance with the full knowledge and approval of the US. It was reported earlier this year in Israel's Maariv daily that
the events now underway in Gaza and the West Bank were in the works for months. It was explained in an interview the paper
did with IDF Southern Command General Yoav Galant, responsible for Gaza, who said that
"we (Israel) have a plan to (re) occupy the Strip" (and) "We are
in advanced states of preparing forces for readiness" to do it in response to "increased (Palestinian) attacks."
Another IDF official confirmed what the general said and added that the IDF completed its training to reenter
Gaza and informed its soldiers to prepare and be ready for orders to move in. Neither the general or other IDF official explained,
however, that the Palestinian "attacks" were with crude weapons and only in response to Israel's daily assaults against them
with the most sophisticated weapons the IDF has other than its nuclear ones.
The story in Lebanon is very similar and
the predictable outcome from Hezbollah's justifiable responses to Israeli instigated intermittent conflict, cross-border incursions,
freewheeling abductions, and repeated violations of the country's airspace. It's brought us to where we are now and Israel's
plan and intent to destroy Hezbollah as a political entity as well as the military strength it's built up since the IDF withdrew
from South Lebanon six years ago.
Hezbollah publicly admitted receiving military aid from Iran and Syria in the Arab
press, and the Syrian defense minister confirmed his country helped supply some of it. This was just reported on July 21 by
Matthew Kallman of the San Francisco Chronicle Foreign Service - a most unexpected venue. Kallman quotes Israeli professor
Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University who said:
"In a sense, the preparation (for the Lebanon assault) began
in May, 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, when it became clear the international community was not going to
prevent Hezbollah from stockpiling missiles and attacking Israel. By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three
weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across
The professor forgot to mention that Hezbollah attacks were justifiable and in response to frequent Israeli cross-border
ones against them, the Lebanese people and the Palestinians, as explained above.
It's called self-defense, but not by the Western media or this Israeli professor.
reported further that over a year ago a senior Israeli IDF officer (unidentified) began giving "PowerPoint presentations"
off the record to US and other officials and unnamed journalists and think tanks explaining the plan now underway "in revealing
detail." The officer described a three week campaign to destroy Hezbollah's "long-range missiles," rocket launchers and weapons
stores, its command and control centers, and disrupt transportation and communication in the country. He said IDF ground forces
in large numbers would then invade Southern Lebanon in the third week of the campaign to destroy targets identified through
reconnaissance but not to remain on a long-term basis. It turned out the IDF did it after 10 days and are now in the south
of the country.
Kallman also quoted Eran Lerman, a former colonel in IDF intelligence who said the Israeli military
debated how to accomplish what it's now undertaken. There were two sides. "One is the air power school of thought, the other
is the land-borne option......the air force concept is very methodical....and slower to get results. A ground invasion that
sweeps Hezbollah in front of you is quicker, but at a much higher cost in human life and requiring the creation of a presence
on the ground." Moshe Marzuk, former head of the Lebanon desk for Israeli Military Intelligence, added "Israel has learned
from past conflicts in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza..... that a traditional military campaign (on the ground)
would be counter-effective. A big invasion is not suitable here. We are not fighting an army, but guerrillas..... If we are
to be on the ground at all, we need to use commandos and special forces." So far, the script outlined above is playing out
about as planned. But Kallman was also told what any military observer knows well. The best of plans don't always work out
as intended which the daily Haaretz military analyst, Daniel Ben-Simon, indicated when he said: "I have no idea how this movie
is going to end."
No one does, but it's the purpose of this article to address why these operations were undertaken,
what Israel and its US ally hope to achieve by them, and what may follow next, hard as that may be to know. Still, it's important
to try as the danger of an expanded conflict is possible with untold consequences should it happen.
Intent and Goals and Those of Its US Ally
The US is always fully aware well in advance of any significant
operation Israel intends to undertake. As that small but powerful nation's paymaster and benefactor, Israel wouldn't dare
under most circumstances not keep its most valued ally fully in the loop and most concerned about having its full compliance.
That's rarely ever a problem though as both nations share a common interest in the Middle East. For Israel it's primarily
security against potentially hostile neighbors, its intent to assure pro-Israeli regimes in the region, and its ability to
expand its undeclared borders beyond where they now are to wherever it's able to do it and get away with it. Israel already
controls the choicest parts of the West Bank, the Syrian Golan Heights it captured in the 1967 war and never returned, and
the 25 square kilometer Shebaa Farms area of South Lebanon it never relinquished after seizing it as well in the 1967 war.
It's maintained its occupation of both areas after the end of hostilities with Syria nearly 40 years ago and its withdrawal
from Lebanon in May, 2000, 22 years after it first invaded this defenseless country.
the US also has a clear interest in the Middle East that's elementary to a grade schooler with any intelligence.
The region has about half the world's acknowledged oil reserves and for over half a century has been viewed by
US officials as a treasure of almost unimaginable strategic and economic value. That view has prevailed at least since the
historic meeting on the USS Quincy in early 1945 near the end of WW II between Franklin Roosevelt and Saudi King ibn Saud
to begin a relationship that would later assure US access to Saudi oil and the beginning of its dominance in the region in
return for this country's agreeing to provide security for the monarchy.
Ever since, the US has pursued a policy to
establish and support client states in the region and to conduct hostile covert actions or wage war to install them in nations
important enough like Iraq where they didn't exist. Despite our rhetoric concerning the Middle East or anywhere else, this
country has no interest whatever in removing dictators or establishing democracies. It's only interest everywhere, but especially
in countries with great strategic importance, is to have in place client states run by leaders subservient to US wishes and
aims. Independent-minded leaders like Saddam, the Iranian Mullahs and President Mahmoud Armadinejad, Syrian President Bashar
Al-Assad, and three-time democratically elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, beloved by the great majority of his people,
are prime targets for regime-changing removal by force if necessary - only because they chose to run their countries independently
of US authority. Imperial powers like the US never tolerate that.
Israel's well-planned actions against Hamas and the
Palestinians and Hezbollah and the people of Lebanon are part of the same regime-changing strategy. In the Occupied Territories
it's to destroy Hamas as an independent-minded political entity and replace it with a compliant one like Fatah and Mahmoud
Abbas willing to serve Israel's interests and not those of the Palestinian people. In South Lebanon, it's essentially the
same thing - to destroy Hezbollah as a political and resistance force, remove its resilient threat to Israeli hegemony in
the region, and replace it with an Israel-friendly Lebanese government in full control of the country.
The Evolution of Israeli-Hamas Relations
Israel wasn't always hostile to Hamas it now views
as an enemy it intends to destroy. In the 1980s, the Israeli government lent it support to check the growing authority and
legitimacy of the PLO that had suspended retaliatory attacks and wanted to pursue a political solution with Israel that Prime
Minister Yitzhak Shamir at the time explained Israelis would never agree to and, in fact, said he went to war with Lebanon
in 1982 to prevent. But once established, Hamas rose in prominence largely due to its well organized and effective social
service network that provides such essential services as food assistance, health care, education, daycare and other charitable
aid to Palestinians in great need of them. But Hamas also has a military or resistance wing that has engaged in attacks against
Israeli soldiers and civilians in retaliation for Israel's war of attrition against the Palestinian people that's caused decades
of immiseration with little relief or outside support to offset it.
Because of that, Israel was horrified when the
January, 2006 election didn't turn out the way it thought it had carefully arranged and Hamas won a clear majority of the
seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Without the larger than life figure of Yasser Arafat to lead it, the Palestinian
people finally rejected the dominant Fatah party and its post-Oslo history of corruption and subservience to Israeli authority.
From the start, it was clear Israel had a single aim - to destroy Hamas as a political entity by any means. The Ehud Olmert
led Kadima government planned it, the IDF trained in preparation for it, and it just awaited a convenient pretext to initiate
what began on June 25.
The Hezbollah Story
The Hezbollah story is quite
similar. It was born out of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the oppressive occupation that followed. Hezbollah
was formed to resist the occupation, expel the Israelis, and it remained an effective opposition force to Israel ever since.
It's major base of support is in the Southern Lebanon Shiite region and Northern Beka'a valley it controls that's up to one-third
of the population. It's also likely supported by the estimated 400,000 Palestinian refugees in the country who live in overcrowded
camps, struggle to achieve their basic needs, have no legal rights, and get no government aid or protection. Hezbollah is
also a major political force and is represented by 11 lawmakers in the Lebanese Parliament and has two government ministers
in the country's cabinet. But it also maintains a military wing as a needed deterrent to Israeli oppression that up to now
has been the only effective force against it in the region. That's why Israel's aim has always been to eliminate Hezbollah
and now initiated on July 12 what looks like all out war, the reinvasion of Lebanon that followed on July 22, and possible
occupation of the country ahead if it decides that's what's needed to achieve it. It never was able to do it before and likely
won't succeed now whatever strategy it follows. But Israel is determined and seems intent to follow the strange and doomed
to fail policy of "always wrong but never in doubt." It won't be any different this time, but once again Israel appears to
be repeating past mistakes and making its victims pay the harsh price for them.
Throughout Israel's occupation of Southern
Lebanon in 1980s and 90s that price was severe indeed, but Hezbollah's committed resistance nonetheless finally succeeded
in getting the IDF to withdraw from the country in May, 2000. After 22 years of failing to subdue a resilient South Lebanon,
it's hard to believe Israel is once again willing to try and in so doing inflict mass death, suffering and destruction on
the innocent people throughout this country that are no match for the IDF militarily in a head-on confrontation. But it goes
unreported and undiscussed in the mainstream that if Israel really wanted to end retaliatory attacks against its territory
and people, the easy sure way to do it is to stop provoking the Palestinians and Hezbollah by attacking them first.
The fact that it hasn't done it shows it won't and doesn't want to
because in a state of peace and calm it would be unable to avoid the political solution it never intends to negotiate in good
Israel instead prefers to continue the policy it began against Lebanon in 1968 when the IDF conducted
terror raids and military aggression against the country that included attacking the Beirut airport and destroying 13 civilian
planes on the ground claiming it was in retaliation for an attack by Lebanese trained Palestinians targeting an Israeli airliner
in Athens. IDF incursions into Lebanon continued in the 1970s against the PLO including the major invasion into Southern Lebanon,
the "Litani River Operation." It was launched in March, 1978 to establish an occupation zone that Israel put the Christian
South Lebanon Army (SLA) in place to man when it withdrew its forces weeks later.
But Israel reinvaded the country
in June, 1982 in force with intent to stay, remaining until Hezbollah forced it to withdraw in May, 2000. Before it did, however,
the IDF managed to kill about 18,000 mostly innocent civilian Lebanese and Palestinians. Yet, despite the carnage, the IDF
was unable to destroy Hezbollah which resisted effectively including against Israel's April, 1996 17 day "Operation Grapes
of Wrath" that accomplished nothing but more death and destruction. Today, Hezbollah under its leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah,
is stronger than ever and is gaining support beyond its Shiite base and near autonomy in the South in response to the Israeli
inflicted atrocities committed in the current conflict. It now remains to watch and speculate where this conflict is heading.
The Road from Palestine and Lebanon May Lead to Iran and Syria
The US and Israeli plan may be
to escalate the current Palestinian and Lebanese conflicts and extend them to Iran and Syria. It's a real possibility and
the most serious threat at this time with all its potentially dreadful consequences. Whether it will or won't happen only
high-level insiders in both countries know for certain, and even they may be unsure until the current conflicts play out further.
If it's undertaken, this added escalation will have unknown hazards for all involved combined with the increasing out-of-control
conflict in Iraq and the one in Afghanistan fast heading in the same direction. At this time, whether the Washington neocons
in charge of things, the Pentagon and the Likudnik spin-offs in the Olmert Kadima party are willing to risk going further
is anyone's guess.
The Threat to Iran
The future is uncertain, but what
is known is that a number of reports circulated earlier this year and in 2005 that the Bush administration signed off on a
"shock and awe" nuclear attack against Iran to destroy its entirely legal commercial nuclear program based on the unproved
claim Iran is using it to develop and produce nuclear weapons. Among other places this was reported by journalist Seymour
Hersh in the New Yorker magazine recently. Hersh went further saying Israel has called Iran a "major threat"
that "must be stopped" from developing these weapons. In a subsequent article Hersh then reported these plans are off
the table because of strong resistance to them inside the Pentagon. But it's hard to believe this is so given the position
of the hard-liners in charge in Washington and Israel determined to pursue regime change in both Iran and Syria and replace
the current leaderships there with pro-Western ones who'll dutifully serve their obedient role of subservient client states.
also has long had designs on Iran that have been known at least since October, 2003, when the German weekly Der Spiegel reported
that the Mossad (the country's intelligence gathering and covert action and counterterrorism agency) had marked six
Iranian nuclear facilities as targets for an Israeli pre-emptive air strike. It added that then Israel Prime Minister Aeriel
Sharon called Iran "the greatest danger to Israel" and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said "Iran calls for Israel's annihilation
(and) We must do our utmost under US guidance to delay or eliminate the prospect of the extremist regime (in Tehran
from) securing weapons of this sort." It went on to report "a special unit of Mossad received an order...to prepare a detailed
plan to destroy Iran's nuclear sites Mossad believes (have) reached an advanced stage....." The completed Mossad plan was
then "delivered to the Israeli Air Force, (to) carry out the strike."
As far as we know, the US is also making plans
and has since 2004 been committing hostile acts against Iran by flying unmanned aerial surveillance drones across its airspace
and has infiltrated special forces reconnaissance teams secretly into the country "to collect targeting data and to establish
contact with anti-government ethnic minority groups" according to Seymour Hersh in his reporting. The Iranians are well aware
of these activities and are likely doing all they can to thwart or counteract them. They also understand quite well what's
at stake for them - that the US and Israel are planning regime change by whatever means they think will work and are using
the falsely claimed threat of Iran's perfectly legal commercial nuclear program as the pretext to pursue it. The
rest of the world so far seems willing to go along with this duplicitous scheme as well as the dominant corporate media once
again dutifully performing their customary cheerleading role of support for whatever operations the US and Israel intend to
conduct, legally justified or not. The public as usual is largely in the dark and has no idea what's going on or what's
Target Syria - Also under Threat
Syria, along with Iran, is also
part of the same apparent US - Israeli scheme to escalate the Middle East conflict further. Both countries are Hezbollah allies
and, as mentioned above, are known to have provided it arms, something no nation does more of than the US and often to empower
unstable, undemocratic regimes that jeopardize global security. But that's portrayed as perfectly acceptable when it's done
by the world's only superpower and for whatever reason it has in mind. It's another story, entirely, however, when a smaller
nation does it, especially if that country is not a US client state and the arms it supplies goes to a source the US and its
allies wish to keep them from, even if their intended use is only for self-defense.
Thus, while there's a vast world
arms trade for legal and nefarious purposes the public generally hears little or nothing about, it's another story when the
arms suppliers are Iran and Syria, their transactions or aid are quite proper, but the recipients are Hezbollah and Hamas,
sworn enemies of the US and Israel. The US claims Iran and Syria are state sponsors of terrorism and says Hezbollah and Hamas
are terrorist entities. It doesn't matter if it's true or not, just that the US says it is to justify whatever action it and
its Israeli ally have in mind. There's now a systematic demonization campaign under way to claim both countries have armed
Hezbollah to conduct "unprovoked terror attacks" against Israel and thus provide justifiable cause for Israel and the US to
retaliate. Again, truth is not the issue, only what the US and Israel say is true.
Also, in March, 2006 the UN Security
Council took the unprecedented step, aimed at Syria, of approving a resolution to establish a hybrid tribunal for a political
crime. It will consist of 2 Lebanese and three international judges to try the killers of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri
that will allow an international judgment to take precedence over Lebanese law. From the start, the finger of guilt was pointed
at Syria, but so far there's been no evidence uncovered to prove it.
But by unjustifiably associating Syria with the
Hariri killing and accusing it of supplying Hezbollah with arms for claimed "terror" attacks, the US and Israel have now put
the mark of Cain on this nation making it easier to attack it. It's never hard finding a pretext to act
when there's enough determination to do it. Both the US and Israel have had lots of practice finding them where they
exist or inventing or provoking them when they don't. The recent Iraq "now you see 'em, now you don't" WMDs come to mind as
an invented one that destroyed a nation. Iran and Syria are quite aware of this and are doing all they can to ward off a similar
fate. Still they know full well, if the US and/or Israel act against them forcibly, they and their people will pay a painful
price. And the region will as well if the Arab street explodes as one or two more countries in it go up in flames to further
the imperial aims of two rogue terrorist states allowed to go unchecked by a complicit world community hoping to benefit from
the scraps left for it in the carnage or too timid to stand up for what's right.
What May Lie
Ahead - The Potential Danger Is Great
There's much at stake in the Middle East for both the US and
Israel including the very real possibility that the duel Israeli offensives with US support and aid may make an already impossible
situation even worse. It also seems strange to some that the most extreme elements in the US administration, Congress and
among their influential supporters now appear to see a chance to undo or at least ameliorate the political and military disaster
the US has suffered in Iraq and likely one ahead in Afghanistan as that country is rapidly descending into a growing out-of-control
conflict as well. The alternative and more sensible view unheard in the mainstream is that two or three
wrong decisions don't make a right one. But that's a consideration those in charge in the US and Israel probably never thought
of, and it's not the role of their corporate media allies to tell them. Their job is only to report what government officials
It's clear at this time of great potential danger, a lot more than that is needed.
The Arab street in the region and Muslim one around the world may be ready to explode if two more of its states
are attacked by the US and/or Israel with support or compliance of the West and its own leaders. It will be even more likely
to happen if nuclear weapons are used which is now planned against Iran to destroy targeted facilities below ground. Whatever
the perceived gains may be from this aggressive adventure, the potential dangers of undertaking it seem so daunting and the
odds for ultimate success so long, it's hard to understand why any sensible leader would risk taking them. But
it's quite possible George Bush and Ehud Olmert intend to try. No one knows how this will play out if they do, but
the world now holds its collective breath waiting to find out.
There's no need for breath-holding to know one near-certain
outcome of this conflict and another likely one. Just as Hezbollah was born out of the rubble of Lebanon in the 1980s, so
too will one or more new resistance groups rise out of Lebanon's carnage today and the daily killing, destruction and intensified
immiseration in Palestine. It's a simple law of physics - Newton's Third Law that there's no action without reaction. And
it follows that the more extreme the action, the more proportionally similar the reaction. Israel is sure to achieve its goal
to incite the continued conflict and violence it needs to avoid the political solution it won't now tolerate. But in the long
run, this high risk strategy may prove Israel's undoing as no nation can survive and prosper on conflict and war without end
or for just cause. Unless the Jewish state can find a way to coexist peacefully and justly with its Palestinian people and
Arab and Persian neighbors and abandon the sure to fail path it's now on, it's very survival is in doubt and so is that of
those it targets. Time for more breath-holding. Stay closely tuned.
On July 26, Aljazeerah reported a story headlined - "Israeli invasion of Lebanon planned by neocons
in June (2006)." It was done at a June 17 and 18 meeting at the American Enterprise Institute
(AEI) conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado at which former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
and Likud Knesset member Natan Sharansky met with US Vice President Dick Cheney.
- The purpose was to discuss the planned and impending Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) invasions of Gaza,
the West Bank and Lebanon.
Cheney was thoroughly briefed and approved the coming assaults - before Hamas' capture of
an IDF soldier on June 25 or Hezbollah's capturing of two others in an exchange first reported as occurring in Israel and
now believed to have happened inside Lebanon after IDF forces illegally entered the country.
Following the Colorado
meeting, Netanyahu returned to Israel for a special "Ex-Prime Ministers" meeting in which
- he conveyed the message of US support to carry out the "Clean Break" policy officially ending
all past peace accords including Oslo.
At the meeting in Israel in addition to Binyamin Netanyahu were current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Shimon
Aljazeerah also reported that after the Colorado AEI conference Natan Sharansky
met with the right wing Heritage Foundation in Washington and then attended a June
29 seminar at Haverford College in suburban Philadelphia sponsored by the Middle East Forum
led by US Israeli hawk Daniel Pipes. Sharansky appeared there with Republican Senator Rick
Santorum who on July 20 was hawkishly advocating war against Syria, Iran, and "Islamo-fascism" in an inflamatory speech
at the National Press Club attended by a cheering section of supporters composed of members of the neocon Israel
Project, on whose Board Santorum serves along with Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss
and Virginia Republican Representative Tom Davis.
Aljazeerah reported further that in a
published interview in the Spanish newspaper ABC on July 23, Syrian Information Minister Moshen Bilal
warned Israel that his country would enter the Lebanon conflict if Israel launched a major incursion into the country. He
"If Israel makes a land entry into Lebanon, they can get to within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of Damascus. What will we do?
Stand by with our arms folded? Absolutely not. Without any doubt Syria will intervene in the conflict."
Bilal said his country wanted above all a ceasefire "as soon as possible" combined with a prisoner exchange and
explained he was working with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos with whom he had
met in Madrid. Bilal also criticized the US saying it was "unjustifiable (that) the superpower is not working for a rapid
ceasefire." He rejected claims by Washington that Syria had armed Hezbollah (which contradicted an earlier admission by the
Syrian defense minister that his country did supply some arms to Hezbollah), saying it offered "moral support" but not financing
for "any resistance."
The Aljazeerah report also cited the work of former intelligence officer and now author/writer
James Bamford who wrote about "going after Syria (and then Iran) in accordance
with the 'A Clean Break' war for Israel agenda" in his book A Pretext for War published in 2004 which concentrated
on the abuse of the US's intelligence agencies to invent reasons to attack Iraq. If Bamford is right, Syria may soon be drawn
into this conflict, and if so, will Iran be next?
Another Report Believes the "War With Iran
Iran may indeed be next (and Syria too) according to UK political scientist, human rights activist
and writer Nafeez Ahmed in an article published in OpEd News on July 23 titled: "UK
Govt Sources Confirm War With Iran Is On." In it, Ahmed writes:
"In the last few days, I learned from a credible and informed source that a former senior Labour government Minister,
who continues to be well-connected to British military and security officials, confirms that Britain and the United States
'will go to war with Iran before the end of the year.' "
Ahmed goes on to say that in similar fashion to the lead-up to the March, 2003 Iraq invasion, current war plans
may change and the scheduled time for it be begin may be postponed. But he quoted Vice President Dick
Cheney in an MSNBC interview over a year ago saying Iran is
"right at the top of the list (of) rogue states (and) Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction
of Israel (so) Israel might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic
What the Vice President claimed the Iranians said was false (the Iranian president was deliberately misquoted),
and he neglected to mention the immediate mass death and destruction that would result from this "act," and the resulting
calamity from destroying commercial nuclear reactor and facilities sites that would spread devastating irremediable toxic
radiation over a vast area making those territories uninhabitable forever and eventually killing an unknown number of people
living there from the cancers and other diseases they will eventually contract from the deadly contamination.
goes on to discount the possibility of Israel taking the lead in an assault against Iran saying it prefers to be a "regional
proxy force in a US-led campaign." And he reports that writer Seymour Hersh quotes a former high-level
US intelligence official saying that despite the increasing disaster in Iraq, overall
"This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge
war zone. Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign. We've declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the
enemy. This is the last hurrah-we've got four years, and we want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism."
Hersh has been on and off in what his sources are telling him about the likelihood of war with Iran so it may
be uncertain what conclusion he now has as of this article's publication. But whatever it is, it's clear it can change in
an instant as things in the Middle East are so fluid.
Nafeez's article also reported an analysis of the Monterey Institute
for International Studies on the likely consequences of a war against Iran in which, if it happens, the US said it would use
"bunker-buster mini-nukes." The language is deceptive as these are powerful nuclear bombs. The
Institute painted the dire possibility that an extended conflict with Iran could catastrophically spin out of control with
irreversible consequences for the global political economy. It would affect energy security, relations with other nations
like China and Russia concerned about their own access to energy supplies in the region, and the US "dollar-economy" that
would be under pressure, greatly harmed and even potentially threatened with collapse.
If this scenario is possible,
why then would US, UK, Israeli, and other Western leaders who see what's going on, be willing to take the risk? Ahmed states
what a growing number of knowledgeable observers now believe - that the Western, mainly US, so-called neoliberal imperial
freewheeling "free-market" model is failing and may collapse short of a desperate "Hail Mary" military solution to try to
save it even though the chance for success at best would be uncertain and in some views unlikely. And if it fails, the result
may be an unimaginable social, political and economic calamity.
The fate of the corrupted neoliberal model may be what's
now at stake.
That model is already unraveling in Latin America where Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is proving his alternate
Bolivarian participatory democracy is overwhelmingly popular and working. It's based on a government serving the people by
providing essential social services, especially to the poor and desperate ones most in need of it.
Chavez's success has made him a symbol of hope and a hero in the region and beyond, it's allowed his form of
governance to spread to Bolivia, and there's every reason to imagine and hope it will continue spreading unstoppably because
people in other Latin countries are beginning to fight for it. It's all greatly alarmed the ruling authority in Washington
that views Chavez as the threat it most fears, even above Iran - a powerful good example that will spread unless the US acts
forcibly to stop it, which clearly is its plan.
Apparently though, with the conflict raging in the Middle East, including
in Iraq, the US attention is focused there as well as on the upcoming mid-term elections in which Republicans fear they will
lose their control of the Congress because of their geopolitical failures that have turned the public against them. Politicians
never accept defeat without a determined fight to prevent it including assuming the added risk of expanding an already out-of-control
conflict in the Middle East to one or more countries in it hoping to convince a doubting public it's only being done to protect
our national security. Up to now, an unknowledgeable and naive public has bought the story, and with enough effective packaging
of a new contrived Iranian and Syrian threat, likely may do it again. If it happens, the potential calamitous consequences
may be enormous and unimaginable, and the likely disaster will only be worse if Iran is attacked with nuclear weapons. The
world, indeed, is holding its collective breath with no clear idea yet what may unfold or what will result if the worst happens
- a nuclear terror-war against Iran.