Preparations for the Lebanon war began in 2000

Israeli sources concede that preparations for this war began in 2000, after Israel’s forced withdrawal from southern Lebanon. It was finalized in 2004 after which Israel’s plans were shown to U.S. and other officials. “More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail.”[8] The presentation included details of a campaign similar to the one in operation at the present time, save for the claim that there was no intention “to reoccupy southern Lebanon on a long-term basis.” Other Israeli officials have confirmed earlier plans for war against Hezbollah, simultaneously conceding the anticipated difficulties that such an offensive would involve.[9]

Interviewed on al Jazeera on July 24, the Israeli director of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, Efraim Inbar, described Israeli objectives as designed “to remove the missile threat to Israel, to push Hezbollah out of South Lebanon and to try to damage its military capacity as much as possible.”[10] Inbar also indicated, “I advocate attacking Syria,” adding that he was uncertain as to whether the Israeli government shared his views. As to Iran, he added, “we’re more likely to leave the Iranians to the Americans — for now.” His response to the question concerning Israel’s conditions for a ceasefire serve to underline Israel’s relationship with Washington. “Basically, the minimum conditions are the same as Israel’s goals. But the US will decide when enough is enough and Israel will do what is acceptable to them.”

The dismemberment of the region [the middle east] into sectarian bloc of compliant entities, with weak states devoid of the capacity to resist U.S. or Israeli policies, was the long term objective. In this context, whether the regimes in question were secular or Islamist in character was a secondary issue

What such designs failed to recognize was the profoundly altered state of the Middle East that was emerging in the wake of the catastrophic sets of double interventions by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq, and by U.S.-backed Israeli forces in Gaza and Lebanon. Only self-deluded officials intoxicated with their own power, ambitious media magnates contemptuous of public opinion, and academic and intellectual apologists for U.S. power and Israeli policies, could countenance the results of such policies by ignoring those at whose expense they were achieved.

And then there was the Israeli massacre at Qana, where at least 60 Lebanese civilians were killed in an Israeli airstrike. The attack led Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora to declare: “Out of respect for the souls of our innocent martyrs and the remains of our children buried under the rubble of Qana, we scream out to our fellow Lebanese and to other Arab brothers and to the whole world to stand united in the face of the Israeli war criminals.”

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