Recent past in Lebanon and the future for the Middle East

The Past

The lebanon Israel border

The border has seldom been a place of calm and the mass media focus on one incident shows a bias that Israel uses to try and justify its murderous rampage in Lebanon.

The reasons behind the current atrocities are misrepresented. The media pretends the Lebanon/Israel border area was calm and peaceful before the unexpected surprise “terrorist attack” by Hezbollah on July 12. In fact, since its withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 which followed a 22 year occupation of the country, Israel has routinely raided and violated southern Lebanon [1],[2],[3]. It also continues to occupy Shabaa Farms, which Lebanon claims is part of its territory, and continues to illegally hold thousands of Arabs including a number of Lebanese prisoners without charge.

Western media has condemned Hezbollah for starting this conflict and for shooting rockets into civilian areas. These public condemnations usually fail to mention that Hezbollah started shooting rockets only after Israel’s aerial bombardment of Lebanon’s civilians.

In Lebanon itself the timeline for the present war began, not with the capture of the two Israeli soldiers in July, but rather, as reported in the Guardian on July 20, 2006 by Tariq Ali, [18] several weeks earlier in May when Israel raided Lebanon to assassinate two activists from a Palestinian splinter group and then bombed Hezbollah’s strongholds in southern Lebanon. These events lead to more border clashes before July 12. As Fairness and Accuracy In Media (FAIR) noted: “This intense fighting was the prelude to the all-out warfare that began on July 12, portrayed in U.S. media as beginning with an attack out of the blue by Hezbollah [29].” Furthermore, Israel’s massive air and land operations could not possibly have been in response to the abduction of the two soldiers. FAIR concluded that Israeli action “was not a spontaneous reaction to aggression but a well-planned operation that was years in the making [29].”

UNjust – UN Resolutions

Given that Israel is currently in breach of over 60 UN resolutions, some passed decades ago, it is grossly hypocritical that the US has demanded, as a precondition for a cease fire, the implementation of the UN resolution 1559 in 2004, which calls the disarming of Hezbollah,[24]. For example Israel is still in breach of international law for not compensating Lebanon after it bombed the Beirut airport back in 1968. (UN Resolution 262)

The war in Lebanon and Gaza could be the beginning of an attack on Iran.  A Pakistani general outlined his advice to Iran (12 May 2006) –

Retired Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg said he suggested their government “make it clear that if anything happens to Iran [eg a US led attack], if anyone attacks it – it doesn’t matter who it is or how it is attacked – that Iran’s answer will be to hit Israel; the only target will be Israel [a US client state with a massive influence in Washington].”

“attempt to degrade the defense systems of Israel,” harass it through the Hamas government of the Palestinian Authority and the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon Full article

The actual aim of Israel in its war on Lebanon is thus to annihilate or at least cripple the pro Iran Hezbollah resistance movement, to subjugate the country into a US and Israeli client state much like Egypt and Jordan and to prepare the ground for attacking Syria and Iran. A weakened Hezbollah and the assembly of Western “peacekeepers” in a buffer zone would prevent Hezbollah from taking any strong actions against Israel when Iran is attacked. These goals are to be achieved by inflicting a collective punishment and bombing a whole nation into submission with the complicity and support of the US and the UK governments.

The present

The humanitarian situation

Hundreds of civilians, a third of whom are children, have so far been killed. Over 800,000 people have so far been displaced and the Lebanese civilian infrastructure is in ruins. Under the pretext of fighting the “terrorists,” a whole nation has been subjected to massive punishment, continuously terrorized for nearly three weeks. Lebanese doctors have also reported the use of phosphorous incendiary bombs on civilians [13]. The military onslaught parallels and in some ways even exceeds the “shock and awe” campaign of Donald Rumsfeld in the assault on Iraq in March and Aril 2003.

Targeting civilians of any nationality, whether by states such as Israel, the US and the UK or by resistance movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas, is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law. The UN relief chief has condemned Israeli strikes as war crimes and illegal under humanitarian law for being indiscriminate and disproportionate [30], but the aggression and the war crimes have continued with the full complicity of the US and the UK. These include the bombing of a UN post on July 26th killing four unarmed UN observers, which the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan described as “apparently deliberate,” and the horrific massacre in Qana on July 30th in which more than 50 people including 34 children were killed.

US-UK project for a new Middle East

The Bush administration has shown its full backing of the savage assault on Lebanon and the Israeli war crimes as it has rushed the delivery of at least 100 GBU 28 bunker buster bombs [21] containing depleted uranium warheads by the United States to Israel for use against targets in Lebanon transported, as it has now emerged, through an airport in Scotland [22].

The unconditional support by Bush, Blair and the pro Israel western media for this savage assault against Lebanon and their firm opposition to a cease fire in defiance of the rest of international community is however far more than just another instance of the West’s historical acquiescence for Israel’s aggressions against Palestinians and Arabs. It is not just more of the same pro Israel policies that the world has seen for some six decades since the formation of that state in 1948. Since 9/11, Israel has also become the US and UK’s closest ally in the so-called “war on terror.”

By blaming Syria and Iran for the conflict in Lebanon, the US and the UK governments are preparing the public opinion for outright military interventions against these countries, which will represent the next chapter in the unfolding neo-conservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

PNAC aims to use the overwhelming military power of the US under the pretext of “democratization” to replace all defiant regimes in the Middle East with pro US client states. Given the rise of China and India as the new economic super powers, the declining US imperial power would have to resort to its military superiority to dominate the whole of the Middle East and Central Asia in order to control vast energy resources.

In her visit to Lebanon and Israel this week, Condoleezza Rice has opposed any immediate ceasefire on the grounds that one needs to create the conditions for a durable cessation of violence, namely the crippling of Hezbollah. She has proudly announced that the barbaric war waged by Israel to dismantle Hezbollah is the “birth pangs” of a new Middle East.

It is now crystal clear that the American promise for a new Middle East can only be brought about with a forceful regime change in Iran. Thus, the US-UK support for the Israeli attack on Lebanon and the free reign the Israeli military has for its war crimes against the people of Lebanon, are essential and worth the price to remove an important obstacle in the decisive strike against the ultimate enemy: Iran.

Information Clearing House – UK Govt sources confirm war with Iran is on

The future

War opposition

Only a strong and broad antiwar movement in the US, UK and the rest of the western world can stop this regional and global disaster. The defiance by Russia and China in the UN Security Council can at most delay the imposition of sanctions and military attack on Iran but will not be able to prevent it as the run-up in the invasion of Iraq has proved.

Defending Iran against an imminent illegal military attack by Israel-US-UK is not tantamount in any way to politically supporting the Islamic Republic. It is simply to defend the sovereignty of a nation and the right of self-determination of Iranian people to handle and resolve their own problems without any foreign state intervention.

The war waged by Israel against Lebanon and the charges against Iran have made the task of defending the people of Iran inseparable from defending the people of Lebanon and Syria as well as the people of Palestine. By joining these solidarity movements and calling for an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon and an exchange of prisoners, Iranians should find their allies in opposing an attack on Iran.

Today there is still time to prevent the total annihilation and disintegration of Iran, tomorrow it may be too late.

The vast majority of this post is made of excerpts from an article called “A prelude to a war on Iran” which I recommend everyone reads in full

Notes:

[1] Arabic News, “Lebanese personalities condemn the Israeli aggression on Lebanon,” 7/2/2005

[2] UN News Center, “Israel violates Lebanese air space despite existing regional tension – UN envoy”, 9/13/2003
[3] Haaretz, “Lebanon to complain to UN of Israeli land, sea, air space violations,” 12/16/2005.

[13] Fox News, “Cabinet: Lebanon Faces ‘Real Annihilation,’ Accuses Israel of Using Banned Weapons” July 16, 2006.

[18] The Guardian, “A protracted colonial war,” July 20, 2006.

[21] New York Times, “U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis,” July 22, 2006.

[22] Jerusalem Post, “US Bomb shipment stops at UK airport,” July 27, 2006

[24] US State Department Briefing, July 20, 2006

[29] FAIR, “Down the Memory Hole: Israeli contribution to conflict is forgotten by leading papers,” July 28, 2006.

[30] AFP, UN relief chief accuses Israel of violating humanitarian law, July 23, 2006

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