It all started on July 12 when Israel troops were ambushed on Lebanon's side of the border with Israel.
It's about time Harper disclosed his donors list ...
Neocons Rise From Mideast Ashes
July 17, 2006
Robert Dreyfuss is the author of Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (Henry Holt/Metropolitan Books, 2005). Dreyfuss is a freelance writer based in Alexandria, Va., who specializes in politics and national security issues. He is a contributing editor at The Nation, a contributing writer at Mother Jones, a senior correspondent for The American Prospect, and a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone. He can be reached through his website: www.robertdreyfuss.com.
Israel’s reckless, high-stakes decision to launch simultaneous wars against both Hamas and Hezbollah last week is a critical, perhaps world-shattering event. It cannot be seen merely in its local context, that is, as an act by the unilateralist regime in Jerusalem to crush the armed wings of two Islamic fundamentalist organizations in Gaza, the West Bank and southern Lebanon. Nor can it be seen merely in its regional context, that is, as an effort to raise the stakes in the struggle against Syria, Iran and rejectionist factions in occupied Iraq. Rather, Israel’s actions must be seen, first and foremost, in the context of global politics.
The key question: Is the Israeli offensive designed as a calculated effort to catapult the hard-right, neoconservative ideologues back to power in Washington?
The terrorist attacks of 9/11, the 21st century’s Pearl Harbor, allowed Vice President Dick Cheney—along with Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, John Bolton, et al. —to steer President George W. Bush and the U.S. government toward a global war, including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq; the endless “war on terrorism” and the militarization of American foreign policy. Since then, and especially as the adventure in Iraq bogged down, the less adventurous realists in the American foreign policy establishment have begun to eclipse the previously hegemonic neoconservatives. For the past year or so, the Pollyannas amid the chattering classes have told us that the neoconservatives’ moment has passed, and that the adults are back in control in the nation’s capital. What they forgot—and what Israel’s criminal attacks on Gaza and Lebanon have reminded us—is that the neoconservative war party is global, not domestic. Outflanked, temporarily, in the United States, the neocons are now flexing their muscle outside the United States in a way that can give them added new leverage at home.
Let’s analyze the current crisis, piece by piece.
First, Israel’s actions in no way can be seen as a legitimate response to the small-scale attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah. Instead, what Israel has done has used the pretext of those pin-prick attacks—a couple of border raids and a handful of errant rockets—to launch a strategic attack whose goals are to crush Hamas and the remaining institutions of Palestinian self-rule and decapitate and destroy Hezbollah politically and militarily in Lebanon.
Second, it’s clear that Israel would never have launched this war without having made the calculation that it would win the support of the United States. The rest of the world is solidly aligned against Israel’s outrageously disproportionate attacks, but none of that matters. No diplomatic mission from the feeble United Nations, no angry statements from the Arab League, no fulminations from Western Europe will deter Israel. As long as Israel has the support of the United States, it will forge ahead relentlessly. So far, in a shocking display of craven capitulation to the Israeli fait accompli , President Bush has repeatedly endorsed Israel’s aggression. But Israel is clearly counting on more than just Bush’s support for its actions in Gaza and Lebanon. More broadly, Israel is seeking to shift the balance in the Bush administration back in favor of the neocons, the hawks and their radical “New American Century” comrades.
Third, by invading and bombing Lebanon and acting brutally to crush the Palestinian Authority, Israel has created a unified field theory of the Middle East’s crises, uniting the escalating world showdown with Iran, the unraveling civil war in Iraq, the crisis over Syria’s role in Lebanon, and the Arab-Israeli conflict itself into one big tangle. To be sure, all of those conflicts were always linked. But now they are as one. And in each case, the United States now faces a huge dilemma.
A sane U.S. policy would (1) exert backbreaking pressure on Israel to halt its attacks; (2) open a dialogue with Iran and Syria about containing Hezbollah and Hamas; (3) take drastic steps to stop the Iraqi civil war by making across-the-board concessions to Iraq’s Sunnis and forcing the Shiites to swallow it, while starting a phased U.S. withdrawal; and (4) get the White House directly involved in the Israel-Palestine peace process as if their lives depended on it.
But Israel, and its neoconservative allies, are counting on none of that to happen. Instead, they’ve gambled that in each case President Bush will fall back under the spell of Dick Cheney and the neocons, and do precisely the opposite: continue to give Israel the green light, throw rhetorical bombs at Damascus and Teheran, escalate the counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq and take Israel’s side in its wall-building, settlement-defending, no-talks-with-Hamas unilateralism.
Make no mistake: Until last week, before Israel went to war, the neoconservatives were losing across the board. They watched in horror as the war in Iraq faltered, and they were appalled by President Bush’s Condi-led opening to Iran. Indeed, to many it seemed as if the entire post-9/11 project to remake the Middle East and build American hegemony on that cornerstone was in jeopardy.
Speaking at a forum at the American Enterprise Institute last week, Frederick Kagan warned that the United States is in “danger of losing everything” because the war in Iraq is not being pursued aggressively enough. “All of this success can and will be undone … if we do not get the security situation [in Iraq] under control, and fast,” he said, accurately enough. Now that Israel is at war, they have the chance once again to go on the offensive, against Iran, in Iraq, against Syria and against the mythical Terrorist International that they warn about so regularly. You can imagine what Cheney and his allies are whispering to the president: Be resolute, be strong—and bring ‘em on!
One Giant Gaza Strip
July 17, 2006
"We will not be the only ones who pay a price. Our homes will not be the only ones destroyed. Our children will not be the only ones killed. Our people will not be the only ones displaced. Those days are over. …I promise you those times have passed." Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Leader of Lebanese Resistance Organization Hezbollah
The last few days have provided a troubling view of the new world order. The Israeli assault on Lebanon’s infrastructure has battered bridges, roads, power-plants, grain depots, apartment buildings, mosques, community centers, civilian homes, gas stations, ports and many of the country’s critical life-support systems. Additionally, Israel has killed 155 civilians including 15 children who were instantly vaporized by a missile that destroyed their van while they were fleeing southern Lebanon. Israel has justified the carnage by pointing to the 2 soldiers who were captured by members of the Lebanese resistance organization, Hezbollah. But Israel’s defense is hopelessly flawed.
What if relatives or friends of the many US detainees who’ve been illegally imprisoned at Guantanamo, decided to use F-16s and laser-guided missiles to attack the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sears Tower, New York City’s electrical grid, and vast swathes of the highway system? Would that be equally justifiable? Or, more to the point, what if Hezbollah decided to blow up major parts of Israel’s infrastructure in retaliation for the hundreds of Lebanese prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons without any legal recourse? Would that be okay?
Israel’s rationale is merely an apology for state terrorism and it’s utterly meaningless in respect to the enormous damage they’ve caused.
What if the shoe was on the other foot? What if it was Israel’s citizens who were locked away in Lebanese prisons? Would Israel simply leave them to their fate?
Hezbollah wants their prisoners back as much as Israel and they’ve shown a willingness to negotiate. Israel, however, has other things in mind; flattening another Arab country and plunging them into the Stone Age. This is the way Israel does business.
The history of the present conflict did not begin with the capture of the 2 soldiers as the media would have us believe, nor is it simply aimed at dismantling Hezbollah. Israel is planning to occupy the territory between its northern border and the Litani River in Southern Lebanon. This will provide access to an important water source for Israel and create a buffer-zone between itself and Arab militants. The demonstration of overwhelming force is intended to send a message to Syria and Iran that they’d better "shape up" or expect similar treatment in the near future.
"A Clean Break"
Israel’s present battle-plan originated with a policy paper that was written by former Defense Policy Board chief Richard Perle and (Bush administration officials) David Wurmser and Douglas Feith. The document, which was titled "A Clean Break; Strategy for Securing the (Israeli) Realm" provides the details of Israel’s plan to topple potential rivals in the region and redraw the map of the Middle East.
The text reads: "Securing the Northern Border;
Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one which America can sympathize, would be if Israel seize the strategic initiative (preemption) along its northern borders by engaging Hezbollah, Syria and Iran as the principle agents of aggression in Lebanon including…striking military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at striking at select targets in Syria proper."
Perle’s document outlines exactly what is presently taking place even though it was written back in 1996. (It was composed for the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.)
This shows that Israel is not acting irrationally or spontaneously, but executing a carefully-considered master-plan for crushing potential enemies and reconfiguring the Middle East to accommodate the modern Israeli kingdom. (hence, the pretentious euphemism "Securing the Realm")
This is the war that Israel wanted from the very beginning; a final showdown with arch-nemesis Hezbollah followed by confrontations with Damascus and Tehran. It’s all in Perle’s blueprint for "total war".
Prime Minister Olmert has not deviated one millimeter from the original scheme.
George Bush’s appearance in St Petersburg suggests that there was careful coordination between Tel Aviv and the White House so that Israel could carry out its depredations in Lebanon while Bush kept Putin occupied at the G-8 meetings. Eventually, Putin will realize that Bush has taken him for a fool by diverting his attention from events in the Middle East with bogus promises of membership in the WTO. Bush has proven once again, that while he may not read the newspapers, he is a shrewd Machiavellian-politician who is skillful at manipulating situations to his own advantage.
We should review Lebanon’s recent history if we want to fully appreciate the effort that has gone into preparing it for invasion. The assassination of Rafik Hariri gave Israel and America the perfect pretext for intervening in Lebanese affairs via the United Nations. The public anger was effectively shifted onto Syria even though the evidence of Syrian wrongdoing was inconclusive. The public hysteria eventually led to UN resolutions against Syria which forced Bashar Al-Assad to withdraw his troops and accept that Syrian-patron, Prime Minister Lahoud would be replaced by the more-compliant Fouad Siniora.
We know now that the "Cedar Revolution" was just another clever "made-in-Washington" public relations scam orchestrated by skillful American NGOs and Israeli intelligence agencies. The "color-coded" revolutions have since been widely discredited as more of Uncle Sam’s tricks for bringing about regime change in countries where the leaders fail to conform to the economic diktats of the IMF and World Bank.
Consider how opportune it has been for Israel to have Syrian forces out of the way while they lay-waste to Lebanon destroying anything in their path.
Think again. Everything from Bush’s appearance in St Petersburg, to the untimely death of Rafik Hariri, to the Cedar Revolution, to the removal of Syrian troops has been as painstakingly choreographed as a Bolshoi Ballet; all of it was mere preparation for the "Main Event", Israel’s triumphant reappearance on Lebanese soil, now threatening to occupy the south for an unspecified period of time and, perhaps, pushing east towards Damascus.
Could Lebanon have escaped Israel’s wrath if its soldiers had not been captured by Hezbollah?
Israel’s has long planned to disarm Hezbollah and eliminate potential conflicts on its northern flank. That means that if Lebanon rebuilds and prospers once again, the threat of Israeli attack will increase accordingly. Israel’s aspirations for regional supremacy does not allow for strong neighbors.
It’s clear that the devastation in Lebanon is intended to send a message to Damascus and Tehran. As Perle’s "A Clean Break" states, Israel wants to frame "Hezbollah, Syria and Iran as the principle agents of aggression in Lebanon". The Israel-friendly media has achieved this by reiterating claims that Hezbollah is a "cat’s paw" for Syria and that Iran is providing high-tech weaponry for resistance attacks against Israel. Both countries have denied the allegations, but the stage has been set for a broader war that may engulf the entire region. The probability of regime change in Tehran and Damascus has only intensified as Bush and Olmert’s objectives become more apparent. (Note: Israel needs a friendly government in Syria to protect future pipeline routes from Northern Iraq to Haifa. Currently the Mossad are working with the Kurds to ensure that Israel will become a main player in the energy markets in the coming century) Iran’s vast oil and natural gas wealth, make it the Middle East’s natural leader. This ensures that the Mullahs will be challenged and, perhaps, removed to allow for Israeli ascendancy.
The Impotent United Nations
As Israel steps-up its bombing raids on southern Beirut for the 6th straight day, the UN has never looked more ineffective or fragmented. The institution has been blocked from even providing its normally toothless resolutions condemning the violence. The UN has become a rubber stamp for American-Israeli policy; harassing Washington’s enemies like Iran and North Korea while obstructing any measure that threatens to curtail US-Israeli aggression. The massive and calculated decimation of Lebanon; including the willful destruction of critical infrastructure, proves that the UN is no longer able to meet the minimal requirements of its original mandate to stop unprovoked aggression. In its present configuration, the United Nations is worse than useless; it is, in fact, abetting the hostilities and providing cover for resurgent 21st century colonialism. The present crisis could signal the death knell for the beleaguered "world body" as more and more nations will be forced into improvised security alliances to fend off Washington’s plans for global domination.
Curious onlookers should note that Israel’s attacks have not been aimed at Hezbollah, but mainly at Lebanese infrastructure. In fact, there have been no reports of Hezbollah casualties so far. This is no coincidence. Israel’s plan is to reduce Lebanon to rubble and create a humanitarian crisis similar to the one in the occupied territories. Throughout the Arab world the same theory of "pacification" is being applied as Bush and Olmert continue their wanton assault on the basic platforms for human survival leaving millions of Muslims in abject poverty without food, medicine, clean drinking water, or sufficient heat or light. They have created tens of thousands of refugees who have been driven from their homes or left in the ruins to slowly die in the dark. From the Caspian to the Red Sea, from the Mediterranean to the western tip of Afghanistan, Israel and America are spreading their devastation across the Middle East transforming the entire region into one massive Gaza Strip.
When civilians become targets: The Israeli destruction of Lebanon and Gaza
Lebanon civilian deaths morally not same as terror victims -- Bolton
Right, because one results from a small group of people, and thje other is much-greater, state-directed Terrorism.
CNN: Not Allowed To Comment On Civilian Deaths
The west must recognise that Israel's agenda is in conflict with its own
Israel's path to total war
Israel acts according to a ready script
By Jonathan Cook
Monday, July 17, 2006
The parallels between Israel's military assaults on Lebanon and Gaza are striking. It is not so much the unconvincing claim by Israel that both attacks were triggered by the capture of its soldiers as the similarities in the nature and goals of each response. What is presented as righteous Israeli indignation on two fronts is more truthfully war-mongering according to a prepared script.
The first point to note is that Israel has preferred "shock and awe" tactics in Gaza and Lebanon familiar from the United States' assault on Iraq. It is in the nature of these kind of bombing campaigns that they inflict their heaviest toll on civilians.
For every Qassam and Katyusha strike, Israel is raining down a barrage of its latest military hardware, wrecking civilian infrastructure and human lives. This is not only "disproportionate," in the mealy-mouthed words of Western governments, it is collective punishment and - as if it needs repeating - a war crime. But we should expect no more from an army that talks about "bombing Gaza into the Stone Age" and "turning the clock back 20 years in Lebanon."
US (And Harper) gives Israel a blank check to wage war
This is too funny:
The US Is Charging American Citizens Fleeing Lebanon
Syria offers safe haven to US nationals fleeing Lebanon
US Media Champions WW III:
Israel Violates US Law With Attack on Lebanon
by Thalif Deen
Israel is in violation of U.S. arms-control laws for deploying U.S.-made fighter planes, combat helicopters, and missiles to kill civilians and destroy Lebanon's infrastructure in the ongoing six-day devastation of that militarily weak country.