Lebanon is just
Is Iran the real US-Israeli target?
Many are those who say "The Israeli assault on Lebanon and the
destruction it is wrecking on that hapless country is unbelievable. It
is just not possible to fathom this; surely Hezbollah cannot be reason
enough for destroying a whole country". Well those good and simple folk
are quite right, except for one simple thing; maybe what is going on in
Lebanon is only a trial balloon. The real objective could well be to
provoke Iran into some slight reaction and use it as an excuse to
destroy its nuclear installations. Memories of the Gulf of Tonkin
incident are still fresh.
In general, I do not subscribe to conspiracy theories, however,
neither am I deaf and blind to the clear implications of large scale
military and political happenings. There is no other adequate
explanation of US and Israeli behaviour in recent weeks. Both have said
explicitly on many occasions that they are determined to prevent Iran
from getting the bomb, whatever the cost. Surely this is the real
mischief that is afoot; as for poor Lebanon - Bush and Rice, no doubt,
do not wish this fate upon a helpless bystander, but what is to be done,
the destruction of Beirut is what the Americans, in their hubris, call
unavoidable collateral damage!
Hamas is indigenous Palestinian and was born out of the ferocious
conflicts, exile and slaughter in refugee camps and the mass uprising
called the intifada, that overwhelmed the Al Fatah, PLO and the
Palestinian Left during the last two decades as a consequence of US and
Israeli determination to destroy a secular left oriented Palestinian
liberation movement. One sows the wind and reaps the world-wind -
instead of a left and secular Palestinian leadership one has an Islamic
and radical (but certainly not Fundamentalist) force at the helm of the
From the moment Hamas was elected to govern the Palestinian Authority
not only Israel and the US, but the European powers as well, have done
all they can to undermine the government and bring about its fall. That
democracy does not run even skin deep in the veins of Bush and Blair
comes as no surprise, but the indifference of the population of the
Western countries to such egregious misconduct is something of a
Hezbollah is as home grown in Southern Lebanon as Hamas is
Palestinian. It too is largely a creation of the long Israeli occupation
of the southern parts of that country. Lebanon is a kaleidoscope of
religions (several sects of Christians, Sunni and Shiite Muslims and a
generous helping of Druids) all of which were fired up by the Israeli,
and as a consequence Syrian, occupations, and Syrian meddling in that
country. What really propelled Hezbollah into prominence, however, was
the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Shiite Iran which opened
the door to training and arms.
Currently it is said to number only about 3,000 armed cadres but its
fighting capabilities are exceptional and it has strong support in the
Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005 was largely a Hezbollah
victory, and the last three weeks of fighting has shown up the Israeli
army's inability to get the better of Hezbollah.
Politically, it is important to recognise that though Hezbollah is
nominally an Islamic force and speaks in Koranic tongues, in reality it
is, like Hamas, a radical and militant movement, not a Fundamentalist
It is known for its commitment to social work such as hospitals and
education; it stands for a modernist and progressive political programme
and its international stance is not fundamentalist. All over the Middle
East radical Islam is emerging as the principal anti-imperialist
standard bearer of the poor, the hungry and the oppressed. The Israeli
savaging of the Gaza strip and Lebanon and Washington's complicity will
ensure that these two organisations gain enormously in prestige among
their respective populations.
The policy makers in Washington are not unaware of all this. Nor are
they oblivious to popular anger and opprobrium not only in the Middle
East but across the non-Western world (once again the relative
indifference of the Western populace to the destruction of civilian life
and infrastructure in Lebanon is quite an eye-opener). Hence an adequate
explanation for what is going on must lie outside three abducted
soldiers and the relative quiescence, an occasional transgression
notwithstanding, for some years on both fronts - Hamas and Hezbollah.
The stakes must be big, very big for Washington and Jerusalem; the only
plausible stake is preventing strategic rebalancing in the Middle East,
which in turn means bombing Ahmedinejad's nuclear facilities into the
The unexpectedly robust resistance has forced Israel into an
extension of its destructive campaign, leading to inevitable civilian
casualties and global condemnation. Despite Israel's efforts to bomb
Lebanon back into the stone-age the government in Beirut has not caved
in to Israeli demands; it could not, without handing Hezbollah and Syria
a major political victory which would be fatal for the prevailing
political balances and power sharing in Beirut.
Hence things did not go quite as Washington and Jerusalem had
planned; Israel is unable to finish the job in either Gaza or Lebanon
and Hezbollah's ability to hit back at Israeli cities and inflict losses
on its military have taken the heat off Iran.
It seems that any more direct Iranian involvement than provisioning
the resistance movements will not be necessary.
Thanks to the robust Hezbollah resistance a strike on Iran is now not
imminent but remains the US-Israeli objective in the longer term.
Whatever the provocation, Iran must keep its cool, not just today but
for some years to come and look toward the bigger picture and the longer
term. Remaining passive in the face of Israeli war crimes is the price
that must be paid for eventual nuclear power status which is infinitely
more important. There will be no justice in the Middle East until an
Islamic country in the region, and Iran is obviously the front runner,
achieves strategic equality with Israel, and that means nuclear weapons
capability. Machiavelli, a hard nosed realist, would underwrite this
conclusion with relish.
The non-proliferation treaty never made sense anyway; why are seven
countries openly, and one more in secret, entitled to nuclear weapons
but the rest of the world is expected to forego the same status? In a
world full of Big-Mac sized bullies what protection is there for nations
without strategic capability? If only Iraq did possess WMDs rather than
the setting for a Washington fabricated fairytale, would Anglo- American
aggression ever have taken place?
Since the United States is the militarily most powerful and at the
same time the most ruthless and rapacious nation in the world, one would
have thought it elementary common sense that other nations can protect
themselves only if they have a minimal nuclear weapons and delivery
systems capability. History has shown that nothing, certainly not moral
or humanitarian concerns, will stop the US from doing as it pleases
except the prospect of retaliation, even on a small scale, on the US
mainland itself and against invading American troops.
The North Korean state may be slightly deranged in the way it treats
its own people, but it is perfectly lucid in its grasp of the only way
of protecting itself from obliteration by the US.
Unfortunately for North Korea and Iran, and small inconvenient spots
like Lebanon, the US too knows this only too well.