Who's Online

We have 356 guests online


3456 readings
Fresh Hell in the Holy Land PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Saturday, 15 July 2006 02:51
Fresh Hell in the Holy Land

Empire Burlesque
- Chris Floyd - To say that the "government of Lebanon" ? and thus, by extension, the ordinary people of Lebanon who, as usual, are bearing the deadly brunt of the Israel's assault ? is responsible for Hezbollah's attack is an outright lie, and the Israeli leaders know this.


Bronze Age Blowback:
Fresh Hell in the Holy Land

Chris Floyd

Empire Burlesque
14 July 2006 

From the NYT : Israel said that the Lebanese government was responsible for the actions of Hezbollah, which is a member of the governing coalition, and that the cross-border raid that captured two Israeli soldiers on Wednesday was an unprovoked act of war by a neighboring state. Senior Israeli officials said that the military had been unleashed to cut off Lebanon, permanently drive Hezbollah forces back from the border and punish the government for not upholding a United Nations directive to disarm and control the group.

To say that the "government of Lebanon" ? and thus, by extension, the ordinary people of Lebanon who, as usual, are bearing the deadly brunt of the Israel's assault ? is responsible for Hezbollah's attack is an outright lie, and the Israeli leaders know this. They know full well the dicey political situation in Beirut: the fragile, patchwork coalition between sectarian factions that only recently fought a long, savage civil war, and the great weakness of the central government, its demonstrated inability to disarm Hezbollah's militia without risking the renewal of civil war. They know full well that that the armed wing of Hezbollah launched its idiotic raid without the knowledge or approval of the Lebanese government ? and probably without the knowledge of the two Hezbollah members in the cabinet, much as the political side of such movements are often kept deliberately insulated from military decisions, as with the IRA, ETA, the ANC and other groups. They know all this, yet they have now launched their second campaign of collective punishment ? a blatant war crime, whatever the ostensible provocation.

But not only is this policy brutal and immoral, it will doubtless prove to be stupid and ineffective as well. There can be no lasting benefit for Israel in destabilizing Lebanon, in wreaking indiscriminate slaughter among Shiite civilians (provoking God knows what blowback from the Shiites in Iraq), in further grinding the Palestinian population into the dust. The latter approach has already elevated Hamas, Israel's most deadly enemy, into legitimate government power. There is great and bitter irony in Israel's ruthless determination to destroy the democratically elected Hamas-led government, when it was Israel that nutured Hamas for years, cynically giving covert support to the violent sectarians as a way to divide and weaken  Palestinian society and undermine its secular, nationalist leadership.

Here we see echoes of the great American folly of helping arm, train and fund a worldwide army of Islamic extremists to bedevil the Soviets in Afghanistan ? a bipartisan policy, by the way, which began under Jimmy Carter, who actually began supporting some of the most virulent jihadis on earth before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. In fact, as Carter's Condi, Zbigniew Brzezinski now freely admits, the arming of Islamic extremists was done in order to destabilize the secular, Soviet-backed Afghan government of the time and draw Moscow into a direct intervention. "We can give them their own Vietnam!" Zbig exulted, and the saintly Jimmuh agreed. This covert op was greatly expanded under the Reagan-Bush administration, of course. So thanks, guys, thanks all around: you gave Russia its own Vietnam, all right ? and we got our own 9/11 out of it. A real bargain that was.

Actually, it was a bargain ? for the war pork industries and the war profiteers in the American elite. Russia's military intervention to save the secular government in Afghanistan was used as a justification for a big goosing up of "defense" spending in Washington ? again, beginning under Carter, then taking a quantum leap as Ronald Reagan pointed his quivering figure at the "evil empire" ravaging the "freedom fighters" like Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and shovelled even more loot at the masters of war. And the fact that it eventually led to the vast blowback of the "War on Terror" has also been nothing but gravy for the militarist faction and the "investment class," that beast with two backs that now finds its apotheosis in the Bush Regime. That initial arming of the jihadis is the gift that keeps on giving for all those who build their fortunes on blood and destruction.)

The same dynamic continues to play out its bloody course in the Middle East. Israel's two-front war of collective punishment will only increase the amount of sectarian extremism in the powder-keg region. It will only split Lebanon into warring factions again ? or else unite them in anti-Israeli fury. It will without doubt only increase the support for violent resistance and religious extremism in Palestine, which will of course result in many more Israeli civilian deaths, though always on a level far below the slaughter of Palestinian civilians. And it will only further degrade Israel's standing in the world, leaving it more isolated and threatened than before.

All this is just on the local level; but if we may once more evoke the Bronze Age deity who has spawned the three primitive sects at the center of this relentless maelstrom of blood and suffering, God only knows how the Israeli incursions will reverberate in the wider world. But fresh hell is coming ? that's guaranteed.

UPDATE: Mitchell Prothero at Salon.com reports from southern Lebanon , which is bearing the brunt of the Israeli assault. Since the piece is behind Salon's firewall, extended excerpts are available here after the jump.


...But down in the south, in a village called al-Dweir, amid Hezbollah's strongest supporters, the case is clear-cut. They regard Hezbollah as having mounted a military operation against a military target -- and see civilians paying the price.

At about 4 a.m. Thursday morning, Israeli warplanes bombed the home of Sayeed Adel Akkash, a Shiite cleric probably associated with Hezbollah. The bomb flattened the home and killed Akkash, his wife and their 10 children, leaving only three bodies identifiable as such and a surprisingly small pile of body parts.

Dr. Yousef Akkash is a French-educated surgeon and Adel's brother. It is his job to oversee the funeral, as his father is too distraught to do so. He enters the basement of a mosque near the family home and joins two doctors whose job it is to separate out body parts and try to figure out which part should go in which grave. It's extremely messy. Finally, with a cleric's approval, they decide to put the 12 mangled corpses into six graves.

Dr. Adel claims to not know if his brother really was a Hezbollah official but says he hopes it's true, "so there can be some reason behind this tragedy."

He's upset and angry but can still talk of peace with the people who did this. "All people want peace," he tells me in English. "As do the people of Lebanon, but we need justice amid this occupation. We want peace and justice for all people, Muslim and Christian, Arab and Jew."

But in the makeshift morgue he holds up part of a baby's body and asks the recoiling reporters to come closer.

"Come see the arms and weapons my brother had," he says, holding up a tiny arm. "Here is your 'terrorist.'"

...A man named Tahir Ahmed asks me where I am from. When I tell him, without a trace of hostility he asks me to "tell the American people we are thankful for your country because it gives weapons to Israel that are used to kill our children."

I begin to talk to Tahir Ahmed about this statement, and he elaborates. "We distinguish between your people and your government. But if your country did not cover Israel, then Israel could not do these things. There is a big error in the mentality of the American people. Because of movies and Hollywood, you think like cowboys. There is a good guy and a bad guy. And you see the Arab as the bad guy and the Jew as a good guy. It is naive to see only good and bad in the world."

"If Hezbollah kidnapped two soldiers, this is a matter between two military groups. Why do they involve children? She was not attacking Tel Aviv,? he says of Akkash's 6-month-old daughter, killed in the strike. "She was sleeping with her family. I hope the American people think of a 6-month-old-girl killed with an American fighter, flown by an Israeli pilot. If she was with a soldier at the front, then these things happen. But she was asleep with her family."

Late Thursday, Israeli officials said they were not ruling out a ground invasion. For many Lebanese, caught once again in a fight not of their making, an old and terrible history seems to be repeating itself.

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 July 2006 02:51

Latest News