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U.S. Allows Total War Continue in Lebanon - For Now PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Saturday, 22 July 2006 02:12
U.S. Allows Total War Continue in Lebanon - For Now

- Patrick Seale - In spite of the unfolding catastrophe in Lebanon, U.S. President George W. Bush and Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair have agreed to give Israel at least until the end of the month to achieve its war aims. They have rejected demands for an immediate ceasefire from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, from European and Arab leaders, and from a rising groundswell of outraged international opinion.


The ultimate aim of the United States and Israel is to install a submissive regime in Lebanon (and Palestine) so as to continue and enhance U.S./Israeli dominance of the region. But these actions will undoubtedly meet with resistance and only produce more violence and chaos.

U.S. and Israeli War Aims
Patrick Seale

Agence Global
July 22, 2006

? 2006 Patrick Seale
[Republished at PEJ News with permission of AG]

The view in Washington and London is that an immediate ceasefire would be 'premature'. In the frivolous and callous words of Bush's press secretary, Tony Snow, the United States is not "going to step in and put up a stop sign."

Bush and Blair are due to meet at the White House on 28 July to take stock of the situation. In the meantime, as Israel continues its methodical destruction of Lebanon, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is planning to visit the region to peddle a diplomatic plan which seeks to advance Israel's interests while ignoring those of the Arabs.

In daring to come to the war-torn region, Rice runs a considerable risk. Revolted by American policy, many Arabs would like to tear her limb from limb. She also faces the near certainty of political failure.

Never since the Second World War has the United States aligned itself so totally with Israel. Never has its estrangement from Arab and Muslim opinion been greater. And never has its inability, or unwillingness, to tackle the real problems of the region been more flagrant.

What are Israel's war aims in Lebanon? Why is the United States backing them? And what are their chances of success?

The immediate aim of Israel's brutal campaign is to destroy the Lebanese resistance movement Hizballah and kill its leader, Shaikh Hasan Nasrallah.

If the total destruction of Hizballah proves impossible, then the aim is to disarm it, to drive it out of a substantial slice of southern Lebanon, and replace its presence there with that of an international force, in conjunction with the Lebanese army, so as to form in a new "security zone" on Israel's northern border.

Beyond that, the still more ambitious aim is to redraw Lebanon's political map and bring to power in Beirut a government ready to conclude a separate peace with Israel under American auspices. In other words, the aim is to draw a broken and submissive Lebanon into Israel's sphere of influence.

This was the aim of Israel's 1982 invasion, and remains its aim today. Nothing else can explain the wholesale and systematic destruction of Lebanon's national infrastructure. We are witnessing an attempt, abetted by the United States, to break Lebanon's will to resist.

Much the same is happening on the Palestinian front where, with U.S. support and encouragement, Israel is seeking to destroy the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, the victor of last January's democratic elections.

By smashing the Palestinians' national infrastructure in both Gaza and the West Bank, Israel intends to put in place a broken and submissive Palestinian administration that will accept its unilateral terms. On both fronts, Israel will refuse all negotiation until it has established a position of overwhelming strength.

Beyond these assaults on Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, the evident aim is to isolate and weaken Syria and Iran, the only local powers who actively support Hizballah and Hamas, and who still resist American and Israeli hegemony over the region.

These local states and their supporters will inevitably fight back. They have vital interests at stake. Syria will not easily allow hostile powers, such as Israel and the United States, to establish their supremacy in Lebanon, as this would pose a grave threat to Syria's national security. Iran, in turn, will not easily abandon its role as the protector of Lebanon's Shi'ite community in the face of Israel's savage attack. Whether or not it intended to do so in the first place, Iran will now almost certainly redouble its efforts to acquire a nuclear capability so as to deter the U.S. and Israel from further aggressions and seek to establish a regional balance of power.

In puzzling over these developments, future historians may well conclude that the trauma of al-Qaida's attacks of 11 September 2001 caused the United States to lose its mind. Obsessed with "the terrorist threat," raging to hit back -- and profoundly influenced by pro-Israeli advisers who seized the opportunity to preach the identity of U.S. and Israeli interests -- Bush embarked on a disastrous course which resulted in America smashing Iraq, and allowing, even encouraging, Israel to smash Lebanon and what remains of Palestine.

This destructive rampage, and its irreparable damage to three Arab societies, is liable to haunt the United States and Israel for years to come. By promoting international anarchy, the United States and Israel will inevitably reap a harvest of resistance, terrorism and death on an even grander scale than in the past, as the victims seek revenge.

Condoleezza Rice has spoken of the need for an international conference on Lebanon. But her vision seems limited to protecting Israel and destroying its enemies. She needs to persuade her boss, President Bush, to raise his sights and tackle not just what he considers terrorism, but its real roots.

What is urgently required is an international peace conference, under a revitalised United Nations, dedicated to resolving the festering problems of the region.

These are: Israel's cruel 39-year occupation of Palestinian territories; its refusal to countenance the creation of an independent Palestinian state; its continuing land-grab on the West Bank; its occupation of the Syrian Golan and Lebanon's Shebaa Farms; its refusal to face up to the unresolved problem of Palestinian refugees living in wretched camps on its borders; its incarceration in deplorable conditions of some 10,000 Palestinian prisoners; and, its insane tendency to lash out with indiscriminate violence whenever its victims dare to hit back.

If Israel wants to live in peace and security, it needs to give up bullying, intimidating and destroying its neighbours, and adopt instead a policy of good sense and good neighbourliness.

If Bush and Blair wish to rescue their deeply tarnished reputations, this should be their goal. But it is almost certainly too late.

Patrick Seale is a leading British writer on the Middle East, and the author of The Struggle for Syria; also, Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East; and Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire.

? 2006 Patrick Seale

Released: 22 July 2006
Word Count: 1,019
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Advisory Release: 22 July 2006
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Agence Global is the exclusive syndication agency for The Nation and The American Prospect, as well as expert commentary by William Beeman, Richard Bulliet, Juan Cole, Mark Hertsgaard, Rami G. Khouri, Tom Porteous, Patrick Seale and Immanuel Wallerstein.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 July 2006 02:12

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