[Marxism] WP: "US, Israel Aim to Weaken Hezbollah, Region's Militants"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Jul 16 08:29:23 MDT 2006


Following these comments, more than adequate by Mark Jensen of the
United for Peace of Pierce County, Washington, is the article from the
Washington Post on US partnership with Israel in the war on the Islamic
Peoples.  This recalls Arafat's declarationd uring the Israeli invasion
of Lebanon in 2982 that "this was a US war." The assumption is that the
fighting will of Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran will be cracked by a "few
weeks" of massive Israeli bombing of civilian and other targets. 

This is not Israel "out of control."  It is Washington and Israel
working in tandem, although both may be proven to have been "out of
control" from the standpoint of rational possibilities. 

This highlights the attraction to Washington these days of the Israeli
policy of ruthlessly striking at the Arabs and Muslims to show them who
is boss.  The neocon ideologues are not advocates of Israeli as opposed
to US interests but those in the US war machine who are most impressed
with the Israeli "will" to deal savage blows to the Palestinians and the
neighboring countries, and assume that even more would be accomplished
if the mighty US took that line. 

Iraq was partly a product of the "Live Like the Zionists" slogan for US
imperialism.  I recall Lawrence Kaplan's recent worshipful book on the
US soldiers, based on comparing today's wars to the wars of
extermination against the Indians -- clearly indicating the ideological
power for the imperialists' of the Israeli success in asserting racial
domination over the Palestinians and taking their land. 

In Iraq this hasn't panned out -- yet (hope springs alternative), but
developing an alternative after the damage already done would be very
difficult, and probably impossible for the Bush administration, although
they have adjusted and a future Republican administration -- the
Democrats show no trace yet of will to win -- might be better able to
make the adjustments required than a Democratic one. 

And the fact is, why bother as long as Israel looks invincible.  If they
are invincible, the neocons reason, we must surely be even more
invincible if only we ac the part.  The logic is impregnable but the
factual base is completely false. 

Hopefully, the high mood in Damascus means that the Syrian people are
beginning to play a role in the process -- making it harder for their
government to cave in as usual. Fred Feldman 


NEWS: *Washington Post* reports US and Israel want 'several weeks' of
war [On Sunday, the *Washington Post* reported that "senior Israeli and
U.S. officials" say that Israel and the U.S. are pursuing a common,
concerted, "longer-term" strategy which "is likely to include several
weeks of precision bombing in Lebanon."[1] -- 

An immediate target is Hasan Nasrallah, 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasan_Nasrallah) the leader of Hezbollah
since Israel assassinated his predecessor 14 years ago, with the
long-term aim being the strangulation of what the *Post* described as
"the axis of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, and Iran." -- The *Post* said the
U.S. believes it has "strong behind-the-scenes support among key Arab
leaders" in this project. -- 

Whereas in 1996 U.S. Secretary of State engaged in a week of shuttle
diplomacy to broker a cease-fire that ended 16 days of fighting between
Israel and Hezbollah, this time diplomacy " is not a viable option to
end the current conflict, U.S. officials say. 

With its diplomacy redefined by the war on terrorism, the Bush
administration has opted for a course that plays out on the
battlefield." -- A senior Israel official "said it was 'way, way
premature' to consider an end to hostilities. 'There is no sense to have
a cease-fire without a fundamental change,' he said. "That change is to
make sure the explosiveness of the situation cannot carry over to the
future. That means neutralizing Hezbollah's capabilities.'" -- 

In other words, the U.S. is not only subsidizing and equipping Israel's
disproportionate and illegitimate response, its leaders are fully
complicit in strategizing these crimes of war. --Mark [Jensen]] 

Strikes Are Called Part of Broad Strategy 
U.S., Israel Aim to Weaken Hezbollah, Region's Militants 

By Robin Wright Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, July 16, 2006; A15 

Israel, with U.S. support, intends to resist calls for a cease-fire and
continue a longer-term strategy of punishing Hezbollah, which is likely
to include several weeks of precision bombing in Lebanon, according to
senior Israeli and U.S. officials. 

For Israel, the goal is to eliminate Hezbollah as a security threat --
or altogether, the sources said. A senior Israeli official confirmed
that Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah is a target, on the calculation
that the Shiite movement would be far less dynamic without him. 

For the United States, the broader goal is to strangle the axis of
Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran, which the Bush administration believes
is pooling resources to change the strategic playing field in the Middle
East, U.S. officials say. 

Whatever the outrage on the Arab streets, Washington believes it has
strong behind-the-scenes support among key Arab leaders also nervous
about the populist militants -- with a tacit agreement that the timing
is right to strike. 

"What is out there is concern among conservative Arab allies that there
is a hegemonic Persian threat [running] through Damascus, through the
southern suburbs of Beirut and to the Palestinians in Hamas," said a
senior U.S. official who requested anonymity because of sensitive
diplomacy. "Regional leaders want to find a way to navigate unease on
their streets and deal with the strategic threats to take down Hezbollah
and Hamas, to come out of the crisis where they are not as ascendant." 

Hezbollah's cross-border raid that captured two Israeli soldiers and
killed eight others has provided a "unique moment" with a "convergence
of interests" among Israel, some Arab regimes and even those in Lebanon
who want to rein in the country's last private army, the senior Israeli
official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the
ongoing conflict. 

Israel and the United States would like to hold out until Hezbollah is
crippled. 

"It seems like we will go to the end now," said Israeli Ambassador
Daniel Ayalon. "We will not go part way and be held hostage again. We'll
have to go for the kill -- Hezbollah neutralization." 

White House officials said Friday that Bush has called on Israel to
limit civilian casualties and avoid toppling the Lebanese government but
has not pressured Israel to stop its military action. "He believes that
the Israelis have a right to protect themselves," spokesman Tony Snow
said in St. Petersburg, where Bush is attending the Group of Eight
summit. "The president is not going to make military decisions for
Israel." 

Specifically, officials said, Israel and the United States are looking
to create conditions for achieving one remaining goal of U.N. Resolution
1559, adopted in 2004, which calls for the dismantling and disarming of
Lebanon's militias and expanding the state's control over all its
territory. 

"We think part of the solution to this is the implementation of 1559,
which would eliminate that [armed group operating outside the
government] and help Lebanon extend all of its authority throughout the
whole country," national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley told
reporters with Bush in Russia yesterday. 

The other part of the resolution calls for the withdrawal of Syrian
troops from Lebanon, which was completed in April last year -- after the
assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, which was
widely linked to Syria. 

If Lebanon as a first step takes over Hezbollah's stockpiles, which
included more than 12,000 rockets and missiles before the current strife
began, then cease-fire talks could begin, the Israeli official said. 

"The only way a cease-fire will even be considered is if 1559 is fully
implemented," said the senior Israeli official. Lebanese troops must be
deployed to take over positions in Hezbollah's southern Lebanon
strongholds to ensure that there are no more cross-border raids or
rocket barrages into northern Israel. 

There are no guarantees, however, that this strategy will work. Israeli
airstrikes could backfire, experts warn. 

"Hezbollah was risking alienating not only the Lebanese public at large
but, incredibly, its very own Shiite constituency. But if Israel
continues with its incessant targeting of exclusively civilian targets,
and, as a result, life becomes increasingly difficult for the people, I
would not be surprised if there is a groundswell of support for
Hezbollah, exactly opposite of what Israel is trying to achieve," said
Timur Goksel, an analyst and former spokesman for the U.N. force in
Lebanon who lives in Beirut. 

The Bush administration's position -- and diplomacy -- are the opposite
of what happened during the Clinton administration. 

The last Hezbollah-Israel cease-fire was just before dawn on April 27,
1996, after the United States brokered a deal to end a punishing 16-day
Israeli offensive designed to end Hezbollah's rocket barrages. More than
150 Lebanese, mostly civilians, were killed; more than 60 Israelis were
injured. Tens of thousands on both sides of the border had fled or gone
into bunkers. 

Then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher shuttled for a week between
Jerusalem and Damascus to mediate a written agreement, a sequel to a
similar oral deal he negotiated after skirmishes in 1993. 

For now, that is not a viable option to end the current conflict, U.S.
officials say. With its diplomacy redefined by the war on terrorism, the
Bush administration has opted for a course that plays out on the
battlefield. 

Pressed on whether a cease-fire was possible soon, the Israeli official
said it was "way, way premature" to consider an end to hostilities.
"There is no sense to have a cease-fire without a fundamental change,"
he said. "That change is to make sure the explosiveness of the situation
cannot carry over to the future. That means neutralizing Hezbollah's
capabilities." 

The Bush administration is also using Resolution 1559 as a barometer,
U.S. officials say, acknowledging that the Lebanese government has shown
neither the ability nor the willingness to deploy its fledgling army to
the southern border. 

U.S. officials have cautioned Israel to use restraint, particularly on
collateral damage and destruction of infrastructure, which might
undermine the fragile government. There was some U.S. concern about
attacks on the Beirut airport, but otherwise Washington is prepared to
step aside and defer diplomacy unless there is a dramatic break, U.S.
officials say. 

"They do have space to operate for a period of time," the U.S. official
said about Israel. "There's a natural dynamic to these things. When the
military starts, it may be that it has to run its course." 

Israel and the United States believe that the Israeli strikes in Gaza,
following the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, have undermined Hamas.
"There is no Hamas government -- eight cabinet ministers or 30 percent
of the government is in jail, another 30 percent is in hiding, and the
other 30 percent is doing very little," said the senior U.S. official.

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