Written by Nassar Ibrahim, Alternative Information Center
Wednesday, 23 August 2006
This was originally published in News from Within Vol. XXII, No. 7, August Special Issue, 2006.
Nassar Ibrahim is a Palestinian writer and journalist. He is also the editor of the Arabic quarterly journal Rouy'ya Ukhra, published by the AIC.
Bush orders and Israel implements - Illusions of power and the determination of the resistance
“We are entering an open war. Our goal is to ‘change the rules of the game.’”
This was the declaration of Israeli political and military leaders at the start of the Israeli aggression on Lebanon. The Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah responded, “If it is open war you want, then open war you will get. You want to change the rules of the game, so let the rules of the game change.” It certainly appears as if each party is aware of the political and military contexts and objectives of this war, which have now completely circumvented the issue of the captivity of the two Israeli soldiers.
In reality, it is an open and all-out war, the direct and long-term political goals of which are crystal clear to those who analyze the overtures to the current confrontation and the potential shape of things to come.
For the Israeli government and its chief ally, the US, the war is aimed at altering the political reality in Lebanon by direct force and the imposition of conditions for the political situation in the region, according to a joint American and Israeli strategy, as expressed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her speech on a new Middle East.
A group of goals:
Understanding the dimensions of this war of aggression against Lebanon necessitates a definition of the motives behind it and the desired goals to be gained from it. Israel did not throw all of its military weight into the confrontation solely to liberate its two captured soldiers. To only consider this goal is more of a joke than anything else.
Israel has clearly declared that its all-out war is aimed at destroying Hezbollah and crushing its military power, resulting in the liberation of the two soldiers with no limitations or conditions. The parallel goal to this demand, is the Israeli army’s use of absolute force to change the balances of political power in Lebanon and to rearrange the situation in a way that is more suitable to American goals and visions, which clearly developed after the assassination of Rafiq Hariri a year ago.
Three years after the United States entered the Iraqi quagmire, it has realized that its project of domination in the region is “gone with the wind.” This project aimed at changing and overthrowing regimes that opposed American policies in a manner that would have a domino effect. However, the project has been foiled thanks to the courageous Iraqi resistance.
Therefore, the US administration began working with a strategy of pressure to impose change through intimidation and besiegement. The assassination of Hariri was the perfect opportunity that allowed for the reshuffling of Lebanese conditions. The first step in this direction was the Syrian pullout from Lebanon , through the use of Lebanese political forces loyal to the American project. These groups united and became known as the 14 March force: Al Mustaqbal (future) group under the leadership of Saad Hariri, the Druz leader Walid Junblat and the Lebanese forces under Sameer Ja’ja. This effort was crowned with the adoption of Security Council resolution 1559 in September 2004.
The project did succeed in achieving the first step of the pullout of Syrian troops from Lebanon . However, the American project fumbled again when it clashed with the Lebanese forces opposed to American domination ( The Presidency and army of the Republic, Hezbollah, The Amal Party, the Free National Party under Imad Awn the Marada Party under the leadership of Sameer Franjiya and part of the Druze sect under Talal Irslan).
However, the biggest deterrent to the continuation of the change process in Lebanon according to the American agenda was the presence of the Hezbollah resistance and its military power.
This situation put Hezbollah in the bull’s-eye for being directly targeted. After the failure to implement Resolution 1559, which stipulates the disarmament of Hezbollah and the deployment of the Lebanese army in the south to enforce Lebanese state sovereignty there, it became clear that Israel and the US had no other choice but to use direct force to change the rules of the game, crushing Hezbollah and installing a puppet Lebanese government. This way, Syria ’s role would be permanently obliterated in Lebanon .
Achieving the aforementioned goals quickly and decisively opens up opportunities for the American project to continue acting in the east under the guise of “the war on terrorism” and the democratization of the Middle East . The chain begins in Afghanistan , moves on to Iraq , continues through Lebanon , and in this same context, into Palestine .
The complete success of American domination in the Middle East depends on a decisive victory in Lebanon and an end to the state of resistance and all it embodies in terms of challenges and role models. At the same time, it necessitates the crushing of the Palestinian popular Intifada by force, and imposing a final solution according to Israeli conditions. After that comes a siege on Syria and forcing it into submission. Finally, Iran must be placed under political and economic siege and a military threat established to prevent it from achieving its nuclear aspirations.
Thus, the all-out war on Lebanon is aimed at crushing Hezbollah for good and imposing a regime in harmony with American policies and schemes. In tandem with this, is Israel ’s continued attack on the Palestinian people aimed at crushing the Intifada and bringing down the Hamas government as a first step. This would be followed by the imposition of an accommodating Palestinian Authority, which means in practical terms, a disqualification of the Palestinian Legislative Council election results and stripping Hamas of any democratic and popular legitimacy. What this entails in the longterm is the prevention of any attempt at real democratic change in the Arab world if it is incongruent with the vision and goals of American-Israeli domination and control.
To achieve these strategic goals, Israel , with total American support, used its full military power from the start of the war to achieve the broadest political goals, which reflect the depth of the American objectives for reshuffling conditions in the region. This insistence of America ’s pressure on Israel to continue its operations and its clear demand not to accept a ceasefire, coupled with the continuation of the confrontation have begun to have an impact on Israel . Israel has lost its margin for political and military maneuverability that directly coincide with Israeli interests. Hence, Israel has found itself pulled into the quagmire of war, not because its immediate interests necessitate this, but because it agreed and submitted to pressure from the American administration. Therefore, it is no longer waging an Israeli war, but rather an American war by proxy.
This is the overall analytical framework for understanding and comprehending the dimensions of what has been happening in Lebanon for the past weeks and what has been happening in Palestine for months.
Anyone who believes we are witnessing an Israeli response governed by the logic of regaining its status following the capture of two soldiers is mistaken. The breadth and cruelty of the war, and its total destructive nature, indicate clearly that we are witnessing a premeditated military-political project which was only waiting for the appropriate moment to be put into action.
This is the truth, which totally refutes the allegations of certain parties that hold Hezbollah responsible, maintaining that Hezbollah provoked Israel with the capture of two soldiers.
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