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Did Israel Kill al-Hariri to Set the Stage for a Confrontation with Hezbollah?

Kurt Nimmo

02/22/05 -- I don’t know how many citizens of the Empire surf the web looking for the truth. It is sincerely depressing reading the corporate press in the United States, hacking through the chaff, looking for the wheat, reading between the lines in search of the truth. I scan the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, etc, looking for stories that make sense. It is comforting to know there are journalists out there—not in the United States—who tell it like it is. For instance, Eric Margolis of the Toronto Sun.

Margolis writes of the Rafik al-Hariri assassination:

A Syrian role in the crime defies logic, though not possibility. Syrian President Bashar-el-Assad’s regime is desperately seeking to avoid providing U.S. President George W. Bush with a pretext for war and has urgently sought improved relations with Washington.

But Bush, the Strausscons, and the scary Israeli Likudites—who provide the ideological foundation for Bush’s foreign policy in the Middle East—are not interested in improved relations or peace for that matter. In fact, they want to destabilize Syria and go after Hezbollah. “Israel would welcome Syria’s implosion, as it did Iraq’s. Hence current Israeli efforts to press the White House and Congress to overthrow Syria’s unloved, isolated regime, whose only ally is Iran—itself a leading target on America’s Mideast hit list.”

Washington has totally adopted Israel’s view that Syria is a dangerous threat and a supporter of terrorists—meaning Palestinian resistance groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Lebanon’s welfare and resistance organization Hezbollah.

Israel is determined to take revenge on Hezbollah, which defeated its attempts to turn Lebanon into an Israeli protectorate and drove Israeli occupation forces from Lebanon—a small but vicious war this writer saw firsthand.

Israeli PM Ariel Sharon’s rightist Likud Party may be renewing previous efforts to bring Lebanon back into Israel’s sphere of influence. For the past quarter century, Syria and Israel have waged a dirty war of bombings and assassinations to dominate Lebanon and Jordan.

The White House is hoping its threats and economic siege of Syria will provoke the overthrow of the Assad regime. This strategy might work.

As Margolis points out, many Syrians want to get rid of Assad and the Ba’athists, “but fear sudden change will produce chaos or civil war.”

Although Margolis does not say as much, this is precisely what Israel and the venal Strausscons want—chaos, misery, death, starvation, ethnic strife, and endless violence in not only Syria and Iran but the entire Arab and Muslim Middle East.

Last week, newspapers “from around the world … raised accusation fingers to Israel regarding the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri,” reports Arabic News. In Turkey, Prague, Paris, and elsewhere newspaper columnists and reporters put two and two together and came up with Israel. “Israel involvement in the crime is a fait accompli, it doesn’t need a fortune-teller to inform reality,” writes Yeni Asya. “In Paris, L’Humanite Newspaper, for its part, said that Israel could be behind murdering Hariri, stressing that Israel has an interest in the crime, namely to be far away from the resumption of peace process which Syria repeatedly called for.”

Iran’s former ambassador to Syria Ali-Akbar Mohtashamipour blamed al-Qaeda—in essence the same as blaming the United States and Israel. The goal behind the al-Hariri assassination, according to Mohtashamipour, is to not only create ethnic conflict and civil war in Lebanon but also the “disarmament of the Islamic resistance forces in Lebanon,” namely Hezbollah, the Turkish Weekly reports. Israel’s humiliating forced withdrawal from southern Lebanon still irks the Likudites. “‘This was a big success for the Lebanese Hizbollah,’ boasted Mohtashamipour, adding that today, Lebanese president, government, all parties, even Katayib party and phalanges, are among the staunch supporters of Hizbollah, willing to see Islamic Resistance forces continue to guarantee security in southern Lebanon,” in other words prevent Israel from re-invading and occupying the country.

“The maneuvers against Syria manifest as well the unprecedented coordination of US and Israeli policy in the region,” notes Bill Van Auken. “Damascus is a primary target because it has provided sanctuary to Palestinian groups that have opposed Israel, including the Islamist organization Hamas. It has also failed to curb the growing influence of the Lebanese Shiite movement, Hezbollah, which forced Israeli troops out of southern Lebanon after 20 years of occupation. It is hoped in both Washington and Tel Aviv that either forcing Syrian troops out of Lebanon or carrying out ‘regime change’ in Damascus will undermine Hezbollah’s position and open the door for renewed Israeli control on both sides of its northern border.”

But even if Syria removes its troops from Lebanon, this will not weaken Hezbollah to any significant degree since many Lebanese support the organization, as noted above. “Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah told hundreds of thousands of people in Beirut, ‘Resistance is the choice of our nation and the enemy cannot disparage us,’” reports UPI. Nasrallah said the Bush administration is “an enemy to this nation because it supports Israel with money and weapons, because it wants to humiliate our people.”

No doubt Nasrallah’s comments were inspired by the partial failure of Condi Rice’s consensus shopping spree in Europe last week. “France has rebuffed appeals by both Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, which would prevent it from raising funds in Europe through charity groups,” reports the New York Times. “This is a difficult issue because Hezbollah has military operations that we deplore, but Hezbollah is also a political party in Lebanon,” said a European official. Another “European diplomat said that the issue of calling Hezbollah a terrorist organization was discussed in Brussels on Wednesday at a meeting of the Clearing House, a unit of the European Union that meets in confidential sessions to review terrorist activities in Europe. The group could reach no consensus, the diplomat said.” And yet another told European diplomat told the Associated Press, “So many things are taking place in Lebanon in which Hezbollah plays a political role, so an (EU) decision requires an important political dimension.”

Hezbollah is not going anywhere, even if the Likudites and Strausscons manage to evict Syria from Lebanon and arm-twist Europe into putting the organization on a starvation diet. As Nasrallah warned on the eve of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the “people of this region will receive you with rifles, blood, arms, martyrdom and martyrdom operations,” a fact that increasingly bedevils the Pentagon in Iraq. It appears the Iraqi resistance is doing fine on its starvation diet.

Finally, as Daniel Byman writes for the CFR journal Foreign Affairs, “a U.S. military operation [against Hezbollah] would have to involve a sustained counterinsurgency campaign—something that Israel tried for 20 years, only to find that its efforts strengthened Hezbollah’s resolve and increased its local and regional appeal. In response to a U.S. attack, Hezbollah might activate its cells in Asia, Europe, and Latin America—and possibly in the United States itself. The United States, furthermore, is today in a far worse position militarily and diplomatically than it was before the war in Iraq. Occupying Iraq is tough enough; a fight in the Bekaa Valley, a Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon, would only make things worse.”

Of course, this does not mean Bush and the Strausscons, at the behest of the Likudites in Israel, will not attempt such insanity. In the meantime, they will busy themselves with killing popular Lebanese leaders and attempt to get Syria evicted from Lebanon as a precursor to invading Syria and Iran—the latter, according to Scott Ritter, possibly as soon as June.

Kurt Nimmo. Visit Kurt's website http://kurtnimmo.com/

Copyright © Kurt Nimmo

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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