Vice President Dick Cheney has ignited a new Middle East war that threatens
to spread from Israel and Lebanon, to Syria and Iran. As EIR recently exposed,
(EIR June 30, "Cheney and Netanyahu Conspiring for War"), this latest
war was planned at a secret meeting between Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Likud
chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, during a conference organized by the American Enterprise
Institute in June at Beaver Creek, Colorado.
This war is not intended to make Israel safe from Hamas, Hezbollah
terrorism, or Iran's alleged intentions to build nuclear weapons, but is rather
a drive by the synarchist financial forces represented by the likes of George
Shultz and Felix Rohatyn, who stand behind Cheney and Netanyahu. Their aim is
to escalate a global clash of civilizations, to maintain their political and
financial hegemony, as their own global financial system crumbles.
Israel is their chosen instrument to launch a war against Syria and Iran, now
that U.S. military forces are bogged down in Cheney's insane Iraq war. Their
war plan is well known to readers of EIR, and is the policy the Bush Administration
has been implementing, with disastrous results, for the last three years. This
is based on the notorious policy paper, "A Clean Break: New Strategy for
Securing the Realm," which was presented to Netanyahu when he became Israeli
Prime Minister in 1996. Its authors included the "Prince of Darkness"
Richard Perle, former Defense Department official Douglas Feith, and neo-conservative
fanatics such as David and Meyrav Wurmser. That document called for a "clean
break from the slogan 'comprehensive peace' to a traditional balance of power."
They called for Israel to "seize the initiative along its northern border,"
against Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, including "striking at select targets
in Syria proper" (emphasis in the original).
Hezbollah is a Lebanese umbrella organization of Islamic Shi'ite groups, and
the Shi'ites are the largest religious bloc in Lebanon.
Israel's War Policy
Netanyahu came back from his meeting on the weekend of June 17-18 with Cheney
at Beaver Creek, and announced that Israel must reject any form of negotiations
with the Palestinians, and instead reassert its military "deterrence."
This policy has been embraced by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a former
Likudnik who enjoys many of the same U.S. financial supporters as does Netanyahu.
The June 25 capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, by Palestinian militants
in the Gaza Strip, served as a pretext to launch Netanyahu's policy of "rebuilding
Israel's deterrence" against the Palestinians, by destroying Hamas. After
rejecting political negotiations with the Hamas government of Palestinian Prime
Minister Ismail Haniyah, as well as President Abu Mazen, the Gaza Strip was
reoccupied, after chunks of its infrastructure were destroyed, leading to a
Now a second front has been opened on the Israel-Lebanon border. Contrary to
media reports, Hezbollah members did not cross into Israeli territory to "kidnap"
two Israeli soldiers, as the media spin claims. The captured Israeli soldiers
were part of a group patrolling inside Lebanese territory. Like the capture
of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, their capture became a pretext to launch a
large military operation against Hezbollah. Another factor to be considered
is that, according to the July 13 Jerusalem Post, the high-alert status that
the northern border had been under since the capture of Shalit three weeks ago,
was lifted only three days prior to the Hezbollah capture of two Israeli soldiers.
According to a report in the July 13 Israeli daily Ha'aretz, the Israel military
had approved a plan for a major exercise along the Israeli-Lebanese border,
based on a scenario of a Hezbollah capture of Israeli solders, after which Israel
would respond with a heavy air and land assault into southern Lebanon to destroy
Hezbollah. It is this plan which is now being carried out. As of this writing,
Israel has begun to mobilize its reserves, including a full division, to be
deployed on the already heavily fortified northern border.
The Israeli military has similar contingency plans for a strike against Syria.
These plans have been the basis of exercises for the last two to three years.
While Israel has bombed targets in Beirut and put the entire country under
a siege by air and sea, Hezbollah forces have launched Katyusha rockets into
Israeli towns in northern Israel. The head of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah,
has declared that the Israeli soldiers will be released only in an exchange
The conflict is now vectored to escalate, and spread to Syria. Israel's intention
to attack Syria and Iran has been mooted by several Bush Administration spokesmen,
each of whom immediately blamed Syria and Iran. Bush himself, while meeting
with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 13, declared that "Israel
has a right to self-defense."
The most obvious proof that the Bush Administration wants a new war does not
lie in its bellicose statements against Iran, Syria, Hamas, or Hezbollah, however.
It lies in the fact that it has not lifted a finger either to stop, or even
mediate the crisis. Through its Ambassador to the United Nations, the non-confirmable
neo-con zealot John Bolton, the Bush Administration is even preventing the issue
from being brought before the United Nations Security Council.
No Military Solution
In comments to EIR, veteran Israeli military historian Col. Meir Pa'il (ret.)
confirmed that a broad military escalation can be expected. From a military
standpoint, Pa'il said, Israel will now have no choice but to occupy southern
Lebanon up to the Litani River, which means a return to the so-called "security
zone" from which Israel unilaterally withdrew in 2000. Nonetheless, Israel
will not be able to sustain a broad land war in Lebanon, as in 1982, or even
a permanent occupation of the old security zone.
Although he doubted that Syria would offer Israel a pretext for an attack,
he feared that if such a pretext presented itself, a military strike could not
be ruled out. While asserting that Israel is not capable of launching a major
land war against Syria, and thus would not do it, Colonel Pa'il warned that
there has always been a "dream" held by a faction in the military
security establishment to put Damascus within range of Israeli artillery. Since
the Syrian capital is less than 40 kilometers from the Israeli-occupied Golan
Heights, such an event is very much within the realm of possibility.
Colonel Pa'il warned that "the real problem is that Israeli leaders are
only thinking in military terms," while what needs to be done is to build
a political peace with Israel's Arab neighbors. Pa'il, who is a member of the
pro-peace Meretz-Yahad party, said that the value of Israel's massive military
superiority is to demonstrate to the Arab world that Israel cannot be defeated
militarily. Nonetheless, that military must serve to set the stage for a real
peace process. "The real issue is to raise the flag of a solution to the
problem. I am crying and weeping because of the fact that this government has
no political orientation to deal with the Arab world."
While the ex-lawyer Ehud Olmert and the ex-furniture salesman Benjamin Netanyahu
are trying to sound like the ex-general Ariel Sharon, there are serious doubts
within the Israeli security establishment over their drive to push Israel into
a three-front, or even four-front war with the Palestinians, Hezbollah, Syria,
and Iran. Even prior to the new crisis with Hezbollah, Ha'aretz cited security
sources who have dealt with these situations, saying that Olmert's policy of
non-negotiation "infuriates" them. Ha'aretz even quoted slain Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who said, "When there is no military option, we
do everything, including negotiations with the kidnappers, to free hostages."
Former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy expressed similar doubts, when speaking
before a business luncheon on July 11. Asked how he would have acted in the
current Israeli prisoner crisis, he replied, "I believe that one should
never underestimate the enemy, and it always helps and never harms, when you
approach your greatest tests with just a grain of humility."
A Basis for Negotiations
Many Israelis also know that the Bush Administration has given Israel a green
light to crush Hamas, and now Hezbollah.
Hamas knows this also. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah, in a op-ed
published in the July 11 Washington Post, under the title "Aggression Under
False Pretenses," charged that both Olmert and the Bush Administration
were colluding to destroy the Hamas government.
"The current Gaza invasion is only the latest effort to destroy the results
of fair and free elections held early this year," Haniyah charged. "It
is the explosive follow-up to a five-month campaign of economic and diplomatic
warfare directed by the United States and Israel. The stated intention of that
strategy was to force the average Palestinian to 'reconsider' his or her vote
when faced with deepening hardship; its failure was predictable, and the new
overt military aggression and collective punishment are its logical fulfillment.
"The 'kidnapped' Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit is only a pretext for a job
scheduled months ago. In addition to removing our democratically elected government,
Israel wants to sow dissent among Palestinians by claiming that there is a serious
leadership rivalry among us. I am compelled to dispel this notion definitively.
The Palestinian leadership is firmly embedded in the concept of Islamic shura,
or mutual consultation; suffice it to say that while we may have differing opinions,
we are united in mutual respect and focused on the goal of serving our people....
"We want what Americans enjoy—democratic rights, economic sovereignty
and justice. We thought our pride in conducting the fairest elections in the
Arab world might resonate with the United States and its citizens. Instead,
our new government was met from the very beginning by acts of explicit, declared
sabotage by the White House. Now this aggression continues against 3.9 million
civilians living in the world's largest prison camps. America's complacency
in the face of these war crimes is, as usual, embedded in the coded rhetorical
'green light': 'Israel has a right to defend itself.' Was Israel defending itself
when it killed eight family members on a Gaza beach last month, or three members
of the Hajjaj family on Saturday, among them 6-year-old Rawan? I refuse to believe
that such inhumanity sits well with the American public."
Haniyah called for a prisoner exchange and put forward the principles for a
negotiating process, writing that, "Palestinian priorities include recognition
of the core dispute over the land of historical Palestine, and the rights of
all its people; resolution of the refugee issue from 1948; reclaiming all lands
occupied in 1967; and stopping Israeli attacks, assassinations and military
"Contrary to popular depictions of the crisis in the American media, the
dispute is not only about Gaza and the West Bank; it is a wider national conflict
that can be resolved only by addressing the full dimensions of Palestinian national
rights in an integrated manner. This means statehood for the West Bank and Gaza,
a capital in Arab East Jerusalem, and resolving the 1948 Palestinian refugee
issue fairly, on the basis of international legitimacy and established law.
Haniyah concluded, "If Israel is prepared to negotiate seriously and fairly,
and resolve the core 1948 issues, rather than the secondary ones from 1967,
a fair and permanent peace is possible. Based on a hudna (comprehensive cessation
of hostilities for an agreed time), the Holy Land still has an opportunity to
be a peaceful and stable economic powerhouse for all the Semitic people of the
region. If Americans only knew the truth, possibility might become reality."
Olmert thinks his hard-line policies, backed by the Bush Administration, will
create a new "balance of power" in the region. But Israel is facing
an asymmetric war like the one the United States is conducting and losing in
Iraq and Afghanistan, where there are no "balances." Already the Israeli
military is warning that these operations could continue for many months, and
for the first time, put hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians in the line
of fire. Can Israel sustain this, economically and politically? The 1982 Lebanon
War bankrupted Israel. Israel avoided bankruptcy in the six-year-long second
Intifada of 2000 to 2005 only because the Bush Administration provided $10 billion
in loan guarantees. Now, with the United States itself nearly bankrupt, will
there be another bailout?
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