Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Over the last week, pundits have made a strong case that the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon was intentionally instigated by Iran. The Iranian government hopes to win big political advantages from the current conflict, which it views not just in regional terms, but as part of its larger political war against the United States and its allies. By playing its own allies (Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria) like pawns in a chess game, Iran hopes to avoid direct involvement, and at the same time enhance its reputation as the dominant power in the Middle-East, and counter continuing pressure from the U.S. against its nuclear ambitions (notice that within a week debates at the UN shifted from the question of imposing sanctions against Iran to imposing sanctions against Israel). As Heritage Foundation’s James Phillips noted after Hezbollah militia crossed the border and kidnapped two more Israeli soldiers last week:

With this provocative attack, Hezbollah in one stroke has enhanced its prestige in the Arab world, diverted the world’s attention from a growing crisis over Iran’s nuclear program, and escalated pressure on Israel...The attack also highlights the role that Hezbollah’s patron Iran plays in escalating Middle East violence, and it strengthens the case for sanctions against Iran.

And as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out in an interview earlier this week, Iran’s willingness to supply Hezbollah with funds, guns and long-range missiles ought to heighten concerns about an Iran with nuclear weapons capabilities.

For more on the Iran-Hezbollah-Syria connection in the current conflict, see this longer article from Newsweek about “How Iran is wielding its influence to wage a stealthy war against Israel and America.”

Discussions - 14 Comments

"...notice that within a week debates at the UN shifted from the question of imposing sanctions against Iran to imposing sanctions against Israel."

You’re kidding, right? The UN shifted like that? The same UN that did so well with the Iraq’s Oil for Food program? The same UN that turned a blind eye to genocide in Rwanda and the Sudan, while it’s own peacekeepers were raping little girls? Please say it ain’t so, Chris!

I am truly shocked. If the UN won’t stand with us who will?

The only good news I’ve heard on this issue lately has been the tacit support of Israel’s attacks. The US veto in the security council, behind the scenes wrangling of the G-8 (that is the promotion of terms for ceasefire acceptable to Israel’s ends of defeating Hezbollah), and most especially the delaying of Condolezza Rice’s visit from immediately, to Sunday, to eventually only go to show that the United States is willing to let Israel finally take the needed measures against these terrorist thugs.

It is my assertion that a full scale invasion of Lebannon will commence once the international community has evacuated their citizens. A regime change in Syria is also not altogether unlikely. I see this playing out very poorly for Iran as it becomes undeniable that a serious amount of Iranian armament and possibly members of the Iranian Guard are actually in Lebanon supporting Hezbollah. That will have the ultimate effect of forcing Russia and China away from their stalling techniques on this issue.

What a great interview with Netanyahu. Thank you. He said:No country can allow its citizens in its cities, its main cities to be rocketed. Imagine what would happen if Chicago, which is like Haifa, you know, our third largest city, Chicago would be rocketed by a terrorist enclave, a state within a state across the border in Canada. Do you think the U.S. would show restraint?

Then as to attacks on Lebanon, There is no Lebanese sovereignty as long as there is Hezbollah sovereignty in Lebanon. Because, in fact, they are doing anything they want, supported by two foreign powers, Iran and Syria. and he is correct and yet Kofi Annan says While Israel’s actions were doing "little or nothing" to decrease popular support for Hezbollah in Lebanon or the region, they were doing a "great deal" to weaken the government of Lebanon. and further denounces Israel for "excessive use of force". which, in light of the attacks on Israel, scarcely seem excessive at all. Here is that article.

So, was this what it was like before our first world war? Everyone knew that the only way out of the mess was war, as seems inevitable now. Not that we are all so eager for war, except inasmuch as to see the end of the tension in that part of the world would be a world of relief. Or are we not before anything, but well and truly into the war on terror with the nations involved just clearly emerging?

Hezbollah in one stroke has enhanced its prestige in the Arab world

Uh no it hasn’t.

As the tv networks give unlimited airtime to Israel’s apologists, the message rolls out that no nation, least of all Israel, can permit bombardment or armed incursion across its borders without retaliation.

The guiding rule in this tsunami of drivel is that the viewers should be denied the slightest access to any historical context, or indeed to anything that happened prior to June 28, which was when the capture of an Israeli soldier and the killing of two others by Hamas hit the headlines, followed soon thereafter by an attack by a unit of Hezbollah’s fighters.

Memory is supposed to stop in its tracks at June 28, 2006.

Let’s go on a brief excursion into pre-history. I’m talking about June 20, 2006, when Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile at a car in an attempted extrajudicial assassination attempt on a road between Jabalya and Gaza City. The missile missed the car. Instead it killed three Palestinian children and wounded 15.

Back we go again to June 13, 2006. Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a van in another attempted extrajudicial assassination. The successive barrages killed nine innocent Palestinians.

Now we’re really in the dark ages, reaching far, far back to June 9, 2006, when Israel shelled a beach in Beit Lahiya killing 8 civilians and injuring 32.

That’s just a brief trip down Memory Lane, and we trip over the bodies of twenty dead and forty-seven wounded, all of them Palestinians, most of them women and children.

Israel regrets… But no! Israel doesn’t regret in the least. Most of the time it doesn’t even bother to pretend to regret. It says, “We reserve the right to slaughter Palestinians whenever we want. We reserve the right to assassinate their leaders, crush their homes, steal their water, tear out their olive groves, and when they try to resist we call them terrorists intent on wrecking the ‘peace process’”.

Now Israel says it wants to wipe out Hezbollah. It wishes no harm to the people of Lebanon, just so long as they’re not supporters of Hezbollah, or standing anywhere in the neighborhood of a person or a house or a car or a truck or a road or a bus or a field, or a power station or a port that might, in the mind of an Israeli commander or pilot, have something to do with Hezbollah. In any of those eventualities all bets are off. You or your wife or your mother or your baby get fried.

Israel regrets… But no! As noted above, it doesn’t regret in the least. Neither does George Bush, nor Condoleezza Rice nor John Bolton who is the moral savage who brings shame on his country each day that he sits as America’s ambassador (unconfirmed) at the UN and who has just told the world that a dead Israel civilian is worth a whole more in terms of moral outrage than a Lebanese one.

None of them regrets. They say Hezbollah is a cancer in the body of Lebanon. Sometimes, to kill the cancer, you end up killing the body. Or bodies. Bodies of babies. Lots of them. Go to the website and take a look. Then sign the petition on the site calling on the governments of the world to stop this barbarity.

You can say that Israel brought Hezbollah into the world. You can prove it too, though this too involves another frightening excursion into history.

This time we have to go far, almost unimaginably far, back into history. Back to 1982, before the dinosaurs, before CNN, before Fox TV, before O’Reilly and Limbaugh. But not before the neo-cons who at that time had already crawled from the primal slime and were doing exactly what they are doing now: advising an American president to give Israel the green light to “solve its security problems” by destroying Lebanon.

In 1982 Israel had a problem. Yasir Arafat, headquartered in Beirut, was making ready to announce that the PLO was prepared to sit down with Israel and embark on peaceful, good faith negotiations towards a two-state solution.

Israel didn’t want a two-state solution, which meant -- if UN resolutions were to be taken seriously -- a Palestinian state right next door, with water, and contiguous territory. So Israel decided chase the PLO right out of Lebanon. It announced that the Palestinian fighters had broken the year-long cease-fire by lobbing some shells into northern Israel.

Palestinians had done nothing of the sort. I remember this very well, because Brian Urquhart, at that time assistant secretary general of the United Nations, in charge of UN observers on Israel’s northern border, invited me to his office on the 38th floor of the UN hq in mid-Manhattan and showed me all the current reports from the zone. For over a year there’d been no shelling from north of the border. Israel was lying.

With or without a pretext Israel wanted to invade Lebanon. So it did, and rolled up to Beirut. It shelled Lebanese towns and villages and bombed them from the air. Sharon’s forces killed maybe 20,000 people, and let Lebanese Christians slaughter hundreds of Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Chatilla.

The killing got so bad that even Ronald Reagan awoke from his slumbers and called Tel Aviv to tell Israel to stop. Sharon gave the White House the finger by bombing Beirut at the precise times -- 2.42 and 3.38 -- of two UN resolutions calling for a peaceful settlement on the matter of Palestine.

When the dust settled over the rubble, Israel bunkered down several miles inside Lebanese sovereign territory, which it illegally occupied, in defiance of all UN resolutions, for years, supervising a brutal local militia and running its own version of Abu Graibh, the torture center at the prison of Al-Khiam.

Occupy a country, torture its citizens and in the end you face resistance. In Israel’s case it was Hezbollah, and in the end Hezbollah ran Israel out of Lebanon, which is why a lot of Lebanese regard Hezbollah not as terrorists but as courageous liberators.

The years roll by and Israel does its successful best to destroy all possibility of a viable two-state solution. It builds illegal settlements. It chops up Palestine with Jews-only roads. It collars all the water. It cordons off Jerusalem. It steals even more land by bisecting Palestinian territory with its “fence”. Anyone trying to organize resistance gets jailed, tortured, or blown up.

Sick of their terrible trials, Palestinians elect Hamas, whose leaders make it perfectly clear that they are ready to deal on the basis of the old two-state solution, which of course is the one thing Israel cannot endure. Israel doesn’t want any “peaceful solution” that gives the Palestinians anything more than a few trashed out acres surrounded with barbed wire and tanks, between the Israeli settlements whose goons can murder them pretty much at will.

So here we are, 24 years after Sharon did his best to destroy Lebanon in 1982, and his heirs are doing it all over again. Since they can’t endure the idea of any just settlement for Palestinians, it’s the only thing they know how to do. Call Lebanon a terror-haven and bomb it back to the stone age. Call Gaza a terror-haven and bomb its power plant, first stop on the journey back to the stone age. Bomb Damascus. Bomb Teheran.

Of course they won’t destroy Hezbollah. Every time they kill another Lebanese family, they multiply hatred of Israel and support for Hezbollah. They’ve even unified the parliament in Baghdad, which just voted unanimously -- Sunnis and Shi’ites and Kurds alike -- to deplore Israel’s conduct and to call for a ceasefire.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these little excursions into history, even though history is dangerous, which is why the US press gives it a wide birth. But even without the benefit of historical instruction, a majority of Americans in CNN’s instant poll –- about 55 per cent out of 800,000 as of midday, July 19 -- don’t like what Israel is up to.

Dislike is one thing, but at least in the short term it doesn’t help much. Israel’s 1982 attack on Lebanon grew unpopular in the US, after the first few days. But forcing the US to pressure Israel to settle the basic problem takes political courage, and virtually no US politician is prepared to buck the Israel lobby, however many families in Lebanon and Gaza may be sacrificed on the altar of such cowardice.

The only thugs in this world are the mass murderers who run the US and Israel.


I’d want to stay anonymous too if I wrote a post that long just to prove that you hate Jews.

Oh yeah ...

I forgot, it is the Jew who controls everthing and the source of all the ills that the Arab/Muslim have.


All I will say about Anon’s post is that it is mostly, if not entirely, refutable and a quick scan of the post reveals that a lot of it has been publicly refuted many, many times.

Begone, Anon.

Uncle Guido: good points. The condemnation of Hezbollah’s actions by Jordan and the Saudis is very encouraging, and shows that something significant has happened in the Middle-East over the last five years. Iran seems only to have bolstered its reputation among the usual lineup of extremists. And is it just me, or are the usual America-Israel haters having a hard time painting Israel as the bad guy in all of this? Kinda hard to do when Israel keeps making the argument that the people of Lebanon, who genuinely seem to want to coexist peacefully with Israel, "will be the real beneficiary" of the current action against Hezbollah.

I do hope you’re right. The Jerualem Post article has a yes, but no quality to it. The article out of Cairo delineates an inter-Islam split of the sort we’ve been hoping would dampen violence against Israel and America for many years. That hasn’t worked, yet.

And Anon, you take Chris’ point completely. Right?

Re Anon’s comment:

I think anyone who doesn’t use his/her real pseudonym is a coward.

Kate, I hope I’m right too. Inaction on the part of neighboring countries to help Hizb’allah tends to suggest they are more afraid of it, Iran and the Shiites than they are of Israel.

...something significant has happened in the Middle-East over the last five years. Comment 8 by Chris Burkett. So true. Is this a tacit acknowledgement of Israel’s "right to exist?" a tacit, or perhaps not so tacit, message to Iran that they do not support their efforts to dominate the middle east and will not lift a finger to help them if/when the U.S. and/or Israel go after their nuclear facilities?

Please define "real pseudonym." Also I’m Jewish, so strike one for strawman zimmer.

"Anon" is short for "Anonowitz."

Please define "real pseudonym."

It was a joke.

It’s OK, Uncle Guido, I got it. Anon, there are so many things about your post which are so very wrong. Like Hamas being willing to sit down to talk with Israel about a two-state solution: their official charter calls for the destruction of Israel. And when Ronald Reagan finally "woke up" to the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon he sent in the Marines as part of a multi-national peacekeeping force to help stabalize the country. How the heroic Hezbollah respond? They bombed the barracks killing 241 servicemen. Yeah, the PLO, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, and all the others are a real nice bunch of people. And I’ve heard that Hezbollah is not allowing civilians to cross north of the Litani river (they turn them back at the crossings). This is in order to make it difficult for Israel to avoid a high number of civilian casualities in the coming invasion. Hezbollah knows they can’t win militarily, so they win politically by making Israel look bad.

I doubt any of this will affect your opinion on these things, but remember that in most of the countries in the Middle East you couldn’t have a conversation like this without serious consequences. Point being, please don’t talk so disparagingly of America.

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