March 16, 2017
Recently elected Lebanese President Michel Aoun visited Cairo in February where he uttered words previously treated as an open secret by preceding Presidents; namely, that Hezbollah is indeed a major part of the defense of the country. While other Presidents have tended to skirt the issue, Aoun essentially acknowledged the close relationship between Lebanon the state and Hezbollah the militia. The relationship between Hezbollah and the Lebanese state is apparent for all to see, of course, with Hezbollah acting as the major deterrent to Israel’s aggression.
“As long as Israel occupies land and covets the natural resources of Lebanon, and as long as the Lebanese military lacks the power to stand up to Israel, [Hezbollah’s] arms are essential, in that they complement the actions of the army and do not contradict them,” he said, adding, “They are a major part of Lebanon’s defense.”
But, while Aoun’s statements are entirely realistic and reasonable, Israeli warmongers have typically lept upon the statements to squeeze whatever justification for war and slaughter they can possibly manage by claiming that Aoun is essentially stating that Hezbollah and the Lebanese military are one and the same. For that reason, Brig. Gen. Assaf Orion of the Institute for National Security Studies claims that Lebanon now puts itself on the hook as responsible for anything Hezbollah might do.
Orion’s claim was that Aoun’s comments were a “lifting of the official veil and tearing off of the mask of the well-known Lebanese reality – which widely accepted Western diplomacy tends to blur. The Lebanese president abolishes the forced distinction between the ostensibly sovereign state and Hezbollah. Thus, the Lebanese president takes official responsibility for any actions by Hezbollah, including against Israel.”
Official members of the Israeli government have also smelled blood and are ravenously attempting to pre-justify their future war crimes in front of the world. At a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that the Lebanese army is a “subsidiary unit of Hezbollah.”
Of course, Israel is largely the reason Hezbollah has retained its arms and military training due to the fact that they must always be on guard for more Israeli attacks, invasions, and occupations of Lebanese territory.
Security cabinet member Naftali Bennett, a hawk who has encouraged the continuation of land-stealing, forced eviction, and settlement building, is also frothing at the mouth with the opportunity to pre-play the victim in an armed conflict Israel has been hoping to start for some time.
With Israel being virtually the only “country” in the world able to openly express the desire to kill and target civilians without the slightest repercussions, Bennett has now done just that, suggesting that fighting Hezbollah will require too much effort on the part of the Israeli military, due to the fact that the already hard to search and destroy missiles are not only deployed in the countryside but also in urban areas. He said,
When we worked in a particular area, we did reduce the teams of rocket launchers there – but they simply moved a little farther north. They moved their launchers from the nature reserves, outposts in open areas, to dense urban areas. You can’t fight rockets with tweezers. If you can’t reach the house where the launcher is, you’re not effective, and the number of houses you have to get through is enormous.
After I was released from reserve duty, I read all of the books you wrote about the war. I understood in retrospect that the fundamental event of the war took place on its first day, in a phone call between [former Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert and Condoleezza Rice.
Bennett also claimed that, due to the hesitation to hit civilian targets (at the request of George W. Bush) in the 2006 war with Lebanon, Israel could not win the war.
He also stated that, while Lebanon presents itself to the world as a country that wants peace and quiet, “Today, Hezbollah is embedded in sovereign Lebanon. It is part of the government and, according to the president, also part of its security forces. The organization has lost its ability to disguise itself as a rogue group.”
So what does Bennett suggest?
The Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions, Lebanese Army bases – they should all be legitimate targets if a war breaks out. That’s what we should already be saying to them and the world now. If Hezbollah fires missiles at the Israeli home front, this will mean sending Lebanon back to the Middle Ages. Life in Lebanon today is not bad – certainly compared to what’s going on in Syria. Lebanon’s civilians, including the Shi’ite population, will understand that this is what lies in store for them if Hezbollah is entangling them for its own reasons, or even at the behest of Iran.
. . . . .
If we declare and market this message aggressively enough now, we might be able to prevent the next war. After all, we have no intention of attacking Lebanon.
Haaretz reports Bennett as arguing that, if war were to break out anyway despite Israel’s threats, Israel should engage in a massive attack on civilian infrastructure as well as traditional military operations in order to end the war quickly. This is likely to ring true with armchair warmongers in the United States who love the idea of overwhelming force and targeting civilians (because they believe they are in no danger of being the civilians targeted) as well as the Western powers who also have no qualms about bombing civilians, particularly when it is civilians disliked by the Israelis.
“That will lead them to stop it quickly – and we have an interest in the war being as short as possible,” he said. “I haven’t said these things publicly up until now. But it’s important that we convey the message and prepare to deal with the legal and diplomatic aspects. That is the best way to avoid a war.”
Of course, it is true that Hezbollah is an indispensable part of Lebanese security. It is so mostly because of Israel and its constant aggression. While Israeli officials claim they are not preparing for war with Lebanon and Hezbollah, the reality is that they clearly are. Aoun’s statements are not a threat to Israel. In fact, if they are an open secret, why would Israel be threatened if Aoun has simply revealed the secret?
The reason is that Israel sees every Arab and indigenous ethnicity (including many Jews) in the region a threat to Israel and its goal of expansion and ethnic cleansing. Aoun’s statements were nothing new and neither is the opportunism of the Israelis. However, the fervor with which Israeli officials have pounced upon the statements to pre-justify war and war crimes should send a clear signal that Israel is preparing to launch some type of operation against Hezbollah in the future.
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