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With U.S. backing

Israeli terrorists bomb Lebanon

A clear-cut act of aggression, not defense

Published Jul 20, 2006 12:04 AM

The racist Israeli settler regime, with the full support of the Bush administration, is raining death and destruction on the people of Lebanon in an attempt to wipe out the Lebanese national resistance movement—Hezbollah.

Hundreds of Lebanese have been killed, mainly civilians; over 1,000 have been wounded. Neighborhoods in cities throughout Lebanon—from north to south—have been destroyed, along with power plants, bridges, fuel tanks, roads, hospitals, a Red Crescent Society medical van and trucks along the roads.

The execution of this military plan by Tel Aviv was clearly years in the making. The expanded Israeli aggression in Lebanon against Hezbollah has been operating under the diplomatic and political protection of the Bush administration, and is being carried out with weapons supplied or paid for by the U.S. government.

Israel launched its offensive after Hezbollah carried out an attack on Israeli forces in which it captured two Israeli soldiers. Its object was to get a prisoner exchange. The Israelis are holding more than 9,000 Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian prisoners—men, women and children.

Hezbollah acted after the Israeli invasion of Gaza, during which many Palestinians were brutally killed and eight cabinet ministers of the elected Hamas government were kidnapped and imprisoned.

The Israeli government responded to Hezbollah’s offer for a prisoner exchange with a massive air, land and sea attack that destroyed the Beirut airport and heavily targeted densely populated, poor Shiite neighborhoods in the south of Lebanon and southern suburbs of Beirut. Hezbollah then retaliated with rocket attacks on cities in northern Israel.

The day after Israel’s massive attack, on July 12, the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning the “disproportionate reaction” by Tel Aviv.

At a Group of Eight summit meeting of the imperialist powers held July 15-16, Bush made sure that there was no call for a cease-fire, even though the British and the French imperialists, each for their own narrow interests, were trying to slow down the Israeli offensive.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended Israel’s terror campaign as the “right to self-defense,” and White House Press Secretary Tony Snow has been promoting what amounts to joint U.S.-Israeli conditions that Hezbollah must meet before Israel ends its aggression— including the unconditional return of the two Israeli military prisoners and an end to Hezbollah attacks on Israel.

Bush, in a presentation to the media after a bipartisan meeting with Republican and Democratic Party leaders, openly declared that Syria and Hezbollah were “the root cause of the problem” and called for further efforts to “isolate Iran.”

Imperialism is the root cause

The “root cause of the problem” is 58 years of occupation of Pales tinian land by the Zionist state in the service of U.S. imperialism—to be used as a weapon against any and all attempts by movements or governments in the oil-rich Persian Gulf to take control of their resources and their lands and exercise self-determination.

The Israeli state is basically a military base armed to the teeth by the Pentagon in the midst of hundreds of millions of oppressed peoples of the region—from Cairo to Tehran. Tel Aviv has made war and carried out military aggression numerous times and has created an apartheid regime for the Palestinians. It is universally hated by the masses throughout the Middle East.

Its degree of coordination with Washington was blurted out in a Washington Post article on July 16. “Israel, with U.S. support,” writes the Post, “intends to resist calls for a cease-fire and continue punishing Hezbollah, which is likely to include several weeks of precision bombing in Lebanon, according to senior Israeli and U.S. officials.

“For Israel, the goal is to eliminate Hezbollah as a security threat—or altogether, the sources said. … For the United States, the broader goal is to strangle the axis of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran,” the Post article continued.

“Specifically, officials said, Israel and the United States are looking to create conditions for achieving one remaining goal of UN Resolution 1559,” which would eliminate Hezbollah.

Resolution 1559, organized and pushed through by the Bush administration in 2004, was directed at driving Syrian troops out of Lebanon, a goal which it achieved with its so-called “cedar revolution” and the disarming of Hezbollah. This Washington-introduced resolution was supported by Israel as well as Saudi Arabia and other dependent Arab states.

The Post article explained that today, in order to accomplish this objective, Washing ton has no intention of halting the Israeli siege of Lebanon. “They do have space to operate for a period of time,” a U.S. official said about Israel. “There’s a natural dynamic to these things. When the military starts, it may be that it has to run its course.”

Massacre of Marwaheen

The “natural dynamic” of the state terrorist Israeli Defense Forces was descri bed by journalist Dahr Jamail in a July 17 dispatch carried by Inter Press Service. He quoted a teacher from the United States who was on vacation in Beirut: “Every thing is being bombed. It’s terror. We’ve literally been terrorized.”

Abud Aziz is a 31-year-old pastry chef from Beirut who crossed the border into Syria carrying his suitcase, in search of food and water. For three days there had been no water or electricity in Beirut. Aziz told IPS, “Yesterday I saw two hospitals bombed.”

Hamed, a 25-year-old construction wor ker, also recounted, “I saw them bomb a hospital yesterday. I left just hours ago. They are bombing everything— houses, casinos, fuel stations and so many bridges.”

Another eyewitness, Hasna, said, “The Israelis bombed a bridge to the airport near us and killed many people. When other people went on the bridge to help the wounded, the planes bombed again.”

Robert Fisk, writing in the July 16 Independent about an Israeli assault on a border village, declared, “It will be called the massacre of Marwaheen.”

Fisk wrote, “All the civilians killed by the Israelis had been ordered to abandon their homes in the border village by the Israelis themselves a few hours earlier. Leave, they were told by loudspeaker; and leave they did, 20 of them in a convoy of civilian cars. That’s when the Israeli jets arrived to bomb them, killing 20 Leban ese, at least nine of them children. The local fire brigade could not put out the fires as they all burned alive in the inferno. Another ‘terrorist’ target had been eliminated.”

Hezbollah: strong mass base

Washington is protecting the Israelis and allowing the military operation to “run its course,” vainly hoping to eliminate the resistance. But Hezbollah’s popularity as a national resistance movement extends throughout Lebanon and the entire Gulf region for its role in fighting the Israeli occupiers. It drove the Israelis out of Leba non in 2000 after 18 years of occupation.

Hezbollah is not only a military movement, it is a social and political movement. It provides the poor Shia population—the downtrodden of Lebanon—with social ser vices, farms and jobs. Its military wing consists of workers, students and the general population. In its first parliamentary participation, in 2005, Hezbollah won 14 seats.

The U.S. and Israel were hoping that they could divide Hezbollah from the masses of Lebanon and cause a split in the Middle East in general. But Tel Aviv’s aggression, aided and abetted by Wash ing ton, is only bringing greater unity throughout the region.

The imperialists think they have achieved something politically because for the first time Arab regimes like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan criticized a resis tance movement that was under attack from the Israelis. But getting the support of the only two governments that signed peace treaties with Israel—Egypt and Jordan—and a bourgeois-feudal monarchy completely tied to the imperialist oil companies is a thin reed to lean on.

As Abdel-Menem Mustapha—Egypt bureau chief of the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat—noted in the July 18 Wash ing ton Post, “The reservations some governments have expressed about Hezbollah are not widely shared among the common people of the Middle East.”

Mustapha said popular support for Hezbollah and its leader, Hasan Nas rallah, “is overwhelming throughout the Arab world and that the region’s governments would be wise to take heed.”

He concluded, “The Arab street feels strong sympathy with Hezbollah and with Nasrallah, because its pride has been battered, and it is weary of decades of concession made to Israel by Arab governments.”

‘Shock and awe’ fails

The Bush administration, acting through the Israeli government, has expanded the adventure it began in Iraq into Lebanon. It is unlikely that this new offensive will conquer Lebanon and destroy the national resistance. Hez bollah is supported by the masses and is in alliance with Hamas, Syria and Iran. These plus the Iraqis fighting occupation make up the basic forces of resistance to imperialist domination in the Middle East. This is the “axis” that Bush wants to strangle—the axis of anti-imperialism.

“Shock and awe” bombing did not work in Iraq. Brutal military occupation is not working in Iraq. If the failures of Washington and Tel Aviv’s adventures in Iraq and Palestine are any example, the Lebanon offensive will ultimately end up in a greater crisis for imperialism.

The developed resistance movement of Hezbollah has showered missiles down on northern Israeli cities and put up unprecedented resistance to Tel Aviv’s bombardments. The U.S.-Israeli plan to eliminate Hezbollah may drive Tel Aviv to order a ground invasion. This can lead only to another quagmire.

The propagandists of Washington and Tel Aviv are trying to rally their populations at home by presenting this conflict as part of the so-called “war on terror” and as a war of “Islamic fundamentalism” against Western civilization and “democracy.”

First of all, Islam—like most developed religions—has varied interpretations and doctrinal emphases and practices. Only chauvinists would lump everyone who practices some form of Islam into one bag.

The Saudi monarchy is Islamic, as is the Kuwaiti monarchy and the Jordanian monarchy. The Shiite collaborators in the Iraqi puppet government are Islamic. They are all with imperialism.

But Islam also plays a role as the rallying cry for the masses of the Middle East and elsewhere to take up arms against Washington and its agents in the region. To that extent, it is the ideological form whose actual content is the struggle against imperialism. Hamas is Sunni and Hezbollah is Shiite—and these Islamic groups are fighting imperialism.

No one should be confused about the essence of the struggle: It boils down to who is against imperialism and who is collaborating with it. And in this world battle, those in the anti-war movement and the progressive movement as a whole must not be swayed by imperialist propaganda that is racist, chauvinist and anti-Islamic.

Nor should anyone attempt to separate the Zionist Israeli state and its aggression from the aims of its overlord in Wash ington, without whose billions in funding and military hardware the regime in Tel Aviv could not survive.

The present situation in the Middle East is fraught with the potential for a vast military expansion because of the tensions created by the Bush administration’s present campaign to re-conquer territories that had broken away from imperialism during the period of anti-colonial uprisings after World War II. That is what is driving the imperialist occupation of Iraq and its campaign against Syria and Iran, as well as its attempts to crush the Palestinians and Hezbollah.

The situation is highly unstable. Even though the U.S. and Israeli governments may have limited aims in the present offensive, the potential for an expanded war—despite their intentions—is great. The anti-war movement must mobilize now to get the U.S. out of the Middle East and to end the Israeli occupation of Arab lands. This is the only road to stability and peace in the region.