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News: Daily Dispatches from the War-Torn Lebanese Capital
By Dahr Jamail
Friday, July 28, 2006
I'd been wondering why there have been fewer war planes buzzing over
Beirut the last several days. Even Dahaya, the utterly devastated
southern area of the capital, has been bombed less--while still
receiving a good pounding most afternoons, there have clearly been fewer
bombs echoing across the capital.
Israel, after claiming to have control of the small southern city of
Bint Jbail, merely a few kilometers inside Lebanon, lost at least 13
soldiers there recently. The official count of nine deaths is widely
believed here to be false.
The fog of war, of course, is thick.
Bush claims he is "troubled" by the widespread destruction caused by
Israeli air strikes across Lebanon. "Troubled" while green-lighting
Israel to continue to do what it wishes. But not "troubled" enough to
have his UN crony John Bolton veto a U.N. resolution condemning the
slaughter of four U.N. observers in the south. While so many Americans
choose to continue their sleep-walk through history, the rest of the
world gets what is going on. Already the U.S. is paying a heavy
political price for its unbridled support of the Israeli assault against
the people of Lebanon.
The chest-beating Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had his justice
minister, Haim Ramon, tell people yesterday that everyone in southern
Lebanon will be regarded as a terrorist, as their military prepared to
employ "huge firepower" against Hezbollah.
"What we should do in southern Lebanon is employ huge firepower before a
ground force goes in," quizzled Ramon at a security cabinet meeting
headed by Olmert, "Everyone in southern Lebanon is a terrorist and is
connected to Hezbollah. Our great advantage vis-a-vis Hezbollah is our
firepower, not in face-to-face combat."
Yes--Bint Jbail has shown them this. That they will hold off on the
larger scale invasion, as it would be a disaster for Israel to face one
Bint Jbail after another. A gross analogy for Bint Jbail would be
Fallujah, April 2004. There is now a short grace period for the women,
children and elderly "terrorists" there who can't leave. Lebanese Red
Crescent workers have told me that they can't get there to evacuate
people, because they are too afraid more of their ambulances will be
bombed by war planes.
So it will be another "shock and awe" before rolling in the ground
troops. Read-Fallujah, November 2004.
And like Fallujah, which the U.S. military has failed to have control of
at any time following the leveling of that city, Israel will find the
same in southern Lebanon. Despite the fact that they are acting as a
Middle Eastern arm for the American Empire, and obediently labeling
anyone who resists them as a "terrorist."
Israel's Vietnam--their failed 18 year occupation of southern Lebanon
which ended in 2000, is fresh in their minds. Elias Hanna, a researcher
of military affairs said recently, "Israelis are traumatized by their
negative experience during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. They are
afraid of suffering more losses in every village they try to conquer."
And suffer those losses they will, even after dropping ton after ton of
U.S. made bombs from their U.S. supplied F-16's on, among others, the
women and children of southern Lebanon who are unable to escape.
Clearly, the Israeli short-term memory of their Vietnam experience is
even shorter than that of the American military planners, who recently
decided to extend the tours of over 3,000 troops in Iraq.
In a televised address this Tuesday, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of
Hezbollah, said the Israeli attack on Lebanon is an attempt by the U.S.
and Israel to "impose a new Middle East" in which Lebanon would be under
And he's right. The following day Al-Jazeera released a story titled,
"Israeli invasion of Lebanon planned by neocons in June (2006)."
The story reads: "It was done at a June 17 and 18 meeting at the
American Enterprise Institute (AEI) conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado
at which former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Likud
Knesset member Natan Sharansky met with US Vice President Dick Cheney
[the true president of this "administration".] The purpose was to
discuss the planned and impending Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) invasions
of Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. Cheney was thoroughly briefed and
approved the coming assaults - before Hamas' capture of an IDF soldier
on June 25 or Hezbollah's capturing of two others in an exchange first
reported as occurring in Israel and now believed to have happened inside
Lebanon after IDF forces illegally entered the country."
Most people I have discussed this with here in Lebanon get it. They
understand U.S. hegemony, after being betrayed by the Americans over and
over again. Betrayed only because it was their mistake to trust the
empire in the first place. And Lebanese understand that the Israeli
attack is an extension of that empire.
This is reflected in a poll recently released by the Beirut Center for
Research and Information. 87% of Lebanese support Hezbullah's fight with
Israel. It isn't suprising to me, after interviewing Christians and
Sunni Mulsims here, who in the past tended not to support Hezbollah in
any way, that most of them now thought that the Hezbollah resistance of
Israeli aggression was completely legitimate.
The poll reflected this as well, stating that 80 percent of Christians
supported Hezbollah, alog with 80 percent of the Druze and 89 percent of
The same poll found that a whopping 8 percent of Lebanese feel that the
U.S. supports them.