Egypt’s Military Junta Playing With Fire by Finian Cunningham + Nazemroaya: Political Turmoil and Chaos in Egypt

by Finian Cunningham
Writer, Dandelion Salad
East Africa
Crossposted from PressTV
July 26, 2013

No to the Muslim Brotherhood Constitution

Image by MoudBarthez via Flickr

Egypt’s military strongman General Al Sisi is playing with fire that may engulf the North African country with even more internecine bloodshed. This week on state TV, Al Sisi called for massive street protests to face down “terrorists” who, he said, were destabilizing Egypt’s national security.

He also claimed that such popular show of strength would give the Egyptian army “a mandate” to use violence to restore order.

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Syria: It is a Conspiracy by Felicity Arbuthnot

by Felicity Arbuthnot
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
London, England
1 March 2012

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” (Walt Kelly, 1913-1973.)

It was political analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, in November 2006, who wrote in detail(i) of US plans for the Middle East:

“The term ‘New Middle East’, was introduced to the world in June 2006, in Tel Aviv, by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East’ “.

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Mahdi Nazemroaya on The War Crimes in Libya

Dandelion Salad

on Sep 13, 2011

This week GRTV talks to Mahdi Nazemroaya, a research associate of the Center for Research in Globalization who spent two months in Libya before escaping after the rebel siege of Tripoli. We discuss what really happened in Libya, including the war crimes perpetrated by NATO in support of the rebels, and how the media helped to enable those war crimes by covering up for the perpetrators.

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Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: Libya is Not Collective Punishment but it is Collective Massacres + Don DeBar: Propaganda War

NATO out of LIbya - DSC 7560 ep

Image by Eric.Parker via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

Updated: Sept. 5, 2011

on Sep 2, 2011

Mahdi Nazemroaya was one of the few Independent journalists in Libya, he just left a few days ago – and his life had certainly been in danger.

Details of the humanitarian boat that took people out of Libya.

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Killing the Truth: Western Mainstream Media Complicit in NATO War Crimes in Libya by Finian Cunningham

by Finian Cunningham
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
25 August 2011

US Out of Libya

Image by BlueRobot via Flickr

Libya represents a new low in Western government war crimes – which is something of a disturbing record given the decades of war criminality by these governments.

In Libya, not only is there the criminal military assault on a sovereign country, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, the murder of women and children, and all the violation of international law that that entails – we now have the complete lobotomisation of language and normal meaning of words.

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Don DeBar: Libya: The Real Deal + Pepe Esobar: Iraq 2.0 + Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: Exposing the Media Propaganda

https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/

US, Keep Your Hands Off Libya

Image by Mohammad A. Hamama, A reflected version! via Flickr

 on Aug 22, 2011

KPFA’s Davey D interviews Don DeBar about the real on-the-ground situation in Tripoli. Recorded at 7:15 am ET on August 22, 2011.

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Franklin Lamb Shot in leg + Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: Psychological Warfare in Libya + Gaddafi’s Speech transcript

Updated: Aug. 22, 2011 added another video report from Dr. Lamb

with Franklin Lamb
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Tripoli, Libya
August 21, 2011

Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi

Image by Martin Beek via Flickr

 on Aug 21, 2011

On the telephone – No internet – He is Okay – and reports accordingly – with shooting going on.

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Nazemroaya: Destabilization of Syria Based on Libya Model + Chossudovsky: Military Intervention in Syria Will Lead to Extended War

Dandelion Salad

 on Aug 4, 2011

Bashar al-Assad

The process of destabliziation of Syria is being conducted along the same lines as Libya, with external political interests driving and manipulating the protest movements in both countries.

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Risk-Free And Above The Law: U.S. Globalizes Drone Warfare by Rick Rozoff

by Rick Rozoff
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Stop NATO
Stop NATO-Opposition to global militarism, July 6, 2011
July 13, 2011

Last week the Washington Post, the New York Times and other major American newspapers reported that the U.S. launched its first unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) missile attack inside Somalia.

The strike was the first acknowledged Pentagon military attack inside the Horn of Africa nation since a helicopter raid staged by commandos in 2009 and the first use of an American drone to conduct a missile strike there. Continue reading

Libya: Is Washington Pushing for Civil War to Justify a US-NATO Military Intervention?

https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/

Muammar al-Gaddafi at the 12th AU summit, Febr...

Image via Wikipedia

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, February 25, 2011
– 2011-02-24

Is Tripoli being set up for a civil war to justify U.S. and NATO military intervention in oil-rich Libya?

Are the talks about sanctions a prelude to an Iraq-like intervention?

Something is Rotten in the so-called “Jamahiriya” of Libya

There is no question that Colonel Muammar Al-Gaddafi (Al-Qaddafi) is a dictator. He has been the dictator and so-called “qaid” of Libya for about 42 years. Yet, it appears that tensions are being ratcheted up and the flames of revolt are being fanned inside Libya. This includes earlier statements by the British Foreign Secretary William Hague that Colonel Qaddafi had fled Libya to Venezuela. [1] This statement served to electrify the revolt against Qaddafi and his regime in Libya.

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Israel’s Next War: Today the Gaza Strip, Tomorrow Lebanon? by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Dandelion Salad

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, January 17, 2009

The March to War: Today the Gaza Strip, Tomorrow Lebanon…

In the Middle East, it is widely believed that the war against Gaza is an extension of the 2006 war against Lebanon. Without question, the war in the Gaza Strip is a part of the same conflict.

Moreover, since the Israeli defeat in 2006, Tel Aviv and Washington have not abandoned their design to turn Lebanon into a client state.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, in so many words, during his visit to Tel Aviv in early January that today Israel was attacking Hamas in the Gaza Strip and that tomorrow it would be fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon.[1]

Lebanon is still in the cross-hairs. Israel is searching for a justification or a pretext to launch another war against Lebanon.

Washington and Tel Aviv had initially hoped to control Beirut through client political forces in the March 14 Alliance. When it became apparent that these political forces could not dominate Lebanon politically the Israeli military was unleashed on Lebanon with a goal of bringing about the ultimate downfall of Hezbollah and its political allies. [2] Areas where support for Hezbollah and its political allies were strongest saw the harshest Israeli attacks in 2006 as part of an attempt to reduce, if not remove, popular support for them.

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The Israeli War on the Gaza Strip: “The Birth Pangs of a New Palestine/Middle East”

Dandelion Salad

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, January 15, 2009

To truly understand the specific you must understand the general and to master knowledge of the general you must understand the specific.

What is taking place in the Palestinian Territories is related to what is taking place across the Middle East and Central Asia, from Lebanon to Iraq and NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, as part of a broader geo-strategic objective. All the events in the Middle East are part of a mammoth geo-political jigsaw puzzle; each piece only shows you one picture or a portion of the picture, but when you put all these pieces together you see the grand picture of things.

For these reasons at times more than one event must be discussed to gain greater understanding of another event, but this at times comes at a risk of diverging or extending one’s focus in different directions.

The following text is based on several key sections of an earlier and broader text; this text is brief in form but comprehensive in its scope and more focused on the events in the Palestinian Territories and their role in the broader chain of regional events in the Mediterranean region and the Middle East.

pic
The photograph above: Mahmoud Abbas (PA and PLO head) introducing Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq, to Ehud Barak, the defence minister of Israel.

Operation Cast Lead: The “Birth Pangs of a New Palestine”

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Beating the Drums of a Broader Middle East War

Dandelion Salad

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, May 7, 2008
– 2008-05-06

Israel, Syria, and Lebanon Prepare the “Home Fronts”

The Levant could be the starting point of a major international conflict with global ramifications and which could quickly spin out of control. Such a conflict could even involve the use of Israeli or American nuclear weapons against Iran and Syria. Syria has additionally declared that it is preparing for an inevitable war with Israel despite the fact that it believes that the chances of a war in 2008 are slim.

In the scenario of a war against Iran, the reaction of Syria will be pivotal. Damascus plays a central role and how it acts and reacts will have a definitive impact on Israeli military strategy in regards to Iran. It is in this context that Israel, the U.S. and the E.U., with the help of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, have been attempting to undermine and ultimately destroy the alliance between Syria and Iran. This is part of a geo-strategic stride to foreclose the possibility of a Mediterranean battle-front that might emerge in the Levant as a result of an attack on Iran.

The casus belli for an Israeli attack or a joint Israeli-U.S. attack, possibly involving NATO, against Syria or against both Syria and Iran could use the pretext of any form of retaliation by Hezbollah against Israel for the assassination in Damascus of one of its leaders, Imad Fayez Mughniyeh.

Hezbollah has joined Iranian officials in saying that the U.S. military is incapable of starting another war in the Middle East by launching attacks on Iran and Syria. [1] Israeli officials have also renewed calls for peace by openly mentioning that Tel Aviv is willing to return the Golan Heights back to the Syrians, while there have been strong political noises against the move in Israel. [2]

Tel Aviv is simultaneously part of a U.S. endeavour that claims Syria has a secret nuclear program aided by North Korea. [3] Strategic efforts, with strong links to war preparations, have also started with the aim of bringing temporary calm to the Palestinian Territories as part of the same track of events in the Levant.

Redrawing the Arab-Israeli Conflict as an Iranian-Israeli Conflict to justify War

Momentum is being built up against Iran in a list of growing, and more frequent, accusations against Tehran.

Iran is portrayed as the main threat against Israel. It is also accused of intervening in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. In this sense, the Israeli-U.S. war plans in the Levant have been tied to Iran, as well as Syria. The investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize winner, reported in 2006 that the Israeli war against Lebanon was part of this Israeli-U.S. military roadmap to ultimately target Iran.

The accusations against Tehran and Damascus are part of a calculated effort to justify attacks against Iran and Syria as the only means to achieve peace in the Levant between Israel and the Arabs. They are also upheld as justification to ensure the security and success of occupation forces, for Anglo-American and NATO forces respectively in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In this regard, the Gaza Strip, alongside Lebanon, is now being described by Tel Aviv as an “Iranian base” against Israel. Israel is pointing the finger more and more towards Tehran as the source of its problems.

This argument is fabricated. It is in blatant contradiction with the history of the Palestinian struggle. The inner causes and history of the Arab-Israeli Conflict are now being brushed aside and ignored. The Arab-Israeli Conflict is now being redefined as a mere existential conflict between Israel and a few irrational and violent Arab organizations controlled by Tehran.

All players, state or non-state, have rational interests and motives. All actions are also based on these interests and motives. Any analysis without the mention of these interests seeks to sidestep specific issues. By portraying the Arabs as inherently violent, the truth is being sidestepped without explaining the full rationale for their attacks against Israel.

This brushing aside of motives is part of a disinformation campaign, which is used to camouflage the truth. The historical facts of the Arab-Israeli Conflict are being redrawn with a view to presenting Tehran as having always been in the picture as a spoiler and a source of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. The motives for this agenda are to justify the outbreak of a conflict with Iran.

The Arab-Israeli Conflict is being redrawn as an Iranian-Israeli Conflict, where the Arabs are portrayed as Iran’s foot soldiers against Tel Aviv.

map

Turning the Tide of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Iranian Arms Shipments to the Levant

Although there have been reports of Iranian arm shipments to the Palestinians and Lebanon since the downfall of the Iranian monarchy, these reports had new value given to them after 2001.

The first such report to note came on January 3, 2002 when the Karine-A was intercepted en route in the Red Sea by Israeli naval commandos. Sceptics questioned how an undeclared arms shipment could pass through the heavily U.S. and NATO patrolled waters of the Red Sea. The Israeli capture made international headlines in 2002 as the Israelis revealed that the ship was carrying a major weapons cache headed for the Gaza Strip. A whole set of indicting links were made between the ship and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Iran. The Israelis maintained that the ships cargo came from an Iranian sea port in the Persian Gulf. The event was used not only to draw attention to Tehran as a problem in the Levant, but also by Tel Aviv as a part of the effort underway to portray Yasser Arafat as not being a genuine partner for peace.

Hezbollah and Syria have also been armed and supplied by Iran for years. Although neither the Lebanese nor Syria would attack Israel unless attacked, invaded, or occupied.

Aside from what it already possesses, Israel can no longer annex Arab territory any more than it has. Nor can Israel project itself as it once did. This is a major problem for establishing a new regional order. Iranian arms shipments and military aid have upset both strategic Anglo-American and Israeli interests in the Middle East. Arguably this has necessitated even more active involvement by America and Britain militarily in the Middle East.

After 2005 the Israeli claims about Iranian arms supplies to the Palestinians increased even more with the establishment of a Hamas-led government in the Palestinian Territories. After 2006, the reports concerning Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah started carrying a sense of urgency that they never had before. The upgrades being made to the Syrian military were also looked upon at as provocative and inappropriate, even though the Israeli military had further upgraded and modernized its military arsenal.

In 2007 and 2008, the Israelis reported that Iran has increased its weapons shipments to the Palestinians. The Jerusalem Post made one such claim on April 17, 2008: “In recent months, the IDF has noticed an increase in Iranian-made weaponry in the Gaza Strip, including rockets and mortars. Terror groups [meaning the Palestinian Resistance] in Gaza recently were equipped by [Tehran] with two different types of mortar shells made in Iran — one 120 mm with a range of 10 kilometers like a Kassam rocket and another with a range of six kilometers.” [4] The same report also continued to state that thousands of Iranian mortars were also imported by the Gaza Strip, which Israel has defined as a “Hostile Entity.” [5]

map

The National Emergency Authority of Israel and its War Preparations

The National Emergency Authority (NEA) of Israel was created to administer and manage Israel, the “Home Front,” under a “mass-casualty” scenario resulting from a major war. Israel’s NEA was established in 2007 in the aftermath of the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon and the rocket counter-attacks on Israel from Lebanon. The creation of the National Emergency Authority is an integral part of Israeli war preparations.

The new organization planned five-day emergency exercises (April 6-11, 2008) that were linked to both Israeli military preparations and the preparation of Israeli civilians. These emergency exercises were the largest in the history of Israel. Strategically and as part of the bigger picture, the primary purpose of the emergency exercises were to prepare Israel for — using Condoleezza Rice’s often mentioned words — “the birth pangs of a new Middle East” or a new regional order. This process, according to Tel Aviv, will be “painful for Israel.” A regional war against Syria, Iran, and their allies has been presented to Israeli public opinion as a prerequisite to bringing about this new regional order and even for the very survival of Israel.

The Israeli exercises simulated mass evacuations from “hit zones” and large patient build-ups in crowded Israeli hospitals. [6] In the event of the conflict exercised for the Knesset, government offices, power stations, bridges, military facilities, and state buildings are also expected to be attacked, damaged, and destroyed. This is why respective entities in Israel such as the Knesset and Israeli government offices all participated in the drills.

Drills involving preparations for chemical and biological weapons were also executed. Israel has also maintained that Syria with the help of Iran has been upgrading its chemical weaponry. Reports of an incident involving Syrian and Iranian military specialists and engineers were also used as justification by Israel in regards to preparations against Syrian chemical and biological weapons during the exercises. [7]

Segments of the emergency exercises took place beforehand. Starting on March 18, 2008 the Barzilai Hospital held full-scale emergency exercises that simulated direct rocket and missile hits on the hospital in the city of Ashkelon. [8] The city of Ashkelon, adjacent to the Gaza Strip, is an important Israeli maritime and commercial port and is the entrance point for energy supplies from Egyptian natural gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea.

Tel Aviv keeps the Public in the Dark: Omitting Iran from a War Scenario

In 2007, a media propaganda campaign was launched to influence international public opinion in the event of an Israeli war against Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Israeli sources have claimed Iran is also preparing its journalists for an Israeli war against Lebanon and Syria. [9] 2008 has seen an even higher stage of Israeli war preparations.

In 2007, Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash, the former commander of Israeli military intelligence, communicated his fear that a war with Iran, launched by Israel’s American ally, could start before the “Home Front” in Israel was prepared.

In this context the aims of the Israeli emergency exercises were to condition Israelis for such a war. Under the war scenario played out by Israeli officials, the whole of Israel was part of a simulated battle-front in which missiles and rockets would be launched from the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, and Syria. Under the scenario, some 400 to 500 projectiles were expected to hit Israel on a daily basis.

A key and very notable aspect of the emergency drills was that Iranian involvement was excluded from the scenario. In the event of a war with Iran, Tehran has credibly maintained that it can launch over 11, 000 missiles and rockets in a minute. [10]

In this regard, a two-sided approach was taken by Israeli officials in regards to their emergency preparations. War preparations and scenario layouts had two dimensions, one for the Israeli public and an accurate one kept for the scrutiny of Israeli officials that was withheld from the Israeli public.

The rationale for the two-set approach by officials in Tel Aviv was to hide the real scope and magnitude of a regional war on Israel and to reduce fear, panic, and any anti-war sentiment amongst Israelis that would develop if they realized the immense harms they would face if their government launched a regional war involving Syria and Iran.

Additionally, days after the nationwide Israeli emergency exercises were completed the Israeli military tested an imitation of an Iranian ballistic missile in isolation, away from the public. [11] If not central, Iran is clearly a real and major part of Tel Aviv’s war preparations.

The Emergency War Scenario: An Israeli Omission of War Plans?

The first day of the emergency exercises were characterised by the formation of an Israeli war cabinet scenario in response to a major “enemy attack.” [12] This war cabinet would respond to the “enemy.” Although, it should be noted that all Israeli responses have been calculated and predetermined and include the use of a nuclear strike option against Iran and Syria. [13] Such an act would have apocalyptic ramifications in the Middle East and worldwide.

The war scenario envisioned and simulated by Israeli planners during the national emergency exercise in Israel foresaw massive damage and casualties through missile and rocket attacks by “Arab enemies.” The scenario excluded the significantly larger Iranian arsenal. This accounts for the lower number of missile and rocket hits; 400 to 500 per day.

The Israeli scenario, however, also projects a smaller amount of strikes by the rockets and missiles of the “Arab enemies” on the initial day of the war. In other words, strikes in realistic numbers against Israel were missing on the initial day of the war scenario and this makes very little sense in regard to a hypothetical Arab offensive against Israel.

Hezbollah alone has over 13, 000 rockets according to Israel itself. In addition, Hezbollah’s arsenal is nothing compared to the capabilities and size of the Syrian one. Under the Israeli scenario the hypothetical war only lasted for about a week; the math does not tally up unless the scenario is not what Israeli officials maintain.

The Israeli simulation is an omission in regards to who plans on starting the war and who will attack in retaliation. Under these circumstance, Helmi Musa a columnist for As-Safir, a major Lebanese newspaper, pointed out that “this Israeli exercise has signalled, for the first time, to ‘whom starts and to whom retaliates.’ If the Arabs are to start this battle, it would see an intensive rocket strike on the first day with thousands of rockets launched [and not the few hundred that Israeli strategists predict].” Unknown to the Israeli public the scenario being simulated was one where the “Arab enemies” were reacting to an Israeli attack and probably fighting Israeli incursions too. This would account for the low number of strikes. If they, the Arab players outlined by the drills, were to have attacked Israel first it is fair to assume that the number of strikes on Israel would have been their largest on the initial day of the scenario.

Syrian National Emergency Exercises: A counter-measure to Israeli War Drills

Syria has repeatedly maintained since 2007 that it has made a strategic decision to pursue peace with Israel, but is also prepared to protect itself if attacked. [14] At the start of April 2008, the Syrian Deputy-Foreign Minister, Fisal Al-Mekdad, in an interview with Al-Thawra, a government-owned newspaper in Syria, acknowledged that Damascus was ready for a clash with Tel Aviv. He told Al-Thawra that Israeli war preparations were forcing Syrian strategists to draw their own contingency plans for a conflict in advance. “If Syria is the target of all of this [meaning the Israeli emergency drills], know that we are following the drill and are also developing our capabilities and our plans to face the Israeli [manoeuvres],” the Syrian Deputy-Foreign Minister told Al-Thawra. [15]

True enough, in response to Israeli war preparations, the Syrians also announced two days after the start of the Israeli exercises that Damascus planned to hold national emergency exercises too. Al-Thawra reported that the nationwide exercises in Syria were announced during a cabinet meeting of Syrian ministers. The military, the police, security forces, and civil institutes were all said to have roles in what was termed as a part of “general preparations for natural disasters and crises” by the Syrian government.

In reality the emergency preparations were part of Syria’s preparation to repel any Israeli attack that could occur directly or as a result of an Israeli war with Lebanon that would by extension include Syria.

What is crucial in understanding the evolving Middle Eastern war theater is that the movements taking place in both Syria and Israel are unprecedented. Along with the growing Israeli-U.S. threats directed against Iran, including statements of support for military action from the E.U. and NATO, there is justifiable reason for apprehension and concern.

2008: The Year of an Israeli Invasion of Syria?

The Syrian border with Israel has been peaceful for decades and is one of Israel’s most peaceful frontiers. Yet, tensions have been rising. In 2006 Israel created a new series of military units specifically for a war with Syria, amongst them was the Kfir infantry brigade, the largest military unit in Israel. In addition, the Israeli military predicted in 2007 that a war would breakout between Syria and Israel in 2008 if no settlement were reached between Tel Aviv and Damascus. [16]

Since the 2006 Israeli failure in Lebanon, the Israeli military has been routinely performing simulations of an Israeli invasion of Syria. A great deal of Israeli manpower has been dedicated to an invasion force that would attack Syria. Major-General Eyal Ben-Reuven, a reservist general, declared in 2007 that Israel is “preparing itself for an all-out war.” [17] Major-General Eyal Ben-Reuven also stated that Israel must invade Syria to Israeli troops. He first stated that “the IDF’s mission will be very focused and will have to be quick, in order to neutralize as quickly as possible the strategic areas threatening Israel’s soft underbelly, thus preventing Syria [from] reaching its coveted goals.” Eyal Ben-Reuven also gave some depiction about the shape of a war against Syria. Ben-Reuven stated “that in order to carry out such missions successfully, an extensive ground operation will be needed,” meaning a land invasion of Syria, which would most probably swiftly target Damascus and the Syrian southern governorates.

This strategic aim also explains the well reported Israeli invasion exercises of model Syrian villages and Israeli military exercises in the Golan Heights. [18] Israel and the U.S. have also held strategy meetings to formulate a course of military actions to be taken in Lebanon and against both Syria and Iran. According to a report from Qatar by Al-Watan a senior Syrian officials indicated that the Israeli emergency exercises were surveyed by an American general and also involved military operations on the borders of Syria. [19]

Syrian mobilization on the Lebanese border in preparation for Israeli Attacks

Ehud Barak, in the capacity of an Israeli defence minister, on April 2, 2008 renewed Israeli threats of war against Hezbollah, Lebanon, and Syria. According to Israeli sources the Syrians believe that Israel will launch another military invasion of Lebanon on the pretext of addressing Hezbollah in a pre-emptive war. In this context since 2006 Tel Aviv has been calling Hezbollah “the growing threat in Lebanon” or “the growing threat in the ‘Northern Front.’” In light of this, Israeli and other Middle Eastern sources have reported that Syria started reinforcing its military presence on the Lebanese-Syrian border before the start of April, 2008 and had placed all its forces on high alert.

The Syrians were also reported to believe that the Beirut-Damascus Highway would be targeted with greater ferociousness by Tel Aviv than in the summer of 2006 to prevent logistical support from reaching Hezbollah and Lebanon. Israeli sources also maintain that the Syrians also started mobilizing their reserve forces on the Lebanese-Syrian boarder. In addition, the Syrians were reported to have deployed three armoured divisions, nine divisions of mechanized infantry, and special forces units opposite the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. [20] In line with this Israeli sources additionally insisted that Palestinian fighters were also amassing in the Bekaa Valley in coordination with Syria and Hezbollah.

Hours after the original report about the mobilization of the Syrian military was released by Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a London-based Arabic newspaper, the top brass of Israel came out to respond. Major-General Dan Harel indirectly gave a message to Damascus. The Deputy Chief of Staff for the Israeli military told reporters gathered for a press briefing that “anyone who tries to harm Israel must remember that it is the strongest country in the region, and retaliation will be powerful and painful.” [21] Syria was being told to look out.

In the days following this statement emanating from the Israeli military, Syrian officials gave mixed responses about Syrian war preparations. Damascus denied reports that Syrian troops were amassing on the Lebanese-Syrian border. Syrian officials responded that despite the fact that the Israelis were making war preparations against Syria, Damascus was not increasing the troop presence on the Lebanese-Syrian border.

During an interview with Al-Arabiya, Mohammed Habash, an important Syrian parliamentarian, refuted the reports about the mobilization of Syrian reserves on the border with Lebanon in preparation for an Israeli attack. The Syrian parliamentarian, who is the chairman of the Syrian Parliament’s strategically important Syrian-Iranian Committee, also pointed the finger at Tel Aviv for escalating tensions in the Levant: “Syria is ready to defend itself but is not striving for war — it is the Israeli side that is taking steps to bring about an escalation.” [22]

In the same timeframe as the reports of Syrian mobilization on the unfortified Lebanese-Syrian border, there was also an increase of Israeli military air traffic near the Syrian and Lebanese borders. The Israeli military also acknowledged that additional Israeli warplanes were displaced to Israel’s northern borders and in a state of high alert.

Internationalizing “Hezbollah” as a Menace: Pretext for NATO intrusions in Lebanon?

On April 8, 2008 Bernard Kouchner, France’s top diplomat and head of the French Foreign Ministry, revealed that Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq the individual who was a star witness in the Hariri Assassination and a source for claims of Syrian involvement in the event had disappeared while he was under French protection. Even more significant, Bernard Kouchner also proclaimed that “Hezbollah” was no longer “a domestic issue for Lebanon.” The implications of this statement carry significant indications.

Monsieur Kouchner additionally announced that the weapons that Hezbollah carried were also a serious international concern. The ground was being paved for NATO’s active involvement in Lebanon. Hezbollah was being targeted through the internationalization of concerns over its arms. What was being implied in Paris was that international action should be taken against Hezbollah.

The statements of U.S. and Coalition representatives in Iraq, such as General Petraeus, about the involvement of Hezbollah in attacks against U.S. and Coalition troops and claims that Hezbollah is training Iraqi militias inside Iran also serve this purpose. [23]

Just a few days after the statements by Bernard Kouchner the head of the disputed Lebanese government, Fouad Siniora, asserted in close proximity to Israeli and Syrian war preparations and the renewed American pressure on Iran that the time for internal dialogue was over in Lebanon. Foud Siniora made the announcement while the Parliamentary Speaker of Lebanon, Nabih Berri, was in Damascus meeting with Syrian officials as part of a diplomatic tour of Arab capitals to get Arab League support for new intra-Lebanese political dialogue.

The Third Expanded Ministerial Conference of the Neighbouring Countries of Iraq, which was held in Kuwait, was also related to Lebanon. The international conference hosted by the Kuwaitis on April 22, 2008 involved much more international players than just the neighbours of Iraq and its scope included the whole Middle East.

The U.S., Saudi Arabia, France, Britain, and several other Arab states all pushed ahead with an agenda to internationalize the political deadlock in Lebanon and to present Hezbollah as an international concern too. In league with these efforts to internationalize Hezbollah as a global problem the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, also released a report claiming that Hezbollah was an international problem. All these events were part of the brinkmanship for internationalizing Hezbollah as a threat and eventually justifying U.S. and NATO intervention in Lebanon.

The efforts to internationalize Hezbollah as a menace also entered a new phase in Lebanon too. The Hariri-led March 14 Alliance, which effectively forms the Lebanese government, declared that it would take legal action in May, 2008 against Hezbollah because of a camera network monitoring Lebanon’s main airport and a vital parallel security telecommunications network setup by the group. These internal efforts against Hezbollah were executed through the coordination of the March 14 Alliance with U.S. and Saudi Arabian diplomats in Beirut.

Lebanon prepares for Israeli Attacks

The Syrian border with Israel is heavily fortified, unlike the Lebanese-Syrian border. This is why the Israeli military was desperately pushing to get to the banks of the Litani River before the Syrians could fully prepare in 2006. A quick Israeli land assault against Damascus, which is seated close to the Lebanese-Syrian border, would have to go through Lebanon and not through the Golan Heights or the Israeli frontier with Syria. Any invasion of Syria through the Israeli-Syrian border would be secondary in nature. For this reason amongst several others, Lebanon is tied to Israeli war plans against Syria. To invade Lebanon a pretext is needed and Hezbollah is that pretext.

After the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, the U.S. Navy deployed a contingent of warships to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Lebanese coast on February 28, 2008. The White House claimed that the rationale for the deployment was to establish stability in Lebanon and to help democracy in Lebanon.

In a case of bitter irony the naval deployment had a reverse effect. It contributed to elevating tensions in Beirut and the entire country. The U.S. move was made without the permission of Lebanon and the Lebanese government was forced to denounce it. The majority of Lebanese citizens also felt threatened and were outraged about the U.S. deployment in their waters. Because of public opinion in Lebanon the Lebanese government and the March 14 Alliance denied any ties or advanced knowledge about the U.S. naval deployment off the coast of Lebanon.

In connection to the U.S. naval build-up, news broke out of an alleged U.S. conspiracy against the Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanon’s largest Christian political party and a member of the Lebanese National Opposition.

Michel Aoun, the former commander of the Lebanese military and the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, and other Christian Lebanese leaders opposed to the interests of the U.S., Israel, and France in Lebanon have been systematically targeted. On August 2, 2007 the White House even passed an executive order to freeze the financial assets of any individual or group deemed to oppose Fouad Siniora and the March 14 Alliance. The mass protests by Lebanese citizens against the March 14 Alliance, which were peaceful acts of political and democratic expression, were even called “undemocratic” and “destabilizing” acts by President George Bush Jr. and the White House.

What this signifies, aside from U.S. meddling in the domestic affairs and politics of Lebanon, is that the political opposition to the Lebanese government was being targeted in the name of democracy and governance.

Since 2006, the Free Patriotic Movement and several other Christian political parties have been staunch political allies of Hezbollah. They are consequently at odds with the U.S. and France and have refused to bend to foreign pressure. They firmly oppose Israel and have protested U.S. and French meddling in Lebanon’s internal affairs. Hezbollah, the Free Patriotic Movement, and these Christian political parties are also allied to several other political parties that represent Lebanon’s Druze, ethnic Armenian (which are Christian), and Sunni Muslim communities.

Several key political figures in the March 14 Alliance, such as Walid Jumblatt and Samir Geagea, have been working hand in glove with the White House and Tel Aviv against the political alliance between the Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah. These individuals have had regular meetings with U.S., Saudi, French, and Israeli officials. This includes meetings with Ehud Barak where attacks and tactics against Hezbollah, the Free Patriotic Movement, Syria, and Iran were discussed.

Along with the Hariri family, these Lebanese figures are being used to open an internal front against Hezbollah and its political allies in Lebanon. After the 2006 defeat of Israel, these Lebanese figures and their parties also slowly started being armed by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and others. Pentagon weapons shipments that were intended for use in Anglo-American occupied Iraq were also covertly making their way into the hands of these Lebanese factions. The U.S. has also been cooperating with them in preparations being made on the Lebanese-Syrian border and in efforts to make parallel chains of command in the Lebanese military that could be used against Hezbollah and the Lebanese National Opposition.

Moving forward, days before the Israeli emergency exercise, the Siniora government ordered the Lebanese military to be on full alert for “Israeli violations.” In Lebanon the March 14 Alliance and the Lebanese National Opposition in concurrence comprehended the possibility of conflict. Both the Lebanese government and Hezbollah made it clear that they were watching Israeli forces and that both were prepared for the serious possibility of another conflict between Lebanon and Israel. [24] In addition, the U.S. State Department official responsible for American relations with Lebanon, C. David Welch, also promised a “hot summer” in Lebanon if the Lebanese National Opposition did not capitulate.

According to Israeli sources citing Fars News Agency (FNA) and the Syrian newspaper Al-Hakikah, Hezbollah warned Israel that if it launched another war against Lebanon that Hezbollah would carry the war into Israel. In Israel this information was claimed to mean by xenophobic and ultra-Zionist elements that Israeli Arabs (Palestinians with Israeli citizenships who did not leave their homeland) would act as fifth columnists for Iran and Lebanon. An unnamed senior Hezbollah official was quoted as saying, “In the next war, we will run the battle for the first time since 1948 inside Palestine. They will be more surprised than ever before, as they will see our fighters fighting them not only in Lebanon, as they did till now, but also inside their homes and settlements.” [25] The same Hezbollah official is quoted as also saying “The next war, if it breaks out, will be an offensive war on our part. This doesn’t mean we will initiate the war, but that every war they launch in the future will become what the organized armies in the world refer to as a counteroffensive on our part. They will see our fighters behind their lines, not just in front of them.” [26]

The Independent, one of Britain’s most respected newspapers, has reported that Hezbollah has also been sending trainees to Iran: “Yet it is an open secret south of the Litani [River] that thousands of young men have been leaving their villages for military training in Iran. Up to 300 men are taken to Beirut en route to Tehran each month and the operation has been running since November of 2006; in all, as many as 4,500 [Hezbollah] members have been sent for three-month sessions of live-fire ammunition and rocket exercises to create a nucleus of Iranian-trained guerrillas for the ‘next’ [Israeli attack against Lebanon].” [27]

Another British source, The Observer, has also reported about war preparations in Lebanon: “But an Observer investigation [by Mitchell Prothero] has discovered that [Hezbollah] is quietly but steadily replacing its dead and redoubling its recruitment efforts in anticipation of a new, and even more brutal, conflict. [Hezbollah] has embarked on a major expansion of its fighting capability and is now sending hundreds, if not thousands, of young men into intensive training camps in Lebanon, Syria and Iran to ready itself for war with Israel. ‘It’s not a matter of if,’ says one [member of Hezbollah]. ‘It’s a matter of when Sayed [Hassan] Nasrallah [{Hezbollah’s political} chief] commands us.’” [28]

It light of the preparations in Lebanon for an Israeli attack, the number of Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace also increased starting in March, 2008. The Israelis openly violated Lebanese airspace and conducted military flights over Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon in April and May, 2008. In April, 2008 the Lebanese military even acknowledged that Israeli warplanes had been performing military reconnaissance missions over Lebanon and that these missions were linked to Israeli war preparations. [29]

The Independent has also gone on to pronounce, with the context of aerial war in mind, that in the next war against Lebanon that Israeli supremacy in the air would be challenged by the Lebanese because of Iranian military technology and hardware: “For months, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the [Hezbollah] leader, has been warning Israel that his organisation has a ‘surprise’ new weapon in its armoury and there are few in Lebanon who do not suspect that this is a new Iranian-developed ground-to-air missile — rockets which may at last challenge Israel’s air supremacy over Lebanon.” [30]

The Brzezinski and Carter visits to Damascus

Tel Aviv and Washington, D.C. have not given up their efforts to prevent the emergence of a Mediterranean battle-front in a war against Iran. With the rise of regional tensions in the Middle East it was announced that former U.S. President James E. Carter Jr. had flown to Egypt and the Levant for a fact-finding mission with a view to promoting peace. To some, the announcement sounded like a breath of fresh air. The former U.S. president, met with leaders and officials in Egypt, Israel, the West Bank, and Syria.

It should be noted that Jimmy Carter met with President Basher Al-Assad in Syria just months after Zbigniew Brzezinski headed a RAND Corporation delegation to Damascus on February 12, 2008. [31] The sequence of these meetings is not coincidental. Brzezinski was a U.S. national security advisor under the Carter Administration. Both men could also have been involved in talks with Iranian diplomats and officials in Damascus.

What really highlighted Carter’s trip to the Middle East were his meetings in Damascus with the leader-in-exile of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, on April 18 and 19, 2008. [32] The controversy behind the meetings with Hamas was that they had been portrayed as diplomatic taboo in an effort to isolate the Palestinian organization in the Middle East and global arena.

Before the meetings in Damascus, Carter had prior meetings with representatives of Hamas in Cairo. [33] From the start of the talks between the political leadership of Hamas and Jimmy Carter, the media reported that Israel and the U.S. were fiercely opposed to these meetings. [34] In reality, the Bush Jr. Administration and Israel were supportive of these meetings.

Engaging Hamas: An Attempt to Deactivate the Opening of a Palestinian Front?

Despite the claims of Condoleezza Rice, the Carter Center even released a statement from its headquarters in Atlanta saying that the U.S. State Department made no objections about Carter’s meetings with Hamas officials and the Syrians. In the past, the White House secretly supported Nancy Pelosi’s 2007 visit to Damascus with a bipartisan U.S. delegation. It was in the same timeframe as Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Syria that a Bush Jr. Administration official arrived in Damascus to talk about “Iraqi refugees” and that Condoleezza Rice went on to hold talks with the Syrian Foreign Minister in Egypt. In this case Jimmy Carter was part of concerted efforts by the U.S. and Israeli governments to disengage the fighting between the Palestinians and Israel in the Gaza Strip through a truce.

While public opinion was led to believe that Israel was opposed to the Hamas-Carter talks, the former U.S. president was in fact negotiating directly with Hamas on behalf of Israeli officials.

While the Israeli government reaffirmed that Hamas could not be a “partner for peace”, Jimmy Carter was passing on messages from the Israeli government to both Hamas and Syria. According to Carter’s own words, he was acting in the Middle East as a communicator and intermediary between the parties.

A closer examination of what transpired between Hamas and Carter reveals the true nature and purpose of the Carter mission.

The deputy prime minister of Israel is Eli Yishai, who is also responsible for the Israeli Ministry of Industry. Eli Yishai’s office acknowledged on April 18, 2008 that the second highest ranking official in the Israeli government had asked Jimmy Carter to arrange meetings between Hamas and Eli Yishai. The pretext and justification was to discuss a possible prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli corporal captured by Hamas and two other Palestinian groups. [35] Officially, it was claimed that Eli Yishai, the leader of the Shas Party, had defied government policy with his request.

In actuality, Israel has been negotiating a ceasefire with Hamas. Ehud Olmert’s comments to Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli newspaper, spell out the real reasons why Carter was reported not to have met with Israeli leaders prior to his visit to Syria: “Were Jimmy Carter to have met with me, and two days later with Khaled Meshaal, it could have created a facade of negotiations between us and Hamas.” [36] Ehud Olmert’s public rebuff of Jimmy Carter was also announced as not being personal by Yohanan Plesner, a member of Ehud Olmert’s Kadima Party, during meetings with Carter in Jerusalem. [37] Undoubtedly, the meeting between Carter and Plesner would not have happened without Olmert’s okay. Ehud Olmert’s messages were being passed to Carter through his Kadima subordinate.

Adding context to the mission by Carter is crucial. His visit came at a junction in time when war was being openly talked about not just against Lebanon and Syria, but against Iran.

On April 20, 2008, the Syrian President announced that messages had been exchanged between Israel and Syria through an unnamed third party, to explore the possibility of resuming Israeli-Syrian peace talks. [38] This was merely days after Carter’s visit to Damascus.

Two days later, on April 23, 2008, it was reported worldwide that the Israeli government had notified Damascus on April 22, 2008 through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the third party, that Israel was ready to return the Golan Heights to Syria. [39] The Turkish government had served as a go between since 2006, exchanging messages between Israel and Syria. The Israelis also insisted, again, that Syria knew what the conditions for peace were: the dissociation of Damascus from Iran and the Resistance Bloc. [40]

The American role in these overtures to Hamas and Syria is also a major factor. Syria was even reported to have requested U.S. involvement in peace talks with Israeli officials. In fact, a few days after the end of the Carter mission and the Israeli messages sent via Turkey, the Syrian Foreign Minister travelled to Tehran to discuss the Israeli and U.S. proposals with Iranian officials. It is clear that Syria will not end its alliance with Iran. While in Tehran, the Syrian Foreign Minister stated that Israel should withdraw to the international boundary of 1967 and not just withdraw from the Golan Heights alone. [41]

The Palestinian-Syrian-Iranian United Front

Ten different Palestinian organizations opposing Israel are hosted by Syria, and thus called the “Palestinian Damascus Ten,” whereas many other capitals in the Arab World have rejected hosting them. While some of these Palestinian organizations are Syrian surrogates, they are considered as “rejectionists,” because they adamantly oppose the one-sided Palestinian-Israeli agreements dictated by the White House and accepted by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Amongst the rejectionists are Hamas, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), and the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF or PSF).

Hamas along with the Damascus-based Palestinian groups are aligned to both Tehran and Damascus. It is on this basis that ties linking the Palestinians, Syria, and Iran have developed.

The Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, while visiting Tehran in 2006 referred to Iran as the “strategic depth” of the Palestinian people in their struggle against Israel. [42] Syrian, Libyan, Lebanese, Algerian, and Iraqi officals, amongst many others in the Arab World, have also called Iran the “strategic depth” of the Arabs against Israel. In relationship to these ties, Khaleed Meshaal announced in 2005 during high-level meetings in Tehran that Hamas and the Palestinians would support their important ally Iran in a regional war. [43] This factor is of immense importance in the case of an Israeli-U.S. war directed against Syria and Iran.

Alongside Hamas, most of these Palestinian organizations and their supporters, including those in Egypt and Jordon, have also made it clear, through announcements in 2005, 2006, and 2007 that they would lead the Palestinians in battle as part of a united front in the case of an all encompassing conflict in the Middle East. This is another dimension of the Mediterranean battle-front that would emerge in a war against Iran.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon could be sucked into any regional war involving the Palestinians as allies of Syria and Iran. There are more Palestinians and Iraqis in Jordon than there are Jordanian Arabs. Jordon could also face simultaneous civil war and regime change in Amman, where a new republican government could take over and ally itself with Syria and Iran. This would have major ramifications against the U.S. and Israel. Other Arab regimes are also vulnerable too.

In this regard, the leaders in Cairo have been pushing for a truce between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Omar Sueiman, an Egyptian cabinet minister working in the capacity of the chief of Egyptian intelligence, was also sent to Tel Aviv several times by his government, to assist Israel in neutralizing a potential Palestinian front from emerging in the context of a regional war scenario.

Furthermore, if a regional war were to break out, Palestinian fighters would confront Israeli forces, with the help of Syria and Iran. At this particular juncture, the dialogue with Hamas is part of an effort to silence or disengage the “Palestinian Front” by establishing a truce between Hamas and Israel, prior to the commencement of a war with Iran.

The March to War in the Levant and its relationship to a Broader War involving Iran

Despite the Israeli-Syrian peace talks, the two sides are involved in war preparations.

Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli diplomat and politician describes this evolving situation as follows: “The message I received in Washington about two weeks ago [in the start of April, 2008] was clear and included a trace of displeasure: Why do you have people [in Israel], and ministers in particular, who continue to amuse themselves with the baseless notion that conditions for peace between Israel and Syria have been created?” [44]

In the eyes of both those controlling the U.S. and Israeli governments, the terms of a so-called peace must be dictated by the victors, those with the upper hand. According to the Fox News Network the Bush Jr. Administration also signed a secretive, unprecedented, and broad directive in March, 2008 to target Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and those in Lebanon that are opposed to America’s agenda for establishing a new regional order.

The Levant is on a serious war footing.

All major players in the Levant have been continuously talking about war.

Tel Aviv’s leaders have insisted that they are not seeking war with Syria. Tel Aviv has maintained that it wants peace with Syria, even on the eve of the largest emergency exercise in the history of Israel, which included open war preparations by the Israeli military on the Syrian border. These exercises included simulations of an Israeli invasion of Syria.

The Israeli government insisted that Israel was not making war preparations against Syria despite the fact that the scenarios played out in Israel for over a year, identified Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories as the enemies. [45]

Moreover, Israeli officials have continuously threatened to retaliate with a heavy hand against any attempts against Israel.

Al-Watan has also revealed that defensive preparations are being made by Syria against Israeli attacks expected to be launched in the summer months of 2008 in close coordination with U.S. military planners, just as they were against Lebanon in 2006. [46] May and June, 2008, are expected to be possible windows of time for an Israeli offensive against Syria.

On the other hand, Al-Watan reported (April 3, 2008) that the Israeli government would in 2009 distribute gas masks to its citizens, in anticipation of attacks using chemical and biological weapons. This report could be an indication that there will be no war in 2008.

Several reports from the Middle East maintain that all the players involved in the Levant are preparing for a scenario where Israel is awaiting retaliation by Hezbollah for the Mughniyeh Assassination. This scenario of expected retaliation could be used by Israel to draw Syria into the conflict. The situation would then escalate as Iran intervenes militarily against Israel to protect its allies. In turn, the United States and NATO would intervene to protect Israel.

Other analysts suggest, on the other hand, that Israeli-U.S. strikes against Lebanon, Syria, and Iran would be implemented almost simultaneously. Still others believe that Iran will be attacked first and then a front in the Levant will be opened.

Other plausible reports suggest that secret negotiations have been ongoing between all parties and that war will be avoided either because of a weakened U.S. military, which has forced America to negotiate with Iran or because of emerging common interests between Iran and America.

Another outlook is that Tel Aviv has no intention of striking Iran, which has advanced military capabilities of retaliation against Israel. But Israel still intends to attack Lebanon.

Whatever the scenario, the United States and Israel are making joint preparations and intend to confront the same players including Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas.

General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, the top U.S. civilian official in Iraq, have told the U.S. Senate that Syria and Iran are using a “Lebanization strategy” in Iraq. A “Lebanization strategy” according to Ambassador Crocker is a political strategy where local forces are committed to alignments with Syria and Iran. This is being painted as the reason behind Anglo-American failure in Iraq. As mentioned earlier Hezbollah and Iran, along with Syria, are also being blamed for U.S. and Coalition deaths in Iraq.

Since 2003, Israel and the U.S. have been looking for ways to force Syria into surrendering or for waging an isolated war against Damascus without involving Tehran.

The window of time for an isolated war against Syria, apart from one with Iran, appears to have vanished and a war against Syria seems to be planned alongside the conflict with Iran. Moreover, Russia has also initiated a naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean and off the Syrian coast to protect Syria and to challenge the U.S. and its NATO allies. [47] Both Russia and Iran have also been arming Syria and cooperating together.

The march to war in the Levant is linked to the stride towards conflict with Iran.

Syria has long been a target of Israel and America. At this point it is fitting to refer back to an incisive British report from 2006 by The Sunday Times: “‘The challenge from Iran and Syria is now top of the Israeli defence agenda, higher than the Palestinian one,’ said an Israeli defence source. Shortly before the war in Lebanon Major-General Eliezer Shkedi, the commander of the air force, was placed in charge of the ‘Iranian front’, a new position in the Israeli Defence Forces. His job will be to command any future strikes on Iran and Syria.” [48]

This account from The Sunday Times indicates that the war against Lebanon in 2006 was part of a broader war agenda in the Middle East. Moreover, an Israeli command post against Iran was established prior to the 2006 war. The article also illustrates the intricate link between a war against Iran and war plans against Lebanon and Syria. Further details are also given in regards to Israeli preparations for Syria in 2006: “‘In the past we prepared for a possible military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities,’ said one insider, ‘but Iran’s growing confidence after the war in Lebanon means we have to prepare for a full-scale war, in which Syria will be an important player.’ A new infantry brigade has been formed named Kfir (lion cub), which will be the largest in the Israeli army [and responsible for an invasion of Syria]. ‘It is a partial solution for the challenge of the Syrian commando brigades, which are considered better [trained and equipped] than Hezbollah’s [militia],’ a military source said.” [49]

Eric S. Margolis, one of Canada’s most respected columnists has also linked war preparations against Lebanon and Syria as part of a broader war scenario directed against Iran: “Israel, backed by the [White House], certainly has been using the carrot of a return of [the] Golan to entice Syria away from Iran. But there is also a big stick: Ever-stronger threats of a U.S.-Israeli attack on Syria. Israel’s September [2007] attack on Syria was a clear warning. Cheney and fellow militarists are pushing hard for attacks on Syria, Lebanon and Iran before President George W. Bush leaves office. Neocons have flocked to [Senator] John McCain’s banner — in spite of Hillary Clinton’s vow to ‘obliterate’ Iran if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. They believe U.S. attacks on Arab states and/or Iran would prove decisive in winning the presidency for McCain this November. A U.S. attack on Syria could well be the first step of a broader air war against Lebanon and Iran.” [50]

In a regional war scenario, Israel will deal mainly with Lebanon and Syria while the U.S. and Britain will deal mainly with Iran. [51] The help of Turkey and NATO will definitely be needed by Israel, America, and Britain in such a war. Ankara and NATO will also be involved in both fronts. [52]

NATO has already built a presence on the western borders of Syria and Lebanon and inside Afghanistan on the eastern borders of Iran with forward positions. Israeli officials such as Shaul Mofaz have also stated, in no uncertain terms, that if they launch an attack on Iran, the U.S. and NATO will come to the aid of Tel Aviv.

Only time will tell what happens. In the words of Robert Fisk, “Whether this frightening conflict takes place will depend on President Bush’s behaviour. If America — or its proxy, Israel — bombs Iran, the response is likely to be swift…” [53]

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a writer and geopolitical analyst based in Ottawa who specializes on the Middle East. He is currently Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization.

NOTES

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8733

see

The March to War: Israel Prepares for War against Lebanon & Syria

The March to War: Syria Preparing for US-Israeli Attacks

NATO and Israel: Instruments of America’s Wars in the Middle East by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Israeli Bombing of Syria (nukes)

The March to War: Israel Prepares for War against Lebanon & Syria

Dandelion Salad

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, April 19, 2008
– 2008-04-18

By the start of 2007, reports about major upgrades to the Syrian military, including advances in missile technology, with Iranian help were widespread in Israel. [1] The impression of an imminent war existed across much of the Middle East. Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran were reported in Israel to be preparing for a war to spark in the Levant. [2]

It was also claimed in Israel that Damascus had sent secret messages to Tel Aviv that should Israel continue to reject Syria’s peace overtures, a war would breakout in the Golan Heights and that Syrian reservists were forbidden from leaving Syria because of the possibility of combat. [3]

In June, 2007, an inner circle of the Israeli government that would form a “war cabinet” in a Middle Eastern war scenario was categorically informed that a war with Syria would absolutely involve Iranian military intervention. [4]

It is now 2008 and the spectre of war has remerged in the Middle East. Syrian President Basher Al-Assad revealed that his country is uneasy and prepared for the worst once again. Despite Tehran’s position that the U.S. would not dare launch a war against Iran, the Iranian military is on standby. The Lebanese military and Hezbollah have also been placed on alert.

“While war is not a preferable option, if Israel declares war on Syria and Lebanon or if America declares war on Iran, Syria would be prepared,” the Syrian President told a gathering of Arab intellectuals according to Al-Akhbar, a Lebanese newspaper, on April 16, 2008. [5] “We should analyze the situation from the perspective of American interests, because the last war in Lebanon has shown that at some point Israel wanted to stop the fighting, but was forced by the [Bush Jr. Administration] to pursue it further,” Basher Al-Assad continued. [6] Thus the threat of war lives on in the Middle East in 2008…

“Miscalculations” in the Levant: Setting the Stage for War?

Hereto, Tel Aviv has been deliberately promoting tensions with Syria and Lebanon. In 2007, Major-General Moshe Kaplinsky, the former deputy chief of staff for the Israeli military, stated during a press briefing that war between Syria and Israel was unlikely as an answer to growing rumours of war that started since late-2006 and the commencement of 2007. The Israeli flag officer however did not rule out an eventual Israeli-Syrian conflict. Major-General Kaplinsky along with many other Israeli commanders and officials repeatedly stressed that a “miscalculation on the border” could spark a conflict between Syria and Israel sometime in the future. [7]

Not long after the 2006 Israeli defeat in Lebanon, Tel Aviv started crafting the “justifications” for more wars in its surrounding neighbourhood, the Levant. [8] The Israeli definitions of “miscalculation” have been extremely vague and ominous.

Tel Aviv has been involved in the process of creating a military carte blanche, allowing for “flexibility” in its regional approach towards Lebanon and Syria.

“Miscalculations” in the eyes of Tel Aviv range from the domestic affairs of the Lebanese and the events in the occupied Palestinian Territories to the most audacious and bellicose of definitions, such as the reaction of the Syrians to Israeli hostilities.

The secretive air assault, later revealed by the codename Operation Orchard, made by the 69th Squadron of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) against an unheard of facility in Deir ez-Zoir Governorate of Syria on September 6, 2007 could have become a “miscalculation” on the part of Syria had it responded to Israeli provocations.

The Israeli definition of a “miscalculation” also means any arbitrary fire into Israel.  The Jerusalem Post defined a “miscalculation” that could spark a war with Syria as an incident “along the border, in the form of a terrorist attack that escalates into a larger conflict.” [9] Such an incident could easily be sparked through conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

A false flag operation could also bring such an incident about. On July 18, 2007 there was rocket fire from South Lebanon into Israel by an unknown group, something that could have been used as a pretext for war. In Syria, Lebanon, and the Arab World the incident was believed to be the work of the Israelis and their allies in an effort to justify a future war.

Tel Aviv’s Orwellian talk of Peace

In May, 2008 the head of the Mossad, the intelligence service of Israeli, said that talks of peace with Syria would lead to war. [10] Le Nouvel Observateur reported in July 2007 that the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, ruled out the resumption of peace talks with Syria while stressing that she believed Damascus posed a problem that must be tackled on a regional scale. [11] When asked about the prospects of peace with Syria, Tzipi Livni responded, “Absolutely not. Syria is pursuing the dangerous game it plays in the region [Middle East],” and added that Syria “remains a threat” to Israel. [12] These statements reveal the conduct of Tel Aviv and its hidden agenda. Within the context of a public declaration of peace during the summer of 2007, they also reveal Tel Aviv’s duplicity.

While Tzipi Livni stated that there would be no peace between Israel and Syria, Ehud Olmert stated in a televised interview with the Al-Arabiya News Channel, that he personally wanted peace with Syria. Prime Minister Olmert addressed President Basher Al-Assad, the head of Syria, directly, saying “you know that I am ready for direct talks with you” and added that “I am ready to sit with you and talk about peace, not war.” Several days later, Ehud Olmert also stated in Orwellian fashion that he wanted peace with the Syrians, but that peace did not equate to immediate peace negotiations between Syria and Israel and could mean a continuation of the “status quo.”

Olmert’s statement is doublespeak. Hereto, according to the Israelis, the threat of war exists as a result of the status quo between Syria and Israel. This statement is very important to keep in  mind because it indicates that Israel did not want to return the Golan Heights, but wanted something else from Syria as the condition of peace. This is where Tehran comes into the picture.

Israeli officials were further incriminated by the fact that in 2007 Prime Minister Olmert also said he was not concerned by an imminent war with Syria, but that he was unhappy with the public discussion about peace between Syria and Israel. One should question the logic behind Ehud Olmert’s “irritation” regarding public overtures of peace between Syria and Israel. [13] Realpolitik is definitely being played by Israel in regards to Damascus in a consorted effort to de-link Syria from Iran and its other allies. In this regard, Damascus publicly insisted that there be no secret talks between Syrian and Israeli officials as to the conditions for peace. [14] The rationale for the Syrian insistence on transparency was to deprive Israeli of any means to covertly try to divide Syria from its Middle Eastern allies by generating suspicions of betrayal.

The international press extensively reported Ehud Olmert’s statements in 2007 about wanting peace with the Syrians. Israeli officials also repeatedly claimed that the Syrians were the ones rejecting peace. [15] These claims are made despite the fact that all public records show exactly the opposite. Syria’s leadership have been calling for peace negotiations between Israel and Syria since the premierships of Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon. Israeli claims of pursing peace for the most part have been part of an international public relations campaign attempting to portray the aggressor as the victim. In the case of Syria peace means that Tel Aviv will not go to war with Damascus if it distances itself from Tehran.

De-linking Syria from Iran: Israel’s Real Condition for Peace with Syria

The return of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, which was was formerly called the “Syrian Heights” in Israel, to Syria was always the recognized condition for establishing Israeli-Syrian peace.

Dr. Alon Liel, a former director-general within the Israeli foreign affairs ministry and a former Israeli ambassador to South Africa, who was heavily involved with previous Israeli negotiations with Syria, has indicated the real issue holding Tel Aviv from accepting peace. Dr. Alon Liel went on record: he confirmed that 85% of negotiations between Syria and Israel were agreed upon by both Damascus and Tel Aviv. [16] The major issues for establishing peace between Damascus and Tel Aviv were all resolved in 2000; water rights for Israel from Syrian territory, guaranteed Israeli access to the Golan Heights upon its return to Syria, and security guarantees between both parties. [17]

Peace, in the sense of an agreement by both sides, however was unachievable in 1993, 1995, 1996, and 2000 due to Tel Aviv’s internal politics. The situation became more so after 2001 with the start of an aggressive U.S. policy in the Middle East. “Israel isn’t going to hand over [or return] the Golan [Heights] to an ally of Iran,” Alon Liel has insisted as being the problem in regards to peace between both sides. [18]

Tel Aviv has imposed broader demands on Syria as the price of peace. It is in the strategic interests of the U.S. and Israel to isolate Iran, even at the cost of peace with Syria. [19] In this regard, Syrian internal affairs and foreign relations are decisive factors for Israel in regards to negotiations.

Syria and Iran are part of a strategic alliance in the Middle East resisting the interests of America, Britain, Israel, France, and Germany. Other Middle Eastern players resisting the same foreign interests are additionally allied or associated with Syria and Iran within one tangible bloc, the Resistance Bloc. [20] It is in this context that one understands Israel is not pursuing peace with Syria, but is threatening the Syrians with war if they do not abandon Iran and their allies.

On the eve of major Israeli exercises in which Israel and Syria fought a fictitious war, the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Haim Ramon, stated on a radio interview that Syrian anxiety had no basis and that Israel was pursing peace with Damascus, but added “unfortunately Syria is stuck deep in the evil axis of connections with [Hezbollah].” [21] If this is not indicative enough, Haim Ramon also concluded that Damascus has made a strategic choice to preserve its alliance with Iran rather than “pursue peace,” which to Tel Aviv would mean a termination of Syrian-Iranian ties. Furthermore, on March 23, 2003 Shimon Peres stated that “peace talks with Syria cannot begin while it keeps supplying Lebanon with weapons.” [22] This was a reference to the important role of Damascus as a middle man between Tehran and the Levant.

Neutralizing Syria: Prerequisite for Neutralizing Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran

Damascus is pivotal to the framework of resistance in the Middle East against Israeli, Anglo-American, and Franco-German interests. Syria acts as a bridge between Iran and Iraq at one end of the Middle East and the Levant on the other. Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Iraq, and Iran are all tied together through Syria. [23]

In this regard, Damascus serves as the central link that holds together the forces resisting a new regional order in the Middle East, also known as the “Project for the New Middle East.”

What the Israelis have been trying to do, in coordination with the U.S., Britain, France, and Germany is to remove Syria from these alliances and thus splinter or break the link between Iran and the Levant. The main goal is to pressure Syria into making a peaceful political surrender (just as Libya did to Britain and the U.S. in 2003), and to distance itself from Iran and the Arab resistance within Palestine and Lebanon to Israel.

Shlomo Ben-Ami, a former Israeli foreign minister, hinted in October 2007 that if Syria would not dissociate itself peacefully from Iran, a military solution was inevitable: “Driving a wedge between Syria and Iran, drying up [Hezbollah] by cutting its lines of arms supply, allowing the vital task of stabilizing Lebanon to succeed [meaning empowering client forces in Beirut], and forestalling what now looks as a most realistic scenario of a triple front war of Israel against Syria, Hamas and [Hezbollah] are the strategic fruits concomitant to a Syrian-Israeli peace.” [24]

Removing Syria from the “Resistance Bloc” is a prerequisite for Israel, America, and their partners for tackling Iran. With Syria removed from Iran’s influence, the entire Levant could be controlled and the resistance in the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon under such players as Hamas and Hezbollah could be significantly weakened. Under such a framework, the Levant could be integrated into the economic order of the so-called “Western Powers” under the Washington Consensus and within the Mediterranean Union: this is where Israeli, Anglo-American, and France-German Middle East interests merge.

In 2006, the ultimate objective of the Israeli attack on Lebanon was to remove Syria from its alliance with Iran and insert Damascus within the orbit of a new regional order. With this understanding in mind, the 2006 Israeli attacks on Lebanon were revealed to have been planned to also target Syria.[25]

War however became a far costlier option for America, Britain, Israel, and their partners and that is why political channels were pursued with Damascus after the 2006 defeat of Tel Aviv in Lebanon.  Haaretz released a revealing report in August, 2007 about the true nature of the diplomatic mission of Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to Damascus. The intentions of her visit to Damascus were stated to help establish peace between Syria and Israel and better ties with America, but the conditions were not fully disclosed.

Syria was being courted to abandon Iran, just as Italy was courted to abandon Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire by London and Paris before the First World War: “The chairman of the [U.S.] House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Tom Lantos, who accompanied Pelosi, said Assad should be given a final opportunity to disengage from the ‘axis of evil.’ According to Lantos, in a few years, Sunni Muslims and not Iran under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be in control in the region, and it is to the advantage of Damascus to know which side to be on.” [26]

For Tel Aviv and its partners, if the goal of removing Damascus from its alliance with Tehran can not be achieved through diplomatic dialogue, economics, threats, or pressure then the original course of action, warfare, within a major three-front confrontation is the other alternative against Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Territories. These hostilities would also be linked to confrontation with the Iranians and could result in an broader conflict in the Middle East and Central Asia. Ehud Olmert declared “I believe that we can expect a calm summer, a calm autumn and a calm winter [which runs from November, 2007 to March, 2008],” when tensions were rising between Syria and Israel in 2007. [27] It is worth noting that tensions began to rise again in the Levant after Olmert’s timeframe of calm.

The threats of war in 2007 were partly scare tactics to pressure Syria into yielding and conceding to the geo-strategic interests of America, Britain, Israel, France, and Germany. [28] Up to now, all efforts to remove the Syrians from their alliances have failed.

Clearly, Israel has been preparing for war on a broader regional level. Simultaneously, Tel Aviv has been preparing to shift blame for any possible outbreak of a regional war on the Syrians, the Lebanese, the Palestinians, even the Russians, and foremost on the Iranians.

Operation Orchard: Fabricating a Syria-Iran-North Korea Nuclear Axis

On September 6, 2007 Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace and mysteriously attacked an unheard of facility. The Syrian military reported that Israeli aircraft illegally entered Syrian airspace from over the Mediterranean Sea and headed towards northeastern Syria. “Air defense units confronted [the Israeli warplanes] and forced them to leave [Syria] after they drooped [sic; dropped] some ammunition in deserted areas without causing any human or material damage,” the Syrian military initially claimed. [29] The Syrians immediately also stated that Israel was trying to create pretexts for another war in the Middle East. [30] The U.S. government also entered the commotion by claiming that the White House was aware of the operation and the Pentagon had assisted the Israelis. The White House also claimed that the Israelis had destroyed a facility that was linked to a clandestine nuclear program in Syria. Damascus also maintained that the attacks and the claims about a secretive nuclear program were preludes to U.S. involvement in an Israeli war against Syria. [31]

In this context, Syria restrained itself, fearing that Tel Aviv wanted to entice Damascus into a war. Professor Eyal Zisser, the director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, noted “Any misunderstanding could lead to conflagration. However, the Syrian announcement was surprising in its moderation.” [32] The operation was also reported as being a possible test-run for an Israeli attack on Iran. The U.S. and Israel also asserted that the Russian-made air defence systems in Syria did not function. [33] The attacks could have also been a form of pressure to force the Syrians to go to the Annapolis Conference to detect if a war was intended against their country.

The attack was described as an Israeli success by the Bush Jr. Administration and the mainstream media. A propaganda campaign was launched: Through media disinformation and political statements, efforts were placed on establishing the threat of a “Syria-Iran-North Korea nuclear proliferation axis.” [34]

The alleged nuclear facility was a Syrian project aided by North Korea and Iran according to the U.S. and Israeli governments. Trying to pin Syria for having weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs is not a fresh approach. In fact just barely a month after the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq the U.S. and Britain actively started trying to portray Syria in an Iraq-like manner claiming that Damascus also had hidden weapons of mass destruction (WMD) stockpiles.

In early-April, 2008 it became clear that Israel and the U.S. had been planning on releasing details about Operation Orchard and the alleged nuclear facility attacked by Israel in Syria to further demonize Damascus and to further construct a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) link between Syria, North Korea, and Iran. [35] The Jerusalem Post subsequently reported on April 14, 2008 that Israeli experts suggested that the full disclosure about an Israeli attack in 2007 in the U.S. Congress could even “embarrass” the Syrians to the point of militarily responding against Israel. [36]

The Assassination of Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus: Antecedent to War?

On February 12, 2008 Imad Fayez Mughniyeh, a top Hezbollah security official, was assassinated in Damascus by means of a remote detonated car bomb. The intelligence services of America, Israel, Britain, France, Germany, Jordon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia were all suspected of some form of involvement. According to The Daily Star, an English-language newspaper based in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia had helped Israel in assassinating Imad Mughniyeh and a Saudi military attaché was arrested in Damascus due to links to a Syrian collaborator in the assassination. [37]

More than a month following the Mughniyeh assassination, U.S. Vice-President Cheney made a regional tour of the Middle East. “We must not, and will not, ignore the darkening shadows of the situations in Gaza, in Lebanon, in Syria and in Iran and the forces there that are working to derail the hopes of the world,” Vice-President Cheney vowed dramatically in a insinuation that conflict was brewing and the U.S. was prepared to aid Israel. [38]

It did not take long for pundits to point toward Mughniyeh’s murder as being used in a ploy to launch war in the Middle East. Israel’s intelligence and information apparatus started exerting themselves in a misinformation campaign to create doubts about the murder of Imad Mughniyeh. Tel Aviv’s aims were to shift the blame on the Syrians in a psychological operation (PSYOP) intended to inseminate doubts and mistrust between Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, in order to strain their alliance and weaken the Resistance Bloc.

According to Israel’s Channel 10, sometime after the assassination of Mughniyeh, Tel Aviv sent Hezbollah a letter through a third party, threatening another disproportionate war against Lebanon. Tel Aviv also wasted no time in threatening Syria if Hezbollah launched retaliatory attacks on Israel. [39] In this context, Reuters also reported that an unnamed senior Israeli official had spelled out conflict with the Syrians as a reprisal for hostile Lebanese and Palestinian actions against Israel. [40] The root of these so-called hostile actions by Lebanese and Palestinian groups are of retaliatory nature to hostile actions initiated by Tel Aviv. In many cases, these attacks against Israel are invited by Tel Aviv as a means to create the justifications of postponing peace, annexing territory, and launching war.

In mid-April, 2008, Israeli jets and helicopters created insecurity among residents of Haifa when they scrambled across Israel to intercept an unidentified light plane entering Israeli airspace. [41] Tel Aviv’s security and military forces have been on high alert since the Mughniyeh Assassination. [42] On March 18, 2008 an Israeli warship was also dispatched into Lebanese waters, where it was intercepted by an Italian warship, in a move that many in Lebanon saw as a taunt by Israel.

Israel has advertised very publicly that it expects retaliation from Hezbollah. [43] This “retaliation” could also give Israel an excuse for launching another war. The Israeli government also used the opportunity to raise domestic tensions amongst its own citizens. Israeli officials also warned about possible attacks from across the Lebanese border by Iranian-manufactured “explosive-packed drones” or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) sent by Hezbollah. [44]

Creating Pretexts for War in Lebanon

Israel has overtly claimed, as part of a concerted public relations campaign, that Hezbollah increased the range of its rocket arsenal. [45] The public advertisement of the increase in the rocket range of Hezbollah by Tel Aviv stands outside the standardized protocol of Israeli officials who consistently work domestically to keep public confidence in the strength of the Israeli military and security apparatus. Although there was a genuine probability of truth to the Israeli statements, the main objective behind their very publicly advertised declarations were to further build excuses for further Israeli aggression, such as pre-emptive strikes, in Lebanon or the so-called Israeli “Northern Front” and regionally in the Middle East.

In reality, Hezbollah’s rocket range was probably upgraded or already capable of hitting deep into Israeli territory before Tel Aviv decided to divulge its knowledge. Hezbollah had already threatened to strike Tel Aviv in 2006 if Beirut were to be attacked by Israeli bombs. The timing of the information by Israeli officials about Hezbollah’s rocket range is linked to painting the picture of a growing threat amongst its own citizens and to gain their support for combat.

In the case of Hezbollah, like those of the Palestinian Resistance and Syria, the increased range of their projectiles have been attentively linked to Iran, itself the ultimate target. Starting in March, 2008 the mainstream media in Israel and worldwide reported that the Israeli government had warned that most of Israel, up to the city of Dimona in the Negev Desert, was within the striking range of Hezbollah from Lebanon. Haaretz correspondents in addition reported that “Hamas militants who recently returned to the Gaza Strip after training in Iran [held] a detailed plan for upgrading the capabilities of the rockets being developed in the [Gaza] Strip, according to senior Palestinian Authority sources.” [46] As a note, the Palestinian Authority sources being referred to are the unelected Fatah officials in the West Bank who themselves collaborate with Israel. These types of reports have also helped boost the case for war.

The basis for war against Lebanon is an intricate parcel of a broader conflict in the Middle East, which in turn is itself a component of an even larger conflict in Eurasia. The fact that various Palestinian resistance groups have trained in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran is also being used as a justification for war and as a means to tie all three republics closer together as a single enemy axis by Israel. Aside from those in the Palestinian Territories, in the event of a major war the Palestinian groups based in Lebanon and Syria have made it clear that they will fight alongside the Lebanese and Syrians. Palestinians in Egypt and Jordon have also elucidated towards such a course of action too.

With 2008 efforts to implicate Hezbollah in regards to attacks on American and British troops in Iraq have resurfaced. These reports were originally made by London in an effort to link Hezbollah to the roadside bombs in Basra at the start of the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq, but were dismissed. The main British objective of involving Hezbollah as an enemy in Iraq was the foreknowledge that Lebanon would be attacked by Israel in 2006.

On April 8, 2008 General David H. Petraeus, the commander of Coalition troops in Iraq, accused both Iran and Hezbollah of helping the Iraqi forces that attacked the “Green Zone” in Baghdad. [47] He testified to the U.S. Senate about Hezbollah’s alleged involvement in killing American and Coalition troops: “Together with the Iraqi Security Forces, we have also focused on the Special Groups [meaning those forces fighting against American and Coalition forces]. These elements are funded, trained, armed, and directed by Iran’s Qods [Jerusalem] Force, with help from Lebanese Hezbollah.” [48] The allegations by General Petraeus were part of the conscious effort to justify a greater American role in the next conflict against the Lebanese.

The Mediterranean Front

It is clear to the Pentagon, NATO, and Tel Aviv that the Levant stands to ignite a Mediterranean battle-front in the event of a war against Iran. To this end, the marshaling of a relatively invisible NATO war fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean is rigidly tied to war plans against Tehran. [49] The naval build-ups in the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean have been ongoing since 2001 with the strategic aim of preparing the logisitical framework for war against Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestinian resistance, Syria, and Iran.

Paris and Berlin have intense vested interest in the Anglo-American wars in the Middle East. As has been repeatedly uttered by French, German, and E.U. officials the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East are the “eastern borders of the European Union.” [50] To this end Nicolas Sarkozy’s Mediterranean Union is a declaration of these Franco-German interests that are very much tied to the wars in the Middle East and the establishment of a settlement between the Arabs and Israel in the Levant. [51]

The 2006 Israeli siege against Lebanon, with the active support of American military personnel and planners in Israel, was a phase of this military schedule as well as a dress rehearsal by both sides for a larger Middle Eastern war. Both sides were given the opportunity to re-evaluate their tactics and strategies for such an upcoming war, should it spark. History will see what comes to pass.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a writer and geopolitical analyst based in Ottawa who specializes on the Middle East and is currently Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Also see: The March to War: Syria Preparing for US-Israeli Attacks

NOTES

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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Opening a Pandora’s Box: Kosovo “Independence” & the Project for a “New Middle East” by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya (NWO)

Dandelion Salad

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, February 20, 2008
– 2008-02-29

Western public opinion has been misled. Unfolding events and realities on the ground in former Yugoslavia have been carefully manipulated.

Germany and the U.S. have deep-seated geo-strategic interests in dividing Yugoslavia. Washington and Berlin have also been the first governments to recognize the secessionist states, which resulted from the breakup of the Yugoslav federation.

The Broader Implications of Kosovo “Independence”

The February 2008 declaration of independence of Kosovo is a means towards legitimizing the dissolution and breaking up of sovereign states on a global scale.

Eurasia is the main target. Kosovar “independence” is part of a neo-colonial program with underlying economic and geo-political interests. The objective is to instate a New World order and establish hegemonic control over the global economy.

In this sense Kosovo provdes a blueprint, a “dress-rehearsal” which can now be applied to restructuring the economies and borders of the Middle East, under the Project for a “New Middle East.”

The restructuring model that is being applied in the former Yugoslavia is precisely what is intended for the Middle East — a process of balkanization and economic control.

Kosovo’s Pseudo-Declaration of Independence

On February 17, 2008, the secessionist province of Kosovo declared unilateral independence from the Republic of Serbia. The occasion was declared through an extraordinary gathering of the Kosovar Parliament and its executive bodies. Belgrade has not had any control over Kosovo since 1999, when NATO went to war with Serbia to impose control over Kosovo under humanitarian arguments.

President Fatmir Sejdiu, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and Parliament Speaker Jakup Krasniqi all marked the occasion with speeches inside and outside of the Kosovar Parliament.

Many in Kosovo’s ethic Albanian majority celebrated what they believed was a shift towards self-determination. The truth of the matter is that the Kosovar declaration of independence was a declaration of dependency and surrender to colonial forces.

Kosovar leaders have transformed their land into a colonial outpost of Franco-German and Anglo-American interests. February 17, 2008 also marked the day that Kosovo further entrenched itself as a NATO-E.U. protectorate. Under the so-called independence” roadmap, NATO and E.U. troops and police officers will formally administer Kosovo.

In reality, Kosovo would have had greater independence as an autonomous province in an agreement of autonomy with Serbia, which had been envisaged in bilateral talks between Belgrade and Pristina. The majority of Kosovars would have been satisfied under such an agreement.

However, the talks were never meant to succeed for two obvious reasons:

1) the leadership of Kosovo are agents of foreign interests that do not represent the Kosovar populaiton;

2) the U.S. and E.U. were determined to establish another protectorate in the former Yugoslavia.

Kosovo: Another phase in the Economic Colonization of the former Yugoslavia

One of the leading global academic figures who has thoroughly documented the foreign-induced disintegration of Yugoslavia and the situation in Kosovo is Michel Chossudovsky. He has documented the economic and geo-strategic motives that have acted as the fingers pulling the strings that have caused the collapse of Yugoslavia and the drive for the independence of Kosovo from Serbia. His work unmasks the truth behind the downfall of Yugoslavia and the tactics being used to divide nations and peoples who have lived together in peace for hundreds of years.

A glance at the restructuring of Bosnia-Herzegovina must be made before further discussing the case of Kosovo.

Bosnia’s constitution was written at a U.S. Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio by U.S. and European “experts.”

Chossoduvsky appropriately labels Bosnia-Herzegovina as a neo-colonial entity. NATO troops have dominated Bosnia-Herzegovina, closely followed by the imposition of a new political and economic framework and model.

Chossudovsky’s work also reveals that the real head of the Bosnian government, the High Representative, and the head of the Bosnian Central Bank are both foreigners that are hand-picked by the European Union, the U.S., and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). [1] This is a clear re-enactment of a colonial administration.

This model has also been replicated with some variations in several of the former republics of the Yugoslav federation. The major obstacle to the full implementation of this agenda is the popular will of the local people in the former Yugoslavia, especially the Serbs.

Serbia, like an island of resistance, is the last bastion of independence left in the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans, but even in Serbia a modus vivendi exists where the local people have made a one-sided accommodation with the foreign economic agenda to allow their way of life to go on for a little longer. However, this accommodation is not meant to last.

The same Political and Socio-Economic Model is being applied in the Balkans and the Middle East

The process in Iraq is no different than the model applied in the former Yugoslavia. Divisions are fueled by foreign catalysts, the economy is destabilized, national dissolution is induced, and a new politico-socio-economic order is established.

Foreign interference and military intervention are also justified on bogus humanitarian grounds. It is no coincidence that a “High Representative” was appointed by the US led coaltion to govern Iraq, thereby replicating the Bosnia-Herzegovina model, which is characterised by E.U. appointed “High Representative”. The pattern should start becoming startlingly familiar!

The parallels between Iraq and the former Yugoslavia are endless.

In the wake of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, the U.S. and Britain established the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), which evolved into the Coalition Provisional Authority.

The head of the Coalition Provisional Authority was also called “Special Representative,” “Governor,” “Special Envoy,” and “Consul.”

The justifications for setting up the occupation administration in Iraq, similarly to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where originally humanitarian and national stabilization. However, the main objectives of the Coalition Provisional Authority were to decentralize the state and implement a mass privatization program.

It is no coincidence that Bosnia-Herzegovina was divided alongside ethnic and religious lines: Serb, Croat, and Bosniak; Christian Muslim. To these various ethnic-religious divisions, however, further sectarian divisions were created: Eastern Orthodoxy versus Roman Catholicism.

A similar strategy of “divide and rule” was applied in Iraq. Just like in the former Yugoslavia the centralized economic system of Iraq was also shattered by the occupying administration. Under the Anglo-American occupation and its Coalition Provisional Authority foreign corporations entered Iraq in a second wave of foreign invasion, an economic takeover.

The neo-colonial project is based on two inderdependent building blocks: a military stage executed by NATO and process of political, social and economic restructuring executed by the U.S. and E.U. with the help of corrupt local leaders. The shock and awe of war opens the door for destabilization followed by “nation building” or the restructuring process, which even attacks the cultural and social roots of the target nation-state.

The Economic Colonization of Kosovo

The economic affairs of Kosovo are to be exclusively under the hands of the E.U. in partnership with the United States. The euro was already being used in Kosovo, despite of the protests of Belgrade, as the official currency for a number of years before 2008. The utilization of the euro was part of the process of untying the Kosovar economy from the rest of the Serbian economy and a means of establishing control over the sovereignty of Kosovo via monetary and financial means.

The Kosovar flag has been designed to match both the flags of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the European Union. The Bosnian flag was also designed to match the flag of the European Union.

This unraveling process has been the modus operandi throughout the former Yugoslavia. The key players behind this process are the usual players; the U.S., Germany, Britain, and France, which have been sharing the spoils of war and economic colonization in the former Yugoslavia. NATO and the E.U. have been the agents of this process on behalf of all four Western powers.

An Illegal Precedent: Paving the Way for the Dismantlement of other Nation-States

In the realm of international law, a Pandora’s Box has been opened. A new form of interventionism which threatens nation-states has emerged. Worldwide, nations have been divided into two camps in regards to Kosovo: those that recognize it at the expense of international law and those that do not recognize Kosovar independence.

There are profound implications in regards to the events in Yugoslavia. The law of the jungle and the concept that “might is right” have been unveiled as the true ideals of E.U. and American foreign policy. From Somalia, Sudan, and Iraq to the Russian Federation and Central Asia, a dangerous precedent has been established. The latter is intent upon fracturing and dividing.

The E.U. and NATO have also threatened Belgrade and the Serbian people with military action if they try and keep Kosovo. NATO had prepared for Kosovar independence through the holding of war games in late-2007. As Germany has admitted, negotiations for a solution were never taken seriously by Western powers from the start. NATO’s military preparations for the secession of Kosovo suggests that the negotiations were a diplomatic game, which was intended to succeed.

The global ramifications of EU-US interentionism are significant. Nations combating secessionist movements worldwide have voiced disapproval of the Kosovar declaration of Independence, while espressing apprehension regarding the enthusiastic support shown by American, German, British, and French officials.

China has voiced disapproval out of fears that Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) may declare independence under the precedent set by Kosovo. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Spain, the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Russia have all voiced opposition because of their own secessionist movements such as the Tamil Tigers and the Basque separatist group ETA.

Ramifications of the Kosovo Precedent in the Caucasus and the Former Soviet Space

While fully acknowledging the fact that the Kosovo precedent is internationally illegal, Moscow has nonetheless used the Kosovo precedent against Georgia. Moscow’s objective is to strengthen its control in the geo-strategically important Caucasus region. Georgia has opposed the push by Kosovar Albanians for independence because of secessionist movements in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Adjara. While Adjaran separatism has become prominent, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have standing armies, with close ties to Moscow, and are virtually independent.

Russia is arguing that if the U.S. and E.U. recognize the independence of Kosovo, then the independence of Abkhazia and South Oesstia must also be recognized.

The Kosovar declaration of independence also has ramifications for Trans-Dniester (also known as Transnistria or Transdniestria), a tiny breakaway Russian-majority portion of Moldava.

The effects of Kosovar independence have also been watched carefully by the leaders of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, because of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. In the cases of Trans-Dniester, Nagorno-Krabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia, all four breakaway republics believe they have far stronger cases for lobbying for official recognition by the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.), Russia, and the United Nations.

Map

Preparing a Dangerous Precedent for the Middle East and Beyond

The ghosts of Versailles and earlier schemes still hunt humanity. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s seemingly good intentioned declaration of creating an arc of “national self-determination” stretching from the Baltic Sea and the Balkans to the Middle East after the First World War is coming into fruition.

Since the First World War, the larger and more powerful states of Eastern Europe and the Middle East have progressively been carved up into smaller and weaker states. This process was part of a colonial project to control the Eurasian Heartland [2]

The board is being set for the recognition of new states in a redrawn Middle East in total disregard for international law. The Kosovar declaration of independence from Serbia is part of the broader post-Cold War balkanization and dismantlement of Yugoslavia. Kosovar “independence” serves to extend Anglo-American and Franco-German influence across the globe. This model is tied in a straight line with the forthcoming plans in the Middle East to breakup countries such as Iraq, Syria, and Iran in fragmented and easy to control protectorates managed by the E.U., the U.S., and Israel.

Russia and China also are aware of the real danger of dividing their territory as has been advocated for years by Anglo-American policy makes in Washington, D.C. and London. Iran is also aware of a Kosovo-like scenario planned for its predominately Arab regions in Khuzestan. The declaration of independence was also closely watched by the Kurdish Regional Government of Northern Iraq.

Middle East map

larger view

The synchronization of other global events with Kosovo Independence: Coincidence?

The “Arc of Instability” is yet again being exasperated and agitated. In Pakistan threats of civil war and balkanization loom large. In the Levant one of Hezbollah’s top officials, Imad Mughniyeh, was assassinated in Syria by a car bomb similarly to those killing Lebanese politicians.

Most probably Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated by the Mossad, the intelligence agency of Israel. American, Jordanian, Saudi, French, British, and German intelligence were almost all likely to be involved. It is an open secret that all these intelligence agencies have been collaborating together in Lebanon against Hezbollah and have been behind attempts to assassinate Hezbollah leaders. The timing of the assassination is extremely suspicious.

Mughniyeh’s assassination also came just before the anniversary of the Hariri Assassination and could have been meant to further galvanized political tensions in Lebanon. Israel has denied being behind the assassination, but it is now talking about a new war with Lebanon that it conveniently plans to blame Hezbollah for starting with the help of Syria and Iran.

The rupture of multiple conflicts and crises can be a means to also encircle and envelope the westernmost periphery of Russia within an arc of conflict or in other words there may be a deliberate attempt to supersaturate the “Arc of Instability” to paralyze Russia and other opposing players.

A Prepackaged Solution: Supranationalism?

The leadership in Serbia is playing a balancing act between its people and foreign interests. The Serbian people are against the foreign agenda in their region, but the leadership in Serbia is the spawn of a Western-funded and supported Velvet Revolution that occurred in 2000 and ousted Slobodan Milosevic. A large portion of Belgrade’s leadership supports the foreign agenda and has been co-opted into the neo-liberal restructuring project for the Balkans. The fact that the U.S. and the E.U. became major paymasters for Serbia after the Kosovo War is a mere testimony to this.

Surpanationalism or entry into the E.U. or a larger supranational entity for both Serbia and Kosovo is most probably going to be presented as the solution for Kosovar independence. Similar such a solution may also be presented for a balkanized Middle East through such projects as the Mediterranean Union. Supranationalism is also being pressed as an answer to the unification of Cyprus under the Mediterranean Union.

Returning to Serbia and Kosovo, many of the leaders of Serbia are opposing Kosovar succession, but this is merely a façade that is meant to occupy the minds of the Serbian general public. These same leaders are taking a soft stance on the issue and also moving towards integration into the European Union. To them, like the case of Québec, supranationalism is a solution.

On the Eve of the New World Order: Welcome to the Rule of the Jungle

While the E.U. pushes for a bridge to end national and ethnic divisions amongst its own members it does the opposite in the cases of Kosovo and other regions. Is not the American Civil War marked with honour, because the Union States fought a war to keep the Confederate States within the “American Union” by force?

Whatever the case, the hypocrisy of the E.U. and the U.S. in international relations is exposed by the recognition of Kosovar independence. Firstly, it is a breach of international law, but also it is insincere and for self-serving motives and not because of genuine principles or concerns for the people of Kosovo.

In addition, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has a far more legitimate case of being recognized in addition to its own institutions and maturity. Although there is a secure and stable means to peacefully address the desires of the Basque and the Catalans in the Pyrenees and the Flemish in the Flanders region of Belgium, these separatist movements are also ignored.

The Armenian majority in Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence on December 10, 1991. Yet, the self-proclaimed and functioning breakaway republic enjoys no backing from either the U.S. or the E.U. unlike Kosovo. What sets Northern Cyprus, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and Trans-Dniester apart from Kosovo? The answer is: Anglo-American and Franco-German interests represented through the E.U. and NATO are the forces behind self-serving “exceptionalism” — the same force that permitted the Nazis to believe that they could colonize Eastern Europe and the Eurasian Heartland without guilt.

American and European Union leaders have argued that the Serbs are no longer morally capable of managing the affairs of Kosovo. What gives the governments of the U.S., Germany, France, and Britain any moral capability after years of blood baths and a deficit in credibility? If these claims where based on any principle then what about the case of the Palestinians? Does Israel have any moral capability to occupy the Palestinians? Yet, the occupation continues. Ironically it is not Serbian troops who occupy Kosovo, but NATO troops and tanks.

NOTES

[1] Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, (Montreal, Global Research, 2003), pp.257-277.

[2] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, The “Great Game:” Eurasia and History of War, Global Research, December 3, 2007.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is an independent writer based in Ottawa specializing in Middle Eastern affairs. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

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© Copyright Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8132

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Kosovo “Independence” in Pictures and Flags

Large Potential Albanian Oil & Gas Discovery Underscores Kosovo’s Importance by Stephen Lendman

First Kosovo… now South Ossetia & Abkhazia?

Kosovo: conflict through the centuries (video)

NATO and Israel: Instruments of America’s Wars in the Middle East by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

The “Great Game”: Eurasia and the History of War by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Chossudovsky-Michel

Nazemroaya-Mahdi Darius