After the recent Israeli attacks against Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, the Middle East has found itself in the midst of undeclared war.
Almost everyone in Lebanon appears to agree. “This time Israel went too far. In just two days, it bombed three countries,” I am told by a local UN staffer based in Beirut.
The same day, my local barber was talking like he saw it all, his voice full of sarcasm and determination:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing tough elections at home, while his wife is on trial for fraud. A bit of excitement during the evening news can only help his chances of regaining attention from his electorate. But we here have had enough; we are ready to fight for our countries.”
But ‘fighting for their countries’ could prove lethal, as Netanyahu threatened to attack Lebanon as a whole, if Hezbollah decides to retaliate.
My barber is not just a barber. He is a Syrian engineer, exiled in Lebanon. The entire region is dispersed, derailed and intertwined, after NATO and Israeli attacks, occupations and destabilization campaigns.
On August 25, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, put it bluntly during his televised speech in Lebanon:
The dawn suicide attack is the first act of aggression since August 14, 2006. The Lebanese state’s condemnation of what happened and referral of the matter to the Security Council is good, but these steps do not prevent the course of action to be taken. Since 2000, we have allowed Israeli drones for many reasons but no one moved. Israeli drones entering Lebanon are no longer collecting information, but [carrying out] assassinations. From now on, we will face the Israeli drones when they enter the skies of Lebanon and we will work to bring them down. I tell the Israelis that Netanyahu is running with your blood.”
President of Lebanon Michel Aoun went even further, calling the drone attack against his country a “declaration of war.”
Meanwhile, a powerful block in the Iraqi Parliament – the Fatah Coalition – insists on holding the US “fully responsible” for the Israeli attacks, “which we consider to be a declaration of war on Iraq and its people.” The Fatah Coalition wants all US troops to get out of Iraq, as soon as possible.
There is no doubt that Mr Netanyahu, with his recent combat-drone incursions and bombings, has thrown the entire region into great and unexpected turmoil.
Israel has been regularly attacking Syria and bombing Palestine for decades. But Lebanon is a totally different story: only its airspace has been habitually violated by the Israeli jets flying towards the Syrian targets. Bombing Iraq is also clearly an escalation of Israel’s bellicose strategy. A bizarre escalation, considering that Iraq is still de facto a state occupied by Israel’s closest ally – the United States.
Everything that is Shia – short of Iran itself (for now) – suddenly became a ‘legitimate target’ for Israel. For many years, Shia Islam has been synonymous with the ideological resistance to Western imperialism in the Middle East: Iran itself, several factions inside Iraq, and Hezbollah, among others.
Lebanon is deeply divided
Lebanon is one of the most ‘strategic’ countries in the Middle East and the most divided one. It is based on a ‘confessional’ system. Its government is always at least ‘shaky,’ but often totally dysfunctional. Compared to its Israeli counterpart, its air force consists of toy aircraft, like converted Cessnas.
The latest Maserati and Ferrari cars drive past some of the most miserable slums in the Middle East. Posh restaurants and cafes are often just a few meters away from destitute beggars. There are hundreds of thousands of refugees in this tiny country, from all over the region: Palestinians, living in dangerous, overcrowded camps with very little hope; Iraqis fleeing war and NATO occupation; and victims of the Syrian war.
The Lebanese government and the elites are profiting from the refugee crises, allegedly pocketing money from ‘foreign aid.’ Almost nothing is left for social services, or even for defense, let alone for the poor and the lower-middle class.
Hezbollah, on the contrary, is providing social services including food supplies, medical care and education to all people residing on Lebanese territory, regardless of race or religion. Plus, it is fighting Israeli invasions, taking into its ranks all Lebanese citizens who want to join. It also fights terrorists in Syria. It is closely linked to Iran. All this, of course, infuriates the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Hezbollah is firmly on the ‘terrorist list’ of the West and its associates.
Israel is using the fight against Hezbollah and against Iranian-allied positions to justify bombing various countries in the region. It keeps ‘uncovering new plots’ and carrying out ‘pre-emptive strikes’ with the full support of the US administration.
During the latest escalation, Israel reportedly conducted three drone strikes in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley on a base belonging to the secular, Marxist-Leninist, pro-Syrian group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is, predictably, an ally of Hezbollah.
Just a few days ago, I managed to drive to the border between Lebanon and Israel, and then went east, following the so-called Blue Line which is patrolled by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), for tens of kilometers.
Israelis have already erected a wall almost all the way from the Mediterranean Sea to the Golan Heights – the Lebanese frontier.
More than a year ago, the government of Lebanon claimed that ‘building the wall would amount to an act of war.’ Israel couldn’t care less. It put up a huge concrete structure right in front of the Lebanese Army, Hezbollah, and UNIFIL.
“On many occasions, Israelis actually crossed the border, at least a few meters or centimeters, while erecting the wall,” I was told by several local farmers in the village of Markaba. And nothing happened.
At the town of Kfarchouba, known as a Hezbollah stronghold right next to an eerie wall decorated with children’s drawings, people told me that they are “ready for a conflict; ready to die… if necessary.”
Kfarshouba is where the Israelis ‘discovered Hezbollah tunnels,’ which was an official justification for the construction of the walls.
“Nonsense,” I was told by the locals. “Tunnels were there for decades, and Israelis knew about them all along. They were fully barricaded for many years and posed no danger to Israel.”
Right in front of the horrid new Israeli fence, three flags are waving in the wind – those of Palestine, Lebanon and Hezbollah. Next to them, three UNIFIL armored vehicles are parked. Indonesian soldiers are resting, taking selfies.
“Are you going to take action if Israel crosses the line?” I ask them.
They are grinning at me. No coherent reply is given.
The Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are just 10km from this point. And several Israeli villages and towns are right behind the wall.
With the firepower that Hezbollah has, they could be leveled to the ground in just one minute. Although Hezbollah is apparently on ‘high alert,’ so far, the talk about ‘retaliation’ is just talk.
‘Inertia is like slow death to Lebanon’
In order to bomb targets inside Iraq, Israeli jets had to fly either over the territory of its former ally, Turkey, or over Saudi Arabia. As reported by Al-Jazeera:
Israel and the Saudis do not have formal diplomatic relations but are believed to have established a behind-the-scenes alliance based on their shared hostility towards Iran.”
Is Israel trying to provoke several Arab countries of the Middle East into yet another war?
Or is this just another ‘humiliation’? Are Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad just going to count punches and remain idle? Are they going to quote, again and again, the UN resolutions, while Israel continuously bombs their cities and countryside, with total impunity and with the approval of the West?
It is a very tough decision to make. If Lebanon or Hezbollah decide to retaliate, or simply protect their country, thousands will die. Perhaps immediately.
If they don’t retaliate, new walls will be erected, and the ‘low-key’ bombing campaigns by the Israelis will continue for, most likely, many years to come. As a result, the entire region will continue to be paralyzed.
My local colleague was more expressive: “This inertia is like a slow death for the whole of Lebanon.”
For direct-transfer bank details click here.
Cheer up, Andre, the mouse has roared:
‘No Red Lines’: Hezbollah Leader Nasrallah Announces ‘New Phase’ in retaliation against Israel bombing Lebanon
“Hassan Nasrallah has issued a stark warning to Israel, saying that if Israel attacks Lebanon again, all Israel will be at risk.
In what he described as a clear message to Israel, the Hezb’Allah leader said that Israel’s latest escalation of tensions marked the start of a new phase of retaliation by the Lebanese resistance movement. The Rev.Nasr’Allah vowed to attack deep inside Israel if his country was targeted again.”
[And the Rev is a man of his word — as vexarb pointed out a few days ago when Nutty Yahoo yet again in his disastrous career risked Israeli lives and Israel’s reputation with a “Rally Round the Flag Boys” election stunt. The Yahoo calculated: “It worked in Gaza; got me elected — lost 100 troops and had to retreat, but I became Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister. Repeat in Lebanon, get same result.” But vexarb wonders: Why do people say, Karma is a bitch?]
@V. Chuckle, then there’s the fact that if people keep on making the same mistakes, expecting different results >>> now that is both Karma, a bitch & deputy dawg gone hilariously M.A.D. & though …
I’m genuinely sorry to reflect with humour on what constitutes certain death, blood, gore, lifelong pain & a remaining memory of stench, in anguish for many, however, when I study the deliberately staged & failed education systems in the West and their academics & scientists, (that cannot teach the relationship between physiology & psychology, Pavlov, critical thinking or the USS Liberty), having witnessed genocide personally, not just once, ‘it’, the news, has all become so laughable that I find the people who take themselves, let alone politics, seriously, are wholly deluded … & poorly educated !
Back2Music Vexarb, our only solace & beauty in life, coz’ SCIENCE is dead …
Until we establish some common basic universal rules of Physics and resolve WTC 7, primarily WHY it happened, not just how & what happened? Eternal SHAME on all ‘yanks’ & 5Eyed Planks with a wholly failed educational system, that is worse than primitive, in fact, the only way of describing the teaching profession in the West, presently is best articulated by Jim Jeffries … who himself is a dumbed down ‘C’ bomber … 😉
I love the sentiment of what you say but to frame 9/11 research as being about physics, only serves to propogate widespread “dumb cuntery”, I’m afraid. It doesn’t matter how building 7 came down, to be honest. The real research is concerned with WHO is responsible for 9/11? Not physics. Yes, they are obviously lying about the building collapses. OK, who is lying and how are they getting away with it?
Quality 9/11 research:
War By Deception
Mucho, you are right, the physics has proved beyond doubt that the Bush / Cheney regime issued a false report. It is now up to the Law to identify those criminals of the Bush / Cheney regime.
“There’s a man in this County who thinks he’s above the Law, and we are going to get him.” — Sheriff to his posse. It’s ‘s simple as that.
Russia has invited NATO member countries to join a voluntary moratorium on the deployment. There is no answer:
NATO does not agree to a “voluntary moratorium” on INF
When the far away war is lost then it has to get down and dirty on your own doorstep.
Fukus is defeated and pulling out of Syria and Ukraine, it has no traction on Iran or the Chinese borderlands.
And there is giant full oil tanker zig zaging up and down that coastline. I do hope it doesn’t end up wrecking the seas and beaches by sinking there because an excuse to attack it is being waited upon.
A thought just crossed my mind. What if those beleaguered Nations receive appropriate drone/air defences? Would the aggressors be able to continue their attacks, if any and all of their by tax payers financed weapons are blown up in the air? Doesn’t Russia possess an air defense that can handle drone swarms? Would it not be in Russia’s interest to avoid a conflagration int he Middle East that has a higher potential to go nuclear than India versus Pakistan? For a state that does not perpetrate crimes against humanity, because it does not see those it eradicates as humans, the chances to use nukes are much higher. After all, they would use them against sub-humans and the Security Council never had a problem with that.
Quite tragic, how the abused make for even greater abusers when they are given that chance.
Another caustic comment from Syrian Perspective:
“Daniel Rich #300819
In a nutshell:
Hezbollah attacks the Apart-Hate State’s military targets.
The Apart-Hate State targets a Lebanese village and starts a forest fire”
Things are escalating. Have been checking SouthFront for up to date news on this story. While the Anglo Zionist Empire exists, and while the international rules based West (oxymoron) continue to turn a blind eye to Israel’s repeated aggressions against its neighbours, nothing will change. Neighbouring countries will continue to be attacked and destabilised.
Very interesting that on ABC News online, not a word about what is happening on the Lebanese border. Not a squeak.
I relented my media boycott, and watched SBS News story on the escalation between Hezbollah and Israel. Most enlightening that this all began because of “the alleged drone attacks by Israel”. Yes…. Alleged.
I think I’ll continue getting my news from SouthFront and other independent sites like OffGuardian and The Saker.
I’m surprised Western leaders havn’t started the ‘Israel has the right to defend itself’ mantra. Nothing much changes.
My thoughts exactly Gezzah! Because Israel didn’t acknowledge its strikes in Iraq, or its attack that killed two Hezbollah guys, but it did admit to sending the drones into South Beirut with some stupid excuse. Initially SBS said this, but in tonight’s report it was all from Israel’s perspective; no mention of Michel Aoun denouncing the act of war.
But SBS didn’t bother to tell us something else – that Netanyahu declared yesterday that he would annex West Bank settlement areas, and Palestinians are demanding international condemnation.
Oh the irony, commemorating 80 years since the starting of WW2…
I do try and boycott the mainstream stenographers here, including SBS and ABC, but made an exception on this story. I must be a glutton for punishment coz after watching the SBS story, I then watched it on ABC. They made sure viewers got the message: “the militant Iran backed group Hezbollah”. Hmmm, militant and Iran backed, all in the one sentence.
I never heard them say anything like ‘Israeli aggression’ etc. Perhaps ‘Manufacturing Consent’ should be available in all secondary schools!?
Oz media are now just full blown mouthpieces for Empire and Imperialism. Thank goodness we have sites like this one to vent on. I noted the ‘story’ on Four Corners tonight. And turned my TV off. Enough newspeak for one night. Thanks for your reply David.
If you still felt the need to understand the enemy tonight Gezzah, the SBS report on the latest development was mind-boggling. Alongside a video that quite clearly showed Hezbollah’s TOW missile blowing up an Israeli vehicle, in which occupants must have been killed or injured, we have Bibi explaining that Israel tricked Hezbollah into thinking their strike was successful so that Nasrallah wouldn’t launch any more attacks and peace would reign in the holy land. SBS then showed photos they said were faked, of soldiers bloodied being airlifted, despite having said at the time that noone had been injured.
Then it was said that Israel had prepared to launch a massive strike on Lebanon, but had called it off when they found no Israelis had been killed.
It’s hard to get your head around the layer of deceit here, including the question over why Israel launched WP into S Lebanon and set fire to fields. Electioneering video footage seems the only explanation – “we smote them with fire…”
So the drone attack on South Beirut was a provocation, and an attack prepared to follow Hezbollah’s response, just as with Trump and his Global Hawk. The Israelis didn’t expect to see their tanks victim to their terrorist friends favourite weapon.
Thanks for sitting thru that…#*@¥*! and reporting back David. After Monday night, that was enough Orwellian newspeak for one week! Didn’t watch the ‘News’ last night, music instead.
Any updates, will get them from Moon Of Alabama, SouthFront, here, etc. The excellent Aussie blog Middle East Reality Check is taking a break at the moment. He does a great job showing up the sheer hypocrisy and sniveling bias of the presstitutes in Oz. Regards your reply…. Jayzus. No wonder so many are so ignorant. But we know why this is being done, aye.
Lying by omission is par for the course when the Australian media is reporting on Israel/Palestine and the Middle East generally.
I know, I know…. There’s an excellent Aussie blog called Middle East Reality Check that really shines a light on the bias shown towards Israel in the Australian ‘media’ (presstitutes) and amongst politicians here. Very enlightening, tho he hasn’t posted since early August, but a must for understanding the sheer dishonesty, brown nosing, obfuscation and hypocrisy in Oz.
BDS BDS BDS BDS BDS BDS THE APART HATE STATE ISROIL!
Andre’s title confirms yesterday’s joke in SyrPer:
“Whozhear BTL #300746
It looks like Nutty Yahoo is on the cusp of doing in Lebanon what no one else has ever been able to achive……..
Hope my fellow bloggers have had a wonderful weekend
Where 2 begin
Note post retaliation the VIGLIACCHI coward IDF or their Zionist cohorts have not done one thing to the recent Lebanese redress.. Sporadic shooting along the Beeeka valley and the nIDF have bombed Moraqa along the border. The resistance is ;locked and loaded and just waiting for the fascist anglo-zionist ashkanazi’s to just move one inch into Iraq ,Syria and Lebanon and ciao to the colonial outpost known as Israel.
Just look what pax-americana just recently did in Idlib . Just eliminated and bombed the to collect their 75 virgins a whole brigade of the Takfiris I wonder why????????
SAA have just secured all of Hama governate and have full control of the M1 and M5 highway that goes from Damascus to Aleppo and Idlib. The end is nigh and pax-american is on its last legs just like the British Empire of the last century prior to WW1 they need a war at all costs or else sudden death.
POST SCRIPTUM: Lets hope for the later
Israelis have already erected a wall almost all the way from the Mediterranean Sea to the Golan Heights – the Lebanese frontier.
A wall is only “an act of war” for Islamists (Dar al-Harb)who want to re-concur all lands they once raided and plundered, for others it is a de-fence.
Will no one rid us of this troublesome shill?
milosevic, if I knew where Canterbury was I’d ride there.
Just for you it reminds me of that old joke where on arriving in Heaven every person is met by their version of the supreme deity and shown the whole beautiful lands and cities – and all peoples are there and all religions, when they come past a gigantic circular walled land
“But what’s that asks the new arrivee ? ”
“Oh that’s [fill in your own choice] , they think they are the only ones here” replies the deity.
Funny? And no it aint racist, xenophobic or anti-religion – it is a joke.
Having lost 2 wars against Hezbollah in 2000 and 2006, the Zionist Regime, as usual, wants its Shabbos goy stooges in Washington and Brussels to do its fighting for it. It is supported in this by the Quisling Dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.
This is the first time it has attacked Lebanon itself since 2006, though there were no actual casualties in Beirut. The result was the fairly minor clash on the border. Hezbollah would be unwise to draw back now, without drawing blood. To do so would only encourage further Zionist aggression, with one attack following another and becoming more serious.
There have been hundreds of air attacks in Syria in support of Zionist terror proxies. Every attack that goes unanswered only encourages further aggression. The attack on Beirut was one of a series of virtually simultaneous attacks on 3 countries.
There will be a further escalation of Zionist aggression until they are confronted with firm resistance. If Assad responded to every Zionist attack with a single Scud missile strike directed at an air base or some other target, there would be an immediate reduction in Zionist attacks, regardless of whether the target was hit. The Zionist Regime would have to realise they could not carry out attacks with impunity.
These attacks were obviously carried out in coordination with Trump, Pompeo and Bolton. They are part of a general pattern of escalation against Iran throughout the region. It is essential that this meets with a firm response, like the shooting down of the US drone and the seizure of the UK tanker.
It is in the nature of these people that if given an inch they take a mile. Any restraint or failure to act is just taken for weakness.
I agree in principle about appeasement but there are times you have to bide your time. This is one of them in the case of Israel.
Israel is strong militarily. Lebanon is weak. Hezbollah is strong however.
As the author says there are divisions in Lebanon- Hezbollah has more support now but can’t do anything reckless which undermines that and brings war to Lebanon where it is pounded day in day out. It is a chess game where brains will be the eventual winner. This same game is being played out by Syria and Russia with results, despite the obvious frustration they can’t finish off Al Qaeda as quickly as they want.
Israel is reckless and one day soon will make a big tactical mistake which Hezbollah and it’s allies will be able to capitalise on. The leaders of Israel and the US are so reckless and unstable that they react the same whether they are appeased or not. To avoid the region blowing up (and likely the world) it is best to play the long game. Politically and military this is the best option right now. It’s only a matter of time before Lebanon swings more fully being Hezbollah, Iraq becomes more assertive and public opinion goes against Israel. Then there will be a bigger and more united force able to stand up against the cancer in the region.
Israel needs a war soon but her enemies need war a bit later.
Matthias, it’s not Israel that needs this war, it’s Nutty Yahoo who needs to be re-elected soon to escape impending criminal prosecution. Nutty the Strong believes that starting a war always benefits a Strong Leader. It worked for Nutty in Gaza, it worked for BLiar in Iraq. Why should his starting the Karma of War work any different this time?
If there is another war, Nuttyyahoo and his stooge goy in the White House can kiss goodbye to their election chances.
They want to needle and needle and needle and escalate right up to the wire and get away with it. Letting them get away with this is playing their game. Every act of aggression needs a firm response. A line has to be drawn. They need to know that every act of aggression comes with a price tag.
“ If Assad responded to every Zionist attack with a single Scud missile strike directed at an air base or some other target, there would be an immediate reduction in Zionist attacks”
Naive or dangerous nonsense. Assad knows that if he did that then his palace would be demolished by Israel, and probably much more. You underestimate the right wing nutjobs.
To “right wing nutjobs” any restraint or moderation is just weakness, and leads to a situation where hundreds of attacks are carried out against Syria with impunity.
Whereas there have been no attacks in Lebanon for the past 13 years, until the recent incident. This is Netanyahu trying his luck to see what he can get away with. If there is no response, he will escalate further and launch further attacks.
Your position is that the genocidal Zionist Regime has to be allowed to bomb whenever it likes, and kill however many people it feels like, that Lebanon has to accept that it is another Gaza.
The Zionist Folk are good at dishing it out, not so good at taking it. When they come up against real men who hit back hard, they s*it their pants and run screaming to Uncle Sugar and all their Shabbos goys in Washington and London.
If your counsel had been followed, Lebanon would still be under Zionist occupation and covered with filthy illegal settlements.
The only thing the Zionist Regime regards as a deterrent is total, unlimited resistance.