Thursday, July 27, 2006
Israel's Carte Blanche. posted by Richard SeymourAccording to an Israeli minister in failing to agree on a call for an immediate Middle East ceasefire, the world has given Israel permission to continue with the destruction of Lebanon. So, Israel has taken the initiative, blowing up a residential block of flats in Tyre, which has sparked an exodus - exactly what the Israelis have been trying to effect with some success across the whole of Lebanon south of the Litani - in fact, it is hard to believe given their tactics elsewhere that they intend to let it rest at the Litani. Here is a map of Israeli bombardment as of 25th (click to enlarge):
(Via Lebanon Updates).
See that? Certainly a large concentration of attacks across the south, which they have openly advertised they intend to ethnically cleanse and annexe, but they're basically terrorising the whole country. As you'll note from the Fact Box in the graphic, the infrastructure is especially being targeted. Israel certainly wants a ruined Lebanon to lord it over, and dispelling the civilian population has the purpose for them of depriving Hezbollah fighters of the base of support in which they move. It is Fallujah many times over. They know, of course, that by destroying roads, targeting fleeing vehicles, blowing up ambulances, destroying airports, blockading the seaside ports and basically targeting any means of transport more sophisticated than a bicycle, they are making it extremely difficult for people to escape to anywhere safe. But that's fine too, because they also know that in targeting Hezbollah they are targeting a huge (and growing) part of the Lebanese population. The greasy disavowal from American neoconservatives like William Kristol and Brit Hume - oh, Israel doesn't want to harm civilians, but of these terrorists insist on hiding... - must echo some contemptuous AIPAC press release. The Israeli government knows full well that it is up against the Lebanese people: the Christian forces, the communists, Hezbollah and even their rivals Amal are all fighting.
Some Western commentators are spilling delusional shit here: Clinton Bailey writes for the IHT that once the poor Shi'ites of Lebanon return to their homes with so much lost "as a result of Hezbollah's policies", they will turn to Amal and the latter will offer a more hopeful message and they will learn to live with Israel and be pro-Western etc. This is insane, and also obviously racist: the idea that those traumatised survivors are going to simply accept that Israel has given them a good drubbing and taught them a lesson in who to vote for is a fantasy that only emerge from the epicentre of Washington's intimate circle. What is going to happen is that more and more Lebanese people who were not armed before are going to become armed, and they are going to cause Israeli soldiers to die. Israel can destroy the country, can uproot everything the Lebanese people have built for themselves, but they could not persuade the Lebanese people, even if they wanted to, that it was all for their own good. Have a look for yourself:
An apocalyptic landscape - the kind that Hollywood has prepared us to find a kind of aesthetic pleasure in. The photographer knew what s/he was doing - unlike many of the sickening, gory photographs documenting the effects of Israel's bombs, this one might have made into Time or Newsweek. (I wonder if, when the CIA was running the cultural Cold War, someone spoke up at a meeting: "The average citizen spends most of their day fantasising, especially while at work. If we leave them to it, they'll fantasise about killing the boss or - worse - overthrowing the boss. But what if we could supply the material? What if we could show them that war is beautiful, unionised labour is crooked, neighbours are untrustworthy, women are unstable, Arabs are dangerous, commies are menacing, and people are basically too stupid, selfish, cruel, vindictive, pitiless, narcissistic and vengeful to ever live any other way?" And someone else said: "Well, duh!" Having for decades reinforced a perception of human beings as conditioned by Original Sin, they could then teach people that the end of the world wouldn't be such a bad thing).
Unlike the half-wits posing as strategists in Washington and New York, few in Israel can be under any doubt that to see this through is not to restore the status quo on slightly better terms for Israel. It is to plunge into Iran and Syria, creating enormous destruction, with the intention of brutally refashioning the whole region as a massive desert 'lily-pad' for the United States.