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Lebanon: The Victimization of a Nation on the Path to Empire Building

By Mahdi D. Nazemroaya

The Second Cold War; the Unknown Cold War

Before, any further deliverance of the Israeli attacks on Lebanon are addressed it must be noted that after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the United States as the world’s soul superpowernow a ‘hyperpower,’ that seems to be on the declinethe United States intended to create unipolar world under a New World Order, but these objectives have all but disintegrated as multi-polar has emerged with contending centres of power and an interlinked world has been fermented through the forces and agents of globalization. The world is once again shrouded in a cold war, but this time a cold war shrouded in silence and concealment. One can only ask why? In asking this question the best possible answer is that if this Second Cold War became a matter of public knowledge, the United States would be the primary cause and antecedent of both blame and fault, thus the issue is concealed in the West, until sufficient blame can be laid on another state such as the Russian Federation, the Peoples’ Republic of China, and Iran.

The emergence of the equally concealed Shanghais Cooperation Organization (SCO), sometimes termed as ‘anti-NATO’ or the ‘NATO of the East,’ is a testimony to the emerging hostilities, rivalry, opposition, and competition between the United States and its immediate allies and an emerging bloc based on the core of the Sino-Russian partnership that has been necessitated by the Russian and Chinese recognition that ultimately they are in the crosshairs of American hegemony. This shed light on the American urge to control Afghanistan, the creation of a Russian petro-rubble system, U.S. bases in Central Asia, the American instigated movement towards the militarization of Japan, NATO expansion (one that is determinedfor underlying reasonsto exclude Russia?!), the Sino-Russian military manoeuvres such as Peace Mission 2005, the Coloured Revolutions in the republics of the former Soviet Union, and the evidently growing rift between the United States, on one side, and Russia and China, on the other side.

This potentially dangerous friction will be hushed in the United States so that the U.S. foreign agenda and policy are not opposed or derailed by mobilization of the general population, at least not until American objectives are concluded in the Middle East and Central Asia, but alas the road to greater conflict is slowly being paved through the brinkmanship of the corporate media which is slowly demonizing Russia and China.

The people of Lebanon, as are the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the former Yugoslavia before them, are victims of this ensuing struggle and Second Cold War to control resources, especially hydrocarbons. Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq were all campaigns of the same conflict that has now engulfed Lebanon with death, ruin, and destruction and threatens to engulf Syria, Iran, and beyond.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceylan Pipeline a juncture in the Second Cold War

On July 13, 2006, the day of the beginning of the Israeli onslaught against Lebanon, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipelinealso referred to as the Caspian-Mediterranean oil pipelinewas also formally opened; although oil was pumped through the oil pipeline earlier before its formal inauguration.

Its opening prior to July 13 in Baku was attended by the heads of state of Kazakstan (Kazakhstan), Georgia, Turkey, and, obviously, the Republic of Azarbaijan (Azerbaijan). The formal inaugural ceremony in Ceyhan, Turkey was again attended by the heads of state of Georgia, the Republic of Azarbaijan (Azerbaijan), and Turkey. The American sustained venture was drafted 10 years ago and was based on geo-strategic interests firstly and the secondly the diversification of American and Western European energy sources, striving for minimal dependency on Russia or Iran. Georgia, the Republic of Azarbaijan (Azerbaijan), and Turkey, along with the United States, have been trying to use their involvement in the now completed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project to as a counterbalance to Iranian and Russian economic and military influence and dominance in the Caucuses and the Caspian Basin. The European Union has effectively and gleefully condensed a portion of its dependency on Russia. The nations of the European Union have been striving for the diversification of their energy sources for years now and this objective was made painfully clear after Russia halted its gas to the European Union as a result of Russian-Ukrainian contention centred on the political shift of Ukraine outside the Kremlin’s orbit vis-à-vis the American-sponsored Orange Revolution. The American government and Western oil interests have now seen the realization of one of their main projects that has secured noteworthy quotas of Caspian hydrocarbon supplies and simultaneously challenged Russian and Iranian dominance or threats of energy supply routes from the Caspian Basin. The importance of this pipeline is highlighted by the speculation that Iranian military planners have in the possibility of any American aggression against Iran threatened to destroy the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline concurrently with preventing the flow of traffic, meaning oil tankers, in the Persian Gulf. The formal commencement of oil extraction from Ceylon, Turkey has brought the United States and its allies a step closer to the materialization of their ultimate goals of controlling and securing the energy resources of the Caucuses and Central Asia, and ultimately the whole of Eurasia, including the Russian Federation and China, but these aspirations of empire and hegemony are still a long way from being fully realized as resistance in the Middle East is demonstrating.

The formal opening date of this strategically placed energy terminal and the commencement date of the brutal Israeli aerial raids of Lebanon are symbolically linked, but that is as far as the symbolism is applied. There is a substantial linkage between the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, the geography of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceylan transit route, the American-Israeli project for the Greater Middle Eastrecently renamed the "New Middle East" by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Ricein league with the overlapping strategic interests of both, the rising demand for energy resources, and the Second Cold War.

If one looks at the geographic location of Ceyhan, they will see that it is an important port in the Turkish south-western province of Adana, located in relatively close proximity to both Lebanon and Syria in the Eastern Mediterranean. Now, with the consideration of ensuing conflict over energy resources between the United States and its allies, in one camp, and Russia and China, in another camp, in consideration one will also recognize the fact that the security or ability to control this energy terminal is of necessary and strategic importance. With this point one can now advance further towards understanding the principal reasons for American-sponsored Israeli aggression in Lebanon or at least a vital aspect of such motivation.

More Signs of Tension between Russia and the United States

As the American drive towards hegemony is intensifying there is greater probability of conflict between the United States, Britain, and Israel with Syria and Iran, but what usually goes unnoticed is that Russia and China are also ultimately strategic objectives; both Russia and China still have U.S. nuclear weapons pointed at them, which still says something about their relationship(s) with the United States.

In fact, during a joint press conference, during the start of the Israeli aerial attacks on Lebanon, in St. Petersburg, Russia, the American President, George W. Bush Jr., told reporters about how he had concerns about democracy in the Russian Federation. "I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world, like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion, and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same," the American President said condescendingly in front of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Putin’s immediate response was, "We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy that they have in Iraq, quite honestly."

These statements are the mild initiations of a propaganda phase for future conflict with Russia itself; the United States was not to worried when Boris Yeltsin was openly defying democratic traditions to initiate programs opposed by the Russian Duma (Parliament) that benefited the United States and Bretton Woods Institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, but what was very significant was the fact to the United States has blocked Russian entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the statements of President Putin and Russian officials at the Group of Eight (G-8) Summit, with the central theme of ‘Energy Security,’ on energy security and the Israeli attacks on Lebanon. Russia highlighted its role as an energy broker, point of transit, and energy superpowerwhich was reinforced by the Russian agenda to create a new energy club at the SCO Summit in Shanghai, China and in collaboration with Iran, termed as a ‘New OPEC.’ The Russian also stated that there was a lot more to the Israeli agenda than merely getting back their two captured soldiers.

Russian Base in Syria, a Symmetrical Strategic Move

Russian military officials have consistently denied reports that Russia is creating a permanent naval base in Tartus, Syria that would give it a Mediterranean outpost and represent a major shift in the regional security balance of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Levant, and the Middle East as a whole. Reports were emerging long before the Israeli attacks on Lebanon that Russia had begun work on deepening the Syrian maritime port of Tartus, used by the Soviet Union and later Russia as a supply point since the Cold War, and widening a channel in Latakia, another Syrian port. Both Tartus and Latakia are significant for both Syria and Russia in that they face the outlet of the Ceyhan endthe receiving endof the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil terminal giving Russia and its partners the ability to disrupt or secure the port and route during the possibility of the eruption of any future war(s) with the United States.

The establishment of this Russian project has been presented as an alternative hub for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, in the Ukraine, but this seems to be undermined by upgrading and expansion of the Russian naval port of Novorossysk off the eastern margins of the Black Sea. The creation or expansion of naval or military bases off the Syrian coast and Russian coast off the Black Sea seem to imply the future employment of two different forces with different applications for the national and security interests of Russia.

The Russian expansion of the Tartus includes the installation of an air defence system with S-300 PMU2 Favourite ballistic missile system that would be a virtual threat to the Ceyhan, maritime traffic, the flow of oil, and would provide an air defence shield for vital portions of Syria that are strategically important, especially in the event of a war. In essence Damascus, the Syrian capital, and Syria would be protected from either Israeli or American aerial bombardment. It is clear that the Russian aims in Syria are a symmetrical reaction to American objectives for the Middle East and part of a global chess game.

American Strategy in the Levant, the Murder of Rafik Al-Hariri, and Plans for U.S. Base in Lebanon The United States has acted in the Levant vis-à-vis overlapping interests with Israel, the American surrogate in the region, with the obedience of Jordan as an accomplice. Any initial animosity between Syria with either the United States or Israel was primarily focused on the Golan Heights. If the issue was settled Syria would be a party to American hegemony in the Middle East, but the United States miscalculated and moved for regime change in Syria vis-à-vis Lebanon, through the ‘Intifada-al-Istiqlal’ or the Uprising/Revolt for Independence (commonly called the Cedar Revolution in the West). This was an overlooked failure which has cost the Americans dearly and is in the same category as American miscalculations in Uzbekistan which turned Uzbek President Islam Karimov against the United States and realigned with Russia. In this case the Syrians consolidated their longstanding alliance with Iran and lost all trust for the Americans. This was a clear case where American interest was subverted for Israeli national interest. Even now the Americans have a dim hope of secretly negotiating with the Syrians to dismantle the military alliance between Iran and Syria, but now that Syria is firmly entrenched in its alliance with Iran and totally distrustful of the United States it is collectively convinced that the Iran is its saviours.

The assassination of Rafik Al-Hariri was a virtual gift to the overlapping interest of Israel and the United States and allowed them to engage in a heavy propaganda campaign against Syria in Lebanon, regionally, and internationally. One can be excused for the well thought and informed assessment that the late Prime Minister, Rafik Al-Hariri, was the victim of the Israeli Mossad who, with the support and knowledge of the Americans, assassinated him. Why would one come to such a conclusion? Syria is contently blamed for this assassination by the White House, the U.S. State Departments, Israel, and several other interested parties. There has been no solid proof to date that Syria was behind the assassination, but there is a lot of factors that seem to point to the notion that Syria was framed. What could have been the motives for Syria assassinating Al-Hariri who at the time was not even a Prime Minister or public official anymore? One must ask themselves the question of ‘who benefits from such a crime?’ How has Syria benefited from the assassination of Al-Hariri? The immediate consequences of the murder of Rafik Al-Hariri where demonstrations organized by the anti-Syrian political factions in Lebanon demanding that Syrian troops leave Lebanon and the Bush Administration forcefully trying to promote regime change in Damascus and isolate Syria as a pariah state.

The timing of the murder of the late former Prime Minister fit perfectly with the, at the time, strategic environment and direction that the Americans wanted to create in the Middle East. The Americans were having problems in post-invasion Iraq, as they still do, and from their own suggestions could not move onto Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and beyond which were all, and still are, part of the greater picture of American strategy in the Middle East and Central Asia. The assassination of Al-Hariri was an act done in the hopes of weakening resistance to Israeli hegemony in the region by turning Lebanon and Syria against each other and causing internal hostilities within both Lebanon and Syria. The assassination of Al-Hariri was followed by such consequences; all of which were extremely threatening to the Syrian government and also to the stability of Lebanon and Lebanese society. Another civil war in Lebanon would have also kept Lebanon too weak and busy to challenge Israel in any way, distract Syria, and also to a certain degree distract Iran. Who would gain? Who or which parties would benefit from the instability of both Syria and Lebanon? The question of ‘who or which parties would benefits’ is definitely worth pursuing and thinking over. This course of action to weaken both Lebanon and Syria would keep in sequence with the Americans plans for transforming the Middle East to the benefit of the linked strategic aims and interests of America and Israel.

There is also the fact that United States wanted to establish a military base in northern Lebanona Lebanon vacant of potentially hostile Syrian troops aiding Russia or Iran.

Besides the fact that Syria had nothing to profit from the assassination of Al-Hariri there also remains the fact that the late former Prime Minister was opposed to certain American objectives in Lebanon, which he felt were against Lebanon’s national interests and where Lebanon would a definite looser. The late Al-Hariri inflexibly opposed the construction of a major U.S. military base in the north Lebanon, close in proximity to Ceyhan and the exit point of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceylan Pipeline. It is also most worthy to note that the Pentagon has awarded the construction contract of this planned military base in Lebanon to Jacobs Engineering Group and Bechtel Corporation, even though the Lebanese government has not consented to allowing the construction of a U.S. military base in Lebanon, let alone U.S. troops on Lebanese soil, but the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon and the subsequent Western and Israeli pressure for the stationing of foreign, including American, troops on Lebanese troops could change all that. Now there is talk about a stabilization or security force in Lebanon that could create an opening for an American military base in Lebanon.

The United States has denied planning on building any military bases in Lebanon, but the United States has also denied, contrary to reality, that U.S. military bases in Iraq are permanent or long-term. In Iraq it is evident that these U.S. bases are long term. There are at least four reported super-bases in Iraq that demonstrate that there is no intent to withdrawal from Iraq. Even the during the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, the Bush Administration announced its plans to send more U.S. troops to Baghdad in the presence of the Iraqi Prime Minister, which could be done so to beef up the Green Zone before an eventual confrontation with Iran. Because of the permanency of these U.S. bases, the Iranian military has even created new bases in the proximity of these U.S. bases on the Iranian side of the border.

Israeli Objectives with Anglo-American strategy in the Middle East

Israel has a prime interest in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceylan Pipeline because of its rapidly growing consumption needs. On another front Egypt and Israel also appear to have an agreement where an Egyptian sub-sea gas pipeline would deliver gas to Israel. Israel has also been fiddling with the idea of direct hydrocarbon routes from Iraq running from Jordan, Turkey, and Syria, which makes regime change in Syria even more appropriate.

Israel has a number of objectives in Lebanon, besides weakening Hezbollah, among them are possible civil war in Lebanon, the annexation of strips of South Lebanon, and the manufacturing of some sort of ‘smoking gun’ to be used against Syria and Iran, primarily Iran.

In regards to the most significant motive for the Israeli aggression against the Lebanese people is the Israeli calculation of another Lebanese civil war between the different political parties, ideologies, and religious groups.

This is part of the wider balkanization or division and finlandization or neutralization and pacification of the Middle East agenda. This strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ is a collaborated undertaking of the United States, Israel, and Britain. This involves initial regime change from within using political fractions or movements and magnifying ethnic and sectarian tensions as is being done within Iraq. The apex of this scheme would be the creation of a whole new set of Kuwait-like or Bahrain-like tiny states or statelets that can easily be controlled and dealt with by the United States, Britain, and Israel. There are deliberate attempts of manufacturing or creating civil strife and division within the states of the Middle East. So much so that the Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji declined to meet with American officials on the grounds that the United States are more detrimental to democracy in Iran than the conservative movement in Iran.

The Americans and British in their sphere of operations have been busy sewing sectarian and ethnic divide in Iraq and preparing for the future conflict with Iran by attempting to manufacturing or create animosity in the diverse and multi-ethnic Iranian state. This includes trying to inciting separatist felling in Kurdistan, Khuzistan, Iranian Azarbaijan (Old Azarbaijan), and Baluchistan and hiring specialized firms to perform studies on certain ethnicities and sectarian groups within Iran. It also seems that the United States and Britain are directly behind the sectarian violence in Iraq through control of the Ministry of the Interior, which despite media allegation is run by the Anglo-American forces through Baathist elements, and deliberate covert attacks performed by either British or American forces that seek blame other groups as the perpetrates.

The Israeli Yinon Plan, is a tragically fashioned set of objectives in partnership with Zionist ideology that advocates the fracturing of all potential enemies or rivals to Israel into these tiny statelets. It emphasizes that to survive; Israel must become an imperial regional power, which it is through it expansionist policies, its usurping of others resources, and its militaristic policies, and must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of existing states, with hope of establishing Israeli protectorates or satellite states. In regards to Lebanon there have been several suggestions including the creation of a client state Greater Lebanon that would cede parts of its water rich south to Israel and gain the whole coastal area of Syria, thus creating a buffer zone to protect the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceylan Pipeline and shut out the prospects of any Russian military threats in the Eastern Mediterraneanand that is if Syria itself does not become a client state. Another alternative is an even smaller Lebanon divided on sectarian lines that would pose no danger to Israel nor be used by either Iran or Syria as a threat to Israel.

In regards to Lebanon, Israel is now keen on seeing foreign troops, including suggestions such as NATO forces, acting as a stabilization security force in Lebanon. This is an opening for the creation of an American military base to secure the strategic Ceylan energy opening and route and as a staging ground to threaten Syria. Whatever the Israeli are, they are undoubtedly in rhythmic step with the United States and another strategic move towards empire building at the expense of the innocent people of Lebanon and the people of the Middle East.

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