Lebanese resistance bares limits of U.S.-Israeli power


International Action Center

NEW YORK (27 July 2006) -- REPORTS on July 22 that the Pentagon is rushing the delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel for use in its criminal offensive in Lebanon confirm the real relationship in this U.S./Israeli war. The utter dependency of the Zionist state on the military equipment, massive funding, political and diplomatic support of the United States has never been clearer.

But news of the shipment also exposes the limits of U.S. and Israeli power.

With these same weapons, U.S. troops have been unable to prevail in Iraq. How can the Israeli war criminals, even with an endless supply of U.S. high-tech weapons, expect to prevail in Lebanon?

Israel is headed into the same quagmire. Like the U.S. in Iraq, Israel is quickly finding that it faces a highly motivated, ever more organized people's resistance in Lebanon.

U.S.-supplied bunker busters, cluster bombs, white phosphorus, napalm and depleted uranium weapons are wreaking enormous damage on the whole country and causing horrendous suffering for hundreds of thousands of defenseless civilians. Helicopter gunships, jet aircraft and missiles that come from the Pentagon have destroyed seaports, airports, roads, convoys of refugees and essential civilian infrastructure.

However, U.S. and Israeli forces are used to making all-out war against defenseless civilian populations. They are shocked that Hezbollah has been able to secure or build large quantities of land mines and anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft guns, rocket-launching facilities and night-vision equipment. They didn't know until they opened this brutal offensive that the resistance forces had developed innovative technology, including aerial drones and submersibles.

Numerous news articles are describing how both the U.S. and the Israelis underestimated the weapons and the level of organization of Hezbollah, which has deep-fortified bunkers, networks of tunnels and well-trained fighters able to handle sophisticated technology. Its fighters even managed to destroy an Israeli warship and several tanks and helicopters, and send missiles into Haifa and other cities deep inside Israel.

The corporate media are full of speculation, threats and charges about where Hezbollah obtained its weapons. They barely mention who has supplied Israel with generations of weapons, tanks, helicopters, jet planes, ships and missiles. The most extreme sources are charging that Iran may have contributed $100 million to Hezbollah, and are treating it as a crime. But even if it is true, it bears no comparison to the $288 million a week in aid that the U.S. supplied Israel in fiscal 2003, for a total of $15 billion in aid that year. Similar levels have occurred every year for more than 50 years. (Jewish Voice for Peace)

The Zionist command didn't anticipate the sophistication. It's not that they don't have sufficient spy satellites, eavesdropping and reconnaissance equipment, and bought agents. It's once again the arrogance of colonial occupiers.

The end of gunboat diplomacy

The biggest surprise was the ability of Hezbollah to hit the INS Hanit, an Israeli Navy missile ship, which was firing at Lebanese targets (Beirut International Airport - editor) from off the coast.

The Hanit was built by Northrop Grumman in Pascagoula, Miss., and was considered to be Israel's most advanced surface ship. The corporate media, while full of endless speculation on who supplied the Hezbollah missile, never raised the issue of who supplied the Israeli ship, at a cost of $260 million.

Yet it matters little whether Hezbollah used a modified Silkworm missile obtained eight to 10 years ago from China via Iran, or an Iranian C-802 rocket transported via Syria, or an explosives-packed aerial drone such as they have used before. Israel, the Pentagon and all the Western powers got the message - they are no longer invincible.

The timing of the missile during a meeting of the G-8 powers could not have sent a clearer message. Any power considering an attack on Iran could do the calculation. The U.S. aircraft carriers, battleships, the hundreds of oil tankers in the narrow Persian Gulf-all are now vulnerable.

The days when the U.S., British or French navy could sail into the harbour and blast at the shoreline until their demands were met had been challenged.

Asymmetric warfare U.S. power and equipment are far greater than any developing country or resistance movement. But today, because of global advances in simple technology that can no longer be kept in a locked box, plus the availability of the Internet and instant communication, imperialism's total control is slipping.

U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have met the same rude surprises. A simple cell phone or doorbell can set off a roadside bomb and destroy an expensive tank.

The new buzzword in military-speak for the unexpected ability of resistance organizations to challenge an overwhelming military advantage is "asymmetric advantage" or "asymmetric warfare." This means that even though the Pentagon has formidable military capabilities and is adept at doing horrendous damage, it is not winning.

This has changed the rules of politics in the Middle East. Wherever oppressed people are able to organize themselves, they are able to fight back. Despite overwhelming military superiority, Israel was forced to withdraw from Lebanon in June 2000 and from Gaza in August 2005 because of the enormous skill of guerrilla forces. Gaza and Qassam rockets

In the early days of the Palestinian uprising that began in September 2000 - called the second Intifada - Israeli patrols could still confidently drive around the West Bank and Gaza in jeeps and light armoured personnel carriers. They destroyed at will small Palestinian Authority police stations and social service centers. They fired on youths armed only with stones and homemade gas bombs in bottles. But these young fighters expressed the will of the whole population to resist.

Now Hamas, Islamic Jihad and popular committees are producing increasingly sophisticated small weapons. Even their hand grenades are designed at standards as advanced as U.S.-produced grenades. All these secret, locally made products are stamped, "Made in Gaza by al-Qassam."

Locally made anti-tank missiles and mines have broken the ability of Israeli tanks to roll unimpeded into the streets of Gaza, crushing all in their path. In past decades this was such regular Israeli policy that the wide swaths of destruction in Gaza City and other Palestinian cities were called Sharon's Boulevards after the Israeli general who became prime minister, Ariel Sharon. Now in Gaza hundreds of missiles, with simple guidance systems known as al-Qassam I and II, are fired regularly across the border. There is growing skill and accuracy in the manufacture of these small rockets.

The same youths who used to throw stones at Israeli tanks today are also far more organized. They have education and basic technology skills, along with enormous determination and anger.

Hezbollah was born under occupation. Hezbollah (or the Party of God) emerged after 1982 as a guerrilla resistance army with Islamic leadership, fighting against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. Originally, it appealed primarily to disenfranchised Shiite youth in Lebanon-the most oppressed group. In a war-torn and divided country where corruption was rampant, Hezbollah broadened its support and gained wide political legitimacy for its determined resistance and its well-organized, non-corrupt social services. It helped rebuild the crumbled infrastructure of roads, electricity and potable water.

All of this earned Hezbollah the hatred of the old corrupt ruling families in Lebanon and of U.S. corporate interests, which are tied to the old ruling class. Hezbollah was added to the U.S. State Department's list of international terrorist groups in October 1997.

This hardly hurt Hezbollah's popular image. Now Hezbollah holds 12 parliamentary seats. Its civilian branch runs schools, orphanages, hospitals and a television station. And its relentless guerrilla attacks on the Israeli army of occupation, combined with growing anti-war sentiment within Israel, forced a military retreat from Lebanon in June 2000.

In the six years since the Israeli withdrawal, Hezbollah has used its time well to prepare for the next Israeli offensive. It built deep underground bunkers, networks of tunnels and a series of camouflaged defense positions. In the hilly terrain Hezbollah built shelters for weapons and ammunition, food supplies and medical stations. Anti-tank mines and missiles line the border region to block Israeli tanks from rolling in, as they have in the past. Each Israeli thrust across the border in the past two weeks, even after heavy bombardment, has resulted in Hezbollah ambushes from behind Israeli lines.

Lebanon's infrastructure has been so destroyed by the latest Israeli onslaught that Hezbollah's highly effective social service network of schools, hospitals and clinics is bound to expand and take on added significance.

Hezbollah General Secretary Hasan Nasrallah warned the Israeli people on July 14: "Those times when Israel used to get away with whatever destruction, killing children and freedom of movement on Arab lands, have come to an end. I promise you those times have passed; therefore you must bear the responsibility for what your government has done and has undertaken."

Militarism and the Israeli lobby U.S. backing and support for Israel is often blamed on the strength and influence of the Israeli lobby, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, D.C. But the Israeli lobby is effective not because of its great connections and resources, but because they serve U.S. corporate interests in the entire region.

The largest and most profitable corporations in the U.S. today, which hold decisive political power in the imperialist state, are the oil corporations and the military contractors. They have a huge financial stake in controlling the resources of the Middle East and in the policy of endless war and instability. The Israeli Army plays a pivotal role in U.S. corporate control of the region.

Northrop Grumman spends seven times and Lockheed Martin four times as much as AIPAC on lobbying. General Electric, Raytheon, Boeing and other military contractors also outspend AIPAC. Their corporate profits are bound up in the more than $2 billion in weapons given to Israel every year. These corporations are as enthusiastic about rushing the latest satellite- and laser-guided bunker buster bombs to Israel, to be used aboard U.S.-supplied F-15 aircraft to blast Lebanon, as they are about supplying the U.S. military occupation of Iraq.

Policy of civil war The ruthless Israeli bombardment and attacks on Lebanon and the bombing of Gaza are based on the desperation of the Israeli military command. They failed in their political plan to reignite a civil war in either place. Instead they have succeeded in uniting the entire population against them. The Western coalition that U.S. imperialism had so carefully arrayed against Iran at the G-8 meeting and in the UN is now divided.

Since the democratic election of Hamas in January 2006, both Israel and the U.S. have used the most extreme measures of sanctions, starvation and threats, trying to push the Palestinian Authority and Hamas into armed conflict. The Bush administration cut off all aid and credits. Israel withheld tax revenue and cut off the pay of social service workers, teachers and police. They strangled the export of agricultural produce and closed border crossings for Palestinian workers, all in an effort to inflame a struggle over scarce resources.

They demanded that the moderate president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, break with the democratically elected Hamas leadership. Israel staged targeted assassinations, random bombings and round-ups. But the policy failed to decisively divide the Palestinian groups.

When Palestinian resistance units managed to dig tunnels, kidnap an Israeli soldier, and destroy an Israeli tank to bargain for the almost 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, Israel used this as an excuse to bomb Gaza.

In Lebanon the hopes of both the U.S. and Israel were pinned on the Cedar Revolution. In the spring of 2005 demonstrations broke out, mainly in Beirut, demanding the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and blaming Syria for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on Feb. 14 of that year.

The Lebanese government was disbanded and a government much friendlier to U.S. corporate interests was established. Syrian troops were withdrawn. But the hope that this would destabilize Syria and force the disarming of Hezbollah forces did not succeed.

For Israel to now go back into Lebanon is like the U.S. trying to go back into Vietnam. They already know it won't work, but are driven to try to accomplish by military measures what political pressure has failed to accomplish.

New occupation proposals

While continuing to give the Israeli time and additional weapons to blast Lebanon, U.S. Secretary of State Condo leezza Rice has begun a slow trip through the region trying to broker a deal favorable to U.S. and Israeli interests. U.S. "peace" proposals are to disarm the patriotic resistance forces and occupy Lebanon with foreign troops, including the possibility of a NATO, UN or other multinational occupation force to protect Israel's northern border. Israel would of course be rearmed and resupplied.

Any political solution that does not have the full agreement and participation of the Lebanese people, including the Hezbollah resistance, would be in danger of repeating 1983 in Beirut.

In that year U.S. President Ronald Reagan sent an international occupation force to assist the Israeli forces and allow them to pull back. On Oct. 23, 1983, a truck bomb at the new U.S. base in Beirut airport killed 241 U.S. Marines and 54 French soldiers. U.S. and other international troops were pulled out.

Israel is a state built on stolen land. The occupied Palestinian population has never stopped resisting. Each U.S.-equipped Israeli offensive since the creation of the state of Israel 58 years ago has caused enormous human suffering, as well as deepened the rage and determination of the attacked and displaced people. Although totally disarmed, isolated and surrounded, the Palestinians have organized themselves again and again to resist, even under the most onerous conditions.

The Lebanese resistance has grown in a similar way.

For both peoples the resistance has taken many political forms, but each time it resurges with more militancy, determination and skill.

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International Action Center
Web: http://www.iacenter.org

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