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Turmoil in Lebanon

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Turmoil in Lebanon - by Stephen Lendman

Reportedly, 19th century Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz once remarked: "Poor Mexico, So far from God, So close to the United States." His proximity comment applies to Lebanon. Bordering Israel, it experienced decades of belligerent interventions as early as 1954 when Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion proposed supporting the establishment of a Maronite-dominated Christian mini-state. 

In 1978, Israel attacked Lebanon and occupied the country up to the Litani River before withdrawing under US pressure, letting UN Blue Helmets (UNIFIL) replace its own forces.

Earlier, during Lebanon's 1975-76 civil war, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin reportedly spent $150 million equipping and training right-wing Maronite Phalange fighters. In September 1982, during Israel's invasion, they massacred thousands of Palestinian Sabra and Shatila camp residents, an appalling atrocity Israeli forces permitted when Ariel Sharon was defense minister. 

On June 6, 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon, slaughtering around 18,000 Palestinians, then occupied South Lebanon until withdrawing in May 2000. It still illegally holds Sheba Farms, the 14-square mile water-rich land near Syria's Golan, also illegally occupied since 1967 as well as Ghajar, a Lebanese village bordering Golan. 

In July 2006, Israel again attacked, killing over 1,000, injuring thousands more, displacing about one-fourth of the country's four million people, besides inflicting the same mass destruction it did to Gaza during Cast Lead.

Earlier in December 1968, Israeli forces attacked Beirut International Airport, destroying 13 Middle East Airlines planes in response to an alleged Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) attack on an Israeli airliner in Athens.

Later in 1993, Israel launched a week-long offensive against Hezbollah, allegedly in response to rockets launched against an Israeli village. During the operation, heavy Israeli bombing caused massive destruction and displaced around 300,000 Lebanese. It was a prelude to a similar 1996 attack, again against Hezbollah, during which up to 500,000 Lebanese were displaced.

An early 2007 American University of Beirut study documented 6,672 Israeli terrorist acts against Lebanon and Palestine alone from 1967 - 2007, plus thousands more since then.

"Poor Lebanon" indeed, its plight journalist Robert Fisk described in his book, "Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon." As Israel's northern neighbor, it's constantly under threat, especially with Hezbollah a political force, well armed to react in self-defense.

Hezbollah Dissolves Lebanon's Government

Lebanon's elected minority, Hezbollah pulled out in protest on January 12, Al Jazeera headlining, "Lebanese government collapses," saying:

"Lebanon's unity government collapsed after the Hezbollah movement and its political allies resigned from the cabinet over arguments stemming from a UN investigation into the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former prime minister, in 2005."

On January 12, ten ministers resigned (then an 11th) after Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri (his son) reportedly refused to convene a cabinet meeting to discuss Hezbollah's expected indictment by a UN-back Special Tribunal's (STL) for the killing of his father, Rafik on February 14, 2005.

Without earlier evidence, Hezbollah's rap sheet includes the 1983 US Lebanon Embassy and Marine barracks bombings, highjackings, hostage taking, rocket attacks against Israel, suicide bombings, and more, charges the organization vehemently denies, saying it responds only in self-defense against militants, not civilians, its leader Sayyad Hassan Nasrallah stating: 

"Hezbollah remains on the US and Israel 'terrorism' list for purely political reasons and to punish the organization for its resistance to Israeli aggressions against Lebanon and (America's) plans for the region."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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