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Bullying Beirut
U.S. threatens Lebanon's soverignty


November 12, 2006

This is a valid proposition that as long as the U.S., posing as the lone imperial power and self-appointed arbiter capable of dictating or at least influencing the direction of Lebanon's domestic and foreign policies by propping up a privileged and wealthy class of politicians over all the other groups in the Lebanese political establishment and undermining the nationalist and progressive forces, the working people of Lebanon, Muslim or Christian, remained defenseless and at the mercy of the imperialists in Washington and the Zionists in Tel Aviv.

This inequality was challenged by the people's army of Hezbollah in the recent 34-day war when Israeli sea, land and aerial attacks on the Lebanese people and the country's infrastructure was dealt in turn with short and medium-range rocket attacks against the northern towns of Israel.

It was in this heroic resistance against the invading Zionist hordes armed to the teeth that the people of Lebanon from all walks of life, including many members of the Christian population, through their own experience reached the conclusion that the cadres and the leadership of Hezbollah are more patriotic and qualified to defend and protect the national interests, sovereignty and independence of Lebanon as a whole than some rich bureaucrats in Beirut, with ties to London and Washington. It is in this context that a substantive revamping of the people's representation within the Lebanese federal administration has become a dire necessity.

On this basis the leadership of Hezbollah, led by Shaikh Hassan Nasrallah, has informed Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora that resistance against a probable attack by Israeli forces urgently requires the formation of a "national unity" cabinet, without which Lebanon will suffer the most for the lack of unity in domestic and foreign policies. Lebanon cannot go on fragmented and governed by sectarian economic, political, cultural and diplomatic rules.

On the other hand, it is the common strategy of the U.S. and Israel to keep the government of Lebanon in disarray with lack of cohesion and a unified direction. It goes without saying that a weak and fragmented Lebanon makes it easier for Israel to hold on much longer to the occupied territories of Shabba Farms, and the Syrian Golan Heights.

At the same time, Hassan Nasrallah assured the government of Saniora that the people's demand for change may take the form of peaceful demonstrations which are part of their democratic rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Respect for Sovereignty
Determined to retain the fractious, ineffectual and to some extent parasitic structure of the state, the White House, through its spokesman Tony Snow on November 2, 2006 said that any attempt by Hezbollah to mobilize the Lebanese for the purpose of pressing Beirut's U.S.-backed faction of the government to agree with Nasrallah's plan for a "national unity" cabinet would be considered by the U.S. government as a violation of Lebanese sovereignty.

Look who's talking about respect for sovereignty of other nations: an empire that tramples on the rights of the peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and Haiti, to mention just a few. Furthermore, to deflect world public attention from its policy of interference in the domestic affairs of Lebanon and its plans of intervention, Tony Snow pointed his finger in other directions and said that "The Syrian and Iranian governments, Hezbollah and their Lebanese allies are preparing plans to topple Lebanon's democratically-elected government."

Who Should Be Blamed?
Meanwhile, Israel has been daily flying its U.S.-provided warplanes over Lebanese territories to boost the appetite of the pro-imperialist forces for confrontation with Hezbollah and influence the direction of the government's foreign policy. Certainly the White House's demagogy did not go unanswered. The Syrian Foreign Ministry a day later responded that "The U.S. administration's attempts to circulate that Syria, Iran and Hezbollah are seeking to destabilize Lebanon are not true." He continued that on the contrary, "Syria has voiced its support for anything that the Lebanese agree through their national dialogue."

In a statement on Thursday, November 2, 2006, Hezbollah's spokesman said the U.S. is trying to draw Lebanon into its disputes with Iran and Syria and enlist Lebanon among the countries that the "Bush Administration considers to be U.S. enemies." "We do not care about such accusations. They're worthless," Syrian Expatriate Minister Buthaina Shaaban told reporters in Damascus. "They are practicing terrorism while accusing others of it. The problem in Lebanon is U.S. and Israeli interference."

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini denied the U.S. accusation and said, "Washington should review its policies in the Middle East." It is common knowledge that the United States single-handedly sells, in monetary terms, one half of the total cost of weapons sold internationally. If we venture to add the cost of the arms sold by Britain, France, Germany and Italy to the U.S. sales, then one justifiably can say that the West deserves to earn the title of world's "Merchant of Death."

This is also a well-known fact that Israel, since its creation not so long ago, has been the recipient of all sorts of sensitive technologies, materials and parts for the production of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, including atomic weapons. Just a little more than two months ago the world was a witness to the use of all sorts of American-supplied weapons used by the Israeli war machine ˆ F-16's, F-161 Sufa's, Abrams tanks, guided missiles, supersonic combat aircraft, helicopters, surface to air and surface to surface missiles and between two and three million anti-personnel cluster bombs dropped ˆ against the people of Lebanon. 

What level of hypocrisy is reached when the governments of these arms exporting countries turn to countries with much less capabilities of weapons production and issue orders that they have no right to provide or even receive such conventional weapons as short and medium-range missiles and anti-aircraft guns. For example, why shouldn't Lebanon have the defense capability of targeting the Israeli warplanes that intend to level the homes, factories, bridges, schools and hospitals of that country? Why shouldn't Lebanon be able to receive the defense technologies and sophisticated arms from any country that it desires?

To face this issue squarely, Iran's commander of the Revolutionary Guard, Yahya Rahim-Safvi, said on November 5, 2006 that Iran will be willing to share its missile systems with its political allies and neighboring countries. Being right on target, Iran's ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Reza Sheibani was quoted by Iran's Mehr News Agency the same day as saying Iran was ready to supply air-defense systems to the Lebanese Army. Will the West, under pressure of the U.S. and Israel, draft yet another resolution to impose more sanctions on Iran? That will turn the United Nations Security Council into a comic troubadour. Comment

Ardeshir Ommani, an activist in the anti-war and anti-imperialist struggle for over 40 years, including against the Vietnam War. Ardeshir is a co-founder of the American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC), where news of his most recent visit to Iran in March & April 2006 can be read. He helped launch the successful campaign. He has written a number of articles documenting the U.S. foreign policy toward Iran. He has translated many articles into Farsi, which have been published inside Iran in the progressive press. In the 1960's, he was a co-founder of the Iranian Students Association (ISA), which contributed to the struggle against the Shah of Iran, a U.S. puppet. Mr. Ommani returned to Iran in 1979, at the dawn of the revolution and participated in the revolutionary surge of that period. Since returning to the U.S. in 1980, he has been very active in the anti-war movement and in the struggle against the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.


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