Sunday, July 23, 2006

Juan Cole: War on Lebanon Planned for at least a Year

I think it's pretty obvious to anyone who thinks about it that Israel aren't acting with a plan to rescue two captured soldiers. The way they went about going after Lebanon's infrastructure, including ports in the North, and now Christian-run television stations who were broadcasting inconvenient imaes, is a sure enough sign that this was planned.

Juan Cole now lays out the bloody details: Link.
Matthew Kalman reveals that Israel's wideranging assault on Lebanon has been planned in a general way for years, and a specific plan has been in the works for over a year. The "Three Week War" was shown to think tanks and officials last year on powerpoint by a senior Israeli army officer:
"More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail."
The Israelis tend to launch their wars of choice in the summer, in part because they know that European and American universities will be the primary nodes of popular opposition, and the universities are out in the summer. This war has nothing to do with captured Israeli soldiers. It is a long-planned war to increase Israel's ascendency over Hizbullah and its patrons.
I'm mostly posting this as a lure to get you to read Cole's blog every day. He's been the best source, along with Robert Fisk and a few others, for unshaded news from the Middle East.

Cole is now facing a wide-ranging right-wing smear campaign, which was successful in blocking him from getting a position at Yale university.

Cole is one of my personal heroes, not just for his political blogging, but for a history of standing up for principle in the face of entrenched, corrupt power structures. This is nothing new for him, and he's handling his anklebiting opponents with the kind of fierce grace I can't get enough of in proper, angry prose.

By al - 5:07 a.m. |

Let me preface this by saying that I am no fan of what Israel is doing right now; killing hundreds of civilians and bombing Lebanon back 20 years will do nothing to disarm Hizballah or secure Israel. Their bombing campaign has gone far beyond the point of legitimate military action; it needs to end. Soon.

That said, I had a real issue with Cole's post. He claims that Israel will use their war in Lebanon as a precursor to attack Iran; that their real goal is to take control over southern Lebanon, specifically the Litani River; and that the war was cooked up in collusion with Donald Rumsfeld. But he fails to produce a single fact to support any of those conclusions.

Of course Israel had a plan to invade Lebanon; they've been at war for decades. America has had a plan to invade Canada on the shelf since 1930. That doesn't mean we're actually planning to annex Quebec.

Cole made a lot of frightening conspiratorial points, but - despite his claims to be a scholar of the Middle East - he failed to back up a single argument with a shred of evidence.
Having the plan is different from using the slightest exccuse to execute the plan.
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