Sunday :: Jul 23, 2006

Who Really Killed Hariri Last Year?

by Steve

Many of you know that I have been generally supportive of Israel’s reaction to the Hezbollah abductions and its efforts to destroy the Hezbollah’s military capabilities in the south of Lebanon, although I am the first to agree that the IDF is going overboard. Many of you disagree with me on this, claiming with good reason that blaming this incident on Syria and Iran is all too convenient and the IDF response all-too-ready. The Neocons’ rationale is that Iran ordered Hezbollah to abduct the Israeli soldiers and fire upon the border patrol to incite this attack upon Hezbollah as a diversion from Iran’s problems with the UN on its nuclear program. Bush played along with this storyline by claiming to Tony Blair on-mike that this problem would stop if Syria would simply order Hezbollah to give back the soldiers, yet Bush now blows off the Saudis today (so much for a pre-midterm oil price cut) and says Israel can continue with its dismemberment of Lebanon and the eventual toppling of the Lebanese government until it, Israel, feels the Hezbollah threat has been eradicated.

The alternate and equally credible view of this crisis is that the IDF and our own Pentagon have drawn up plans to demolish Hezbollah in the south by using a provocation just like this one to turn southern Lebanon into a new demilitarized zone. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday that in fact these plans were worked out with the Pentagon last year, just waiting for an opportunity. If so, this means that Bush’s comment to Tony Blair reflects that he was never told that the Pentagon and probably Cheney have known about this scenario for a year. You can read Juan Cole’s great analysis from today on this matter.

But in order for the IDF to operationalize this plan, they first needed to get the Syrians kicked out of Lebanon under international pressure. Then, the IDF would wait for an opportune time to for Hezbollah to do something stupid like fire on an Israeli border patrol to give the IDF cause to lay waste to southern Lebanon, knowing that the Bush Administration will do nothing of consequence about it. Well, the latter part of this scenario has taken place over the last week. But what about getting the Syrians out of Lebanon?

You’ll recall how quickly the Bush Administration was to blame the Syrians for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri last year. You’ll also recall how some of us thought it made no sense at all for the Syrians to kill Hariri and bring down the inevitable international outcry upon themselves for killing him.

In light of recent events over the last two weeks, I ask the following question. Knowing now that it was critical under this alternate scenario to get the Syrians out of Lebanon for these off-the-shelf plans to proceed at an opportune time, who really killed Hariri last year?

Steve :: 10:50 PM :: Comments (40) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!