|Southwest Asia News Digest
Lahoud: The Lebanese Army Will Fight Israeli Invasion
Lebanese President Emile Lahoud told the U.S.-based CNN network on July 22 that Israel had a plan to invade Lebanon, and was just waiting for a pretext to unleash the kind of invasion that Israel carried out in 1982. He noted that Israel has always been willing to negotiate for the release of its soldiers imprisoned or held hostage in Lebanon, with a prisoner exchange, this time they launched an unprecedented wave of retaliation and destruction of children, women, and civilian infrastructure. The reason, Lahoud said, is because "I believe all was planned from before and, unfortunately, they were waiting for the moment. And when the moment came and these two soldiers were taken, they had the plan of attack. It's not for the reason that the soldiers were taken, it's for other reasons. Because since 2000, they have wanted to take their revenge because they had to leave Lebanon." He added that the Israelis may be thinking "they will do what they did in '82. But things have changed since '82."
Asked what the difference is, Lahoud warned, "Because it's not like '82 that they can come in Lebanon and make a promenade until they reach Beirut. These people, underground Lebanese, are ready to die for their land." And, Lahoud added, it is not only Hezbollah, but "the Lebanese army as well. We're not going to let anyone take our land. We've done it in the past, we liberated our land. We're not going to let them come back and take it from us."
Israeli Spy Ring Uncovered in Lebanon
Lebanese army intelligence has uncovered an Israeli spy ring, the Lebanese daily As Safir reported July 22. The arrests of Israeli agents who were aiding Israeli warplanes to hit Hezbollah targets follows the recent arrests of Mossad hit squads, exposed in a dossier prepared in June by the Lebanese government. The dossier had been prepared for presentation to the UN Security Council, but blocked by the U.S. and France.
The newly exposed Israeli ring represents a highly sophisticated operation that used technologically advanced communications gear to help the Israeli warplanes.
French Gov't: No Purely Military Solution to Lebanon Conflict
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy gave an interview to French national TV Channel 1, July 25, following his four-day tour of Israel and Lebanon. He clarified the French policy thrust, saying: 1) "there is no purely military solution to the conflict and against the Hezbollah, whom we condemn but, I do not see how a purely military solution can lead us to a solution"; 2) "the only objective of the international community and of France in particular must be to guarantee the sovereignty of Lebanon"; 3) "France will only act in the context of a United Nations framework."
"There is a terrible deterioration of the situation," stated Douste-Blazy. "The Hezbollah is launching rockets every day, as never seen since 1973, and Israel does not discriminate between the Hezbollah guerrillas and the population." Douste-Blazy added that, at the Rome conference of the Lebanon contact group, a "ceasefire must be demanded.... To do nothing would be not only frightening but unjustifiable." However, the U.S. has refused to back a ceasefire (see Indepth: "Regional Powers Key to Lebanon Peace," by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach).
Germans Could Mediate Prisoner Exchange
The idea that Germany could mediate a prisoner exchange between Israeli and the Hezbollah in Lebanon has been raised in the context of calls for a ceasefire and prisoner exchange; the suggestion is coming from various quarters. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote July 27 that the Israeli Foreign Ministry last week said "It is now time" for Germany to mediate an exchange. Germany has done it twice in the past. In 2004, Ernst Uhrlau, then secret service coordinator, and now head of the BND, organized an exchange, dealing with Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria. And in 1996, Bernd Schmidbauer, who was secret service coordinator for the Chancellor's office, made a similar deal between Israel and Hezbollah. He has just declared his readiness to provide his services again, if requested.
Tel Aviv Peace Rallies Resist Fighting 'Bush's War'
Up to 5,000 Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv July 22, against the Lebanon war, declaring that Israelis should not fight the Bush Administration's war. Unlike previous peace demos, this included the entire spectrum of the peace movement, from center to far left, and for the first time, Arab-Israelis participated. Although small, it was larger and broader then those held after weeks of fighting in the 1982 Lebanon war, which led to the founding of Peace Now. The organizers are planning future rallies in the hope that they can create a snowballing effect.
The weakness in the Israel peace protest is the leadership's failure to "know the enemy" and recognize the Synarchist interests that are using figures like Bibi Netanyahu and Dick Cheney to achieve perpetual war and the end of national sovereignty. (See InDepth: "Stop Being a Dupe! Know Your Actual Enemy," by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.)
Among those present at the demonstrations were former Meretz Party leader Shulamit Aloni and former Knesset Member and peace activist Uri Avneri of Gush Shalom. Other organizations represented included the draft resisters Yesh Gvul, Anarchists Against the Wall, Coalition of Women for Peace, and Taayush. Among the Israeli Arabs were Issam Makhoul of the Arab and Jewish Israeli Haddash party, and Abd-al-Fatah for the Balad party.
"Protest veterans noted that in the Lebanon War of 1982, it took more than ten days of warfare to bring out this many protesters, marking the first crack in the consensus," Ha'aretz wrote July 23. Slogans included, "We will not kill, we will not die in the name of Zionism." "We will not die and not kill in the service of the United States." One of the organizers of the demo told EIR that the aim is to organize tens of thousands in order to "break the concept that the country is united behind the army and the government."