Will the Kissinger Legacyby Jeffrey Steinberg, Michele Steinberg,
Again Kill Lebanon?
and Dean Andromidas
In April 1975, Lyndon LaRouche was in Iraq, attending a joint celebration of the Syrian and Iraqi Ba'ath parties. At one point, he told a group of participants that he anticipated the imminent outbreak of a civil war in Lebanon, as the direct result of Henry Kissinger's manipulations. The group was so struck by LaRouche's warnings, that they scheduled, for the next day, a more extensive briefing by the American political economist.
LaRouche had been invited to Baghdad in response to his release, earlier in the year, of "The Middle East Peace and Development Plan of 1975," which proposed to set the foundations for Arab-Israeli peace via large-scale regional development projects, including water management, transportation, energy, education, health care, etc., utilizing the combined scientific, technological, and material resources of all the nations of the area. LaRouche called on the Persian Gulf states, freshly awash in petrodollars, to create a Middle East Development Bank, to channel a portion of their oil revenues into longterm, low-interest development credits.
A large group of diplomats, government officials, academics, and other guests of the pre-Saddam Hussein Iraqi Ba'ath Party government was flown by helicopter to an oil production facility, Public Station IV, where the day-long dialogue proceeded. LaRouche identified the RAND Corporation's "chicken game" scenario of manipulated conflict as key to comprehending Kissinger's schemes to provoke sectarian violence in Lebanon. Before the Ba'ath celebration ended, on April 13, 1975, word arrived of the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon.
In response to the recent Bush Administration efforts to once again blow up the situation inside Lebanon and Syria, LaRouche has emphasized that no solution to the Lebanon crisis is possible, without a clear understanding of the events of the past 40 years. To fail to learn the lessons of that sorry chapter in Southwest Asian history is to be condemned to repeat them. Condoleezza Rice, the spiritual evil stepdaughter of Kissinger and his close ally George Pratt Shultz, is, in fact, running a replay of the U.S. actions that helped plunge Lebanon into a 15-year civil war, from which the country is still recovering. For now, the leaders of the various religious communities inside Lebanon are holding together, struggling to avoid a replay of their collective tragic past.
LaRouche's 1975 proposals for Mideast peace through cooperative economic development echoed earlier efforts in the same direction by Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Dwight D. Eisenhower, and President Richard M. Nixon's Secretary of State William P. Rogers.
Although June 1967 is universally remembered for the Six Day War, in which Israel defeated Egypt and other Arab states, another event occurred later that same month, which offered a striking alternative to the decades of conflict that followed in the Middle East from that 1967 war.
In June 1967, former President Eisenhower and former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Lewis L. Strauss issued "A Proposal for Our Time." The document, about which Eisenhower wrote in a June 1968 Reader's Digest article, called for a revival of Eisenhower's December 1953 "Atoms for Peace" plan, calling for the peaceful use of nuclear power. In the 1967 Eisenhower-Strauss document, the proposal was for the "atomic desalting of water." As Eisenhower wrote in Reader's Digest, "The purpose of the plan is not only to bring large arid regions into production and supply useful work for hundreds of thousands of people, but also, hopefully, to promote peace in a deeply troubled area of the world through a new cooperative venture among nations." Eisenhower cited work, already in the planning stages, for the construction of the first nuclear-powered desalination plant, on Bolsa Island off the coast of California. "Even this large Bolsa Island plant," Eisenhower wrote, "would be small in comparison to the installations envisioned for the Middle East. Our proposal suggests three plants—two on the Mediterranean coast and one on the Gulf of Aqaba—with a combined production of more than a billion gallons of fresh water per day. This is more than twice the average daily flow of the three main tributarires of the Jordan River."
The former President added: "The Middle East plants, like the Bolsa Island installation, would be dual-purpose: In addition to water, they would produce an enormous amount of electric power. Some of this would be used in pumping water to areas as distant as Syria and Jordan, and perhaps under the Suez Canal to parts of Egypt. The rest would be utilized for the manufacture of needed fertilizers and other industrial purposes; a plentiful supply of electrical energy would bring to the Middle East vast new complexes of industry, just as it has to many other parts of the world.
"The proposed plan," Eisenhower continued, "would thus help to solve the problem of the more than a million Arab refugees. When the Republic of Israel was established in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Arabs living there left their homes and moved into refugee settlements in neighboring Arab states. There, in camps, most of which are a disgrace to the civilized world, many of these people exist in idleness and poverty, with little hope, supported largely by a UN dole. Large numbers of them could be employed in building the new installations and water conduits and in preparing the land for irrigated crops. Later, a great many could doubtless be settled on the new farming areas in the Arab countries."
The Eisenhower-Strauss plan revived President Johnson's 1965 "Water for Peace" initiative, which was based on work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on nuclear desalination. The LBJ plan envisioned what were called "nuplexes," agro-industrial hubs, built around the nuclear desalination plants. From May 21-23, 1967, the U.S. State Department hosted a conference on "Water for Peace," attended by over 6,400 participants from 94 countries, including Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.
When Richard Nixon took office in January 1969, he named one of Eisenhower's top Cabinet officials, former Attorney General William P. Rogers, as his Secretary of State. Rogers, painfully aware of the continuing Israel-Egypt low-intensity conflict over the Suez, wasted no time in trying to revive the Johnson and Eisenhower peace initiatives. On March 13, 1969, he summoned Israel's Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin to the State Department, to discuss his proposals for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, based on mutual security guarantees, and a return to the pre-Six Day War borders, guaranteed by the stationing of United Nations peacekeepers.
On Dec. 9, 1969 Secretary Rogers delivered a speech at the Galaxy Conference on Higher Education in Washington, in which he elaborated on his peace proposal, which was then labeled "The Rogers Plan." Israel, still basking in the triumph of the Six Day War, issued a Cabinet decree on Dec. 22, rejecting the Plan.
However, the real subversion of the Secretary's efforts was taking place in the corridors of power in Washington and London.
Behind the scenes, Henry Kissinger, then the National Security Advisor to President Nixon, was plotting against Secretary Rogers, and Rogers' two closest Cabinet allies, Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Sisco and Defense Secretary Melvin Laird. Rogers had been engaged in sensitive détente talks with Soviet Ambassador Anatoli Dobrynin on a package of issues, including the Vietnam War, the Middle East, and nuclear weapons. In a good-faith gesture, Nixon had frozen delivery of Phantom jets to Israel, to give Moscow a chance to pressure Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser into backing the Rogers Plan. Following a June 1970 trip to Cairo by Sisco, Nasser formally endorsed the Rogers Plan, with enthusiastic Soviet backing. Kissinger opposed the whole détente effort, arguing to Nixon that Moscow harbored secret plans to conquer the world, starting in the Middle East. The kind of "softness" shown by Rogers, Laird, and Sisco, Kissinger argued, was just what the Soviets were looking for.
Suddenly, a string of terrorist attacks took place in the Middle East. Jordan's King Hussein, then under strong London influence, launched his infamous "Black September" crackdown on the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) inside the Hashemite Kingdom; Syrian tanks moved towards the Jordanian border; Israel offered to provide Jordan with military assistance in the event of a Syrian invasion. But the Israeli support came at a price: Tel Aviv demanded that Nixon guarantee Israel an American nuclear umbrella, in the event the Soviets stepped in to defend Syria. Nixon caved in to Kissinger and Israel's demands, and the Rogers Plan was suddenly dead in the water.
On Sept. 22, 1973, after several more years of byzantine skirmishes, William P. Rogers was fired as Secretary of State and replaced by Henry Kissinger. Exactly two weeks later, the Yom Kippur War began, and any prospects of Middle East peace, based on economic cooperation, were finished.
The Strategic Backdrop
The Kissinger-Rogers factional wars of the first Nixon Administration occurred against the backdrop of two other major strategic developments, in which Kissinger figured prominently. First, on Aug. 15, 1971, President Nixon took the U.S. dollar off the gold-backed fixed-exchange-rate system, thus ending the Bretton Woods System established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1944.
According to the eyewitness accounts of Nixon's Secretary of the Treasury John Connally, the order to dump Bretton Woods came from three top Nixon officials: Kissinger, Paul Volcker, and George Shultz. The era of unbridled speculation was on.
The second, less publicized event was Kissinger's promulgation of National Security Study Memorandum 200, a 1974 classified document that defined the U.S. control over world strategic raw materials, and the targetted depopulation of major regions of the developing world, as the top national security objective of the United States. In effect, Kissinger's NSSM-200 pledged the United States to promote Malthusian population wars, in regions rich in strategic raw materials.
As Kissinger was beating back the Rogers Plan, and imposing an alternative, imperial national security agenda in Washington, a senior British intelligence Arab Bureau hand, Dr. Bernard Lewis, was deploying to the United States, to join Kissinger, and Kissinger's NSC successor in the Carter Administration, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in the Mideast schemes. Lebanon was the first target.
On April 13, 1975, four members of the Lebanese Phalange were killed during an attempted assassination of the group's leader Pierre Gemayel. The attack was blamed on Palestinians, and in retaliation, Phalangists assaulted a bus carrying Palestinian passengers, killing 26 people. Within days, the entire country was at war. Kissinger called former U.S. Ambassador to Jordan L. Dean Brown out of retirement, and named him special envoy to Lebanon. Over the ensuing months, the Kissinger/Brown "shuttle diplomacy" pitted one faction against another, drawing both Syria and Israel into the struggle, as if some perverse RAND Corporation scenario, based on the Thirty Years' War, were being tested out.
Today, the same recipe for disaster is being tested, once again. In the weeks since the Feb. 14, 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a series of bombs have been planted in Christian neighborhoods around Beirut, killing dozens of people.
In an exclusive interview with EIR two weeks ago (EIR, April 1), the Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon, Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, specifically embraced the idea of the Treaty of Westphalia, which ended Europe's Thirty Years' War (1618-48). Cardinal Sfeir, in his Easter homily a week later, invoked the principle of "the benefit of the other"—the key provision of the Treaty of Westpalia—and called for unity among the religious communities of Lebanon, while citing Hezbollah as an organization that must be included in any true peace accord. The Patriarch made those statements about Hezbollah, to counter fraudulent American media accounts of his visit to Washington, where he purportedly endorsed a Bush Administration demand for the disarming of Hezbollah. A move to forcibly disarm the Shi'ite group, which enjoys extensive popular support in southern Lebanon, and the backing of both Syria and Iran, would be one sure-fire way to ensure a new eruption of sectarian violence in Lebanon and throughout the region.
Leaders of the Christian, Shi'ite, Sunni, and Druze communities have been staging round-the-clock meetings, to avert a new plunge into devastating civil war. But will this be sufficient to offset the efforts to re-ignite the flames of sectarian violence? Especially when those efforts are coming from the State Department of George Shultz and Henry Kissinger acolyte Condoleezza Rice?