Just after the head of the Progressive Socialist Party MP Walid Jumblatt finished his press conference on Sunday, Israeli media went for analyses. They read in his speech a direct message to Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah. Jumblatt openly stated in his speech that he’s ready for war. “If you think that we are going to sit with our hands tied, then perhaps we would have to burn everything. If you want war, then we welcome war. We have no problem with war. We have no problem with weapons or with rockets which we will take from you,” Jumblatt threatened. How did Israel welcome the PSP leader’s position? In information published about an Israeli scenario for the next war on Lebanon, it was revealed that a sudden air deathblow against Hezbollah accompanied by airdrops in regions under the control of Jumblatt, Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea and other February 14 figures.
Jumblatt had previously admonished Israel’s deputy chief of staff Moshee Keplensky during a conference organized by the Washington institute for Middle East policies. Jumblatt told Keplensky that a “confessional militia has defeated you and in the end you left Hezbollah’s arsenal intact to kill us with, because you did not enter south Lebanon and you did not destroy its weapons warehouses.” Many Israeli sources confirmed a one-hour-meeting had taken place between Jumblatt and Keplinski under the auspices of the Institute’s administration that gave both men the chance to address the annual conference for the founders of the institute.
Keplenski promised Jumblatt that Israel will thrust more ground forces in the second round of the war to destroy Hezbollah’s arsenals and training centers.
For its part, the ‘Omedia’ news website, reported information about a secret meeting that was held between Jumblatt and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and another one between Jumblatt and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s representative in the presence of US Vice President Dick Cheney, adding that that both meetings were positively concluded.
Commentary: So the plan is to use the militias of USraelian stooges in Lebanon (Jumblatt, Siniora, Gemayel & Co.) as ground forces against Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement while providing them with Israeli airpower cover. This is a standard Imperial strategy which has been “successfully” used in Afghanistan (Tadjiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras on the ground), Kosovo (KLA on the ground), and in Croatia/Bosnia (with the Croatians on the ground): it minimizes combat losses, at least for Imperial soldiers, it makes use of the ground element’s knowledge of the terrain, and it allows for large-scale massacres without involving the Imperial High Command.
In the case of Lebanon, such a scenario would also allow the Siniora regime to crush the opposition in the name of “national security”, it would make it possible for the USA and Israel to sustain a long campaign “in defense of the democratically elected President of Lebanon” and it would provide Israel with a great opportunity to try to finally crush Hezbollah. But would this approach really yield the expected results?
What are the real lessons for Lebanon from the Afghanistan, Kosovo or Croatia/Bosnia campaigns?
In Afghanistan the Taliban, pressed by the Pakistani ISI, took the fundamental decision not to fight, to retreat to the south of the country to wait for US and NATO ground forces to invade the country. By refusing to fight the kind of war the US/NATO wanted the Taliban chose the best strategy possible: waiting until the nature of the conflict would fundamentally change. As a result, the Taliban control most of the country, the NATO alliance is in a crisis, the invading forces are taking many casualties, Karazai is known throughout the country as the “mayor of Kabul and the US/NATO forces are now being defeated quasi-officially (meaning that the corporate media now reports on some problems with this campaign).
In Kosovo the air campaign was an abject failure. The (4th – if I remember well) Serbian Army Corps lost only a few tanks and APC and was totally unscathed by NATO’s huge bombing campaign. The Serbian army achieved this amazing result not by the strength of its air defenses (which, even if staffed by very competent operators, were antiquated) but by its mastery of deception, camouflage and use of decoys. Neither US/NATO spotters not KLA fighters were able (or willing) to find useful targets for air attacks. The Empire switched tactic and bombed the civilian population in Serbia and Montenegro while promising Milosevic that he would be allowed to remain in power if he would be willing to betray the Kosovo Serbs. It is that latter method which brought about the Serbian capitulation. It is also important to stress here that while the Serbs were a rather small minority in Kosovo (courtesy of Tito’s – a Croat Jew – ethnic cleansing of Kosovo after WWII) the Shia are the biggest part of the Lebanese population.
In Croatia and Bosnia the occupation of the UN controlled areas of Croatia was achieved not only by a Croatian ground attack supported by the US Air Force but also, which is less well known, by ordering the UNPROFOR forces protecting these areas to step down and let the Croats through and by making Milosevic agree to withdraw his regular Yugoslav Army Brigades away form their areas of deployment. All the weapons of the Croatian Serbs were held in “secured storage” as a “confidence building measure”. In other words, the Krajina Serbs were defeated by the joint action of the US, NATO and the UN and betrayed by UNPROFOR, and Milosevic. No such scenario is imaginable in Lebanon.
If anything, the examples of Afghanistan, Kosovo and Croatia/Bosnia illustrate the limitations of this “war on the cheap” strategy which, by the way, has already been tried in Lebanon in 1982: does anyone still remember the images of the Phalangists drinking champagne and toasting to the IDF while the Israelis were entering Beirut and shelling its Muslims neighborhoods? I do not expect Olmert or Bush to remember any such thing, but an old fox like Jumblatt? I bet you he does. So my guess is that he is just making empty threats and trying to impress Hezbollah. Either that, or the man has become senile.
UPDATE: looks like the old fox is biting his tongue, or is he? He denials are lukewarm at best, and he still blames Hezbollah for the situation even though Hezbollah is the party which demands the strict application of the rule of law and the *only* party in Lebanon which never used violence against its fellow Lebanese. Among other things Jumblatt declared “we are not American or Israeli agents as they always accuse us“. Really?! LOL!