Lebanese Resistance Shocks and Awes US-Israel!
George Bush has proclaimed an Israeli ‘victory' over the Hizbollah. Indeed, ‘t'was a famous victory'… that has few takers even in Israel itself. Israeli PM Ehud Olmert is facing furious recriminations from his own army, which accuses him of having pushed them into the war ill-prepared and ‘too early'. It is all too clear that one of the world's most advanced armies, powered by US military muscle, has been unable to inflict decisive defeat on the guerrilla forces of the Hizbollah, despite over a month of war. With the prolonged wrangles in the UN Security Council, its members obviously intended to buy time for Israel , in the hope of an Israeli victory. But this ploy was thwarted by the staying power of the Hizbollah.
As one observer put it, if a light-weight boxer takes on a heavy weight champion and, in the 12th round, is still standing, he must be declared the winner, whatever the count of points! In fact, Israel 's only victory has been the over 1000 civilian casualties and the massive destruction of civilian infrastructure.
On her visit to Lebanon , US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared that the massacre and carnage in Lebanon as the ‘birth pangs of a new Middle East '. Indeed, the unprecedented and sustained resistance by the Hizbollah seems to be inspiring a new sense of solidarity and hope amongst the Arab people (for the first time since the first Intifada) – and what the birth pangs are bringing forth does not seem to be the same baby that was conceived by the US! A US Government consultant with close ties to Israel is reported to have said that the Israelis had promised a ‘cheap war with many benefits', which the US felt would be a salutary curtain raiser, a ‘demo for Iran '. Instead, the assault is evoking unpleasant reminders of the war on Iraq and an older one on Vietnam . Evidence is now trickling in to show that far from the war being provoked by the Hizbollah, Israel and the US had planned the aggression at least a year ago – as a move to eliminate the Hizbollah prior to launching an assault on Iran.
The current ceasefire seems in fact to be a new phase of the war – with Israel repeatedly violating the ceasefire to push into Lebanon ; and its troops facing ambushes and meeting with spirited resistance, not just from the Hizbollah but from ordinary Lebanese people. Meanwhile, a high-ranking Israeli army official has told the New York Times that “ Israel intends to do its best to kill (Hizbollah leader) Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.” One remembers the furore when a fatwa was pronounced against the Danish cartoonist; this death sentence pronounced by Israel against a political opponent during a ceasefire has been met with silence from the self-proclaimed custodians of ‘democracy'.
Bush and Rice spoke of the need to address the ‘root cause' of the war. According to the US and Israel, of course, the ‘root cause' is the very existence (totally inexplicable and frustrating to them) of Palestine and Lebanon as centres of resistance to racist colonisation and occupation in West Asia, and major hurdles in the path of US hegemonic designs in that region.
The belated UN Security Council resolution, expectedly, failed to speak a word against Israel 's horrific war crimes and its deliberate assaults on Lebanese civilians. Now, Bush has demanded another resolution calling for the disarming of Hizbollah. For us in India too, it is a matter of shame that the UPA Government and the Indian parliament, far from breaking military ties with Israel, have failed even to raise their voice against the Israeli aggression on Lebanon. In sharp contrast is the gesture made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, withdrawing his envoy from Tel Aviv. Hizbollah chief Nasrallah, in an interview, has appreciated the solidarity from socialists, Chavez in particular, contrasting it with the lack of support from most West Asian regimes. He also pointed to the fact that in the streets of Beirut , posters of Che and Chavez could be seen side by side with those who are seen as resistance fighters of Iraq , Lebanon , and Palestine .
As the heroic resistance of the Lebanese people goes on, and as the apartheid regime in Palestine is challenged daily from within, a fresh racist upsurge can be seen worldwide, in the wake of the news of a bomb plot in British airways being thwarted. Racial profiling, a phenomenon that had raised its head post 9/11 but had waned since, is once again rasising its ugly head. While standing in solidarity with the struggling people of Iraq , Palestine , and Lebanon , we must intensify the resistance to imperialism and racism. The ongoing struggle in Lebanon , whatever its final outcome, will have far-reaching consequences for US and Israel 's imperial and arrogant ambitions in West Asia , and will hold out hope for anti-imperialists all over the world.