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16 January 2011

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Sean McBride

What's the real deal with the STL (Special Tribunal for Lebanon)? Any thoughts?
Is it primarily a neocon op? Are they deliberately trying to destabilize Lebanon (just as the neocons are deliberately trying to destabilize Pakistan)? How credible is the STL's assignment of guilt to Hezbollah (and possibly Iran and Syria as well) for the Rafik Hariri assassination?

Highlander

Colonel,

I know and respect the fact that you have a personal interest in Lebanon.

I'v never had it polled, but I would guess most Americans could care less about the place. Pity, I understand it was beautiful at one time.

jr786

The peace loving state of Israel, and the rest of the free world, will need 'mini' Hariri in nominal charge when they liberate noble little Lebanon from the clutches of the fanatical mujahadeen of Hizbullah and their Iranian overlords.

As the scion of a real estate fortune, Mini Hariri will also know which pieces of property have changed hands in and around Beirut and need protection, thus sparing the Israeli Air Force the trouble of filling out the forms for additional American ordnance needed for the required collateral damage when they blast Southern Beirut back to the stone age. It's actually a blessing for American taxpayers if you think about it.

The subsequent rebuilding of the rest of Lebanon will be led by Hariri and his flaming-liberal Saudi backers and we will have peace. Again.

mo

Colonel,
If we accept the premise that the US's primary goal in the ME today is the protection of Israel (with the supply of oil a distant second) then I propose the following analysis:

Since 1990, the plan has been simple. The first part was simply to get as many nations to unilaterally open up to Israel or to at least do so without their populace knowing about it.
Those that did not were either to have their leadership replaced (such as Qatar) or be treated as pariahs and as a last resort invaded.

While Clinton seemed happy with keeping this plan in the diplomatic field, George W Bush I think decided that it was high time the latter part of the plan was accelerated. Therefore, we saw the invasion of Iraq and the attacks on Gaza and Lebanon. I strongly believe that had Iraq gone as well as they foolishly believed it would and had Israel been able to keep it side of the deal, we would have seen (more) overt and covert actions against Syria and Iran.

Obama it seems has reverted to the Clinton model (probably more out of necessity) and in Lebanon, the efforts have been focused on delegitimizing Hizballah in order to remove public support. Hizballah have been Israels most dangerous opponent and so the pressure has been on them and their backers, Iran the most.

However, there is a possible fork in the road right now. What has happened in Tunisia is important. Ben Ali was one of those leaders that was fully signed up to the US plan (hell there were even Israeli "tourists" in Tunisia). The worst case scenario for the US and Israel is if Tunis gets a nationalistic popular govt. and worse still, if the Tunisian model has a domino effect on its North African neighbors especially Egypt (and to a lesser extent Libya).

If that were to happen (and demonstrations have already started in Egypt), Hariri and Hizballah's importance will suddenly diminish in the eyes of the West as there will be bigger fires to put out.

Interesting times.....

CK

The wife of an ex-president talking with the son of an ex-premier. It makes sense, especially since, according to Sec. Clinton, the US cannot take sides in the Tunisia situation. The deposed dictator of Tunisia escaped with his life and a 1.5 tons of gold.
And Baby Doc is back in Haiti with a babe and a plan.

Clifford Kiracofe

"BEIRUT — An official in Lebanon's Foreign Ministry says the U.S. ambassador has been summoned over accusations that she is interfering with the country's political process.

The official said Monday that the foreign minister asked Ambassador Maura Connelly to clarify the circumstances behind her visit this weekend with lawmaker Nicolas Fattouch..."
http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/us-ambassador-to-lebanon-806584.html

Arrangements for his 40 pieces of silver...Swiss account? New York? Paris?

CK

Ghadaffi has held power for 41 years. That is two generations. Mubarrak for 36 years ( appointed to Veep in 1975). The Hussein family of Jordan have ruled for 59 years. Poor Jordan, no water, no oil, so far from Allah so close to Israel. ( apologies to Porfirio Diaz for the sample )

Fred

"We carried out a constitutional, legal and democratic step to bring down the government. We did not use weapons," Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech in his first comments since the government collapse."

The US can't possible let this happen. Why they are following the example of democratically elected officials like Newt Gingrich using parliamentary procedures to bring government to a standstill.

WILL

from monsieur google

“How the US and Israel Hope to Destroy Hezbollah” ~ by Franklin Lamb, Counterpunch, 11/19/10
(excerpts)”I’ve got these [expletive deleted] just where we want them Maura! Watch the 1000 slow cuts as we shred Hezbollah…And we’ll do it by using 1757 and this time we’re going all the way. I told Israel to stay out of Lebanon…I will handle this and it will be my Christmas present to Lebanon.”
So, reportedly, said Jeffrey Feltman in conversation with his former office staffer, now US Ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly during October 17, 2010 visit with MP Walid Jumblatt at his Clemenceau residence…
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.counterpunch.org/lamb11192010.html

Phil Giraldi

Let us assume for a moment that the neocon strategy is indeed all about protecting Israel. That would mandate keeping the Muslim opposition weak and divided, which is precisely what the democracy agenda does since it quickly turns to faction. The only problem with that thinking is that it is also a virtual guarantee of overrepresentation of fundamentalism as the religious parties enter the fray with an infrastructure in the mosques and religious schools. It also opens the door to serious problems if one destabilizes a country like Pakistan a tad too much since there is the potential nuclear issue. I have to wonder what exactly Biden and Hillary were doing last week, sending various signals in a number of countries. Do they actually think that their comments will produce a positive result?

zanzibar

Still looking for a revolution? Sad. pl

Sad, indeed!

From the halls of Congress to the malls of California, we've been kicking the can down the road. Postponing our troubles, inflating our bubbles. Putting off, for tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, the crushing problems that cry out to be dealt with today. Is this any way to run a country? Based on the stock market's stellar performance in the past two years, you bet it is.

When Bill Gross who has lived of the taxpayer teat for decades starts getting concerned that the gravy train is ending, then the End Game must be getting nearer.

What does the US do geo-politically when it gets increasingly more desperate financially in the years to come?

Grimgrin

The more I think about the STL as the instrument of Hezbollah's destruction, the less sense the plan makes to me.

So you've got the STL to return guilty verdicts against the Hezbollah leadership (by itself no mean feat, given that the murder occurred 6 years ago and there doesn't seem to be any evidence beyond phone records), then what exactly? Implicating Hizbullah in the murder causes them to loose enough public support to damage them in Lebanon?

I don't know, that only works for people who perceive the STL as legitimate. It might make Hizbullah's support more sectarian, but given that the Shi'ites may represent the majority of the population, that doesn't exactly seem like enough for a crippling blow.

Maybe the idea is to get the UN to impose sanctions on Lebanon in the event that Hizbullah defies the convictions. Of course that only works if Iran and Syria comply with the sanctions and stop funding and arming Hizbullah, or if the sanctions damage the Lebanese economy so badly that it erodes Hizbullahs support. The former seems unlikely, and the latter could just wind up making people more dependent on Hizbullah's various social projects.

Maybe the idea is to get the UNIFIL or the Lebanese army to move against Hizbullah and provoke a crisis that justifies intervention. I'm sure none of these member states would have any objection to sending their troops into combat against Hizbullah. As for the Lebanese army, it's been established that they would loose if it came down to fighting Hizbullah. And if it all just boils down to a finding justification for armed intervention, why the hell are they bothering with the STL?

Am I just being dense here? I just can't see how convictions from the STL turn into a win for western forces in Lebanon.

walrus

"What does the US do geo-politically when it gets increasingly more desperate financially in the years to come?"

I thought that was obvious. It engages in endless war to justify the Orwellian repression of the growing American peasant class.

Social security is not dead, however it is necessary to make you think it is, so that it can be looted by Wall Street through privatisation. You are watching America morphing into a Russian Kleptocratic model of "democracy".

The American economy is not going to return to "business as usual". "The American Dream" is dead in the water and will remain so unless comprehensive economic and social reform is undertaken on a scale that dwarfs the New Deal.

Naturally the existing elites are doing everything they possibly can to stave off reform and maintain their privileges while grabbing anything of value they can lay their hands on. That is the real reason for the Patriot Act. The soon to be extended "No Fly" list is nothing more than a movement control system that does not need to rely on the USSR style internal passport. Other abuses will follow.

Evidence? Look at the budget cuts, fire sale "privatisations", and pending bankruptcy of American cities. Look at the price rises in food, energy and other commodities as investors favour these safer asset classes over any form of Government debt.

The most egregious "privatisation example of kleptocracy at work is Mayor Daleys sale of the Chicago parking meter system, at fire sale prices, just before his retirement.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-09/morgan-stanley-group-s-11-billion-from-chicago-meters-makes-taxpayers-cry.html

walrus

Ehud Barak and Four MP's have just quit the Israeli Labour party and started their own group - "Independence".

This appears to shore up Netanyahus position and has to be seen as Barak "clearing the decks' as a prelude to renewed conflict with Lebanon.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/18/3115165.htm?section=justin

mo

Grimgrin,
HA don't see the STL as a threat to them as such. There really is no consequence to the STL that can directly harm them.

What worries them is how an indictments will be used to stir up the kind of Sunni-Shia sectarian violence Lebanon has thus far avoided. And furthermore, they believe that the violence will be planned and premeditated, especially at the outset.

And they know this will hurt the people more than them but will be used to make it look like its all their fault.

As I said earlier this is the last desperate attempt to get them to give up the fight without actually having to fight them.

Tyler

Grimgrim,

I don't see any of the nations on that list abosorbing the kind of casualties HA would dish out in their own backyard or stomach the kind of fight HA can bring.

If the Afghanis (probably the best irregular infantry in the world) are so threatening that NATO troops aren't allowed to patrol outside the wire, I have a hard time seeing the nations listed doing anything but declaring victory and retreating as fast as possible.

Clifford Kiracofe

"keeping the Muslim opposition weak and divided, which is precisely what the democracy agenda does since it quickly turns to faction"

Phil Giraldi,

1. Yes, campaigns for "democracy" and "human rights" can be used as instruments of destabilization of a target country Muslim or otherwise.

2. The principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of another state was first established by the Peace of Augsburg in 1555. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 reinforced this principle. Modern international relations within the international system of states have been based on this principle.

However, for some decades there has been a systematic effort to break down the international norms of Westphalia.

3. The Neocons and their ilk are part of this effort. Tony Blair and other like minded "world leaders" are part of this effort.

With respect to the Neocons: they have an essential Trotskyist element driving their desire for "permanent revolution" combined with a Jacobin approach.

What many do NOT understand, it seems to me, is that the Neocons advocate "democracy" etc. not out an idealism of some sort. Far from it. They are cynical and realistic and know quite clearly the instrumental value of their Jacobin/Trotskyist call for "democracy" as a tool for destabilization. A method to pound regimes you target. With luck you can destabilize or even overthrow regimes you target in this manner.

Sometimes force is required as in Iraq.

In the case of simmering Egypt, things would seem to look quite promising for the Neocons etal. Plus if there is a partition of Sudan, then the Israelis gain more influence over the Nile River Basin, thus advancing their objective of some 50 years of the strategic encirclement of Egypt: Ethiopia, Uganda, etc. At least this is how it was once explained to me by an advisor to Sadat.

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