an extension of the 2006 war against Lebanon. Without question, the war
in the Gaza Strip is a part of the same conflict.
Moreover, since the Israeli defeat in 2006, Tel Aviv and Washington have
not abandoned their design to turn Lebanon into a client state.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, in
so many words, during his visit to Tel Aviv in early January that today
Israel was attacking Hamas in the Gaza Strip and that tomorrow it would
be fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Ehud Olmert and Nicolas Sarkozy, PNAC.
Lebanon is still in the cross-hairs. Israel is searching for a
justification or a pretext to launch another war against Lebanon.
Washington and Tel Aviv had initially hoped to control Beirut through
client political forces in the March 14 Alliance. When it became
apparent that these political forces could not dominate Lebanon
politically the Israeli military was unleashed on Lebanon with a goal of
bringing about the ultimate downfall of Hezbollah and its political
allies.  Areas where support for Hezbollah and its political allies
were strongest saw the harshest Israeli attacks in 2006 as part of an
attempt to reduce, if not remove, popular support for them.
After the 2006 war, the second Israeli defeat in Lebanon, Washington and
Tel Aviv with the help of Jordan, the U.A.E., Egypt, and Saudi Arabia
started arming their clients in Lebanon to wield an internal armed
option against Hezbollah and its allies. In the wake of both the
short-lived internal violence between the Lebanese National Opposition
and the March 14 Alliance and the Doha Accord, which was reached in
Qatar on May 21, 2008 as a result of the failure of this internal armed
option against Hezbollah and its allies, the Israeli-U.S. objective to
subdue Lebanon has been dramatically impaired.
A "national unity government" was formed in which the Lebanese National
Opposition — not just Hezbollah — hold veto power through one-third of
the cabinet chairs, including that of the post of deputy-prime minister.
The objective in Lebanon is "regime change" and to repress all forms of
political opposition. But how to bring it about? The forecast of the
2009 general-elections in Lebanon does not look favourable for the March
14 Alliance. Without an internal political or armed option in Lebanon,
which could result in the installation of a U.S.-sponsored "democracy,"
Washington and its indefictible Israeli ally have chosen the only avenue
available: a military solution, another war on Lebanon. 
Crossing Arms III: Israel Simulates a Two-Front War against
This war is already in the advanced planning stage. In November 2008,
barely a month before Tel Aviv started its massacre in the Gaza Strip,
the Israeli military held drills for a two-front war against Lebanon and
Syria called Shiluv Zro’ot III (Crossing Arms III).
The military exercise included a massive simulated invasion of both
Syria and Lebanon. Several months before the Israeli invasion drills,
Tel Aviv had also warned Beirut that it would declare war on the whole
of Lebanon and not just Hezbollah.
Israel's justification for these war preparations was that Hezbollah has
grown stronger and become a partner in the Lebanese government since the
Doha Accord. The latter was signed in Qatar between the March 14
Alliance and the Lebanese National Opposition. It is worth noting that
Hezbollah was a member of the Lebanese coaltion government prior to the
2006 Israeli war on Lebanon.
No doubt, Tel Aviv will also point to Hezbollah's support of Hamas in
Gaza as another pretext to wage under the banner of combating Islamic
terrorism a pre-emptive war on Lebanon. In this context, Dell Lee Dailey
the head of the counter-terrorism section of the U.S. State Department,
had told Al-Hayat in an interview that an Israeli attack on Lebanon was
"imminent" as part of the fight against terrorism. 
Blitzkrieg in the Making
Tel Aviv has been mapping a large-scale blitzkrieg against Lebanon as a
whole, which includes an immediate land invasion.  Just before the
Israeli massacre in the Gaza Strip started, Israeli officials and
generals had promised that no Lebanese village would be immune from the
wrath of Israeli aerial bombardments, regardless of religion, sect,
and/or political orientation. 
In substance, Tel Aviv has promised to totally destroy Lebanon. Israel
has also confirmed that in any future war against Lebanon, the entire
country rather than Hezbollah will be the target. In practice, this was
already the case in 2006’s Israeli aerial attacks on Lebanon. 
The Jerusalem Post quotes Brigadier-General Michael Ben-Baruch, one of
the individuals who oversaw the invasion drills, as saying, "In the last
war, we fired to disrupt Hezbollah activity," and, "The next time we
will fire to destroy." 
In the wake of Israel's 2006 defeat, the Israeli government admitted
that its "big mistake" was it exercised restraint rather than attacking
Lebanon with the full strength of its military. Israeli officials have
intimated that in the case of a future war against the Lebanese that all
civilian and state infrastructure will be targeted.
Beirut’s New Defence Doctrine: A Threat to Israeli Interests and
Objectives to Control Lebanon by the PNAC thugs and killers, of the
Why is Lebanon in the cross-hairs again?
The answer is geo-political and strategic. It is also related to the
political consensus process and the upcoming 2009 general-elections in
Lebanon. Following the formation of a unity government in Beirut under a
new president, Michel Suleiman (Sleiman), a new proactive defence
doctrine for the country was contemplated. The objective of this defence
doctrine is to keep Israel at bay and bring political stability and
security to the country.
President Michel Suleiman
At the "National Defence Strategy" dialogue, held by the 14 Lebanese
signatories of the Doha Accord, all sides have agreed that Israel is a
threat to Lebanon.
In the months prior to the Israeli military campaign against Gaza,
important diplomatic and political steps were taken by Beirut. President
Michel Suleiman accompanied by several cabinet ministers visited
Damascus (his first bilateral state visit; August 13-14, 2008) and
Tehran (November 24-25, 2008).
President Suleiman and Syrian President Al Assad, PNAC Killers.
In turn, General Jean Qahwaji (Kahwaji) the commander of the Lebanese
Armed Forces was also in Damascus (November 29, 2008) for consultations
with his Syrian counterpart General Al-Habib. While in Damascus, General
Qahwaji also met with General Hassan Tourkmani, the defence minister of
Syria, and the Syrian President.  His trip followed the visit of
Lebanon's interior minister, Ziad Baroud, to Syria and was within the
same framework.  Meanwhile, Lebanon’s defence minister, Elias Murr,
went on an official visit to Moscow (December 16, 2008).
What started to emerge from these talks was that both Moscow and Tehran
would provide weaponry to the Lebanese Armed Forces, which previously
had been the recipients of lower-end U.S. made ordinance. The U.S. has
always forbidden the Lebanese military from purchasing any heavy weapons
that could challenge Israel's military strength.
It was also revealed that Russia would donate 10 MiG-29 fighter jets to
Beirut in line with Lebanon's new defence strategy.  The use of the
Russian MiG-29s would also entail the required installation of early
warning and radar systems. Russian tanks, anti-tank rockets, armoured
vehicles, and military helicopters are also being sought by Lebanon. 
Iran has offered to supply the Lebanese military with medium-range
missiles as part of a five-year Iranian-Lebanese defence agreement. 
While in Iran, Michel Suleiman held talks with Iranian defence officials
and went to an Iranian defence industry exposition.
While the talks with Moscow and Tehran aimed at arming the Lebanese
Armed Forces, the talks with the Syrians were geared towards
establishing and strengthening a joint security and defence framework
directed against Israeli aggression. 
Integrating Hezbollah into the Lebanese Armed Forces
Moreover, Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement and the
Reform and Change Bloc in the Lebanese Parliament also visited Tehran
(October 12-16, 2008; ahead of Michel Suleiman's official visit), and
later Damascus (December 3-7, 2008).  Michel Aoun who is a central
figure in the "political consensus" has endorsed and reaffirmed his
political alliance with Hezbollah.
While calling for the peaceful disarmament of Hezbollah within a
Lebanese defence strategy, he has accepted that Hezbollah fighters will
eventally integrate into Lebanon's army. This disarmement process would
only occur when the time is right and Israel no longer poses a threat to
Lebanon. Hezbollah has broadly agreed to this, if and when there no
longer exists an Israeli threat to the country's security. This position
on Hezbollah's arms is spelled out in clause 10 (The Protection of
Lebanon) of the February 6, 2006 memorandum of understanding (MoU) with
Hezbollah that Michel Aoun signed on behalf of his political party, the
Free Patriotic Movement.
Following his return from Tehran, Aoun also presented his case for the
formation of a new Lebanese defence strategy and promised that the
outcome of his visit to Iran would materialize in about six months. Aoun
has also said that Iran, as the "major regional power between Lebanon
and China" is of strategic importance to Lebanese interests. 
Hezbollah Paramilitary Forces
Washington's political cohorts in Lebanon are alarmed at the direction
Lebanon is taking under its new defence strategy. They have criticized
weapons purchases from Iran and defensive cooperation with Syria. This
includes attacks on General Jean Qahwaji's visit to Syria, which was
mandated by the entire Lebanese cabinet.  Additionally, within these
pro-U.S. forces in Lebanon there has been a push for a "Swiss-like"
"neutral defence policy" for Lebanon within the Middle East. Such a
"neutral" position would benefit the U.S. and Israel geo-politically and
strategically. Needless to say, with the threat of Israeli military
aggression looming, this position is proving to be rather unpopular
Ending Israeli-American pressure on Beirut to Naturalize Palestinian
The formation of a new proactive defence doctrine implies that Hezbollah
fighters would be incorporated in the Lebanese Armed Forces and that the
existing paramilitary forces of Hezbollah would be disbanded once
certain conditions are met.
Therefore, one of Lebanon’s key political questions would be resolved.
With the integration of Hezbollah fighters into the country's army
together with military aid from Russia and Iran, Lebanon would acquire
defensive capabilities, which would enable it to confront the threat of
Israeli military aggression. These developments, which go against the
prevailing pattern of U.S. client regimes in the Middle East modelled on
Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have sounded an alarm bell in Tel Aviv,
Washington, and London.
In response to Lebanon's rapprochement with Russia and Iran, two senior
US State Department officials were rushed to Beirut in December.
During this mission, Dell Lee Dailey and David Hale, respectively
Coordinator of the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism and
Deputy-assistant Secretary responsible for Middle Eastern affairs,
renewed the veiled threats of an Israeli attack against Lebanon, while
casually placing the blame on Hezbollah. These threats are aimed at
Lebanon as a whole. They are intended to disrupt the creation of
Lebanon's new defence doctrine.
The clock is ticking for Israel, the U.S., and NATO to obstruct the
implementation of Beirut's new national defence doctrine.
Israel would no longer have any justifications for carrying out military
incursions into Lebanon if Hezbollah were to become a full political
party under a new Lebanese defence strategy. Moreover, if Beirut were
able, under a new defence arrangement, to protect its borders against
Israeli military threats it would not only end Tel Aviv’s ambitions to
politically and economically dominate Lebanon, but it would also end
Israeli pressure on Lebanon to naturalize the Palestinian war refugees
waiting to return to their ancestoral lands that are occupied by Israel.
Clearly the issue of Palestinian naturalization in Lebanon is also tied
to Lebanon's political consensus process and new defence strategy and
was discussed by Michel Suleiman with Iranian officials in Tehran. 
The Middle Eastern Powder Keg: A World War III Scenario?
In 2006, when Israel attacked Lebanon, the war was presented to
international public opinion as a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.
In essence the 2006 war was an Israeli attack on all of Lebanon. The
Beirut government failed to take a stance, declared its "neutrality" and
Lebanon's military forces were instructed not to intervene against the
Israeli invaders. The reason for this was that the political parties of
the Hariri-led March 14 Alliance that dominated the Lebanese government
were expecting the war to end quickly and for Hezbollah (their political
rival) to be defeated, and eventually excluded from playing a meaningful
role on the Lebanese domestic political scene. Exactly the opposite has
occurred since 2006.
Moreover, had the Lebanese government declared war on Israel, in
response to Israeli aggression, Syria would have been obligated through
a Lebanese-Syrian bilateral treaty, signed in 1991, to intervene in
support of Lebanon.
In the case of a future Israeli war against Lebanon, the structure of
military alliances is crucial. Syria could indeed intervene on the side
of Lebanon. If Syria enters into the conflict, Damascus could seek the
support of Tehran in the context of a bilateral military cooperation
agreement with Iran.
A scenario of escalation is, therefore, possible, which could
potentially spin out of control....
If Iran were to enter on the side of Lebanon and Syria in a defensive
war against Israel, the U.S. and NATO would also intervene leading us
into a broader war.
Both Iran and Syria have military cooperation agreements with Russia.
Iran also has bilateral military cooperation agreements with China. Iran
is also an observer member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
(SCO). Iran’s allies including Russia, China, the member states of the
Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO) could all be drawn into the broader