Ratcheting Up Middle East Tensions

by Stephen Lendman


Post-9/11, Washington’s aggression created a Middle East cauldron. As a result, it’s been on the boil. Things ahead look worse. Obama and key NATO allies threaten the entire region. In 2012, expect continued destructive violence. 

Israel’s partnered in this enterprise. On December 20, Jerusalem Post writer Yaakov Katz headlined, “US commander visits Israel to finalize missile drill,” saying: 

This spring, Washington and Israel will “hold the(ir) largest-ever missile defense exercise….amid Iranian efforts to obtain nuclear weapons.” 

Unprecedented in size, it’ll include establishing “US command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM headquarters (America’s European Command) – with the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East.” 

In fact, greater conflict’s coming because Washington and Israel plan it. Alleged threats are fabricated. Claiming an Iranian nuclear weapons program is bogus. At issue is creating instability, chaos and violence to achieve longstanding US/Israeli geopolitical objectives. They involve redrawing the region for total dominance to Russia and China’s borders. 

Netanyahu Wants War, not Peace 

Recent Haaretz editorials leveled stinging accusations against him. A mid-December one said his “main consideration is not improving the quality of life….but rather giving in to cronyism and vested interests (to) remain in power.” 

Another highlighted his anti-democratic agenda, targeting human rights and peace organizations. A June 2011 one worried that he’s “dooming Israel to live eternally by the sword,” saying: 

He leaves “no opening for reconciliation and understanding with the Palestinians and the Arabs of the Muslim world….There is no surer recipe for turning his claim” about an insoluble conflict “into a self-fulfilling prophecy.” As a result, he’s heading the region for more chaos. 

On Iran, Haaretz said: 

“(B)ombing (its) nuclear facilities is effectively equivalent to starting a war. The implications of such a decision are liable to be dramatic and painful for the entire Israeli public.” 

Yet Netanyahu and extremists around seem hell bent for it. So do hardline generals, including IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz. On December 30, he called Iran’s nuclear program a regional and Israeli threat. 

He stopping short of saying what many fear – preemptively attacking and destroying it. He did say, “through appropriate international and Israeli preparations, which I will not specify here, this challenge can be met.” 

Moreover, Israel may attack Gaza. According to Southern Brigade General Tal Hermoni: 

“We are preparing and, in fact, are ready for another campaign, which will be varied and different, to renew our deterrence.” 

Stopping short of saying war, he left little doubt what he means. So does IDF chief General Benny Gantz. Commenting on Cast Lead’s third anniversary, he called it “an excellent operation that achieved deterrence for Israel vis-a-vis Hamas.” 

Expect more conflict, he said. Israel will initiate “swift and painful” punishment. “I do not advise Hamas to test our mettle.” The next Gaza campaign will be shorter than Cast Lead with much greater firepower, he stressed. 

Gantz and Hermoni left no ambiguity. Israel plans war, perhaps coincidently with US aggression against Syria, then Iran. If nuclear weapons are used, humanity will be threatened. In their quest for world dominance, Washington, Israel and key NATO partners may destroy it in the process. The threat’s too great to underestimate. 

On December 30, Haaretz’s editorial headlined, “A 2011 of radical change welcomes an unclear 2012,” saying: 

Hope may spring eternal, but not under “a government (that’s) entrenching itself, even though it is barren of hope and busy mainly with muzzling dissenting opinions and engaging in political machinations intended to preserve itself.” 

Moreover, it’s heading toward alienation, isolation and more war. The 2012 global forecast may be “foggy. But in Israel it is clear: Spring never seemed so far away.” 

On New Year’s day, Haaretz’s editorial raised another disturbing issue headlined, “Israel’s rule is that of the jungle,” saying: 

Netanyahu finds ways to obstruct judicial rulings affecting illegal settlement outposts, “including those erected on private Palestinian lands….” 

“In cases where the High Court of Justice ordered” their removal, they were retroactively authorized. In fact, Ramat Gilad was left intact to reward extremist settlers “for agreeing not to attack soldiers” sent to evacuate them. 

Israel may be the only country still colonizing occupied territory. Based on century old Ottoman law, it stole 250,000 acres by illegally calling them “state lands.” 

Along with aggressive wars, “(n)othing is closer to the law of the jungle than a system of distorted laws and procedures” that permits whatever authorities wish, regardless of lawful principles and justice. 

Israel’s proposed legislation will stop evicting settlers on privately owned Palestinian land by forcing them to prove ownership. If passed, doing it in court will be required. 

According to Yesha Council head Danny Dayan, the bill doesn’t expropriate private land and approve settlement communities retroactively. It lets courts have final say. 

Peace Now lawyer Michael Sfard disagrees. He calls claims about Palestinians not proving ownership spurious. They’re designed to violate High Court rulings. Israel and settlers know Palestinians are rightful owners. Some of them provided valid documents proving it. 

According to Peace Now director, Yariv Oppenheimer, the proposed law amounts to a land grad at the expense of rightful Palestinian owners. It’s been ongoing for decades. 

They’re up against extremist leaders who want all valued West Bank areas colonized and Jerusalem entirely Judaized to exclude Arab citizens. 

Combined with other repressive legislation and threatened war, 2012 looks increasingly ominous. 

A Final Comment 

On January 1, various reports said an Arab League advisory body wants Syrian monitors withdrawn. It claims Assad’s covering up violence and abuse. According to its chairman, Ali al-Salem al-Dekbas: 

“For this to happen in the presence of Arab monitors has roused the anger of Arab people and negates the purpose of (their mission). This is giving the Syrian regime an Arab cover for continuing its inhumane actions under the eyes and ears of the Arab League.” 

In fact for months, Syria’s been wracked by externally generated violence. Arab League despots support it. They’re silent on Washington’s regime change plans, even at the risk of more war. 

They backed NATO’s war on Libya. Since March, they supported anti-Syrian insurgents. They partnered with Washington’s monitoring scheme. Sudanese General Mohamed al-Dabi heads it. 

As issue is what he’s saying; namely, that so far things look calm and Syrian officials are cooperating. Washington expects Assad accused of violence to advance its regime change plans. 

It also wants reports of massive pro-regime demonstrations suppressed. Facts on the ground aren’t cooperating. Ahead look for Plan B, perhaps with other monitors under new leadership. More reports will follow as events determine.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US

Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. He is also the author of “How Wall Street Fleeces America

The Progressive News Hour

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Guest Rasmus is Professor of Political Economy at St. Mary’s College and Santa Clara University, CA. He’s also a freelance journalist, frequent speaker, a playwright and author,

including his latest book titled, “Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression.” His forthcoming book is titled, “Obama’s Economy: Recovery for the Few.” His current views on

the economy will be discussed..

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