Death in Lebanon : Spinning an assassination....

25 November 2006.

  • Yesterday, Information Clearing House published an article entitled Syria is a convenient fallguy for Gemayel’s death in which Jonathan Cook took the liberty of calling attention to what should be the obvious fact that none of the journalists, including himself, who pontificate on the recent assassination of the Phalangist politician and Minister of Industry in the Lebanese coalition government, Pierre Gemayel, know for a fact who it was that lay behind the Mafia-style murder (unless, of course, they maintain unusually close connexions with the perpetrators). Unlike many of his colleagues, however, Mr Cook does not claim to know who did the deed, but he does offers a «few impolite thoughts» regarding who benefits from it. He points out that neither Syria nor Hezbollah (nor the Lebanese people, of course) stand to gain from the situation resulting from the assassination, which nudges Lebanon further to the brink of civil war (here, I cannot help but reflect over the fact that the US «intervention» has resulted in something that certainly resembles a civil war. There are those, of course, who claim that this is an unforeseen and undesired consequence of the invasion ; there are also those who believe in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy). Which states then, do stand to gain from the assassination and its aftermath ? Mr Cook is not coy about indicating a possible answer :
    Conversely, civil war may pose serious threats to Syrian interests -- and offer significant benefits to Israel. If Hizbullah’s energies are seriously depleted in a civil war, Israel may be in a much better position to attack Lebanon again. Almost everyone in Israel is agreed that the Israeli army is itching to settle the score with Hizbullah in another round of fighting. This way it may get the next war it wants on much better terms; or Israel may be able to fight a proxy war against Hizbullah by aiding the Shiite group’s opponents. Certainly one of the main goals of Israel’s bombing campaign over the summer, when much of Lebanon’s infrastructure was destroyed, appeared to be to provoke such a civil war. It was widely reported at the time that Israel’s generals hoped that the devastation would provoke the Christian, Sunni and Druze communities to rise up against Hizbullah.
    The Litani River remains, no doubt, a major (if not the ultimate) strategic goal for Israeli expansionism ; a civil war in Lebanon could, perhaps be perceived by its strategists as providing yet another opportunity to attain that for which the Israeli state has been straining but never quite achieved (despite a 20-year occupation of southern Lebanon) during the whole of its 60 years of existence. In any event, Mr Cook's voice is one to which we should be wise to listen ; below the response I posted to the International Clearing House thread and to StumbleUpon, upon reading his article :

Somehow, I doubt that we shall be given the opportunity to read Jonathan Cook any time soon in the New York Times, for example, or the Washington Post, or, for that matter, in the Independent or the Guardian. But we very much need to hear more from him, and of his carefully reasoned, dispassionate analyses of the latest spin on the latest atrocity taking place in Southwest Asia. We are thus all indebted to Information Clearing House for publishing Mr Cook's work....

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