by Mike Whitney, Unz Review
This week’s drone strike on senior Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in southern Beirut provides compelling evidence that Israel wants to expand the conflict beyond its borders. In the last few weeks, Israel has assassinated a deputy political leader in Hamas (al-Arouri), a senior adviser in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, (Sayyed Razi Mousavi) and “nearly a dozen senior Iranian military officials” (Fox News) at an airport in Damascus. At the same time, Israel has launched multiple unprovoked airstrikes on Lebanon and Syria. All of these incitements suggest that Israel is exploring ways to expand the hostilities beyond Gaza in order to plunge the entire region into war.
Israeli provocations across the Middle East are an attempt to draw the United States deeper into a region-wide conflict. Israeli leaders know that their country will not become the dominant regional power unless its enemies – mainly Hezbollah and Iran – are severely weakened. But Israel also realizes that its enemies will not be weakened without US assistance. Thus, the US must be put in a situation where it feels compelled to engage Iran and Hezbollah militarily in order to rescue its closest ally in the Middle East. If Israel opens up a two-front or three-front war with its enemies –as it is currently trying to do– then the United States will be forced to intervene on Israel’s behalf increasing the probability that Israel will emerge as the regional hegemon. That is the underlying goal of the current operation.
None of this, of course, has anything to do with “defeating Hamas” which was the pretext Israel used to obliterate Gaza and push its population towards the Egyptian border. The real objective is to change the basic power-dynamics in the Middle East in a way that best suits Israel’s interests. Here’s an excerpt from an article at the BBC that was filed on Wednesday:
At least 103 people have been killed by two bomb explosions near the tomb of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani on the fourth anniversary of his assassination by the US, Iran’s state media report. State broadcaster Irib said dozens more people were wounded when the blasts hit a procession near the Saheb al-Zaman mosque in the southern city of Kerman…. Videos showed bodies on a road and ambulances rushing to the scene….
Wednesday’s incident comes amid heightened tensions in the region after the deputy leader of the Iran-backed Palestinian group, Hamas, was killed in an apparent Israeli drone strike in Lebanon. At least 103 dead in bomb blasts near Iran general Qasem Soleimani’s tomb – state TV, BBC
Is Israel responsible for the terrorist attack in Iran?
The evidence is not conclusive, but it certainly fits with the pattern of recent assassinations and drone attacks in neighboring countries. The bombing incident has also infuriated the Iranian people who have flooded the streets in droves demanding retaliation. Again, the public reaction fits perfectly with Israel’s goal of provoking an emotional over-reaction that draws Iran into a direct confrontation with Israel. Keep in mind, the Biden administration has two carrier groups deployed to the region that are prepared to come to Israel’s aid at a moment’s notice. So, if Iran does respond (with missile attacks or airstrikes) the US is perfectly positioned to join the fray. This might explain why Netanyahu continues to bomb his neighbors with impunity. He knows that Uncle Sam “has his back.”
Here’s more from Aljazeera:
Israel has launched attacks on positions in Syria and Lebanon, as part of its ongoing campaign against opposing militaries and armed forces in the Middle East.
“The [Israeli army] struck military infrastructure belonging to the Syrian Army,” the Israeli military said in a post on the social media platform X on Tuesday.
“[Israeli military] fighter jets also struck Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in Lebanon,” it added, promising it would “continue to operate against any threat to Israel’s sovereignty”.
The latest attacks, which occurred between Monday and Tuesday, marked a spike in tensions between Israel and neighbors it has said have links to its enemy, Iran. Israeli army launches attacks on targets in Syria and Lebanon, Aljazeera
Why is Israel doing this? Why are they provoking their neighbors even while they are conducting a major operation against the Palestinians in Gaza? Don’t all these incitements suggest that Israel wants to widen the war? Here’s more from Aljazeera:
A drone strike in Beirut’s southern suburbs of Dahiyeh, a Hezbollah stronghold, killed senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri on Tuesday. The drone hit a Hamas office, leaving six people dead, Lebanon’s state news agency reported.
Hamas confirmed the death of al-Arouri and called it a “cowardly assassination” by Israel, adding that attacks on Palestinians “inside and outside Palestine will not succeed in breaking the will and steadfastness of our people, or undermining the continuation of their valiant resistance”. Who was Saleh al-Arouri, the Hamas leader killed in Beirut?, Aljazeera
The assassination of al-Arouri was no more ‘a spontaneous act of revenge’ than the attacks on Syria, Lebanon, or Gaza. They’re all part of a Grand Plan to redraw the map of the Middle East by provoking Israel’s enemies and then drawing Washington into the hostilities. That is the basic strategy in a nutshell. Here’s how political analyst Arnaud Bertrand summed it up on Twitter:
Israel is doing its very best to trigger a regional war by bombing Lebanon and Iran left and right, presumably to get the US more involved in the fighting as some sort of Hail Mary, but neither Lebanon nor Iran nor the US are taking the bait. Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand
Bertrand is right; Israel is trying to drag the US into a war of its own making. He’s also right in saying that Iran and Hezbollah have shown great restraint (so far) and have resisted the temptation to retaliate. But how long will that last? After all, they can’t allow Israel to pummel them forever without responding in kind. And they can’t simply roll-over and play dead either. And, that’s not what they’re doing. What they’re doing is following events as they unfold so they have a better idea of Israel’s broader strategy. They are biding their time while Israel moves its troops out of Gaza and up to the northern front where they are likely to clash with Hezbollah militants sometime in the next two weeks. That appears to be what is going on.
Meanwhile, the western media is trying to prepare the public for another conflict in the Middle East by reiterating the claim that a “regional war” may now be inevitable. Check out these recent headlines and see if you can detect a recurrent theme:
- U.S. strike in Baghdad raises specter of wider regional war, Washington Post
- Attacks Heighten Fears of a Wider War for the Middle East and U.S., New York Times
- ‘I’m afraid that we are really approaching a regional war,’ says Lebanese Foreign Minister, CNN
- Escalation in the Middle East: the danger of a regional war is growing, Guardian
- Blinken Set For Israel Visit As Regional War Fears Mount, Barrons
- Blinken Heads to Middle East As Risk of Broader Conflict Grows, VOA
- Blinken heads to the Mideast again as fears of regional conflict surge, AOL
Get it? The media is preparing the public for a wider regional war in the Middle East. Articles like these are being used to persuade the masses that conflict is unavoidable and resistance is pointless.
But, in whose interests are these articles being written? Whose geopolitical agenda is being promoted? Which country stands to benefit from a misinformed American public walking sheeplike into another deranged conflagration in which millions die and nothing is gained?
Why, Israel, of course.
From the looks of things, Uncle Sam is going to be asked to provide the military muscle for a lunatic operation that will pit US firepower against Hezbollah and Iran, neither of who pose any threat to American lives or US national security*. The objective of this misguided war will be to eliminate Israel’s enemies so that Israel can “secure the realm” and assume the role of regional hegemon, the undisputed ruler of the Middle East. It’s a pipe dream. * Just like they did to get rid of Saddam Hussein.
It’s a pipe dream.[*Just like they did to get rid of Saddam Hussein.]
Source: Unz Review – Is Uncle Sam Being Duped Into Fighting Israel’s War?