• Propaganda barrage under way.
By Richard Walker —
Israel is gearing up for a war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Proof that a bloody confrontation is in the works can be drawn from statements made on September 9 by Israeli Colonel Dan Goldfus. In a television broadcast, he told Israelis their military was preparing for “a very violent war” with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
This all comes following reports that the Israeli military has been massing troops on the south Lebanon border and has been sending drones over the area.
Many expect that the American bombing of ISIS in Syria will provide Israel with the cover it needs to attack Hezbollah. It could use the pretext it was targeting ISIS units there, hoping by hitting Hezbollah instead it would trigger a response sufficient to ignite a full-scale conflict.
If indeed that were to happen, one could expect Israel to slaughter many more civilians than the more than 2,000 killed in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said as much. In 2012, he warned United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in any future conflict with Hezbollah he will authorize the targeting of homes and villages from where Hezbollah would launch rockets.
On July 14, in a sign of how such a war could start, Israel launched nine mortar shells at a Hezbollah base in South Lebanon, hoping to entice Hezbollah into a shooting war. Hezbollah did not respond, though. At that moment, the powerful Lebanese militia group was busy battling ISIS in Syria—the same group the United States is now bombing in Iraq and Syria.
The July 14 incident highlighted Israel’s strategy to try to draw Hezbollah into a new war by claiming Hezbollah fighters had planted a bomb that exploded near one of Israel’s border patrols. It turned out, however, the culprit was ISIS, which claimed responsibility.
Since, 2006, the Israelis have been itching for revenge after Hezbollah handed the Israeli military a crushing defeat. In the past few months, though, Israel’s obsession with Hezbollah has been increasing.
That was especially obvious in the wake of the leveling of Gaza. The Israeli media, with the prodding of the country’s military and intelligence community, published fear mongering stories claiming Hezbollah fighters had burrowed under Israel. One report said the Israeli government was concerned Hezbollah had “excavated” tunnels that snaked under the Jewish state’s northern communities in the Golan Heights.
Israelis were told the tunnels “could enable Hezbollah to carry out previous threats to use commandos to storm northern Israeli communities in an attempt to hold positions within the country.”
As often happens when Israel is firing up its people for a new conflict, the Israelis fabricate threats. So far no evidence has been found of any tunnels, even though the Israeli military has supposedly spent millions of dollars searching for them using the most advanced equipment.
Headlines intended to sow fear among Israelis were rampant, like the one published by Agence France Presse that read: “Israel Sees Mass Incursion in Future Hezbollah Fight.” It followed hysterical claims, one of them in The Jerusalem Post, that Hezbollah will seize Israeli territory, including towns, in a future battle.
Gebran Bassil, Lebanon’s foreign minister, is well aware of Israel’s belligerence. On August 14, he compared Gaza to a concentration camp and Israel to ISIS, remarking that both shared a desire to “turn the region into a cluster of small states fighting each other.”
Over all, Israel’s stance on the status of Hezbollah at any time borders on paranoia. A classic example was a report in Reuters on June 22, 2011, just as the civil war in Syria was intensifying. It carried the headline: “Hezbollah preparing for war against Israel to protect Syria’s Assad.”
That was a deliberate fiction. Hezbollah was instead preparing to help the Syrian regime battle the same ISIS that Washington and its allies are now bombing in Iraq and Syria.
D.C. Invents New Bogeyman
By Richard Walker
Just when the Western world had grown tired of meddling in the Middle East, Washington politicians and the military-industrial-banking complex concocted a new bogeyman to justify attacking targets in Syria and Iraq and sending thousands of military “advisors” back to the front lines.
As the new campaign to attack ISIS from the air in Syria began Americans were told there was an even darker force lurking in Syria, an organization called the Khorasan Group. Its members, we were assured, were bombed from the air by U.S. planes and drones just as they were about to launch a series of deadly attacks on the West, including bombing passenger airliners.
It was just like the lead-up to the Iraq War all over again. The mainstream media began parroting this dark narrative spoon-fed to them by warmongering neoconservatives that frightened Americans into supporting U.S. military intervention in the Middle East. Overnight, polls apparently changed showing that a sizable majority of U.S. citizens now supported waging a war against these terrorists.
The mainstream media was so thrilled to be handed a new outrageous storyline that no one questioned where the Khorasan Group came from. The New York Times, The Washington Post, Associated Press, NBC News and Fox News all fell into the trap.
Had just one enterprising journalist taken time to consult mythic “End of Times” chronicles of Middle and Central Asia, he or she would have found references to Khorasan. It is an old name for a region that includes many of the so-called “stans,” such as Afghanistan and Uzbekistan but also Iran.
Here is how Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad described Khorasan in 2005:
In Muslim legend, “Khorasan” is from where an army will emerge to support Muslims in the Middle East. Their battle will end with victory in Palestine and the revival of khalifah (caliphate). For the past few decades, Muslim academics have described Khorasan as the Central Asian states, Afghanistan and Pakistan. End of Time programs are sold in CDs and DVDs across the Muslim world, which romanticize the Taliban, al Qaeda and Hizb ut-Tehrir and add to their popularity.
For the neoconservatives and the weapons-makers, it was convenient to have this newer, deadlier enemy than the Sunni Muslim group known as ISIS threatening Western civilization at the very moment that President Barack Obama ordered the bombing of Syria. It helped shift the focus from the fact that U.S. bombing of ISIS in Syria would strengthen the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which until recently Washington and Tel Aviv had been determined to destroy.
The miraculous emergence of Khorasan also deterred journalists from asking why Russian President Vladimir Putin was not objecting to the U.S. bombing of Syria. As this newspaper reported last week, Putin had negotiated a secret pact with Obama to attack only ISIS and leave the Syrian military alone.
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.