By Garbis Altinoglu
Bombings and assassinations continue in Lebanon. The latest victim of this wave of terror was the 67-year old George Hawi, former leader of the Lebanese Communist Party, who was killed on June 21st, when a bomb devastated his car. The White House immediately accused Damascus and angrily linked Syria’s ‘long and continued presence’ in Lebanon to George Hawi’s assassination and demanded a formal investigation into his death. “These are not random killings, these are targeted assassination of political figures,” charged White House spokesman Scott McClellan. On June 22nd, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Syria and prompted it to end destabilization activities in Lebanon, obviously referring to George Hawi’s assassination.
The assassination of Hawi is and very probably will be only one of several links in the chain of terrorist actions aimed at destabilizing Lebanon, pushing this unfortunate country into a spiral of renewed civil war and isolating the Syrian regime and forcing it into capitulation. The recent despicable acts of terror began with the killing of billionaire capitalist and former prime minister Rafiq Hariri on February 14th, 2005. On March 19th, a bomb explosion in the Christian suburb of Beirut wounded 11 people. On March 23rd, another bomb killed three people in the Christian town Kaslik north of Beirut. On April 1st, a bomb explosion wounded seven people in Broumana, a mountain resort overlooking Beirut and the Mediterranean coastline.
After a lull in May, bombings have begun once again. On June 2nd, Samir Qaseer, a prominent journalist of An-Nahar newspaper was killed after a bomb destroyed his car in the Ashrafiyeh neighborhood of Beirut. And this was followed by the assassination of George Hawi.
In almost all these cases, Lebanese reactionaries, US imperialists, some Western powers, especially Britain and France, plus the Western corporate media immediately blamed Syria. The Damascus regime was accused of attempting to maintain its hold over Lebanon even after it had withdrawn its forces there; it was accused of attempting to intimidate its opponents in Lebanon and aiming to destabilize its smaller neighbor. Everybody in the corporate media has automatically assumed Syrian culpability as proven and a foregone conclusion. As expected, none of these mouthpieces of imperialist robbers have mentioned the names of the US and Israel among possible suspects. This has been so, despite the fact that, Washington and Tel Aviv terrorists have openly been advocating and practicing a policy of preventive strike and targeted assassination of their opponents, especially after the events of 11 September 2001. Besides, a survey of the historical record and day to day conduct of US imperialists and their Zionist stooges provide us with innumerable instances of such acts of provocation and terror. Indeed, it will not be an exaggeration to argue that, they have long adopted state terrorism, including bombings and targeted assassinations as a regular way of “neutralizing” and defeating their opponents or intimidating and pressuring them into submission and capitulation. Furthermore, they have enriched the ancient art of provocation utilized throughout history by the ruling classes and their intelligence agencies. These masters of deceit regularly undertake terrorist actions, which frequently are blamed on their enemies and opponents, by means of disinformation campaigns. Here, it would not come amiss to remind the reader that most of the armed attacks in the present-day Iraq targeting ordinary people, mosques, aid workers, reporters, gruesome killings of hostages and actions targeting country’s already crumbling infrastructure, are conducted either by certain sections of the occupying US military and/ or the private “security” firms and puppet Iraqi elite forces under their control. By committing bloody and loathsome terrorist acts imperialist powers and their intelligence agencies aim to discredit and vilify revolutionary forces and resistance movements and to undercut their mass support. They also utilize such methods to build up some sort of reactionary mass support and to accuse, weaken and isolate their bourgeois opponents, such as Syria, which seems to be the case in the present-day situation in Lebanon.
However, the sharpening of all basic contradictions of capitalist-imperialist system and the growth of fascist and militarist sentiment among the most aggressive sections of finance capital, has been laying bare the terrorist nature of its advance guard, comprised of the US, Britain and Israel. In fact, in January 2003, Israel openly announced its intention to conduct a campaign of so-called targeted killings in the US and other friendly countries, in the context of a “more aggressive role in the war on terrorism”. Eight months before the September 11 attack, in fact, US Representative Robert L Barr Jr had introduced a “Terrorist Elimination Act”, which designated even the so-called al-Qaeda fundraisers as legitimate targets for assassination. After the events of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent declaration of the war on terrorism, American neo-fascists laid claim to unprecedented global jurisdiction. They vowed to pursue Osama bin Laden’s followers with force wherever they may be or hide.
One should not, however, be led to believe that, the US and Israel have begun to tread a path of terrorism, that is a path of provocation, assasination and massacres especially after the events of 11 September 2001. This feature has been inherent in the nature of the internal and external policies of all property-owning and exploiting classes throughout history. Reactionary bourgeosie and its apparata of repression have further refined and developed this practice in the age of imperialism. One should only remember the massacres conducted by the death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala, planned and financed by the US military, the numerous attempts of US intelligence agencies on the lives of foreign leaders, such as Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Haiti’s Jean-Claude Duvalier, Indonesia’s Sukarno, South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem, the Dominican Republic’s Rafael Trujillo and Chilean Chief of Staff Rene Schneider. CIA-led Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, in which nearly 20,000 local leaders, such as mayors, doctors, teachers suspected of revolutionary sympathies were killed. In 1986, US President Ronald Reagan himself ordered the bombing of the Libyan leader’s compound, remarking that he would shed no tear if Muammar Gaddafi were killed. Another terrorist President of the US, George Bush Sr made a similar remark in hitting Saddam Hussein’s palace in Baghdad in 1991. At the time he stated that, “No one will weep for him when he is gone.” His successor, President Bill Clinton prepared a secret memorandum expanding the use of deadly covert actions and authorizing in 1998 lethal force against al-Qaeda.
As to Israel, its brief political life span has been characterized by a rich inventory of state terrorism, including, torture, provocation, assassination and massacres. Let’s take a look at a few instances of the record of the Zionist state.
After the creation of Israel in 1948, Zionists worked relentlessly to create fear among Jews in the Arab countries to insure the migration of the Jews of Middle Eastern countries into Israel. This tactic of terror was successfully employed in Yemen, Morocco, Iraq, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia. According to the detailed accounts of Naim Giladi, for instance, to provoke the departure of Jews from Iraq, Zionist agents carried out bombings against synagogues and other Jewish institutions in Baghdad at the beginning of the 1950s. Zionists were also successful in inducing through bribes the puppet Iraqi government to pass anti-Semitic laws which further encouraged Jewish immigration into Israel.
In July 1954 Israeli government agents conducted several acts of sabotage against British & US property in Egypt. Israel aimed at incriminating “Egyptian terrorists”, thus driving a wedge between Britain & Egypt, and postponing British evacuation of the Suez Canal. The plan failed. Several Israeli agents were caught by Egyptian authorities and made confessions during their trials. This fiasco led to the resignation of the Israeli “Defence” Minister Pinhas Lavon resigns in February 1955.
On 27 of April 1997 Yediot Aharonot published a 1976 interview with Moshe Dayan. Dayan, who was the defense minister in 1967, explains there what led, then, to the decision to attack Syria. At the time of the Six Day War of June 1967, Syria was portrayed as a serious threat to the security of Israel, and a constant initiator of aggression towards the population of northern Israel. But according to Dayan, neither before 1967, not after that date did Syria constitute a threat to Israel. “Just drop it”, he says, “I know how at least 80% of all the incidents with Syria started. We were sending a tractor to the demilitarized zone and we knew that the Syrians will shoot. If they did not shoot, we would instruct the tractor to go deeper, till the Syrians finally got upset and start shooting. Then we employed artillery, and later also the air-force… I did that… and Itzhak Rabin did that, when he was there (as commander of the Northern front, in the early sixties).”
The instances of systematic bombing of Palestinian and Lebanese civilian population by the Israeli army, use of car bombs to eliminate Israel’s opponents, launching of missiles from armed helicopter and warplanes at the leaders and members of resistance movements, demolition of homes of the people by armed bulldozers and destruction of Palestinian and Lebanese economy and infrastructure etc. are too numerous and too well known to be mentioned separately here. Therefore, it is obvious that -together with its American boss and partner- the terrorist Israeli state is a much more likely candidate for the recent terror attacks in Lebanon.
Especially under the present circumstances, Syria, Iran or the Lebanese Hezbollah did not have anything to gain form the assassination of Rafiq Hariri on February 14th and they do not have anything to gain from the bombings and assassinations that have followed it. One, however, cannot say the same for the US and Israel, who more or less openly pronounce their intentions of redrawing the map of the Middle East in accordance with their interests, their aim of securing the control of oil and natural gas sources and their “right” to assassinate, destroy and terrorize all who stand in their way.