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Proletarian issue 14 (October 2006)
Lebanon: with the victory of Hizbollah a terrible beauty is born
While imperialism and its puppets in the Middle East are reeling from the shock of the Lebanese resistance’s victory, progressive people the world over have reason to be optimistic.
For 34 days – from 12 July to 14 August – Israel waged a war of wanton destruction against the Lebanese people, breaking all norms of the law of warfare and conduct among civilised nations.

Wanton destruction

Refusing to make any distinction between military and civilian targets, the Israeli army indulged in a barbaric orgy of destruction – bombing schools, hospitals, residential districts, roads, bridges, ports, airports, UN posts, electricity plants, oil storage depots, funeral processions, refugee convoys, farms and food factories.

While ordering the Lebanese to flee their homes, the Israeli air force denied them the means to do so, for almost every filling station in the south of the country was bombed out. Even churches, mosques, offices and supermarkets were marked out for massive bombardment by the zionist Nazi regime, which the zionist lobby and its imperialist masters and apologists have the audacity to dub ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’.

Reason for the war

Israel's pretext for waging this genocidal war was that, on 12 July, the Lebanese resistance, Hizbollah, had killed eight Israeli soldiers and captured two, it being further alleged that this happened inside Israeli territory.

Actually, there is substantial evidence that this incident took place on the Lebanese side of the border. According to the US magazine Forbes (12 July), the French news service Agence France Presse (AFP, 12 July), the Asia Times (15 July) and the Lebanese police, the Israeli soldiers were captured within Lebanon in the area of Ai'tu Al-Chaarb, a Lebanese village a few kilometres from the Israeli border.

In fact, the precise location of the capture is of little importance, for the Israelis are guilty of violation of Lebanese territory and sovereignty on an almost daily basis. They intrude into Lebanese land mass and air space, especially the latter, as a matter of routine, which is precisely why there have been regular clashes between the Israeli army and Hizbollah. Besides, Israel continues to be in illegal occupation of the enclaves of Shaba'a Farms and Kfar Shouba Hills, where it has no excuse, let alone a right, to be.

So, it is not the first time that the Israeli army, since its forced and humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, has been involved in fierce clashes with the Lebanese resistance. Nor is it the first time that Hizbollah has taken Israeli prisoners. Each time in the past, such incidents were followed by indirect negotiations and mutual release of prisoners; the last time such an exchange took place being in 2004.

Following Israel's expulsion from Lebanon in May 2000, hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners were held in captivity by Israel, which refused to free them. So Hizbollah fighters disguised as UN soldiers captured three Israeli soldiers, as well as an Israeli reserve officer who was in Beirut on private business. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbollah, offered to release the Israelis in return for the release of the Lebanese and Palestinians held by Israel. In a deal brokered by the German government, Israel agreed to release 430 prisoners in exchange for the bodies of the three captured Israeli soldiers (who had been killed shortly after their capture) and the Israeli reservist.

Hizbollah says that Israel had also agreed to release three specific prisoners – Samir Kuntar and Yahye Skoff, both captured in 1978 and held ever since, and Nissim Mousa N'isr. Ariel Sharon reneged on the deal at the last moment, forcing Nasrallah to declare that Hizbollah reserved the right to capture Israeli soldiers at any time in order to secure the release of these three prisoners. Keeping this promise was one of the reasons for Hizbollah's actions on 12 July.

Such being the history of the relations between the two sides, why should the incident of 12 July serve as the occasion for a full-scale bloody assault by the Israeli army, navy and air force on the people of Lebanon?

The answer lies in the fact that, whatever the pretext, the real reason for this predatory war was the imperialist plan, coordinated with the US months in advance, for the domination of the entire Middle East through the subjugation of Lebanon, as a prelude to the intimidation of, and possibly an attack on, Syria or Iran, or both.

This war had been prepared long ago, as has been disclosed by the US journalist Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker magazine of 21 August 2006. The US and Israel were simply waiting for a pretext, which they got on 12 July. Hizbollah, for its part, was fully aware of the US/Israeli war plans; it therefore decided to take the action that it did at a time of its own choosing, having made the necessary preparations for meeting the Israeli assault.

The outcry on the part of the political spokesmen of imperialism, and, following them, the shameless hordes who masquerade as journalists (when in fact they are merely a propaganda arm of US imperialism and Israeli zionism), blaming Hizbollah for Israel's war against the Lebanese people, has to be seen in the context of the double standards and hypocrisy at which this fraternity are so well adept. A hypocrisy so graphically and vividly exposed by Jennifer Lowenstein in these words:

"They tell you that a jewish state is democratic but a muslim state is evil; that Palestinians living in Palestine have no rights and no state, but jews living in the rest of the world can 'return' and live there as rights-bearing citizens; that Jesus wants you in Palestine unless you are a Palestinian or a muslim; that Washington, London and Tel Aviv can produce nuclear warheads but that Tehran is a global threat for daring to enrich uranium; that legitimate resistance is terrorism but state terrorism is 'self-defence'; that the desert state of Syria is Nasrallah's courier and puppeteer but that Washington is an honest broker and a partner for peace; that Iran is a rogue state for arming Hizbollah but that America is freedom-loving for arming Tel Aviv; that we cannot talk to Damascus or Tehran unless they renounce themselves out of existence first; that expansionism and regime change are necessary for American and Israeli national security but that the Arab and muslim winners of free and fair democratic elections should be arrested in the middle of the night and imprisoned in secret police detention centres for attempting to rule.

"They tell you that three soldiers captured by Hamas and Hizbollah are worth the collective destruction of Palestine and Lebanon but that civilians kidnapped by Israel are not worth the price of a printed page; that tens of thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails and the hundreds of Afghanis, Pakistanis, Arabs and others at Guantanamo Bay are worth less than the abandoned pets of the residents of North Israel fleeing to the bomb shelters. They sing sanctimonious hymns to the glory of international law as they veto it into the oblivion of a million shell fragments."
(Counterpunch, 8 October 2006)

Another example of the double standards, and the stupidity, of imperialist spokesmen and their journalistic hod carriers is the manner in which they portrayed Iran and Syria, the alleged military underwriters of Hizbollah. Hizbollah's resistance, according to the US and Israel, continues only because of Syrian and Iranian help, and in rendering such help these two countries have become, by extension, legitimate military targets.

This stupid justification is so blind that it fails entirely to take into account the reasoning of the average person in the Middle East, namely, that if Iran and Syria can be targeted for supplying military aid to Hizbollah, then the chief underwriter for the ongoing Israeli slaughter of the Lebanese and Palestinian people, US imperialism, in like manner, becomes a legitimate military target.

In so doing, the spokesmen of US imperialism are not only legitimising the attacks of 11 September 2001; they are actually busy inviting new ones. That they are too stupid and blind to realise this is hardly of any relevance.

Hizbollah gives Israel a bloody nose

The results of this war are just the opposite of those hoped for by US imperialism and its zionist Rottweilers with a licence to kill. Far from achieving a knockout victory in the course of a few short days, Israel received a bloody nose.

118 Israeli soldiers were killed and 450 were wounded; 41 Israeli civilians (of whom 18 were Arab Israelis) were killed. On the Lebanese side, Hizbollah lost 93 fighters, in addition to 1,088 Lebanese civilian deaths.

These figures point to the inhumanity of Israel's war, which targeted the civilian population in an outrageously indiscriminate manner. Equally, they are a clear indicator of the respect for humanitarian law which characterised Hizbollah's war against zionist aggression, in which Hizbollah attempted to minimise civilian casualties while inflicting maximum casualties on the Israeli army and destroying its equipment.

Thus, whereas the proportion of Israeli civilian deaths to soldiers was 41 to 118 (or 33 percent) – and far less if the non-jewish Israeli deaths are ignored, for these were deliberately excluded by the Israeli authorities from jews-only bomb shelters), that of Lebanese civilian deaths to soldiers was 1088 to 93. In other words, 92 percent of the Lebanese killed were civilians, nearly three times the rate of civilians killed by the Lebanese resistance and almost six times the rate of jewish civilians killed – the only ones who matter in the zionist lobby's propaganda machine. Even more brutally, more than 47 Lebanese civilians were butchered for every jewish Israeli killed.

Taking into account the deaths of combatants alone, the Lebanese resistance killed more Israeli soldiers than Israel was able to kill members of the resistance. And herein lies the victory of the resistance.

Of course, Israel was able to bomb from the air and inflict tremendous damage on civilians and on Lebanese infrastructure, against which the resistance was powerless. During its 34-day long Nazi-style blitzkrieg, the Israeli air force launched 5,000 missiles, 5-tonne bunker-buster bombs, cluster bombs and anti-personnel phosphorus bombs every day into Lebanon for the first 27 days. During the last seven days of the war, it launched 6,000 bombs and shells each day. During the entire course of the war, Israel unleashed a total of 177,000 missiles, bombs and shells into a densely populated tiny country.

By contrast, the resistance fired nearly 4,000 rockets in the course of the war – an average of 118 per day. Leaving aside the differences between the lethality of the weaponry used by each side, the Israelis unleashed 44 missiles, bombs and shells for every one of Hizbollah's rockets.

However, whenever there was an occasion for close combat, the Lebanese resistance gave a brilliant account of itself. In the last two days of the war alone, 43 Israeli soldiers were killed as Hizbollah, still firing rockets into Israel, fought back against a massive land invasion into Lebanon by Israel. Writing in The Independent of 14 August, this is how Robert Fisk described the fighting in the last two days of the war:

"Israeli military authorities talked of 'cleaning' and 'mopping up' operations by their soldiers south of the Litani river but, to the Lebanese, it seems as if it is the Hizbollah that have been doing the 'mopping up'. By last night, the Israelis had not even been able to reach the dead crew of a helicopter – shot down on Saturday night – which crashed into a Lebanese valley."

Unable to shoot down the Israeli F-16 and other fighter planes, Hizbollah have, for years, "prayed and longed and waited for the moment when they could attack the Israeli army on the ground", says Fisk, adding that from "this morning [14 August, when the ceasefire came into effect], Hizbollah's operations will be directed solely against the invasion force. And the Israelis cannot afford to lose 40 men a day".

For all their armed might and their comprehensive war plans, the Israelis and their American sponsors were unable, or unwilling, to take into account Hizbollah's strategy, namely, that if they could survive a fairly lengthy Israeli air campaign, they would in the end force Israel's army to enter Lebanon and fight them on equal terms, and thus inflict yet another defeat on the zionist army of aggression. Hizbollah's strategy has been vindicated by the outcome of this war.

In addition to the deaths of 118 Israeli soldiers, Israel has suffered losses of war materiel, with two navy warships badly damaged, two helicopter gunships and two war planes downed, and 47 tanks and 12 armoured vehicles destroyed. "Hizbollah's laser-guided missiles", says Robert Fisk, "appear to have caused havoc among Israeli troops on Saturday [12 August], and their downing of an Israeli helicopter was without precedent in their long war against Israel." (Op cit)

Israel was unable to achieve its war aims – declared and undeclared – and was compelled to agree to a UN-sponsored ceasefire after it became clear to Israel and the US that Israel had indeed suffered a devastating blow to its military prestige. The two Israeli soldiers captured by Hizbollah on 12 July, whose capture had served as a pretext for Israel's war against Lebanon, remained captives. Hizbollah rockets remain in place in southern Lebanon, and Israeli towns and settlements are as much within their range now as before the war.

Far from being destroyed, Hizbollah has emerged even stronger from this war than it was prior to it. The notion of Israeli deterrence and the myth of the invincibility of its armed forces have bitten the dust.

This is all the more remarkable considering the disparity in the personnel and equipment of the two combatants. Israel spends $11bn annually on its military budget, which accounts for about 15 percent of its GDP. In addition, since the election of George W Bush, Israel has received £9.4bn in military aid and equipment. The zionist state spends more of its resources on the military than any other country in the world. It possesses nuclear weapons, is armed with the most advanced US-supplied military hardware, including more than 400 warplanes, 3,500 tanks, 5,000 artillery pieces, 10,000 armoured carriers, 1,225 anti-tank missile launchers, 1,250 surface to air missile launchers, and 107 land-based missile launchers. It commands an army of 650,000, including 500,000 reservists.

Against all this was pitted a tiny guerrilla army of about 5,000 fighters, with no sophisticated weaponry to match that of Israel, and possessed of merely small arms, automatic rifles, mortars, RPGs, Kalashnikovs, anti-tank weapons, truck-mounted launch systems for Katyusha missiles and various rockets with ranges from 15 to 71 miles.

And yet these 5,000 Hizbollah fighters stood successfully defiant against the mighty IDF for over a month and fought to a standstill nearly 30,000 elite IDF troops equipped with the latest tanks, the most up-to-date artillery, and the fastest and most advanced fighter planes and attack helicopters anywhere in the world, managing into the bargain to empty at will the towns of northern Israel with their Katyusha rockets.

If this is not a victory for Hizbollah, then the word ‘victory’ itself has no meaning. For what the Hizbollah fighters lacked in numbers and in the sophistication of their armaments, they made up with their spiritual and moral superiority, their will and determination to defend the security, the sovereignty and honour of Lebanon against a predatory aggressor fighting a colonial war at the instigation, and at the behest, of the most bloodthirsty imperialist power and number one enemy of the people of Lebanon and the wider Middle East – US imperialism.

Besides, waging, as he is, a colonial war, the Israeli soldier has little motivation to fight. In the words of Gilad Atzmon, an author and accomplished jazz saxophonist and former Israeli soldier: "Unlike the bold Hizbollah, the IDF soldier has lost his will to fight. The IDF is a spoiled, confused and tired army that is specialising solely in terrorising civilian populations while being engaged in constant tactical withdrawals." The Israeli army, instead of being trained to win wars, is mainly engaged, through its tank battalions in "daily shelling of schools and hospitals". As for its air force, with the latest American fighter planes, it is principally busy flattening neighbourhoods and firing "deadly rockets at cars in the streets of Gaza. Its [the IDF's] command units are experts in abducting democratically elected middle-aged Palestinian politicians". The IDF, continues Mr Atzmon, "is basically a heavy army specialising in merciless bullying. Yet, it cannot win a war, and as such it has nothing to offer to the American empire." (‘Israel must win’, informationclearinghouse.info, 22 August 2006)

Defeat for neo-conservatism

In order to maintain itself as a regional power, Israel needs the blind support of US imperialism – politically, financially, diplomatically and militarily. And yet such American support can be forthcoming only if Israel can demonstrate that it is indeed a regional power to start with, without which it has nothing to offer to its US imperialist master. Israel is crucial to US strategic plans in the Middle East so long as it can wipe out all of its and America's enemies in six-day wars at the most. As of now, it appears, "the Israeli army is basically defeated by the two smallest nations in the Arab world, the Palestinians and the Lebanese".

Thus, one of the consequences of the war is that, along with the destruction of the myth of the invincibility of the Israeli war machine, it has begun a process of weakening the bloc and close alliance between Israeli zionism and US imperialism and thus undermining the very underpinning of the zionist state. Further, without a victorious army, Israel has nothing to offer to world jewry either as it can "never present itself as the ultimate cosmic Judeo bunker".

By its victory over the Israeli Goliath, Hizbollah – the little David – has delivered nothing short of a deadly blow against "Americanised global zionism, ie, neo-Conservatism", says Mr Atzmon, adding that by standing up to "zionism and Americanism, it is the Lebanese, the Palestinians, the Iraqis, the Afghans and the Iranians who happen to be at the vanguard of the war for humanity and humanism".

Mr Atzmon concludes by saying that Israeli prime minister Olmert knows very well that if Israel does not win this war, it will be tantamount to the defeat of global zionism, and that he knows as well "that without the backing of global zionism, Israel is basically a dead entity. Olmert knows that without America, it won't take long before Israel turns into an historic event".

While Israel must keep its regional power status to retain the support of US imperialism and global zionism alike, the Palestinians, through their resistance, and Hizbollah, through its victory, are threatening alike to undermine and destroy this historical monstrosity – Israel – and its imperialist domination of the Middle East.

Zionist war crimes and the zionist lobby

On top if its failure to overwhelm the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance, Israel has completely lost the battle for the hearts and minds of people even in the centres of imperialism – all thanks to the brutality of its wars, especially against the Palestinian and Lebanese people.

Israel was born through zionist terror and has survived through terror. In 1948, Israeli prime minister David Ben Gurion stated with cynical frankness: "we must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population”. Nothing has changed. Israel continues to exist only through terror, assassination, land confiscation and denying the most basic means of existence and sustenance to its Palestinian victims.

Ben Gurion's terror and ethnic cleansing have always been part of the daily routine of the zionist state, but only recently have the working masses of Europe, hitherto totally duped by the pro-zionist propaganda of the imperialist media, begun to wake up to the reality and raise their voices against this savagery. Even such respectable bourgeois figures as Jan Egeland, UN emergency relief co-ordinator, Louise Arbour, UN human rights chief, Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, and Kim Howells, the British Foreign Office minister, were compelled by the fascistic violence and destruction unleashed on the Lebanese people by Israel to condemn the latter for disproportionate use of force and to accuse it of war crimes.

At the same time as the war against the Lebanese was taking place, another slaughter was in progress next door in Palestine. Between 26 June and 26 August, Israeli forces killed 202 Palestinians, 44 of them children, while losing one soldier. During this period, Gaza was hit by 12,000 artillery shells, a murderous policy of extermination that was summarised thus in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz on 27 August:

"The [campaign] … is still taking a severe toll on 1.4 million Palestinians … thousands of Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes following continuing IDF incursions into the Strip [Gaza] and heavy shelling … the Israeli Air Force has conducted 247 aerial assaults in Gaza … more than a million people have been left with no regular supply of water and electricity."

None of these facts, however, prevent the zionist lobby and its imperialist patrons from portraying the Palestinian victims as terrorists and Israeli murder squads as victims of terrorism. The zionist lobby has absolutely no regard for Arab lives. During the war in Lebanon, the Daily Alert, the propaganda scandal sheet prepared by the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs (a semi-official propaganda arm of the Israeli government) for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations (CPMAJO), did not make a single mention of the fact that, while Israel was killing 10 Lebanese civilians for each resistance fighter, the Hizbollah resistance was killing four times as many Israeli soldiers as Israeli civilians (including non-jews).

These omissions by the zionist lobby and its supporters in the cowardly imperialist media were an essential ingredient in the attempt to perpetrate the myth that Israel was in the midst of an existential struggle for its survival against islamic 'terrorism'! None of this gentry bothered to ask the question why Israel's 'defensive' actions had to take the form of mass slaughter of the Lebanese people and the wanton destruction of its infrastructure.

Nay, more than that. Not satisfied with the Israeli slaughter in Lebanon, its blood lust not sated, the Rabbinical Council of America called for the Israeli military to re-evaluate its military rules in view of Hizbollah's "unconscionable use of civilians, hospitals, ambulances, mosques and the like as human shields". (See Jerusalem Post, 21 August 2006)

"The RCA and Eminah, the modern orthodox women's organisation, represent over one million US jews. Their call to maximise civilian deaths in order to lessen the 'risk' to 'our' [Israeli jewish] soldiers is in the finest spirit of Nazi chaplains egging on the Wehrmacht's scorched earth policy during World War Two." ('The Lobby and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon: their facts and ours' by James Petras, informationclearinghouse.info, 30 August 2006)

The RCA's Israeli counterparts, Rabbis Eliyahu and Drori, echoed its criticism in these candid terms: "our corrupt military, which tells us that our soldiers must endanger their lives to protect enemy civilians, is the reason we lost the war". Whereas Eliyahu views all non-jewish civilian opponents of Israel as enemies worthy of being burned alive, Drori accuses the citizens of western countries of anti-Semitism for no other reason than that they expressed horror at Israel's savage destruction.

Faced with the outrage caused the by Israeli massacre at Qana on 30 July (itself a repeat performance of a similar massacre in the same town on 18 April 1996), Israeli official spokesmen adopted the tactic of blaming Israel's victims for Israeli war crimes. Daniel Ayalon, Israel's ambassador to the US, appearing on ABC's This Week, while admitting that the attack at Qana "was a war crime", turned the facts on their head thus:

"Absolutely, it was a war crime! It was a war crime by Hizbollah because they specifically locate their rockets in civilian areas. We have specifically warned civilians to leave the area. If they are hiding enemy soldiers or munitions they are participants and they are not protected."

So, according to this Hitlerite, it is Hizbollah who massacred women and children at Qana, not the Israeli air force! Meanwhile, according to Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon, "Everyone in southern Lebanon is a terrorist and connected to Hizbollah."

As a description of Israeli Hitlerite cynicism and its genocidal policy, the above statements would be difficult to improve upon. There is no difference between these supporters of Israeli genocide and the Germans of the 1940s who supported the Nazi crimes and genocide, except perhaps one. Whereas many Germans could claim, or at least pretend, that they did not see the smoking chimneys or trains laden with those destined for the gas chambers, today's well-heeled and educated elites who drum up support for Israeli genocides cannot claim to be ignorant of the gigantic slaughter and devastation perpetrated by Israel and splashed across the media all over the world. They are real accomplices in the genocides committed by Israel.

Results

1. Hizbollah strengthened


The first result of the war is that the Hizbollah resistance, and, as a natural extension of it, the national resistance movement of the entire Middle East against imperialism, is today much stronger than before this war. Hizbollah, through its heroic and successful resistance against the murderous Israeli war machine, has redrawn the map of the Middle East. It is the first time that the Israeli army has been unable to prevail in an all-out war.

Far from being isolated from the Lebanese masses, as was the calculation of US imperialism and Israeli zionism, Hizbollah has emerged as the principal champion of Lebanese national rights, its independence and sovereignty, rallying around it all Lebanese – be they shia, sunni or christian.

Moreover, Hizbollah's successful resistance against the Israeli assault is fomenting militancy in the Arab world, where Hizbollah is rightly perceived as the champion of Arab rights, Arab independence and Arab honour.

The Israeli army, used as it was to defeating the combined armies of several Arab states in short sharp wars lasting only a few days, found itself at a loss in dealing with such skilled fighters as those of Hizbollah, who can easily disperse, replace its fighters, then regroup and improve its ambush techniques. Add to this the fearlessness and courage of its fighters, who, in close and organic unity with the masses, are defending their motherland against foreign invaders, and you get an organisation that cannot be beaten by the most powerful of armies in the world equipped with the latest killing machines and backed by the marvels of modern science and technology.

Nasrallah, who has enjoyed the status of a hero in the Arab world ever since his fighters drove Israel out of Lebanon in 2000, has soared higher still in the estimation of the Arab masses. Hizbollah's fighting capacity, its sophistication and tenacity, has won it the enthusiastic approval of its friends and the grudging admiration of its opponents and enemies. It is generally accepted in Lebanese government circles that in the conditions prevailing in the aftermath of the latest war, the disarmament of Hizbollah has become an almost impossible demand.

In fact, by its successful guerrilla tactics in frustrating Israeli aggression, Hizbollah has opened the eyes of the peoples of the Middle East to the prospect of still greater victories in the struggle against the evil axis of US imperialism and Israeli zionism through people's war.

2. Emergence of a radical anti-imperialist front

The second effect of this war has been to bolster the strength and prestige of Iran and Syria, while forcing the pro-imperialist Saudi, Egyptian and Jordanian governments into a hasty and humiliating retreat. Before the war, and in the early days of the war, these reactionary puppet regimes were far more concerned with the growing Iranian influence in Iraq, Bahrain and the Saudi northeast than with the plight of the Palestinians or Lebanese. Saudi Wahabbi clerics had issued a fatwa (religious edict) condemning the shia as heretics. However, they were obliged to beat a retreat after the spectacular Hizbollah victory. The very clerics who had earlier condemned the shia issued a new fatwa expressing support for Hizbollah in the latter's fight against Israel.

Something similar has happened at the level of governments. The deadly silence from Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, whose governments had condemned Hizbollah's ‘adventurism’, blamed it for the start of the war, and were happily expecting Israel to crush Hizbollah, is a sure sign of their embarrassment after their earlier hostility to Hizbollah's tactics.

Alarmed by Hizbollah's success, and sensing the mood of the Arab streets, the ruling cliques of Egypt and Saudi Arabia intensified calls for a ceasefire after two weeks of complete silence. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia even warned of a wider regional war "if the peace option fails because of Israeli arrogance".

The war has brought a coalescence of Arab nationalism, Iraqi, Palestinian and Lebanese resistance, and the Iranian and Syrian regimes into an anti-imperialist front that is undermining the legitimacy not only of US imperialism and its protégé, Israel, but also of ruling reactionary Arab regimes from Egypt to Jordan and Saudi Arabia – a front which is beginning to link battlefields from Afghanistan to Lebanon, for the "sunni Arab street has embraced Sayyad Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbollah's leader, as the new Arab hero, the 'Nasser of our time'". (Financial Times, 18 August 2006)

3. US imperialism and Israeli zionism discredited

Meanwhile, the stock of US imperialism has sunk lower than ever before – in the Middle East and elsewhere. Whether or not the US was actively involved in planning Israel's war, as asserted by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, the truth is that Israel received full backing for this savage and predatory assault, as for its prolongation, from US imperialism.

By giving blanket approval to the war, US imperialism has only managed to unite Arabs and non-Arabs, as well as shia and sunni Arabs, into a common anti-US front. It has managed to strengthen the resistance in Iraq, taken the heat off Iran's nuclear programme, destroyed the remnants of US credibility as a peace broker between the Palestinians and Israelis, undermined the authority and legitimacy of its stooge regimes in the Middle East, lethally undermined the pro-US Lebanese government, and created new tensions in US-European relations just as they were showing signs of improvement after the fracas over the war in Iraq.

Last, but not least, it has managed to rouse to fever pitch the hatred of the Arab masses for US imperialism and Israeli zionism, which in due course is bound to assume volcanic proportions and consume these two inveterate enemies of the Arab peoples.

Conclusion

The continued strengthening of the resistance in Iraq, the victory of Hamas in Palestine, the fierce battles being fought by the resistance against Nato and US forces in Afghanistan, and the victory of Hizbollah against Israel in the latter's war on Lebanon, have dramatically transformed the Middle East political landscape – with the US plans for domination of the region in complete disarray.

At the same time, the stock of Hizbollah, Iran, Syria and Hamas has risen to remarkable heights. Israeli bombarding during the war, the wholesale destruction of Lebanon and the mass slaughter of Lebanese people have served to intensify anti-American sentiment to a new height in the region and put US-friendly stooge regimes under great pressure from their own public. Today, while all this presents a picture of darkness, gloom and doom for imperialism and its puppets the Middle East, for the masses of the area it presents a picture of hope, light and progress – a picture of successful defiance against imperialism.

To borrow the words of George Galloway, "Make no mistake, with the victory of Hizbollah, a terrible beauty is born." (The Guardian, 31 August 2006)

Without a doubt, a new Middle East is being born through the resistance of the peoples of the area, from Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon to Syria, Iran and Afghanistan – a Middle East of free and sovereign nations free from imperialist bullying, brigandage and exploitation and occupation.

The proletariat in the imperialist countries must greet and embrace this new Middle East with boundless enthusiasm, for this anti-imperialist Middle East is a friend and ally of the proletariat in the latter's struggle for socialism.


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