A Lebanon War to Keep Netanyahu Out of Jail?

by Stanley Heller

November 6. The Prime Minister of Lebanon resigned two days ago. Saad Hariri wasn't in Beirut, Lebanon when he made the announcement but in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the kingdom of his patrons. In fact Hariri holds a Saudi passport. The Saudis, in their blind hatred against Iran, don't like increasing Iranian influence in Lebanon via the mullahs' protégé Hezbollah. Speculation is Saudi strongman Mohammed bin Salman wants renewed governmental chaos in Beirut, a de facto Hezbollah government and a mysterious spark that will start another Israeli-Lebanon war.

This makes sense, but maybe the primary impetus for this war is coming from Jerusalem, not Riyadh. A revealing piece was written in Haaretz by David B. Shapiro, who was ambassador to Israel under Obama. The title is "Is Saudi Arabia Pushing Israel Into War With Hezbollah and Iran?", but a close reading of the article gives its true meaning. The articles last paragraphs have the meat. He writes, "Israeli leaders have been preparing for the next war with Hezbollah since 2006. Iran's increasing assertiveness across the region makes clear that, even more than the last war, it will be a fight to diminish the Iranian threat on Israel's borders. Israel and Saudi Arabia are fully aligned in this regional struggle." Shapiro doesn't oppose the war in the least, urging Israel's allies to give it "full backing".

Yes, the Saudis are eager to confront Iran everywhere, but why now? Their cruel war against Yemen isn't doing particularly well. An adventure that was to take "weeks" has dragged on for over 2 years. Yemen is a wreck and this year alone 900,000 Yemenis have suffered from wretched and often fatal cholera attacks. Judged coldly on military terms the Saudi-UAE-US attacks are not doing all that well. The alliance of the Houthis and the old dictator Saleh is still hanging on and amazingly its forces sent a missile from Yemen that crashed or was intercepted 1,000 miles away near the Riyadh airport.

So who has the biggest motive to start an Israel-Lebanon war now? Can I suggest it's the Israeli Prime Minister? He's under real threat of indictment and jail. Serious corruption accusations have been floating around him for a long time. In August his former chief of staff Ari Harow turned state's witness. That month Isabel Kershner in the New York Times wrote a piece about "Life After Netanyahu". Israel has never arrested a sitting prime minister, but they did point one president in jail for rape, so jail for Netanyahu is no idle concern.

What better way to avoid the prison cell than to get up on a white horse and lead the nation into battle? Who's going to indict the prime minister during a war? Everything will be postponed and postponed and postponed. Think back to Boris Yeltsin in Russia in the '90's. His drunken administration was getting single digits in popularity and he sought to regain his mojo with an "easy" war in Chechnya.

Ambitions, greed, fear of jail all provide the motive for war. Whip up the fear and frenzy and on comes the slaughter. Helpless civilians and young soldiers are sent into the meat grinder. Besides protesting we can give one bit of advice.

Back in 2006 there was a lot of sympathy among the Left for Hezbollah which was seen by most as defending Lebanon from another brutal Israeli assault. There were demonstrations against the Israeli war worldwide. Yet, that was before Syria, before Hezbollah sent in tens of thousands to assist King Barrel Bomb with his sieges and attacks and his mass killings. Here's a bit of counsel for Hezbollah chief Nasrallah. Get the hell out of Syria, and quick.

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