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Tireless Efforts to Set off the Lebanese Volcano - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Volcanoes dwell under the surface of the earth, and seldom do they move or explode. However, when they do so, they take revenge on all what is around them, and over a great distance. They do so with a certain air of ‘coldness’, despite their extreme heat.

As for the Arab region, the volcano era ended hundreds of years ago, leaving behind nothing but solid, coarse mountains such as Jabal al-Arab in Syria, the Aden mountains, and the renowned Crater district, an area that used to be a crater of an ancient volcano. However, volcanoes in the Arab region have been replaced with other volatile dangers. They are dormant like volcanoes, and explode from time to time, as volcanoes do, and likewise they kill with fire. Yet these dangers are radically different from volcanoes, as they are man-made. We call them wars; tribal wars, sectarian wars, colonial wars, and so on.

We have these man-made volcanoes in Somalia, Yemen, North and South Sudan, and amongst the fighting sects in Lebanon. They explode, in most cases, within the borders of their own countries, but sometimes they flow over the border, as is the case with Israel’s ‘volcanoes’, which happened to flood in the direction of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. Man-made volcanoes have other features; for they can sometimes be [externally] controlled, when colonial countries interfere to stir them up, or derive benefits from their ‘lava’. We can see evidence of external interference in Sudan, in Darfur, and also in Israel. When the man-made volcano erupts, it is difficult to determine whether it was instigated by a global superpower, a regional country, or by tribal, sectarian and ethnic disputes.

Furthermore, a massive volcanic eruption is sometimes triggered by a small force. These small forces are found on the battlefield, and usually leave behind them dead bodies, pools of blood, widespread destruction, homeless people and starving victims. Yet they are generally backed by much larger powers, which rarely appear on the surface. The only appear in the form of delegations, mediators and representatives. They are seen at high-level conferences, held in elegant halls, where participants exchange threats and menacing messages, using polite words.

If the erupting volcanoes of Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan, have become clear for all to see, then what is going on in Lebanon now, and these days in particular, deserves to be carefully examined and observed. Volcano experts pay field visits to volcanic zones prior to any expected eruption, to study the volcanic activity, toxic gases, and the ash that is emitted, at temperatures reaching 700 degrees Celsius. Similarly, what is happening in Lebanon today deserves a close examination by experts, and a careful study of attitudes, statements and threats. Experts should look into the local political situation, where the major actors allow access to some issues, but not others, such as indictments, the International Tribunal, the false witness affair, and Israel’s preparations for war.

Furthermore, amidst this festering man-made Lebanese volcano, the memoirs of former US President George W. Bush were published. He explained how he encouraged Israel to wage war on Hezbollah, in the summer of 2006, and how he prevented Israel from ending the war, and forced its duration to be extended. The word “extend” is a very clever diplomatic expression. On the ground, this translated into ferocious air raids, which proved to be most devastating attacks in the war.

Even as a small-time observer, you can deduce that a lot of what is going on now in Lebanon, has been planned and directed by external powers. This can be seen in current declared positions, escalating challenges, and flagrant diplomatic interventions, made by the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations [Susan Rice], the U.S. Secretary of State [Hillary Clinton], and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Jeffrey D. Feltman, who specialises in giving audacious statements. The directions given by these external forces are received by local parties, who then try and follow them.

The man-made Lebanese volcano has a local aspect, which is currently being stoked, and also an Israeli aspect, which is being primed to set off a major volcanic eruption. We do not need much evidence in this regard; we can already see the explicit signs:

Firstly, Israel was shaken by the results of the 2006 war, and since then it has launched a campaign to re-train its army. This training encompasses all types of armaments, all kinds of drills, and all sorts of modern weaponry, known as ‘smart weapons’, on account of their massive destructive capabilities.

Secondly, a French official who visited Israel, and toured the north of Palestine, alongside the Lebanese border, returned and said that “Israel is now ready to wage war against Lebanon.” He added that “The Israelis informed him that they had completed their military and civilian preparations for war.” The French official mentioned an even more alarming piece of news, when he noted that future Israeli Chief of Staff, Gadi Eizenkot, had told him “When the next war breaks out, it must end quickly and forcefully, without paying attention to international public opinion.” Why? Because the rate of destruction and killing will be extremely high, and will spark a wave of worldwide protest.

Thirdly, US security magazine, “Defense News”, reported that the US administration had decided to store military equipment in Israel, and that this stockpile includes highly accurate air-launch missiles. There is a weapons storage treaty in place, which contains a clause allowing Israel to use those weapons. We should also consider the statement made by current Israeli Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, in which he said that “In future wars, Israel will be compelled to use extremely accurate weapons, on a large scale basis.” Thus we can interpret that the highly accurate U.S. weapons, which are to be stored in Israel, are the same ‘accurate weapons’ that Israel will use in the coming war. This suggests that the U.S. is actually preparing Israel for war, as we speak, despite all of Obama’s deceptive statements.

Fourthly, the plan to set off the volcano is not only an attack on Lebanon; Syria has always been a main target. A study carried out by the “Jerusalem Center for Studies and Political Research” showed that Israel would not be able to defend itself, if surrendered the Golan Heights. The study concluded that any settlement with the Palestinians, with the effect of distancing Israeli troops from the borders of the River Jordan, which are close to the Golan Heights, would effectively turn those borders into a base for potential enemies, including Syria. According to the study, matters become even worse with Syria possessing missiles capable of reaching deep into Israeli territory.

All the aforementioned points indicate that forces are working, on the international and Israeli levels, to set off the Lebanese volcano. The lava would flow towards Syria and beyond, as was the case was in 2005, after the assassination of martyr Rafiq al-Hariri. The circumstances have changed, but the strategic objective has remained the same.

Bilal Hassen

Bilal Hassen is a renowned Palestinian writer and political analyst.

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