Last week Colonel Lang told us of the latest Middle Eastern goofiness of the Trump administration focusing on our declaring the IRGC a terrorist organization and Pompeo’s truly zany effort to turn the Lebanese government against Hizbullah. If not for the deadly seriousness of the potential consequences, our efforts to reshape the Middle East would be fodder for several Monty Python skits.
Why are we doing this? Well, there is the longstanding neocon addiction to treating the entire world as our personal plaything. There is also the unhealthy hold the Israelis and Saudis have on our body politic. Reinforcing this hold is the drive to hasten the rapture among large segments of the American evangelical community. I don’t think I’m alone in seeing this as a dangerous situation.
Pompeo’s latest buffoonery lead Colonel Lang and myself to wonder if the US and Israel are planning to take out the Hizbullah missile threat. That Hizhullah threat remains a knife in the heart of Israel’s myth of invulnerability. This threat is discussed in a JINSA opinion piece that appeared last month in “The Hill.” The JINSA piece called for US sanctions against Hizbullah-controlled Lebanese ministries. We’ll see if the US tries this approach now that Pompeo’s effort to convince Michel Aoun to turn his back on Hizbullah ended in abject failure. I’m sure the Pentagon has developed plans to attack Hizbullah’s missile arsenal. The Pentagon has plans foreverything. I’m also pretty damned sure these plans depend on first goading Hizbullah and/or the IRGC into providing a pretense for such an attack. Good luck with that. Not only are Hizbullah and the IRGC extraordinarily disciplined, but they also have non-kinetic ways of reacting to Western goading.
Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah slammed the U.S. decision to designate the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group, saying that Washington’s “audacity and folly” went beyond limits. “Blacklisting the IRGC is an evidence that it is strong and not weak and this is an expected move by the Great Satan,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech commemorating the day of “Resistance Wounded Fighters” on April 10.
Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. has blacklisted the IRGC, citing alleged terrorist activists by the Iranian group as a reason. Iran’s Supreme National Security Council retaliated to Washington’s decision by labeling the U.S. Army military as terrorist organization.
Nasrallah warned that Hezbollah and its allies from the so-called “axis of resistance” will not continue to deal with the U.S. hostile moves with “condemnation, denouncement and patience.” The Lebanese leader said the axis has other options on all battlefields. “Our choices are open but we will act calmly, with a cool head and at the right time, in all battlefields and arenas,” said Nasrallah.
The Hezbollah leader’s warning confirms the fears of some U.S. officials, who had warned that designating the IRGC as a terrorist group could endanger U.S. troops deployed in the Middle East. Despite this some experts openly state that the administration of US President Donald Trump is moving towards an escalation scenario because it contributes to its current political interests. (South Front)
I’m sure Nasrallah’s mention of “all battlefields and arenas” goes far beyond a targeting of US troops in the region. That would be unimaginative and exactly what the neocons desire. The old quote is “living well is the best revenge.” I think that’s the plan. “South Front” says that a strategic cooperation among Iran, Iraq and Syria on various projects is a nightmare for the US and Israel. Baghdad and Damascus will soon open the al Qaim crossing and, along with Tehran, plan on linking their national railways. China is interested in joining this as an extension of their One Belt, One Road initiative. Russia plans to assist Lebanon in the development of her offshore oil and gas fields. Of immediate importance Russia is moving to help resettle the 1.5 million Syrian refugees now living in Lebanon. That’s 1.5 million in a country with a population of six million. Now that’s a refugee crisis. This is of critical importance since Aoun has no intention of assimilating those refugees into Lebanese society given recent history and the nature of Lebanon’s political system.
Would Russia extend her defensive umbrella to include Lebanon if we attacked Hizbullah? Perhaps, but only reluctantly. Russia does not want a wider war. Syria, however, may be more ready to assist if needed. She owes Hizbollah. Even if Russia is reluctant to launch missiles against US and Israeli aircraft, she may be far less reluctant to employing her formidable radio-electronic combat capabilities. That alone could blunt the effectiveness of an attack on Hizbullah facilities.
In short, I feel an effective US-Israeli attack on Hizbullah missile forces is a pipe dream. Hizbullah won’t be goaded and Russian-Syrian aid, even limited aid, could make such an attack ineffective. Unfortunately, I don’t have confidence in the Trump administration’s ability to grasp this reasoning.