Public Comment

Commentary: From Tehran: Lebanon Bombing Prelude to Iran Action

By Homayon
Tuesday July 25, 2006

Two weeks ago marked the beginning of a new round of Israeli-Palestinian violence due to which a neighboring country, Lebanon, soon became the victim of this confrontation. 

For years now, the Israelis, the Palestinians and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia, have played the game of abduct and swap. A routine tactic, to swap prisoners. Just weeks ago in fact they exchanged a few hundred Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli businessman without a drop of bloodshed. This time however, when the Hamas militia took three Israeli soldiers hostage, they were confronted with a severe military attack on Gaza as well as the abduction of some of the Palestinian Hamas cabinet members. As if that was not a swift enough reaction by Israel, Hezbollah a few days later took two Israeli soldiers hostage and spoke of prisoner exchange to Israel. To the entire world’s amazement, Israel almost immediately started bombing Lebanon’s airport and formed a naval blockade at its waters. Since then violence has escalated on both sides to include the Hezbollah rockets into Israel two days after Israel began the systematic bombing of Lebanese infrastructure, pounding its capitol Beirut and other cities. 

In light of these countries past routine tactics of prisoner swap, the question has become: why such a devastating and more importantly disproportionate response by Israel?  

To search for an answer, it is important to go beyond the recent abductions and remember that in the past year and in particular the past several months, the United States has been putting more and more pressure on Iran (through its European allies) to abandon its nuclear energy program claiming that the Islamic regime has hopes of developing nuclear weapons. Just a few months ago Seymour Hersh claimed in an article that the U.S. is preparing a military plan to attack Iran using nuclear weapons. This news (sounding like an intentional leak by the administration) combined with other violent comments by U.S. officials (such as Cheney’s warning Iran of monumental destructions) was perceived to be a strong verbal warning of how far the United States is willing to go. Military actions taken by the United States usually precede by strong verbal warnings. This ignored by the Iranian government and the unfavorable response by the Russians and the Chinese the United States followed by engaging in a diplomatic move. It accepted the Iranian’s gesture for a dialogue and included itself in the European talks with Iran providing them with a so called incentive package while asking for a quick response. The Iranian administration—controlled by its juvenile supreme leader—in turn refused a quick answer and instead set its own date of Aug. 22 as the reply date.  

Almost coinciding with the G8 Summit held in Russia, and instigated amazingly by Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel set its own stage to send a loud and clear message to the Iranian Mullahs. This is followed by the comments made by the World Jewish Counsel on July 17 that the whole world must unite to cripple Iran from obtaining nuclear energy and to force them to become world players.  

In the big picture therefore, the devastating barbaric Israeli bombing of Lebanon is an ultimatum to the Iranian government. The verbal, direct and indirect warnings of the United States and Israel have not been effective with the Iranian regime, thus a preview of what will be happening to them is staged! 

One can not be certain to determine if the Bush administration was a party to this military plan, but it is difficult to imagine that such a large scale and brutal attack on Lebanon would have not been discussed with the neo-cons ahead of time. Even if that were true, only a day after Israel’s engagement in an all out war against Lebanon George Bush gave the Jewish state his blessings by stating that “Israel has the right to defend itself.” Secretary Rice’s comments on July 18 in Egypt is perhaps most interesting and self-reveling. When asked if she will go to the region for a possible mediation, she replied: “The time has not come yet!” Twelve hours later the Israeli ground troops rolled into Lebanon. 

The inhumane and barbaric bombings of Lebanon by the Israeli war machine will go on for days to come as so claimed by Tel-Aviv. When this devastation comes to a halt, as an immediate achievement Israel will have broken the Hezbollah’s back as they announced they would. But more significantly Israel and the United States will have put the ball in Iran’s court effectively.  

If the Iranian supreme leader accepts to suspend its nuclear energy program, the United States has achieved its goal through the proxy of Israel and without engaging itself in another military front in the Middle East. Israel will also be rid of the thought of the fundamentalist Iranians going nuclear. In addition it will have occupied parts of Gaza—again—and parts of southern Lebanon again. 

If the answer from the Iranian supreme leader however, will not be favorable, then the bombing of Lebanon is very likely to be a prelude to the bombing of Iran in months to come. 


Homayon is the pseudonym of a correspondent writing from Teheran.