Thursday, July 20, 2006

Big Picture

Chossudovsky:

Following the bombings of Beirut by Israel, there is a danger that the US sponsored Middle East war, which is at present characterized by three distinct war theaters (Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq) will escalate and extend to the entire Middle East - Central Asian region.

The bombings of Lebanon are part of a carefully planned military agenda. They are not spontaneous acts of reprisal by Israel. They are acts of provocation.

The attacks could indeed be used as a pretext to trigger a much broader military operation, which is already in the active planning stage. In all likelihood, the bombings were conducted with Washington's approval.

The timing of these bombings coincides with the showdown with Iran regarding its alleged nuclear weapons' program. They should be viewed and analyzed in relation to US-Israeli geopolitical and strategic interests in the broader region.

The Beirut bombings should also be understood in relation to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, which has opened up a new space, for the deployment of Israeli forces.

Since 2004, the US, Israel and Turkey have formulated concrete war plans involving air raids on Iran's nuclear sites. Israel is slated to play a direct role in the US sponsored military operation against Iran, which is also the object of consultations at the G8 meeting in St. Petersburg on July 15-17.

Since late 2004, Israel has been stockpiling US made weapons systems in anticipation of an attack on Iran. This stockpiling, which is financed by US military aid was largely completed in June 2005. Israel has taken delivery from the US of several thousand "smart air launched weapons" including some 500 'bunker-buster' bombs, which can also be used to deliver tactical nuclear bombs. US tactical nuclear weapons have been deployed by the US and several of its allies and could be used against Iran. Israel's thermonnuclear missiles are pointed at Tehran.

The participation of Turkey in the US-Israeli military operation is also a factor, following a 2004 agreement reached between Ankara and Tel Aviv.






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