By Azmi Bishara
"The timing is an Israeli-American one. And the answer resides with the Arabs and the US, and their inability to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1559 and dismantle the Lebanese resistance with Arab tools. So Israel stepped forward. The only difference between today and the earlier bombardments -- the "Day of Reckoning" and "Grapes of Wrath" between 1993 and 1996 -- is that Syrian forces are no longer present in Lebanon. Instead there is an American-sponsored project for the country, involving the rest of the Arab world, which was to change the structure of government in Lebanon and transform it into an ally of the US, a good neighbour to Israel and a participant in US- oriented alliances in the region.
International delegations will soon appear in Lebanon to reap the fruits of the aggression. They will promise the Lebanese a ceasefire if they implement 1559, saying that there is no longer any excuse for delaying implementation now that the Israeli army has demonstrated the consequences of non- implementation.
The US, meanwhile, is futilely trying to regulate Israel's cowardly assault against civilians and its destruction of civilian infrastructure. It wants Israel to target the resistance and the society that supports it without jeopardising the American project in Lebanon. It wants Israel to bully and blackmail America's allies without crushing them, alienating them completely or driving their supporters into the arms of the resistance. The difference between the Israel and the US, here, maybe tactical, but it is important. It is one of degree, of pushing or not pushing people over the edge. "