Mossad, the CIA and Lebanon (continued)
US officials tied to Israel planned attack on Syria
The killing of Hariri has set the stage for the implementation of plans for US aggression against Syria that have
long been nurtured by a group within the US administration that is closely tied to Israel and the right-wing Likud
bloc, in particular. Prominent among them is David Wurmser, Vice President Dick Cheney’s adviser on the Middle
East. Wurmser played a leading role in the creation of a Pentagon intelligence unit that sought to fabricate a case
for linking the Iraqi regime with Al Qaeda in the months leading up to the US invasion.
In 1996, Wurmser co-authored a report drafted for incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, entitled “A
Clean Break: a New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” It called for a repudiation of the “land for peace” formula that
had served as the basis for Middle East peace negotiations, in favor of a plan to “roll back” regional adversaries. It
advocated the overthrow of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and recommended Israeli strikes against “Syrian
targets in Lebanon” and within Syria itself.
The co-authors of the report included Douglas Feith, the current undersecretary for policy at the US Defense
Department, and Richard Perle, the former chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board.
In 2000, Wurmser helped draft a document entitled “Ending Syria’s Occupation of Lebanon: the US Role?” It called
for a confrontation with the regime in Damascus, which it accused of developing “weapons of mass destruction.”
Among those signing the document were Feith and Perle, as well as Elliott Abrams, Bush’s chief advisor on the
Middle East, who was recently appointed deputy national security advisor.
This document urged the use of US military force, claiming that the 1991 Persian Gulf War had proven that
Washington “can act to defend its interests and principles without the specter of huge casualties.” It continued: “But
this opportunity may not wait, for as weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities spread, the risks of such action will
rapidly grow. If there is to be decisive action, it will have to be sooner rather than later.”
If one asks the question, “Who benefits?” the answer is clear. The destabilization of
Lebanon, the mobilization of the US-backed opposition to the pro-Syrian
government in Beirut, and the vilification of Damascus all serve to advance US and
Israeli strategic plans long in the making.
It is not just a question of motive, however. Israel has a long history of utilizing
assassination as an instrument of state policy. The Israeli regime has not
infrequently carried out acts of terror and blamed them on its enemies.
Among the more infamous examples was the so-called Lavon Affair, in which the Israeli intelligence agency
Mossad organized a covert network inside Egypt which launched a series of bombing attacks in 1953. The targets
included US diplomatic facilities, and the attackers left behind phony evidence implicating anti-American Arabs. The
aim was to disrupt US ties to Egypt.
In its long history of assassinations of Palestinian leaders, many of them carried out in Beirut, the Israeli regime
has routinely attempted to implicate rival Palestinian factions.
Car bomb killings in Beirut are a regular part of Mossad’s repertoire. In the 1970s and 1980s, when the Israelis
invaded Lebanon, such bombings were a fact of daily life, and many of them were attributed to Israel.
Among the more recent killings is that of Elie Hobeika, an ex-Lebanese cabinet minister and former Christian
warlord, in January 2002. He was killed along with three bodyguards by a remote-controlled car bomb on a Beirut
street. Hobeika, who participated in the massacre of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps
in 1982, had announced just days earlier that he was prepared to testify on the role played by Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon in the killings.
Last June, a Lebanese magistrate indicted five Arabs who were said to be working for Mossad in connection with a
plot to assassinate Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. At least one of the defendants testified that
Mossad had organized the Hobeika assassination.
|In May 2002, Mossad carried out
the assassination of Mohammed
Jihad Jibril, the son of Ahmed Jibril,
the leader of the Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine-General
Command. Israeli Defense Minister
Benjamin Ben-Eliezer commented
cynically at the time, “Not
everything that blows up in Beirut
has a connection with the State of
In August 2003, Ali Hassan Saleh,
a leader of Hezbollah, was
assassinated in Beirut. Israel
denied any knowledge of the
killing, but it was seen throughout
Lebanon as a Mossad operation.
Since 2002, Mossad has been headed by Meir Dagan, who formerly commanded the Israeli occupation zone in
Lebanon. Sharon reportedly gave Dagan a mandate to revive the traditional methods of Mossad, including
Washington has itself revived the methods of “murder incorporated” that were historically associated with the CIA,
boasting of assassinations of alleged Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen and elsewhere.
While the Washington Post and other US media outlets echo the White House in denouncing Syria as a “rogue
regime” guilty of the Hariri assassination, the two governments responsible for the great bulk of the killing and
political murders in the Middle East are Israel and the United States.
In contrast to the jingoist propaganda of the American press, it is worth noting the editorial comment published
Wednesday by the Daily Star, the Beirut English-language daily, dealing with the broader political implications of
“The fact that within just hours of the murder five distinct parties were singled out as possible culprits—Israel, Syria,
Lebanese regime partisans, mafia-style gangs, and anti-Saudi, anti-US Islamist terrorists—also points to the
wider dilemma that disfigures Lebanese and Arab political culture in general: the resort to murderous and
destabilizing violence as a chronic option for those who vie for power,” the newspaper stated. It continued, “That
madness has now been even more deeply institutionalilzed and anchored in the modern history of the region due
to the impact of the American-British invasion of Iraq and the new wave of violence it has spurred.”
The murder of Rafiq Hariri constitutes a brutal warning that the US war in Iraq is only the beginning of a far broader
campaign of military aggression aimed at crushing resistance to US and Israeli domination. This escalating
militarism is creating the conditions for a conflagration throughout the region.