Socialist Appeal - British section of the International Marxist Tendency: the Marxist voice of labour and youth.
The latest war in Lebanon, apart from showing the brutality and barbarism of the Israeli government and its main allies and supporters, is also shedding light on the limits of US imperialism.

The latest war in Lebanon, apart from showing the brutality and barbarism of the Israeli government and its main allies and supporters, is also shedding light on the limits of the Bush administration's plan for world domination - the holy trinity, which some educated bourgeois professors like to refer to as Pax Americana, End of History and Empire.

Scarcely three and a half years ago, when preparing the attack on Iraq, the Bush administration tried to usher away the imperialist interests of what they dubbed ‘Old Europe'; that old, aching and slow Europe, namely France, seems to have been called back on the stage of international politics. Up to Wednesday (9 August) the future of the area was being discussed and agreed, in a two-man party, by France and the USA.

The text of the much talked about UN resolution agreed by France and the USA has been presented in the bourgeois media as a titanic effort to establish a long lasting peace in Lebanon and stabilise the Middle East.

Buildings down, but Hezbollah flag is still up The resolution, since it is designed to facilitate the Israeli task of weakening Hezbollah until an international force takes over, did not call for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanese territory and granted Israel the right to continue with defensive military operations. In other words, the UN legitimised and backed Israel's aggression, since right from the beginning, as is clearly stated in the second paragraph of the draft, that is what Israel has been doing:

"Expressing its utmost concern at the continuing escalation of hostilities in Lebanon and in Israel since Hizbollah's attack on Israel on 12 July 2006, which has already caused hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons."

The situation is such that the Arab League had to send out a delegation to New York to try to arrange a less humiliating wording for the resolution. They are under immense pressure at home. The people of the Middle East, disgusted at the brutality and dimensions of the Israeli butchery, are demanding their governments step in and bring the war to a halt.

So far, the Arab ruling elites could hide behind a cold-blooded diplomatic game, leaving the leading roles to those imperialist powers with some influence in the region. However, the publication of the agreed draft has obliged them to take action.

One of the Israeli government's main goals is the drastic reduction, possibly the elimination, of Hezbollah's guerillas capabilities to operate in the bordering area of northern Israel.

The Israeli government knows that to do so it would have to occupy the country and conduct a ruthless war of occupation. As they already know by experience, such a war is long, costly, demoralising and, ultimately, unwinnable.

So by creating a humanitarian, diplomatic and political crisis in the area they are hoping an international 'peace' force will do the job for them.

Such an international force, to police and disarm Hezbollah, would have to deploy, at least 15,000 soldiers. And, as Israeli Primer Minister, Mr Olmert, stated last week, will have to be "made up of armies and not of retirees: of real soldiers and not pensioners who have come to spend leisurely months in southern Lebanon, but rather an army with combat units".

Destroyed bridges in Beirut The question now posed is, will French society, whose armies would form the bulk of the occupying forces, be ready to pay the price that a war of occupation would require? What will happen in France once coffins wrapped in a French flag start arriving back to the Metropolis and more and more resources are diverted to the war effort? Would the French workers and youth, who have waged wave upon wave of protests and strikes, marched and even rioted, over the past few years, be willing to accept this?

The latest war over Lebanon has a logic of its own. It has already sent shock wanes throughout the region. Initially the British and American imperialist bloc seemed to believe it would assist their push to reshape the Middle East. Instead what we have is yet another element of instability and turmoil. For the masses as Lenin predicted ‘capitalism is horror without end.'

To any reasonable human being the idea of America and Britain attacking Iran might sound fanciful, especially given the condition in which their armies find themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, millions of people around the world are today wondering if those who are capable of the brutality we have seen so far could indeed launch such a new attack, if not on the ground then perhaps from the air.

To bring in an old colonial power with imperialist interests in the area to disarm Hezbollah and to claim that will bring stability to the zone is, certainly, the most nonsensical statement one could have heard or read in recent times, and the media is plagued with such nonsense.

Is there no hope for the people of the Middle East?

There is indeed hope, but it is not to be found in the reactionary fantasies of the bourgeois media. The hopes of the Middle East peoples, as well as the hopes of the European and American youth in uniform, lie alongside the hopes of the workers, peasants and oppressed around the world. That is, in the struggle for socialism. Neither the imperialist powers of the world nor the reactionary ruling elites of the region have any solution to offer. The future they are preparing is an endless cycle of bloodshed, carnage and destruction. Such despair is the only future capitalism can offer the masses of the Middle East. Their ‘road maps' are all detours over a cliff, the only route to hope lies in the struggle for a socialist federation of the entire region.