Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/455/5548

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 September 2006

Is a lasting peace possible in Lebanon?

LASTING ONLY one month, the war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah left 1,400 dead and 5,500 injured.

Dave Carr

In addition, it created 1,150,000 internal refugees of whom over 200,000 remain homeless. The cost of rebuilding will amount to around $3 billion. These facts show the devastating results of modern warfare.

At present, a shaky ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah is in place while small numbers of international troops, under the United Nations banner, are being deployed in southern Lebanon to keep the peace.

But none of the fundamental sources of conflict which sparked the 34-day war have been resolved and nor are they likely to be given the aims of the Israeli state and the Western imperialist powers, especially the US.

In alliance with the Israeli state, the US and its British junior partner want to dominate the oil-rich Middle East and to undermine the regional powers of Syria, Iran and their allies.

And while the ruling classes of these states jockey for domination and periodically clash, the underlying social and economic system of capitalism condemns millions of workers and poor people to lasting poverty and a future without hope.

Such is the contempt for the lives of ordinary people, that when the population of Beirut and Southern Lebanon were being obliterated by high explosives, US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, refered to the carnage as "the birth pangs of a new Middle East".

And when an attempt to broker an earlier ceasefire was being made at a summit in Rome, Tony Blair joined with George Bush to vote it down. Clearly, Bush and Blair wanted a ceasefire only after the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) had crushed Hezbollah.

Unwinnable war

But the IDF quickly got bogged down in an unwinnable guerrilla war with Hezbollah and other Shia-based militias. Consequently, the US and British governments (already facing major difficulties in pacifying Iraq and Afghanistan), having previously brushed aside the United Nations, invoked the ceasefire resolution 1701 to create a UN 'buffer zone' on the Lebanese side of the Israeli-Lebanese border. As well as exposing the limitations of imperialism this episode also showed that the UN largely serves the interests of the US.

But as Peter Taaffe writing in the socialist (7-13 September) put it: "Why should a 'buffer' be established only on conquered Lebanese territory? Why not on Israeli territory? And why is there no 'international' buffer between Israel and Gaza?"

The presence of UN troops in the Lebanon is not new. They have been there since 1978. However, they did not prevent the IDF conducting a full-scale invasion in 1982. Then, too, a 'multinational force' was sent to the Lebanon as peacemakers but the Israeli forces remained in Lebanon for another 18 years while a civil war in Lebanon raged unabated until 1990.

Significantly, the UN gave the Lebanese troops formal responsibility for disarming Hezbollah in the buffer zone rather than the international force. This was because the international forces face bloodshed if they try to disarm Hezbollah, whereas the Lebanese forces will not even seriously try to do so. Back in 1983 only months after arriving, 241 US marines and 58 French personnel were blown up in their barracks by suicide bombers. Hence the reluctance of many countries now to send troops.

Internationally, some look to Hezbollah as a force capable of ending conflict within Lebanon. The failure of the IDF to push the Islamic guerrilla force out of southern Lebanon has strengthened Hezbollah's political support. Its leader, Nasrullah, now has iconic status. Morale of the Shias in the region has been much boosted, but also of the masses in the Middle East who are in the main strongly anti-Israel and US imperialism.

But can it extend its political base beyond its Shia muslim heartlands and unite the workers and poor amongst Lebanon's various ethnic groups?

As well as expressing Shia solidarity with Iran, Hezbollah has emphasised its anti-Israeli stance and played up Lebanese nationalism, to gain allegiance from non-Shia Lebanese people.

But Hezbollah is at root a pro-capitalist, Shia-based Islamist organisation, which will not in the long term be able to unite all sections of Lebanese society. And while it shows solidarity with the poor, it does not deploy working-class struggle as a central method of challenging the profit system of capitalism. It has ministers in the Lebanese govenment which has carried through privatisations.

Working-class struggle

Socialists support the right of the Lebanese people to armed self-defence against attacks and occupation. However, the firing of rockets into civilian areas of Israel, which killed over 40 Israeli Jews and Palestinians, was counter-productive.

Instead of turning the Israeli working class against its capitalist war-mongering government it resulted in drawing them closer to the war aims of the Israeli regime. Yet the social weight of the Israeli working class is critical in undermining the Zionist ruling class and resolving the region's long-time national and social conflicts.

But if imperialism, the UN, the ruling classes of the region and organisations like Hezbollah are incapable of ending the continuing nightmare of wars, poverty and conflict in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East, is there an alternative?

The only force potentially capable of uniting the poor and oppressed is the working class. This class, unlike the capitalists, has no material interest in grabbing land and resources, nor the exploitation of workers to make profits. Only the working class as a movement against capitalism can overcome sectarian division and the poison of narrow nationalism. It is building a movement based on working-class and socialist internationalism that will answer the problems of the Middle East.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 21 September 2006:


War and occupation

Iraq: Will bringing the troops home bring stability?

Is a lasting peace possible in Lebanon?

How can the Palestinians win national and democratic rights?

What's socialism got to do with it?

Will the US attack Iran?


Socialist Party NHS campaign

March to save the NHS

Campaign to stop Hewitt's cuts

Hinckley - marching to save our hospital

The Socialist Party says:


Youth and Education

Parents fight school cuts

The 'IPOD generation' - worse off

Why we joined the Socialist Party


Global Warming

Can capitalism solve the problem of global warming?

Fighting to save jobs


Socialist Party workplace news

Merseyside firefighters take to the streets

Quote me happy? You must be joking!

NHS Logistics: Striking against privatisation

TUC papers over the cracks


International socialist news and analysis

52,000 vote WASG against cuts policy

Right victory punishes Social Democracy


 

Home   |   The Socialist 21 September 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Lebanon:

triangleShimon Peres - a wolf in sheep's clothing

triangleInternational news in brief

triangleAriel Sharon: a brutal architect of monstrous crimes

trianglePeace activists murdered by reactionary Israeli army

Hezbollah:

triangleSyria: Is an end to the war in sight?

triangleSyria threatens sectarian middle east war

US:

triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleThem & Us

War:

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangleComprehensive account of bloody conflict

Israel:

triangleThousands march in London for Palestine

Middle East:

triangleKurdish referendum declared illegal

International

International

13/12/17

Israel

Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

13/12/17

CWI

A world in crisis, ripe for revolution

6/12/17

US

Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

6/12/17

Ireland

Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core

6/12/17

Women

Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

22/11/17

US

Trump's tax attacks

22/11/17

Australia

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

21/11/17

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

15/11/17

Minneapolis

USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

10/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

8/11/17

Sweden

Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success

8/11/17

Spain

Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

8/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2