Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It wasn't a war just with Hezbollah

Juancole on demnow:
"JUAN COLE: Well, the problem with the situation between Israel and Lebanon is that the war was inconclusive. The Israelis didn't get what they were looking for, and neither, I think, did the Hezbollah. Lebanon is a very divided society, and it has been badly hit. It's probably been set back in its economic development 20 years. Towards the end of the war, the Israelis released, it is estimated, up to a million cluster bombs in the south. These -- a lot of cluster bombs don't explode. So there are these bombs lying around all through South Lebanon that children will pick up, and already a dozen people have died from them. And this is a war crime, quite frankly. I mean, Hezbollah committed war crimes during the war, in targeting civilian cities like Haifa in a random sort of way, and Amnesty International has denounced them, and that's true. But this is a massive war crime, to let loose this number of cluster bombs in South Lebanon.

AMY GOODMAN: Estimates of what? Up to 350,000?

JUAN COLE: Even more, and there was -- it was done in the last days of the war, so it wasn't even being done for obvious military purposes. This was a political act. It was an attempt to make South Lebanon inhospitable to human habitation, which is a violation of the Geneva Conventions and simple ordinary morality. And, of course, it wouldn't work. The Lebanese farmers are going to go back to their farms, and if there are cluster bombs, then they'll just have to try to deal with them.

So there was a mindset during this war of punitiveness towards the whole Lebanese public. It wasn't a war just with Hezbollah. I mean, they took out bridges up at Jounieh, which is a Christian port. They hit Tripoli port. They bombed Achrafieh, a Christian area of Beirut. They bombed the airport. I mean, the whole country was attacked, not just the Hezbollah. And it was an attempt to turn the Lebanese against one another, and it didn't work. The Lebanese, although they have their differences, had a civil war, and they know what that is, and they weren't going to have another one to please the Israelis."

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