by Stephen Lendman
Lebanon has the misfortune of bordering Israel. The IDF attacked its northern neighbor in 1978, 1982, 1996, and 2006. More on the most recent war below.
Israel still illegally occupies Sheba Farms and Ghajar Lebanese territory.
Since at least the 1960s, it conducted repeated violations of its territory. Its warplanes overfly Lebanon provocatively. It committed thousands of terrorist attacks. It remains unaccountable for all of them.
Hezbollah was born out of Israel's 1982 war. It's a legitimate part of Lebanon's government. It's not a terrorist organization. It's repeatedly accused of attacks it didn't commit. The July 19 Bulgarian false flag is the latest. More on the aftermath below.
Hezbollah threatens no one. It's fully prepared and committed to defend itself and its territory if attacked. International law supports it. In contrast, Israel is a serial war criminal. It's a regional menace. Its nuclear, chemical and biological arsenals threaten humanity.
In July 2006, Israel committed naked aggression. Lebanon was preemptively attacked. Thinly veiled pretexts were used as justification. Israel lies about all its belligerence.
Crimes of war and against humanity were committed. Doing so is official Israeli policy.
Against Lebanon, Israeli strategy revealed its "Dahiya Doctrine." Named after the destroyed Beirut suburb, it's how all Israeli wars are waged.
Collective punishment/disproportionate force against civilians and non-military infrastructure is policy. Israel's 2006 blitzkrieg killed over 1,000, injured thousands more, and displaced one-fourth of Lebanon's four million people.
Beirut, Tyre, Sidon, and other Lebanon cities and towns were attacked. Targets destroyed or damaged included major ports, Beirut International Airport, 70 bridges, dozens of key roads, electrical power plants, gas and fuel stations, factories, schools, radio and TV stations, mosques, churches, hospitals, dams, civil defense centers, Sidon's refugee camp, an orphanage, and civilian neighborhoods.
Jiyeh's utility plant south of Beirut was also struck. Doing so caused a massive oil spill. It affected over 90 miles of coastal waters. It threatened biodiversity and heightened the risk of cancer for many thousands of Lebanese.
A land, sea and air siege was imposed. Illegal weapons were used. They included depleted uranium, chemical agents, white phosphorous bombs and shells that burns flesh to the bone, and so-called thermobaric bombs.
They contain polymer-bonded or solid fuel-air explosives. They're able to penetrate buildings, underground shelters and tunnels. Its blast pressure sucks oxygen out of affected areas and people in them. It's a terror weapon designed to kill and destroy horrifically.
On July 19, a bus carrying Israeli tourists and others was attacked. Eight deaths were reported. Israel spuriously blamed Hezbollah and Iran.
The New York Times regurgitated baseless Israeli/US accusations saying "American officials on Thursday identified the suicide bomber responsible for a deadly attack on Israeli vacationers here as a member of a Hezbollah cell that was operating in Bulgaria and looking for such targets, corroborating Israel's assertions and making the bombing a new source of tension with Iran."
An unnamed "senior American official" said "the bomber 'act(ed) under broad guidance' to hit Israeli targets when opportunities presented themselves...."
Two other unnamed US officials blamed Hezbollah. They called Iran "its primary sponsor." They claimed the motive was in retaliation for assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists.
As always when these type accusations are made, no evidence whatever is cited. Charges without clear corroboration are baseless. The identity of a so-called bomber remains unknown.
Clearly one or more bombs exploded. Whether suicide was involved remains pure speculation. Most likely a Mossad operative safely distant from its detonation bore responsibility.
Hezbollah and Iran categorically denied involvement. Repeatedly they've said they don't target civilians. They respond only when militarily attacked. International law permits it.
On July 19, Press TV said Tehran's Sofia embassy dismissed spurious Israeli/US charges, saying:
"The Islamic Republic of Iran regards terrorism as an anti-human phenomenon and condemns acts of terror by whomever, for whatever purposes and deems it unacceptable."
"The baseless remarks by the Israeli regime's officials and the accusations against Iran regarding its alleged participation in the bus explosion are a known Israeli approach with political purposes, which shows the desperation of the accusers."
Iran and Bulgaria maintain friendly relations was explained, adding:
"The enemies' threadbare plots will never damage the strong cordial relations between Tehran and Sofia."
On July 19, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov called it "wrong and a mistake to point fingers at this stage of the investigation at any country and organization."
It's "wrong to jump to conclusions....At this stage," very little is known, he added.
The Bulgarian false flag bears classic Mossad fingerprints. Car bombs are a favorite tactic. Netanyahu adds more lawlessness to his criminal legacy. He deflected attention saying:
"We will pursue the attackers and extract a heavy price from those who sent them. We will continue fighting Iranian terror, we will act against it with great force."
"For over a year, Iran, along with its protege Hezbollah, has been waging an international terror campaign. (It's) the world's number one exporter of terror (along with its) Hezbollah 'long arm.' "
"A terrorist state must not have a nuclear weapon," he added.
Israeli officials spuriously claim the Iranian Quds Force and Hezbollah conduct numerous terrorist attacks. An unnamed Israeli official said "(t)hey work together when necessary and separately" otherwise.
He added that he couldn't confirm if an alleged bomber intended to blow himself up or if he suffered a "work accident." We'll never know, he added. Conveniently that leaves a crime without an identifiable suspect by name.
Bulgarian authorities are trying to blame someone. They're working with Israeli, US and Interpol operatives. DNA was taken from an alleged bomber. How he was selected remains unknown. Everyone on the bus looked like tourists.
The suspect wore plaid shorts, an Adidas T-shirt, and a baseball cap. Allegedly he had a fake driver's license. Who can know what's true and what's not.
On July 19, Haaretz headlined "Netanyahu wants to turn the Israeli intelligence failure over Bulgaria into an excuse to strike Iran," saying:
Before the dust settled in Bulgaria, he said "all signs lead to Iran." Without proof, no suspect exists. Nonetheless, "Netanyahu and Barak are eager to deploy IDF forces on an attack mission targeting facilities in Iran."
"They lack a convincing excuse," and Obama is preoccupied until after November elections.
Israel also wants revenge for Hezbollah's effectiveness in 2006. It embarrassed the vaunted IDF. It proved a formidable adversary no matter how much death and destruction it inflicted.
It's likely better equipped, armed, and ready now than then. Nonetheless, Israel likely wants a longstanding grievance resolved.
It also covets Lebanon's 20-mile stretch from its border to the Litani River. At issue are considerable water resources and offshore oil and gas.
The Tamar and Leviathan gas fields contain an estimated 25 trillion cubic feet supply as well as four billion or more barrels of oil. A prize this great exceeds any revenge benefit, but in a nation addicted to militarism and belligerence, both issues matter.
Official reports leave another issue unaddressed. Israel faces internal unrest. Most Israelis have longstanding social injustice grievances. Nationwide protests persist. People demand relief from unaffordable housing prices and eroding benefits.
Promises made were broken. Public rage grows. What better way to diffuse it than by hyping an alleged terrorist threat.
Expect a continued drumbeat to heighten fear, blame Iran and Hezbollah, and perhaps use the Bulgarian incident to attack Lebanon ahead of a possible war on Iran.
Who can know for sure what Israel plans. Given its history, anything is possible.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.