By Dr. Elias Akleh
The surprise quick visit of the American Vice President Joe Biden to Lebanon last Friday May 22 marked the 14th visit by an American official during the last six months. The American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton preceded Biden’s visit with her own brief stop in Beirut last month. This unprecedented American political activity in Lebanon reflects a concern over, and an attempt to meddle in the coming Lebanese parliamentary election in the 7th of June.
The Americans, and the Israelis, are afraid that the Amal-Hezbollah Alliance might win a majority in the election. Such a win will be disastrous to Israel. The Amal-Hezbollah Alliance is calling for a strong, capable, brave and responsible state with its army, security forces and political authority to defend Lebanon, especially the southern towns, from the routine Israeli violations of Lebanese borders and airspace. This means involvement of the Lebanese army into the resistance against Israel. The Lebanese army stood passive during the 2006 Israeli aggression against Lebanon.
The Alliance wants to rebuild and to strengthen the infrastructures in the South, and is also promising to work on executing the Litani Project to protect and preserve the river’s water. Israel has always coveted the Litani water for itself, and had criticized Lebanon of wasting precious drinking water into the sea.
Amal-Hezbollah victory would change the political face of the region. It would mean closer ties with Syria and Iran, would oppose any American influence, and might threaten to expose the pro-American so-called moderate Arab regimes.
Rumors out of Lebanon are stating that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt are spending a lot of money bribing citizens to vote for the pro-western MP Saad Hariri and his allies. “Certain Arab governments” are accused of plotting with Israel to assassinate Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah to weaken the Amal-Hezbollah Alliance, charged Sayyed Nawaf al-Moussawi, who was Hezbollah’s top foreign policy official. To discredit Hezbollah the Western officials call it militia that threatens Lebanese sovereignty, and keep repeating their mantra call of “free, independent and democratic Lebanon without armed militias”.
The latest discredit attempt came from the German “Der Spiegel” magazine on Saturday 5/23 and broadcasted by the Al-Arabiya TV channel claiming that the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon, investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, has new evidence proving that Hezbollah had planned and executed the assassination. This claim was refuted by the spokeswoman of the Tribunal for Lebanon Radiya Ashouri, who stated “we don’t know where did the Der Spiegel magazine get this information from and we don’t know where did they bring this story from.”
Yet the American administration wanted to actively affect the outcome of the election. So the new American ambassador to Lebanon Michel Sisson seems to be tasked with this job. News from Lebanon indicates that Sisson has been actively of planning the electoral campaign for March 14 bloc by forming the bloc’s electoral tickets in many districts such as Kesroaun, Beirut 1, Zahle, Jbeil, and Metn.
Throwing its heavy weight into the matter the administration has lately sent its Vice President Joe Biden to give a political support to March 14 bloc, and to bribe Lebanese with American financial aid. In his short visit Biden met with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, then held meetings with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Fouad Saniora. Later he met with March 14 leaders at the residence of MP Nayla Moawwad.
Ignoring all the American meddling in the Lebanese affairs Biden re-iterated the American official position that Lebanon must have a fair, free and transparent election, and Lebanon must be independent without armed militias. He offered the American bribes in the form of military aid stating that “Washington is committed to ensuring the strength of the military institutions in Lebanon”, and “we seek to provide training programs for Lebanese special forces and shall provide unmanned aircrafts to the Lebanese army”. Then he put down the American condition: “Washington will evaluate its assistance to Lebanon based on the policies of the new government to be formed after the June 7 Parliamentary election”
Basically what Biden’s visit and statements are saying is that for Lebanon to receive American financial and military aid the pro-western March 14 bloc must win the parliamentary election, and must follow the American dictate.
We must not forget that the American administration is putting the interests of Zionist Israel at the top of its priorities. Despite the Israeli war crimes and violations of human rights, international laws, and UN resolutions the American administration has recently approved almost $3 billion in military aid to Israel. Biden’s call for sovereign free Lebanon ignores the Israeli daily violations of the Lebanese sovereignty, and its continuous occupation of some Lebanese lands, and the latest Israeli spying networks spread all over Lebanon.
Biden, an emphatically self-proclaimed Zionist, is not really interest in the sovereignty of Lebanon. His real interest is in criminalizing and weakening Hezbollah’s resistance of the Israeli occupation, or at least having the Lebanese army contain it, thus creating internal strive in Lebanon that would keeping them away from Israeli occupation. His promise military equipment and training programs for the Lebanese army to allegedly protect the Lebanese borders is in fact the American/Israeli wishful plan to have the Lebanese army protect and secure the Israeli northern borders.
The Lebanese know very well that the successive American administrations had not been friends to Lebanon. Rather, they have been friends to Lebanon’s enemy; Zionist Israel. The administrations had supported Israel openly since the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. They financed, militarized, and defended Israeli terror in Lebanon. The latest such action was in the summer of 2006 when the Bush administration pushed Israel to attack southern Lebanon. The Bush administration pushed Israel into attacking Lebanon, and even when it became obvious that the Israeli objectives could not be met the Secretary of State, then Miss Rice, pressured Israelis to prolong their attack. The Bush administration had built an aerial bridge providing Israel with all kinds of bombs to drop on Lebanon especially the internationally illegal cluster bombs, thousands of which Israeli warplane had littered the southern Lebanese towns and fields with just few hours before the end of the war. Then the administration defended the Israeli terror attack at the UN and used its veto power to eliminate any conviction and even any criticism of the Israeli terror attacks.
It is so politically naïve to believe that change the president in the White House necessitates changing the American foreign policy, even though the new president promises change. This change he promises is only a change in the tactic rather a change in the substance.
Yes, the American administration is no friend to the Lebanese, and Joe Biden, a core Zionist, representing the old foreign policies of regime change in a new form, is just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
- Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab writer of Palestinian descent, born in the town of Beit-Jala. Currently he lives in the US. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.