“Israeli leaders seemed like moths irresistibly attracted to the fires of Lebanon” Me
Ariel Sharon was probably more hated by Arabs than any other Israeli, until Benyamin Netanyahu showed up and took that crown. Sharon did his fighting mostly on the ground: in the battlefield and in occupied Arab territory from Gaza to the West Bank to Lebanon to the African bank of the Suez Canal in October 1973. Netanyahu has ‘personal’ baggage that Sharon did not have. He is also no military commander: he prefers to jaw-jaw the United States into war on his behalf. He does much of his fighting in front of a microphone, in the halls of the U.S.
Knesset Congress, and especially within the halls of the powerful AIPAC.
In 1982 Israeli forces led by Ariel Sharon invaded Lebanon, swept across the border, reaching the outskirts of Beirut right in the middle of the Lebanese Civil War. Maybe they were given the impression that they were liberating Lebanon and that they would be met with flowers. They were in fact met with the equivalent of flowers, but only by the Gemayyel’s Phalange fascist militia and some other warlords now allied with the Hariri March 14 bloc. One of their goals was to break and expel the PLO from southern Lebanon, and that they did. That invasion, at least the second Israeli invasion of Lebanon at the time, lasted many years. The PLO was expelled, but the Israelis probably regret that by now, seeing what replaced them. The expulsion of Palestinian security left the refugee camps open and vulnerable. Israeli forces had surrounded the camps (Sabra and Shatila) but allowed their local allies among Lebanese fascist militias to enter them and exact their revenge. Thousands of unprotected Palestinian civilians were massacred, after being subjected to other atrocities.
After that the Reagan administration and France managed to blunder into the Lebanese civil war, establishing vulnerable military bases in the middle of the warring factions. A classic blunder and the tragic consequences for French and U.S. forces are well recorded. The shaken Western forces pulled out quickly. The Israelis had also pulled back to the border region and decided to remain inside Lebanon, within reach of their local ‘allies’ who ironically were inspired by European Fascists and Nazis and hence inherently anti-Semitic.
The PLO departed for Tunisia, but in its place emerged a new indigenous organization called the Party of God, Hezbollah. The war and economics had pushed many repressed Lebanese Shi’as away from the border region, north to Beirut and its suburbs. That movement and the aftermath of the invasion and occupation of the South in 1982 weakened the political influence of the traditional Shi’a political “bosses” who were like other quasi-feudal Lebanese political warlords. Hezbollah, and Amal (Hope) movement before it, quickly attracted Shi’a loyalty as the Israelis seemed set to remain in the country. The guerrilla war against the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon and against its Lebanese surrogates of the so-called South Lebanon Army lasted about 18 years, until Hezbollah guerrillas forced them out in the year 2000. Over the years of war Lebanon lost several politicians including at least two presidents of the republic to car bombs. The victims also included many honest citizens.
When it came to Lebanon, Sharon was no different from other Israeli leaders who followed him. I posted once that Israeli leaders seemed like moths irresistibly attracted to the fires of Lebanon. They keep getting burned by it but they come back for more. They are still making incursions, flying sorties, and bombings in Lebanese territory, and against UN resolutions which seem to only apply to Arabs and Muslims.
Sharon failed in his quest to liberate Lebanon from its future, to preserve it for the right-wing hereditary warlords. That impossible task has now been handed over to Saudi intelligence and Saudi money and the politicized and widely discredited STL Lebanon Tribunal. Going against the tide of the future, the writing on the wall in Lebanon, it will also fail.