HOT TOPICS ▶ Climate Change     Undoing The New Deal     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    

  July 15, 2010

Why Did Israel Attack Lebanon in 2006? Pt.11

Traboulsi: Invasion supposed to be a victory in "war on terrorism"
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

I support The real News network because they provide news that others do not.Unfortunatley because of my own financial situation I am unable to help financialy.All I can offer is 100 percent moral su - Edward
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


Fawwaz Traboulsi is Associate Professor teaching history and politics at the Lebanese American University in Beirut and American University in Beirut. is an associate professor of Political Science and History at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Dr. Traboulsi has been a visiting professor at New York University; University of Michigan, Columbia University and Cairo University and a visiting fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Dr Traboulsi has translated several works, including Edward Said’s Out of Place and Humanism and Democratic Critique. He writes in both English and Arabic on Lebanese history, Arab politics, and social movements, with his most recent book A History of Modern Lebanon (published by Pluto Books, London, 2007).


PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Beirut, and we're continuing our series of interviews on the modern history of Lebanon. We're joined again by Fawwaz Traboulsi. He's a professor of political science and history at Lebanese American University in Beirut and is the author of A History of Modern Lebanon. Thanks for joining us.


JAY: Why did Israel attack Lebanon in 2006?

TRABOULSI: Well, of what we know now, I'd venture and say it was mainly an American-driven decision, with the idea of scoring a neat victory against what the Bush administration considers terrorism. As you know, there wasn't great victories, neither in Afghanistan or Iran [sic]. What we know now is that the Israeli army had proposed, after Hezbollah had abducted the soldiers on the borders, a four-day classical hit against establishments, against Hezbollah posts, attempted assassination, and then negotiate.

JAY: And why even do that? I mean, we know Hezbollah kidnapped a couple of soldiers, but that had happened before. It doesn't have to lead to such a full-scale incursion.

TRABOULSI: No. Exactly. I think, I mean, of what we know now is that the army did not propose a full-scale incursion. It suggested four days of bombardment of the same type that they usually have done�twice before�when they had soldiers abducted, and then, under cover, start secret negotiations for their release. Now, what happened was�that's Israeli sources, as the Olmert administration called for a full-scale war. My hunch is that [inaudible] the Olmert administration thought it will score a victory against Hezbollah and that would be [inaudible] looked upon as a good advance in that unfinished, unfinishing war against terror.

JAY: Some of the analysts have said that�and it's people like Sy Hersh, but a lot of people were talking that Bush and Cheney were quite committed to�particularly Cheney�to an attack on Iran, and that they always thought that an attack on Iran could trigger a Hezbollah attack on Israel. And so Israel, because they also were interested in an attack on Iran, decides: we'd better take out Hezbollah's capacity to hit us.

TRABOULSI: It could be one possibility, actually. It doesn't negate the fact that you would have also couched it as a big victory in the war against terror. I mean, I wouldn't put that beyond them. But the important thing is that it turned sour.

JAY: One thing that's not clear, I think, to people: to what extent, if at all, was Hezbollah launching�other than kidnapping the soldiers, what fighting was going on? Was there rockets going from Hezbollah into Israel?

TRABOULSI: No. Before the war? No. No, no.

JAY: Before the war.

TRABOULSI: That was the only operation. Hezbollah had limited itself to this idea: I have�there are Lebanese prisoners in the jail of Israel; I want to bring them back, all of them. And to do this, the only possibility is [inaudible] kidnapping. It's worked before�hundreds were released. Now it can work. Actually, Hassan Nasrallah did overtly say that we had expected a four-day intensive bombardment; we did not expect [inaudible]

JAY: Now, Nasrallah is the leader of Hezbollah.

TRABOULSI: Yeah, secretary general of Hezbollah, of course. He said, we did not expect a full-time war [sic]. But, I would add, they were ready for it. I mean, the strong point about Hezbollah is that [inaudible] did not expect more than a four-day, five-day war; they were ready for a prolonged war. I don't think the Israelis had enough intelligence about Hezbollah, and I don't think the Israelis had any knowledge about the very sophisticated weapons that Hezbollah had developed, especially the anti-Merkava weaponry, the antitank weaponry�the Merkava being the very famous Israeli invincible tank. It so happened that Hezbollah fighters had trained in all kinds of antitank weaponry against all kinds of Merkava tanks, which was the most important, actually, victim of the [inaudible]

JAY: Now, this really was, you could say, a preemptive war in the sense that there was�Hezbollah had not done much to attack Israel, but the Israeli onslaught was profound and vicious, including bombing the airport, bombing sections [inaudible] Beirut, and thousands of civilians die.

TRABOULSI: Yeah. [inaudible] this has become classical. And I don't think�the Israelis never ever learned from it, actually, and this is why it's a war of complete destruction without any strategic or tactical importance, because they've done it all the time: they bomb the infrastructure of the Lebanese state and the economy, and they try to occupy land. They've been doing it since 1978. They occupy to the Litani River, then there is some form of solution, and they leave, and then they come back. And this is what they tried to do that time: bombard even heavier, all over the Lebanese territory, and then try to occupy Southern Lebanon up to the Litani River. And this is where they failed, because once they decided to down their troops on the ground, actually, they met with very fierce resistance, since most of the major villages, towns, and cities of that region were very well armed with a lot of militia defenses and very sophisticated fighters. I mean, we're talking about people who've been fighting Israel since 1982. So you've got 18 years behind�no, more, 23 years, 24 years behind those fighters. Also a new generation of fighters, who are quite sophisticated in the way they use the weaponry they have.

JAY: Militarily, this, the campaign, inside Israel and around the world, was seen more or less as a defeat of Israel, a victory by Hezbollah, in the sense that the objective of the Israelis was to destroy Hezbollah's capacity and they didn't. But not only that, it seemed to have strengthened Hezbollah's position politically inside Lebanon.

TRABOULSI: Definitely. I mean, it was a victory for Hezbollah. It was a defeat for Israel in the sense that the avowed aims proclaimed in the first two days, three days of the war, none of them were achieved. And it was a military fiasco for the Israeli army in more than one sense. I mean, apart from the fact that it always had air superiority, concerning tanks and holding to ground and infantry I think they were quite defeated. They couldn't even reach the Litani River to encircle and besiege the Hezbollah fighters, which was the aim you could read into their military strategy. They had declared occupying a number of towns, which it was revealed that they were not. And they lost a lot. So that boosted the morale of Lebanese in general. It strengthened Hezbollah, without any doubt. It transformed it into the major power among�inside the sect, inside the Shiite. It swelled the ranks of the fighters and of the militiamen. And, of course, good sections of the Shiites now moved from Amal to Hezbollah.

JAY: Please join us for the next segment of our interview with Fawwaz Traboulsi.

End of Transcript

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at

latest stories

Trump and the Rise of the European Right, with Reps of UK Labor Party, De Linke, Podemos, and Syriza
Petroleum Executives Visit Trump, Increasing Offshore Oil Drilling
Corbyn Allies in Labour Attacked For Supporting Palestinian Struggle
Kochs and ALEC Behind Criminalization of Dissent Bills in Five States
West's Anti-Russian Fervor Will Help Putin Win Election On Sunday
Stephen Hawking: Fighter for Progressive Politics
Paul Jay: Threats facing Humanity, Russiagate & the Role of Independent Media
Corbyn Smeared as 'Russian Stooge' for Requesting Evidence on Poisoned Spy
Chief in Charge of Internal Affairs To Retire from Baltimore Police
Corbyn Calls for Evidence in Escalating Poison Row
Sanders Resolution Against War in Yemen Challenged by Mattis
Senate Expands 'Lobbyist Bill' to Deregulate Real Estate
Expressions of Afro-Asian Solidarity during the Cold War
Economic Benefits of Tax Cuts Should Have Arrived - Where Are They?
Trump's Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Is Another World Possible? - Leo Panitch on RAI (4/4)
Students Demand Leaders Address the Root Causes of Gun Violence
Far-Right Ministers in Chile's New Government Placed in Sensitive Positions
Israeli Military Strangles Its Own Weapons Manufacturer to Privatize It
Not Without Black Women
Newly Tapped Sec of State Mike Pompeo Comes with Deep Ties to the Koch Brothers
The CIA's New Torturer-in-Chief
Anti-Pipeline Indigenous 'Mass Mobilization' Has Begun
UN Rapporteur: US Sanctions Cause Death in Venezuela
Colombia's Conservatives Make Gains in Congress Vote Amid Fraud Allegations
Wilkerson: Trump Won't Make Peace with North Korea
The Rise of Jeremy Corbyn and Class Struggle in the UK Labour Party - RAI with Leo Panitch (3/4)
Western Governments Whitewash Saudi Dictator MBS as 'Reformer'
US Cowardice Prevents Middle East Peace
Should China Maintain its Non-interference Policy toward Africa?,, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting