23 Jul 2006
The fire in the Middle East is approaching the unpredictable point by the day. What are the long term goals of Israel and the United States in this process? Will this crisis pull Iran into it as well? Dr Dawood Hermidas Bavand is an analyst and university professor on international affairs spoke with Rooz about the US plans for this event, and how Hezbollah was ambushed in to it. Read on for his views.
Rooz (R ): What are the goals of the escalating crises in the Middle East?
Dawood Hermidas Bavand (DHB): Two goals may be mentioned. At one time counting on their hardware they had a plan to democratize the region etc which ran into problems. In other words, after getting bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq, and also an unfavorable public opinion, the US could not pursue this program. So now they are trying the same goal through a different strategy, logic and motivations.
R: There is evidence that the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier by Hamas and Hezbollah are only the beginnings of a detailed scenario for the region.
DHE: Yes. It is very clear recent events are not taking place simply because of the two Israeli soldiers.
R: So what is the goal?
DHE: The goal is to cripple Hezbollah in Lebanon or make it inoperative. But if the conflict extends to Syria, it will certainly not stop there because governments that support Syria will get into the conflict, expanding the clash. At that point, the US would intervene. And based on formulated plans, the US would act on different premises.
R: What is Israel’s long-term strategy in this?
DHE: Foremost it is to destroy all opposition levers around itself. This means the destruction of any means that exist on its borders that can harm it.
R: With the continuation of the current trends, is there likelihood for a regional war?
DHE: For those who are blamed for some of these events, such as Syria, such a possibility exists very seriously militarily and also from a distance. Today the US is following its goal of democratization differently, without provoking a reaction from its population. In short, since the US could not achieve its goals using traditional instruments, that goal will be pursued through the creation of a crisis, which appears to be through Israel and its neighbors. Regarding the other countries in the region, which have been identified in the past, the US will probably use a different approach [through the military]. That will depend on how the attack on Syria progresses. If Syria is militarily attacked, then other countries in the region will most likely be militarily attacked as well.
R: It is said that Damascus, and more than that Tehran, has been the principal supporters of Hezbollah. How does this play into all of this?
DHE: This is just an excuse. Hezbollah is not the real issue. There is a wider plan in the making. Wider than the Bekka valley and Hezbollah. If these events are, as the Prime Minister of Israel has said, to eradicate the roots of the crisis in the region, it is clear that the operations will not be limited in scope. And no matter how passive Syria plays it, eventually it will be dragged into the conflict because of its support for Hezbollah. And once Syria is pulled in, inevitably other countries too will be attacked.
R: Is this crisis specifically threatening Iran?
DHE: If it gets to Syria, it will get to Iran as well.
R: So can one say that Hezbollah has got into this situation through the careful planning of its opponent, i.e. the neocons of the US?
DHE: Perhaps it has been trapped. They (the Americans) do create traps and then follow up with their long term interests.
R: How do you think Iran’s policy towards Israel (annihilating it from the map of the world, the Holocaust, etc) has impacted the position of Israel and the US towards Iran?
DHE: You see we are now past the phase of talk and theories. The Holocaust etc are not the issues any longer. They believe that the Islamic Republic is a potential danger to them and so they use every occasion to its utmost. When they accept the consequences of attacking innocent people, it is clear that intend to pursue their plans on a larger scale.
R: Which means an attack on Iran?
DHE: They will not enter ground forces into Iran. With their advanced weapons, they will hit almost all the strategic and economic facilities. A strike from a long distance.
R: So do then they will implement their regime change plans?
DHE: Of course. They tried it one way, it did not work. Now they are pursuing their goals on the pretext of destroying the supporters of terrorism. Syria will most likely see changes, as will others. It all depends on the kind of strikes they utilize. They certainly do have a plan for regime change, but whether it will take place or not depends on how things develop.
R: Many observers believe that George Bush intends to settle the Iranian issue before the end of his term?
DHE: Yes, it appears so. As I said earlier, this issue is not related to simply two soldier prisoners. This was a trap. Especially as the Americans have supported Israel’s actions to be in self defense, which is really laying the groundwork for their own intervention and the advancement of their plans.