Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and all of Israel's leaders chose silence in the face of the imperialist Shiite energy Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad exuded in his all-conquering visit to Lebanon. On his first day in Beirut, Wednesday, Oct. 13, he walked off with four major accomplishments:
1. He demonstrated that Tehran calls the shots in Beirut – not the lawful Lebanese government which is crumbling under Iranian pressure, not the divided Christian or Sunni Muslim communities and not even Syria. Every last Lebanese leader, including those who made a show of protesting his visit, paid homage to Ahmadinejad in Beirut and praised his "moderation."
2. The Iranian president's tour Thursday plants an Iranian flag on Israel's northern border with Lebanon and that's just for starters. The flag, already present in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, is heading for the West Bank and eventually Jerusalem. Addressing tens of thousands of cheering Lebanese Shiites in the Hizballah stronghold of Dahya in Beirut Wednesday night, Ahmadinejad and his puppet, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah, pledged to make Israel "disappear" and declared nothing and no one can stop this happening. How and when is up to Tehran.
3. He also announced the formation of a new Islamic bloc, a revival of the old Eastern Front, composed of Iran, Syria, Turkey, the Palestinians, Lebanon and Iraq. It would be dedicated to fighting not only Israel but also America.
For the Iranian ruler, Israel is small change compared with the task of destroying America's Middle East presence and usurping its big power role. In the course of his triumphal tour of Beirut, an abject Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki came to Syrian president Bashar Assad cap in hand to beg for him to intercede with his Iranian ally for support.
4. Ahmadinejad gave the entire Arab Middle East an object lesson in how much ground the Islamic Republic and its president are capable of swallowing up – even without a nuclear weapon. They were warned by the way Lebanon fell at his feet that they stood no chance against their new hegemon as a nuclear power.
In every country's life, there comes a moment for decisive action as the only sensible course for self-preservation. This moment has come for Israel and it finds its leaders gripped by extreme paralysis – lethargic instead of proactive. They would impress a stranger as being mesmerized by the phenomenon at large on northern border.
In fact, Netanyahu and Barak are bound hand and foot by their (unpublished) pledge to US President Barack Obama to refrain from attacking Iran for a year. Not only have they been struck dumb in the face of the most brutal threat of extinction Israel has ever faced, they are squandering national energies on courting a failed Palestinian leader and a divisive argument over whether or not to extend the freeze on settlement construction for a few more weeks.
The Israeli government would have been fully entitled to stand up and warn Ahmadinejad that the morning after he and his puppet, Hassan Nasrallah, made a public oath to make Israel "disappear" forever, they had better not show their faces on the Lebanese border. Checking out their prey at close quarters could be dangerously premature for them both and lead to serious repercussions.
Instead, they sent the defense ministry's political coordinator Amos Gilead, an expert in shilly-shallying, to deliver a noncommittal remark or two in a radio interview.
He explained there was no need for Israel to take any action for now, but to trust the "forces of anti-Iranian resistance" in Lebanon. He seemed to have forgotten that even the Obama administration no longer believes these forces are capable of standing up to the peril besetting their country.
debkafile's sources find a strong, unfortunate analogy between Israeli passivity today and British appeasement on the even of World War II: the British prime minister Neville Chamberlain went down in history for signing away the Sudeteland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany at Munich in 1938, opening the door to Germany's conquest of Europe and the war, and the Netanyahu government's silence as power-hungry Iran annexes Lebanon on its doorstep.