The US-led war on Daesh (The Islamic State) under the banner of fighting terrorism may be viewed by especially the Arab members of the coalition as legitimate.
Yet, it looks more like a cover or smokescreen for bestowing legitimacy on a different war, even a wider conflict to eliminate all resistance to Israel in the region, and specifically aimed at the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.
The US war for Kuwait in 1991 was fought for the same purpose and a trap was set for Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Its aim was to drag him into Kuwait to provide a pretext for destroying Iraq, aborting its scientific progress and military ascendancy and undermining its regional role.
It is no exaggeration to say that the proxy war on Syria has a similar objective– not only to destroy and fragment Syria as an adversary of Israel and a member of the Arc of Resistance, but also to lure a reluctant Hezbollah into the conflict.
Dragging them into Syria was hoped to diminish its popularity among Arabs and Muslims after its two great victories against Israel: Firstly, liberating southern Lebanon from Israeli occupation in 2000 and secondly, in July 2006 when it fought the Israeli onslaught that sought to annihilate it, to a standstill.
Most of the current regional moves have one ultimate objective and that is to declare all-out war on Hezbollah (with Iran to follow).
The US hopes to dry up Hezbollah’s financial resources and also to criminalize it in the same way that Saddam was criminalized. The Palestinian resistance movement faced the same process during the days of the PLO and its factions followed by the rise of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups that continue to fight Israel.
Despite, the West having variety of problems with Iran, mostly because of Iran’s unforgivable sin of supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon that it helped to transform into a formidable military force that poses a real deterrent and threat to Israel at a time when other Arab states were surrendering to it.
Hezbollah crossed all US and Israeli red lines by developing a vast missile capability of more than 100,000 missiles along with combat skills gained in Syria, that most of the region’s armies lack. They have managed to combine attributes of both conventional armies and expertise in guerrilla warfare.
Reports of an unpublicized closed-door meeting in Washington involving a number of Gulf and Arab states suggest that they are developing a strategy to confront Hezbollah shortly.
Participants included Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE and this was in preparation of two multilateral summits with Arab/Muslim leaders and Gulf rulers respectively, that Trump will attend in Riyadh.
Reports from this ‘secret’ meeting indicate that the joint Western-Arab plan for confronting Hezbollah include imposing financial sanctions on the organization’s members, supporters and sympathizers around the world. Especially targeted will be Lebanese expatriates in Africa and Europe who provide financial support for the party or institutions affiliated or close to it.
This will involve measures to monitor money transfers and so dry up all the party’s external funding sources in order to create difficulties for its leadership in financing its political and military structures and its extensive social institutions and activities.
The war on the hardline jihadi groups such as the al-Nusra Front and Daesh is drawing to a close.
Hence, the ‘success’ of destroying the ‘Islamist’ groups internationally designated as terrorist organizations, will open the door for the more important war on Hezbollah in both Syria and in Lebanon.
It will commence in an economic war and evolve into a military offensive as per the Iraq model in the time of Saddam.
It begs the question: Could this staged implementation against Hezbollah, and by extension Iran, achieve the same success it did against Iraq?
It is hard to respond to this hypothetical question but what can be said is that circumstances have changed, and Israel has changed as well.
Hezbollah is the pivot of a regional and confessional structure that has the overt and total support of Iran, Syria and to a lesser extent also Iraq. A war against it will not be easy.
We all know that the current wars in the region are all for the sake of enhancing Israel’s security and stability and maintaining its military power and supremacy.
If only the planners realized that by trying to set up Hezbollah for a fall in Syria, it would actually multiply its strength and status in the eyes of the Arab and Muslim world, they would have desisted.