"AIPAC's goal, it seems to me, is to demonstrate that Israel's campaign in Lebanon is targeting an international, globally-linked terrorist alliance that threatens not only the Jewish state, but the West in general. By this logic, any military action Israel decides upon is incontestably necessary."
[link to harpers.org
AIPAC Points to Legion of Doom in Bekaa Valley
Posted on Thursday, August 10, 2006. By Ken Silverstein.
With nearly one thousand people killed in Lebanon, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [link to www.aipac.org
] (AIPAC) has outdone itself—spinning press releases with a mastery of the form that could bring a tear to the eye of even the most hardened and cynical flack.
Exhibit one is a July 27 memo [link to www.aipac.org
] entitled “Beirut Largely Unscathed as Israel Targets Hezbollah Strongholds,” in which AIPAC suggested that IDF forces were using state-of-the-art technology to wage a surgical bombing campaign that spared civilians. Despite large-scale destruction [link to news.bbc.co.uk
] in Beirut and beyond, AIPAC cheerily noted that “an overwhelming majority of the city remains untouched” and lauded Israel for dropping “leaflets and taking other measures to urge civilians to leave the area.”
Exhibit two is an August 2 press release entitled “The Bekka (sic) Valley: A Terrorist Epicenter.” This release accounted for that day's “daring commando raid by Israeli Forces” into the Bekaa Valley by saying that a wide range of terrorist groups had called the region home. “The Middle East is literally the Fraternity Row for terrorist groups,” said AIPAC's own Middle East analyst Josh Block in the press release. “[It's] similar to a university setting, terrorists from every corner of the international community have come together in the Bekaa Valley training camps to learn how to conduct lethal operations and utilize various types of weapons.”
And the terrorists! According to AIPAC, the Bekaa Valley is a veritable Legion of Doom [link to members.aol.com
] , playing host to:
Al Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad)
Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden
Arab Liberation Front
Dev Sol (Turkey)
Japanese Red Army
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
New People's Army (Philippines)
Palestine Liberation Front
Palestine Popular Struggle Front (PPSF)
Palestinian Islamic Jihad
Red Army Faction (a.k.a Baader-Meinhof Gang, Germany)
Red Brigades (Italy)
Turkish Workers and Peasants Liberation Army (TIKKO)
The press release also noted that Bekaa terrorists had traveled to South America, where they trained members of the Medellin Drug Cartel.
Much of the material cited by AIPAC to back up the press release is of dubious veracity, and the information that links these terrorist groups to the Bekaa Valley region is years or even decades old (as is evident if one reads though the release). Indeed, a number of groups on the list are long defunct or have renounced violence, while others are now mainstream political parties. The Japanese Red Army stopped all terrorist activities in 1988 while the Baader-Meinhof Gang stopped such activities in 1993, five years before it officially disbanded. The Sandinistas—one of Nicaragua's largest political parties for nearly two decades—hardly merit comparison with Al Qaeda. “AIPAC's list simply does not reflect the current state of affairs,” said Joost Hiltermann, who manages the International Crisis Group's [link to www.crisisgroup.org
] Middle East Office from Amman.
AIPAC's goal, it seems to me, is to demonstrate that Israel's campaign in Lebanon is targeting an international, globally-linked terrorist alliance that threatens not only the Jewish state, but the West in general. By this logic, any military action Israel decides upon is incontestably necessary.
Which brings us to exhibit three: yesterday, as diplomats desperately tried to work out a solution to the war in Lebanon, AIPAC distributed a press release mocking the idea that a beefed-up UN force [link to www.un.org
] [PDF] could be effective in south Lebanon, and concluding that only a “robust international force” could ensure a lasting peace—with “robust” almost surely being code for “significant American participation.” AIPAC, the release explained, opposes a ceasefire until this international force is dispatched and Hezbollah is disarmed.
If AIPAC gets its wish, it will be a long, long time before there's a ceasefire.
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This post was written with Sebastian Sosman.
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