By Steve Brown
Just one week ago (August 26th) we considered Israel’s bombing raid in Damascus, where conflicting reports suggested that the IAF targeted either Aqraba in southern Damascus, or Dama, about thirty miles further south. This author speculated that Israel likely struck a Syrian Arab Army supply route near Khan Sheikhoun, but that conclusion proved to be wrong. Truth is apparently stranger than fiction, especially as presented to us by the IDF and Israeli press, since new verifiable details have emerged about the air strikes, contradicting the Israeli narrative.
According to verifiable sources, on August 24th, Hezbollah fighters launched a drone of unknown capability into Israeli air space from the Golan, where Israel claimed to intercept and down the drone.* Israel then launched its own drone to track back the Hezbollah fighters to their base, and then bombed their villa in Arqaba – that strike resulted in two Hezbollah deaths as confirmed by Al Manar and Hezbollah.
If Israel only used the Araqba attack as a tit-for-tat reprisal, then prima facie that August 24th attack would appear as just another day of chaos in Syria. However, and perhaps because he is seeking election, Netanyahu ordered a drone strike on southern Beirut (predominantly Hezbollah) the following day, where one Israeli drone was shot down but the other did damage. **
Netanyahu may have anticipated some acceptance of the drone strike on southern Beirut from Lebanon’s pro-Western government, but instead Hariri surprisingly backed calls for Lebanese action to retaliate versus Israeli aggression. Hezbollah obliged on August 26th, with a strike on an Israeli armored car in the northern Israeli outpost of Avivim, formerly part of Lebanon. The Israeli authorities said the armored car was remotely controlled and populated by mannequins.
Now fiction becomes stranger than fact, with major media outlets claiming that Hezbollah’s ATGM strike in Avivim was a staged event setup by Israel; the idea was to allow Hezbollah to claim retaliation with no Israeli damage or casualties. Then in a variation of tweedledee and tweedledum, cabinet minister Yoav Gallant stated that no casualties were incurred in the Hezbollah attack – when he could not have known at the time – thus forcing Netanyahu to warn his ministers to publicly keep quiet!
Like an Arnon Milchan Hollywood script, Israel said it staged a helicopter evacuation of the wounded – crisis actors in the very best Alex Jones tradition with TV cameras immediately at the scene – while mannequins were used to lure Hezbollah into the Avivim attack, just like in the movie “Buddy Goes West” where cardboard Apaches fool a US cavalry troop into retreat.
At best, such deception assumes Israel had intelligence that Hezbollah would carry out its attack on Avivim. (However Israel’s pointless fire bomb strikes in the Kfar Shuba Hills show that Israel believed the attack would come from there.) At worst, Netanyahu’s scenario simply plays out like a very bad Woody Allen comedy sketch.
Netanyahu’s fanciful and amusing antics regarding Avivim may placate some Israeli’s in their fantasy world, but Hezbollah responded by taunting and mocking Israel, claiming that “scared Israeli troops appear on Lebanon’s border two days after Hezbollah attack: mannequins returned to stores”!
Whether an Israeli troop was killed or injured in the Aviviim attack is entirely irrelevant and unconcerning. What matters is that Israel faces a formidable foe on its northern border, and Israel will not be permitted or allowed to occupy – or for that matter threaten – Southern Lebanon again, as Israel did from 1982 – 2000.
In unison, the world states: “Never again!”
*Western media reports about the August 24th drone from the Golan are wholly unreliable.
**The Israeli drone shot down in Beirut may have been an Elbit Hermes UAV 450, known for its unreliability, expendability, and to be an easy target. The Russian Air Force shot down a number of Israeli Elbit 450 drones during the Georgia-Abkhazia war, when Saakashvili attempted to invade and occupy South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Steve Brown is the author of “Iraq: the Road to War” (Sourcewatch) editor of “Bush Administration War Crimes in Iraq” (Sourcewatch) “Trump’s Limited Hangout” and “Federal Reserve: Out-sourcing the Monetary System to the Money Trust Oligarchs Since 1913”. Steve is an antiwar activist, a published scholar on the US monetary system, and has appeared as guest contributor to The Duran, Fort Russ News, and Strategika51.