America’s “Creative Extortion” against the Community of Nations

Region:

Admittedly, America has always devised creative means to execute its vast array of crimes against other nations – coups, wars, occupation, exploitation, terrorism, genocide, and so forth. One crime often neglected is America’s creative extortion. America has made a legal judgment to rob Iran of $1.75 billion.

According to Courthouse News Service, a U.S. court has awarded this money to families of victims killed in the 1983 marine barracks bombing. This judgment is devilish in design; not only is this an elaborate scheme to justify extortion, but the judgment also lays the blame of what happened in Beirut in 1983 on Hezbollah and Iran. America can disguise thievery as law, but it cannot conceal the truth of what happened in 1983 – which as follows.

Upon taking office, Ronald Reagan decided to launch a ‘second Cold War’ in the Middle East. He moved combat forces into the region and armed ‘allies’ while initiating a strategic cooperation agreement with Israel. Soviets invasions of Afghanistan, the Iranian Revolution and the assassination of Egypt’s Anwar Sadat had made the U.S. jittery prompting Reagan to reward those Middle Eastern governments that joined the ‘Strategic Consensus” against the Soviet Union.

This did not sit well with Israel who had enjoyed the status of being the predominant ally of the U.S. The November 30, 1981 Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Cooperation signed by Weinberger and Ariel Sharon set the stage for a joint military collaboration between Israel and the U.S. The Reagan administration’s campaign against “international terrorism” and Saddam Hossein’s actions provided the excuse for Israeli strikes into Lebanon.

In May 1982, Saddam was looking for a way out of the war he had initiated with Iran. According to a report, on June 3, three men led by an Iraqi intelligence officer made an assassination attempt against the Israeli ambassador to Britain with the hope of provoking Israel to invade Lebanon so that Iran and Iraq would end their hostilities and join forces against Israel[i]. The plan worked in as far as giving Israel the excuse to march into Lebanon.

The Israeli occupation of Lebanon under false pretexts met with a wave of protests from within Israel. In a June 25, 1982 Haaretz  editorial, Professor Yehoshwar Porat openly challenged the rationale for the Israel’s attack on Lebanon.

“[I]t did not even result from the need to retaliate against Palestinian shellings of the Galilee, because there was no such shelling since and agreement [cease fire agreement between the Palestinians and the Israeli government]. So what was the reason? I think the Israeli government’s {or more precisely, its two leaders’) decision resulted from that cease fire.”[ii]

Regardless, soon after the Israeli invasion, on August 20, U.S. Marines landed in Beirut with a clearly defined mission – to supervise the evacuation of the PLO ‘guerillas’. This was accomplished at the end of the first week of September. There was no longer a need for a peacekeeping force.

Yet, 19 days later, after the Israeli invasion and occupation of West Beirut, and the brutal Sabra – Sahtila massacres under the supervision of Ariel Sharon, a larger US force returned to Beirut – this was with a very different mission in mind. Theirs was not only to secure the airport, but to help the new Gemayel regime ‘consolidate’ power .

In line with the Reagan strategy, the additional forces were showing a permanent US presence in the Middle with some 100 field grade US Army and Special Forces officers training “the most highly motivated” Lebanese brigades, that is, those with strong Phalangist militia components[iii]. According to the ‘Britannica Concise Encyclopedia’, these were the same militias who under Sharon’s supervision had massacred 800- several thousand women, children and elderly at Sabra and Sahtila.[iv] In short, the US Special Forces were training terrorists.

By September 1983, U.S. warships were shelling Syrian and Druze militia positions outside Beirut, and Marine ground forces were trading artillery and sniper fire with Shi’a (Hezbollah) and Druze fighters[v]. On October 23, 1983, two trucks hit a building housing US Marines killing most  “peace-keepers”.

Immoral and bankrupt, the United States is holding Iran responsible for what ensued after the occupation of Lebanon, the butchering of innocent civilians, and resistance to shelling from American warships by Lebanese defending their lives and their soil. William Shakespeare must have been looking to the future and to America when he said:

“Lawless are they that make their wills their law.”

 

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy

Notes:

[i] Stephen Shalom, “The Iran-Iraq War”, (Noam Chomsky, “The Fateful Triangle”, Boston: South End Press, 1983, 197n).

[ii] Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 11, No. 4, [Also Vol. 12, no. 1]. Special Issue: The War in Lebanon. (Summer – Autumn, 1982), pp. 214-221.

[iii] Lawson, Fred.  MERIP, No128, The Deadly Connection; Reagan and the Middle East 9Nov. Dec. 1984) pp 27-34

[iv] http://www.answers.com/topic/sabra-and-shatila-massacre

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6985808.stm

[v] Lawson, Fred.


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