Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Notes: Kaveh L Afrasiabi, "It's about annexation, stupid!" Asia Times Online, August 5, 2006.

Afrasiabi develops the view that this is a war to gain control of territory up to and including the Litani River which rises west of Baalbek in the fertile Beqaa valley and empties into the Mediterranean north of Tyre. Control of the Litani would fulfill the original dream, stretching back to Chaim Weizmann, head of the World Zionist Organization, who in 1919 declared the river "essential to the future of the Jewish national home."

Afrasiabi calls it a "war of acreage" in which Israel is expanding its territory, acquiring "new strategic depth," and addressing its chronic water shortage. If he's right, then Israel doesn't expect for there ever to be an international force.

Israel already occupies the Sheba Farms, considered part of the Syrian Golan Heights, although the government of Lebanon has long held that the 25-square-kilometer area is a part of Lebanon. See BitterLemons.

Access to the Litani would increase Israel's annual water supply by 800 million cubic meters. This might allow Israel to bargain with Syria over the Golan Heights, source of a full one-third of Israel's fresh water. A more likely outcome, Israel will continued to ignore Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which call for its withdrawal from the Syrian territories.
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