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Targeting Iran in Beirut

by Stephen Lendman Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 at 6:50 PM


Targeting Iran in Beirut

by Stephen Lendman

Previous articles discussed Washington's war on Syria. It spilled cross border to Lebanon months ago. In May, two rockets stuck south Beirut. Four casualties were reported.

On July 9, Beirut's Beir el-Abed was targeted. It's a Hezbollah stronghold. A car bomb exploded. About 50 casualties were reported.

On August 15, south Beirut's Roueiss neighborhood was attacked. A car bomb killed 27. Another 300 or more were injured.

A Sunni Islamist group called Brigades of Aisha claimed responsibility. It said Hezbollah was targeted. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman blamed Israel, saying:

"The fingerprints of the Israeli terrorism are all over it. Their goal is to destabilize the region and undermine the steadfastness of the Lebanese people."

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt also attributed the blast to Israel.

On August 23, twin blasts targeted two Tripoli mosques. They killed 27. Another 352 were wounded. Some reports said 40 died.

One blast struck city center. It was near outgoing Prime Minister Najib Mikati's home. He was away at the time. It set dozens of cars and a nearby building ablaze.

It punctured a water main. It caused flooding. A wrecked car was blown atop the roof of Taqwq mosque's entryway.

The second blast struck close to former police chief Ashraf Rifi's home. It left a six-foot deep crater. It shattered windows of nearby buildings.

Attacks followed Friday prayers. They suggested more to come. They reflect Washington and Israel's Syrian war spilling cross border.

On November 19,  Press TV headlined "Nearly two dozen die in blasts in Beirut." Over 140 others were injured.

Two blasts rocked Beirut's southern Jinah neighborhood. It's a Hezbollah stronghold. It's home to families of Iranian diplomats working in Lebanon.

Security camera footage showed a man on a motor bike rushing toward the Iranian embassy compound's outer wall before blowing himself up.

A separate car bomber detonated explosives close by. It occurred one or two minutes later.

The compound sustained heavy damage. Iran's Lebanese cultural attache, Ebrahim Ansari, was killed. So was embassy security head Hajj Reza and five guards.

Hajj stopped one suicide bomber from entering the compound. He paid with his life. Yemen's ambassador was slightly injured.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Marziyeh Afkham blamed "Zionists and their mercenaries."

Qazanfar Roknabadi is Iran's Lebanon ambassador. He blamed Israel for the attack. He confirmed Ansari's death. He said other embassy personnel were unharmed.

Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati called what happened "a cowardly terrorist act."

It aimed to "stir up the situation in Lebanon. We have asked the security apparatuses to speed up the investigations to uncover and arrest the perpetrators," he added

Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB) claimed responsibility for the blasts. It's an Al Qaeda-linked group.

Its leader, Sheikh Siraj Al-Diin Zureiqat, called what happened "a double martyrdom operation by two of the Sunni heroes of Lebanon." He warned about further attacks across Lebanon.

They'll continue until Iran withdraws troops from Syria and releases captives, he said. Tehran strongly denies front line involvement. It admitted sending military personnel to help train and advise Syrian forces.

The State Department designates AAB a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). According to the DoS web site, it "repeatedly articulated its intent to carry out attacks against Western interests in the Middle East."  

AAB's involvement can't be independently verified. It falsely claimed responsibility for earlier attacks.

Washington strategically uses Al Qaeda and affiliated groups as enemies and allies. Doing so is longstanding policy.

Throughout Washington's war on Syria, terrorist groups have been armed, funded, trained and directed. CIA operatives are actively involved. So are US special forces.

Last week, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah pledged to continue supporting Syria's liberating struggle.

"We have said on several occasions that the presence of our soldiers on Syrian soil is to defend Syria, which supports the resistance," he said.

"So long as that reason exists, our presence there is justified." Hezbollah/Syrian supporters echoed his position.

A man named Ali said:

"Even if they do a million explosions, we will not leave the area." Salafis launched the attacks. "We are not afraid so long as God is with us and Hassan Nasrallah is with us."

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) headlined "Syria vehemently condemns terrorist act that targeted Iranian embassy in Beirut."

A government statement explained efforts to undermine regional stability. It called fighting terrorism the "duty of all world nations and government." It cited "petro-dollar" involvement.

It "targets the Resistance line from Tehran to Beirut." It runs "through Damascus."

It "serves the interests of the Zionist entity." It's "friends with some Arab regimes in the Gulf."

Syria's People's Assembly said:

"The battle is one from Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran against the terrorist thought which is fed by Arab and western intelligence agencies, including the Israeli intelligence."

Syrian resistance won't be deterred, it added. Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi condemned what happened. It "smell(s) of petro-dollar(s)," he said.

"We quite realize that certain countries in the region such as Saudi Arabia and some Gulf states and Israel want to promote the culture of terrorism and spread it in the region."

The attack is "a message to the countries which chose the path of negotiation, while Israel, Saudi Arabia and some Gulf states reject this path," he stressed.

Moscow "decisively condemn(ed) the terrorist attack whose main goal was to (strike Iran's) embassy."

"The attack's organizers must be punished. We believe the international community should make a cold evaluation of this crime," and act accordingly.

Beirut's twin blasts occurred on the eve of resumed Iranian nuclear talks. Timing wasn't accidental.

Washington and Israel are directly or indirectly involved in Middle East events. Both countries want Iran's government toppled. They want new leadership installed. They want unchallenged regional control.

They want Iranian rapprochement sabotaged. They want peace subverted. They want violence and instability continued.

They want tough anti-Iranian policies stiffened. So does Saudi Arabia. It formed an unholy alliance with Israel.

They're targeting Syria, Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah. They endorse war if other methods fail. They prepared contingency plans to launch one.

US war plans were readied years ago. They can be implemented straightaway if ordered. Obama is the latest in a long line of US warrior presidents.

He talks peace. He deplores it. Throughout his tenure, he waged multiple direct and proxy wars from day one. They continue. He's got more in mind.

Direct intervention in Syria remains policy. Toppling Iran's government is prioritized. Destabilizing Lebanon continues. It's very much a regional battleground.

Israel is involved in all Middle East conflicts. Resolving them remains out of reach.

They continue with no end in sight. Bloodshed and destruction are part of daily life. Ordinary people suffer most.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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