The New Yorker weekly claims that the Bush Administration was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s
retaliatory attacks in Lebanon following the kidnapping of two IDF soldiers by Hizbullah terrorist
just over a month ago.
“President (George W.) Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hizbullah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could
ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground,” investigative reporter Seymour Hersh said in his article.
According to Hersh, a Middle East expert said that the Bush Administration had several reasons for supporting the Israeli bombing campaign: Within the State Department, it was seen as a way to strengthen the Lebanese government so that it could assert its authority over the south of the country, much of which is controlled by Hizbullah.
“The White House was more focused on stripping Hizbullah of its missiles, because, if there was to be a military option against Iran’s nuclear facilities, it had to get rid of the weapons that Hizbullah could use in a potential retaliation at Israel. Bush wanted both,” the expert was quoted by the New Yorker as saying.
'We had no knowledge of Israel’s intent'
The article also claimed that ‘Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hizbullah—and shared it with Bush Administration officials—well before the July 12th kidnappings.
“It’s not that the Israelis had a trap that Hezbollah walked into,” the expert told Hersh, “but there was a strong feeling in the White House that sooner or later the Israelis were going to do it.”
It should be noted that American and Israeli officials have staunchly denied Hersh’s claims.
“Naturally Jerusalem and Washington have a common interest in defeating Hizbullah within the framework of the war on terror and efforts to curb the Iranian threat, but there was no operational coordination between the two countries,” Danny Ayalon, Israel’s ambassador to the US, said.
“Israel never has and never will ask the US for a green light to defend itself.
A spokesman for the US National Security Council said “we had no knowledge of Israel’s intent even after the Hizbullah attack (kidnapping of soldiers).”