Aug 7, 2006
A Bush Administration official told the New York Times, “You have to acknowledge the obvious: We’ve seen a new capability in striking the naval vessel and in the number of casualties that have been sustained from the Hezbollah missile attacks.” In other words, they’re trying to equate Hezbollah’s military power with that of Israel’s. Implicit in these comments is support for Israel’s claim that the Hezbollah forces on its border represent a threat to Israel.
Reality is totally different. The number of civilian and military victims as well as the destruction of all sorts carried out by the Israeli army fully underscores this difference. The arms that Hezbollah has are insignificant compared to Israel’s military might. Israel’s army is that of an ultra-modern and over-equipped military great power, benefitting from the support and collaboration of the U.S.
The Israeli army has 180,000 soldiers, of whom more than 50,000 are career soldiers, and it can mobilize up to 450,000 reservists. It has more than 4,000 tanks, a thousand pieces of artillery, as well as 800 combat planes and assault helicopters. Its navy includes some fifty war ships.
Faced with this army, which in addition has the most perfected means of detection and communication, Hezbollah can only oppose rocket launchers and short-range missiles, which are imprecise and some of which date from World War II. Unlike the Israeli army, once the Hezbollah arsenal is destroyed it can’t be renewed easily.
Israel wouldn’t be what it is militarily without the support of the U.S., which gives it nearly a third of the total “military aid” which it gives to all “friendly” powers. That adds up to several billion dollars a year, under the form of gifts or loans, which are only paid back in part, if at all. But this military support that the U.S. gives Israel isn’t neutral or disinterested. It’s only the counterpart of the role that Israel plays defending U.S. imperialist interests in the region.