Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent offer to help Brazil put out massive fires in the Amazon came as he was starting his own bonfires in the Middle East where he has a history of promoting political arson. While the outreach to Brazil was designed to promote Israel as a nation interested in the environment— and to capitalize on Netanyahu’s close ties to the government there—Netanyahu was busy stoking fires of a different type in Syria and Lebanon. He threatened each country that if it retaliated against Israeli bombing and the deployment of swarms of drones armed with explosives against targets in their nation, they would face the full might of Israel’s military. Somewhat ironically, after attacking Lebanon, he told the Lebanese to calm down.
It was straight out of Netanyahu’s devious playbook. He has been busy for years attacking Hezbollah targets in Lebanon and Iranian facilities in Syria, with the aim of goading Hezbollah and Iran into a military response. Such a response, he is convinced, would then permit him to falsely claim Israel was under attack and that it had the right to retaliate as a matter of self-defense. His long-term aim has been war with Iran and Hezbollah, with the hope that it will draw in the U.S. In the past year, he has begun to feel more emboldened with support from U.S. neocons like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Recent Israeli attacks in Beirut led Lebanese President Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian, to declare that Netanyahu’s use of armed drones to target Lebanon was an act of war. Netanyahu got the response from Hezbollah that he wanted when its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, threatened that Hezbollah would retaliate for the killing of several of its men in a drone strike. Nasrallah warned Israeli troops on the border with Lebanon that they should be on alert. Netanyahu predictably responded that any threats and actions from Lebanon would be met with a massive military reply. It was classic Netanyahu.