Israel’s Netanyahu rejected the proposal as drafted, but George W. Bush approved a modified version of the paper which resurfaced just before he siezed power in 2001. Presumably Bush’s attention concentrated on the following: "This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important strategic advantage in its own right."
Bush was similarly interested in those parts of the document which related to Syria and other Islamic nations being "rolled back" while America simultaneously disengaged itself from interference in the ‘Palestinian problem’. The idea was for the US to withdraw completely from the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and to allow free reign to the Israelis, much as Reagan/Haig had done at the time of the Israeli-condoned Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon in 1982. In addition the "Clean Break" document advocated military pre-emption and aggression versus perceived regional ‘enemies’ of the United States, principally Iraq, Syria, and Iran. Subsequent to the release of the "Clean Break" document in 1997, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld authored a letter to President Clinton calling for military force to be used in the ouster of Saddam Hussein, urging his removal as a primary "aim of American foreign policy".
Essentially the United Stated is now fighting a regional war of aggression, both directly and by its proxy (Israel) in a last-ditch attempt to leverage the events of 911 and preserve US hegemony in an all-out war versus the Arab/Islamic world, including key oil producers. The US/Israeli axis has been targeting Lebanon, Syria, and Iran for many years, with Saudi Arabia to follow some years down the line. With the eventual fall of the House of Saud the US Pentagon has developed a contingency plan for Saudi de-stabilization. US Pentagon officials recently approved a massive arms sale to the Saudis, but the timeline for Saudi de-stabilization is far advanced; and with Saudi dependency on US weapons, America’s rulers believe Saudi and the UAE will be totally dependent on American replacement parts and support when the time comes for war. Meanwhile, Lebanon is essential to the re-establishment of the Haifa pipeline, which will finally be re-opened with a larger diameter pipeline and oil port in Tripoli, regardless of any outcome re the current fighting, and will guarantee Israel’s access to low-sulphur oil, while providing a new major Mediterranean oil port thus lessening reliance on Arabian Gulf ports.
Why act now? The Neo-conservatives have been unhappy with the situation in Lebanon for several years, especially with Hezbollah’s enhanced access to more advanced weaponry. And regardless of the military disaster in Iraq, Neo-cons must push forward with their agenda for crippling the Hezbollah-Iran pact with Syria as an equally important potential power play, because Syria has obtained more advanced weaponry in recent years, including several SCUD variants with greater accuracy and more potential for striking Israel with more powerful (conventional) warheads; in such circumstances the damage to US and Israeli corporate interests in the region would be enormous. (Example: Intel, Checkpoint, etc)
Neo-conservatives see several benefits in taking this action now. The Iran-Hezbollah alliance poses a strategic threat to US oil and business interests in the Gulf, and attacking Lebanon now provides more leverage to the US/Israeli pact on pressuring Iran over its nuclear ambitions. In addition, Neo-conservatives believe the Lebanese and Gaza action will neutralize Hezbollah and Hamas for the foreseeable future.
The US Israeli-pact is gambling on several key (non) developments:
- US-rael believes that no other Arab nations will step in to oppose USraeli aggression in the region.
- US-rael has calculated that the sovereign nations under attack will rapidly fold, as Iraq did.
- US-rael is gambling that the occupation and establishment of buffer zones in Lebanon and the Shebaa Farms will guarantee Israel’s security.
- With Irag as a cautionary example, US-rael believes that the nations under attack will fall in line with Bush regime doctrine, once they are militarily defeated.
Unfortunately all of the above points suffer from deep potential think-tank flaws. Miscalculation on any single point above will spell disaster for the US/Israeli pact, and their future hegemonic plans. For example, at a tactical level, the Haifa pipeline and the port of Tripoli will be a key focal point for insurgent attack. On a strategic level, world opinion will solidify against the United States and Israel, resulting in major consequences for US financial instruments and further loss of leverage in global diplomatic circles with far-reaching consequences, equivalent to foreign-imposed sanctions. Most significantly, Syria and Iran will be formidable military foes to a US military machine already stretched very thin. And if Hezbollah can successfully resist Israel through a guerilla war of attrition (as it did from 1982 to the year 2000) Israel will find itself severely militarily tested as well; notwithstanding the intervention of the Lebanese Army itself versus Israel as another unknown and mitigating factor.
The Neo-conservatives must embark on their final adventure now, because world and public opinion is turning against them, and their potential timeline for action has rapidly diminished. There are already 500,000 "refugees" in Lebanon (refugees within their own country) and enormous resentment for the US/Israeli military aggression already taking place. Under Nuremberg and the US War Crimes Act of 1996, both Israel and the United States are already in serious violation of international war tribunal laws.
But in the end it may simply be the US/Israeli miscalculation on the resolve of the Arab/Islamic state to resist them – both ideologically and militarily – that will be the pact’s final undoing.