While we listen to lots of veiled threats and speculations about possible attacks on Iran, there is a real multi-part conspiracy going on involving northern Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. The plan, spearheaded by crazed neocon Elliot Abrams (crazy enough to be the G. Gordon Liddy of the Bush Administration, and an Iran-Contra criminal who thinks big if not well), has three parts:
- The Kurds will ethnically cleanse the oil-rich areas on northern Iraq, not traditionally Kurdish areas, and populate these areas with ethnic Kurds. This oil will form the economic basis for Greater Kurdistan to be centered in northern Iraq. This ethnic cleansing has already begun.
- The Kurdish areas of eastern Syria will be broken off to join Greater Kurdistan, and Syria will suffer 'regime change', receiving a government agreeable to Kurdish oil plans and Israeli plans to annex the Golan Heights (this part won't work out as planned but stupid plans are part of the neocon pattern).
- Lebanon will be partitioned into a Christian country and an Arab country, and the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon will be made full citizens of the Arab country, thus removing the obligation of Israel to consider claims of a right of return for these people (this will also be a big mess, but the neocons won't care).
The Kurdish oil can't go through Iran, as Iran will be angry at the Kurds for trying to slice off northern Iran as part of the new Kurdistan (and the Americans have demonstrated, through the great expense for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, that they will go to all lengths to avoid any oil flowing through Iran), and can't go through Turkey (as the Turks will be furious about Kurdistan and its potential to break up Turkey), so it will have to flow west. The Haifa pipeline is temporarily on the back burner, and the new plan seems to be to have the oil through a pipeline over the old pipeline route closed by Syria in the 1980's. It would flow from the newly acquired oil fields of Kurdistan through Syria to Tripoli.
Hariri was murdered because he didn't want to partition Lebanon. It's funny how the Mossad has a long history of murdering Lebanese politicians using car bombs (some described here, and see also here), and yet a prominent politician is murdered by a car bomb in Lebanon, a killing that clearly benefited Israel and not Syria, and everybody blames Syria. In 2004, Hariri publicly called for the return of the Golan Heights to Syria, something else which would not make him popular in Israel. By killing Hariri and blaming it on Syria, they removed an obstacle to their plans in Lebanon and created an excuse for regime change in Syria at the same time.
The general neocon plans are set out in the 'Clean Break' paper: first Iraq, then Lebanon, then Syria, then the Palestinians (in all the confusion about Sharon and Hamas, Olmert has enunciated what Sharon wanted to do but never dared say - the Israeli maps of the wall were always vague on one issue - that Israel is going to surround the Palestinians in a cage by grabbing the Jordan valley while simultaneously withdrawing from the least desirable settlements, a plan completely in line with Abrams' publicly-stated thinking on the matter). They are just working their way down the list. The details of dealing with Lebanon in particular are in a document called "Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role" by Daniel Pipes and Ziad Abdelnour (see also here), and signed by almost every neocon you can imagine, including Abrams. It is very critical of Hariri, subtly hints that one advantage of getting Syria out is that Israel will be able to steal Lebanese water, and, while not expressly calling for partition, is very coy about Lebanese Christians (my emphasis):
"Perhaps the most delicate issue has to do with the religious make-up of Lebanon, home to the Middle East's only remaining free, native, enterprising, and relatively secure Christian community. It was the Christians of Lebanon who were the first and quickest in the Middle East to absorb Western ways, so freedom in Lebanon owes its existence in the first instance to this Christian community. Take away Lebanon's Christians and the rest of the country, too, is almost automatically deprived of its freedoms. The country is then ipso facto transformed into just another Middle Eastern state. Preserving Lebanon's free Christian community therefore becomes the cornerstone for safeguarding the country's special freedoms that uplift all its communities and offer a much-needed breathing space for the entire Arabic-speaking world."
The paper is most directed to removing Syrian troops from Lebanon, and the assassination of Hariri clearly led to that goal. The general plans are also completely in line with the Yinon plans to break the Arab world into little statelets that won't be a threat to Israel. As a bonus, Kurdistan will cause Turkey to act in such a way that it probably won't be able to join the EU, thus furthering the goals of the 'clash of civilizations' crowd and the anti-immigration racists in Europe.