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Israel’s lack of options
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Israel faces a problem. That problem has to do with what happens after it finishes with Hezbollah. Its choices are not good choices, and much of that has to do with the situation in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

Israel must face Hezbollah because its survival depends on confronting groups and nations bent on its destruction and defeating them (or at least seriously degrading their ability to attack them). The one truth that has been apparent since 1948 is Israel must win all of its fights to survive while its foes only have to win one fight to succeed.

So the incursion into Lebanon was and is a must for Israel. And so is the fallout. But rest assured, Israel expected it and with PM Olmert's declaration of "no ceasefire" is willing to live with it.

But that doesn't address the post incursion problem. It is with that problem where some sort of real opportunity exists for other nations, especially in the west, to make a difference and help calm the region, keep the two warring parties successfully apart and foster a climate in which the fragile Lebanese government might have the time and space necessary to take charge of the country.

However, as David Brooks points out (please excuse the link, but its a "Times Select" article so you have to find a copy where you can), that isn't likely to happen for various reasons:
The U.S. lacks authority because of Iraq. Over the past few days, Israel has grown wary of getting into Lebanon, because it might have no help getting out. The Europeans, being the Europeans, are again squandering a chance to play a big role in world affairs. The “moderate” Arabs are finding that if you spend a generation inciting hatred of Israel you will wind up prisoner to groups who hate Israel more than you do. The U.N. is simply feckless.
This strikes me as a good succinct capsule of the problem.

In fact, Iraq has put the US in a position in which its authority in the region is lacking. Moderate Arab countries ("moderate" being a relative term here) are forced back into their default positions vis a vis Israel, and Europe simply doesn't have the stomach for this. In fact Europe is already making excuses for why they can't participate in any sort of solution:
Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers are on Tuesday also to address proposals for a UN peace force for the Israeli-Lebanese border.

EU top diplomat Mr Solana said last week "I cannot imagine the force without any Europeans," adding "It is fundamental that some European countries will participate."

But Germany's Ms Merkel told German tabloid Bild am Sonntag over the weekend that her country's military capacities are "largely exhausted" with Berlin already providing peacekeeping contingents to Congo, the western Balkans and Afghanistan.

Dutch foreign minister Bernard Bot said earlier that a Middle East operation would be "for others" to do, with the Hague also overburdened by peace-keeping operations elsewhere.
Naturally, if this is done under UN auspices, we can expect about the same level of effectiveness as we've seen them have in the last 28 years of peacekeeping duty in southern Lebanon, the EU reluctance not withstanding. Brook's description of the UN as "feckless" is an understatement.

Brooks hits on one of the major problems in all of this, and it involves a fairly dominant mind-set in the west, one that continues to exist despite example after example of its folly:
Many of those calling for this immediate cease-fire are people of good will whose anguish over the wartime suffering overrides long-term considerations. Some are European leaders who want Hezbollah destroyed but who don’t want anybody to actually do it. Some are professional diplomats, acolytes of the first-class-cabin fundamentalism that holds that “talks” and “engagement” can iron out any problem, regardless of the interests and beliefs and fanaticisms that make up the underlying reality.
Inherent in the philosophy Brooks talks about here is the belief that all men are rational actors and can be 'engaged' on some level and enticed to do 'good' by some offer, yet to be made. Negotiations are always best and, so goes the belief, will always work. Reality aside, their belief in this fundamental point is unshakable. Consequently it makes for unrealistic expectations and policy decisions which are doomed to failure. It also prevents anyone from doing anything. Rounds and rounds of talks which produce more rounds and rounds of talk while the fighting rages. In the end, nothing is solved and the conflict finally burns itself out when one side or the other shoots its bolt and withdraws or is destroyed.

For an example of the process, one only has to take a quick look at ongoing meetings between France and Iran to understand the depth of delusion to which some diplomats of that school have sunk:
Iran is a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilizing role, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said earlier Monday in Beirut.

"It was clear that we could never accept a destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region," Douste-Blazy said in Beirut.

"In the region there is of course a country such as Iran - a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region," he told a news conference.
That's not even diplo-speak for "these guys are really the problem". For most people who follow the news of the region, it would be considered a flat out lie. But my guess is Douste-Blazy actually believes what he said.

Another perfect example of the problem can be found right here on our shores with Jimmy Carter:
A major impediment to progress is Washington's strange policy that dialogue on controversial issues will be extended only as a reward for subservient behavior and will be withheld from those who reject U.S. assertions. Direct engagement with the Palestine Liberation Organization or the Palestinian Authority and the government in Damascus will be necessary if secure negotiated settlements are to be achieved. Failure to address the issues and leaders involved risks the creation of an arc of even greater instability running from Jerusalem through Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran.
And that is the problem. Until this school of appeasement understands that it is faced with a fanatic non-state actor which is supported by equally fanatic states and who view negotiations as a sign of weakness the entire cycle we see now will repeat until one day Israel's foes win that one battle they've been striving for since that nation's birth. The Palestinian Authority doesn't want peace or stability. It wants Israel gone. The same with Hezbollan, Syria and Iran. No less is acceptable to them.

How do you "negotiate" that?

If in fact the west in general, and Europe particularly, really believe that the "destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region" is important then they need to act and act decisively to ensure that A) southern Lebanon is secured with a peacekeeping force that will actually keep the peace B) Hezbollah is disarmed per the 2 year old UN resolution they all signed on too and C) Make it clear that any resupply or rearming of Hezbollah will be considered a provocation and Syria and Iran will be held responsible.

But, unfortunately, that's never going to happen. That's one reason Israel isn't going to agree to a cease-fire (the other being a cease-fire would be interpreted as a Hezbollah victory). Israel is left with few good choices. One of the few is to continue, doggedly, with the reduction of Hezbollah's physical capability to attack Israel come hell or high-water or world condemnation. As it stands now, that is really the best it can make of bad situation.
 
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is important then they need to act and act decisively to ensure that A) southern Lebanon is secured with a peacekeeping force that will actually keep the peace B)Hezbollah is disarmed per the 2 year old UN resolution they all signed on too and C) Make it clear that any resupply of Hezbollah will be considered a provocation and Syria and Iran will be held responsible.
Exactly. If these handwringing prissy Pollys don’t want to contribute international/NATO troops to the region to take care of the problem, then they seriously need to STFU and don’t even dare to tell Israel how to handle their security matters.

Hey Jacques? You want Israel to ceasefire? Then put your cannon fodder between them and Hamas.
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
McQ,

Regarding M. Douste-Blazy, this man is an utter idiot. Look what he had to say concerning the Holocaust and British Jews.
The French satirical magazine Le Canard Enchaine reported in its September 14th issue that during the visit of French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy to the new Holocaust museum in Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem on September 8, he asked - while perusing maps of European sites where Jewish communities had been destroyed - whether British Jews were not also murdered. Needless to say, Douste-Blazy’s question was met by his hosts with amazement. "But Monsieur le minister," Le Canard quoted the ensuing conversation, "England was never conquered by the Nazis during World War II."

The minister apparently was not content with this answer, which, according to the magazine, was given by the museum curator, and persisted, asking: "Yes, but were there no Jews who were deported from England?"
And this is the man responsible for France’s foreign diplomacy.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
I know, D. As I recall we did a post on that at the time. But he’s typical of the mind-set I talk about.

As an aside, interesting that he represents a country which made it clear that they weren’t the least impressed by the election of Bush because he was a man who wasn’t well traveled (having only been outside the US a couple of times prior to his election), yet they have as Foreign Minister someone who has no idea of very recent European history. Amazing.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Overall, I’d agree with your assessment.

One quibble however.
In fact, Iraq has put the US in a position in which its authority in the region is lacking. Moderate Arab countries ("moderate" being a relative term here) are forced back into their default positions vis a vis Israel...
THe only authority we have ever had in the ME is purchasing power, and military power. With the growth in the far east, the dollar isn’t as significant as it once was. And our military strength has never been questioned - rather the too often hand-wringing civilian leadership supported by a knee-jerckingly squemish public. Arab countries have always held the default position re Israel.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
A little more disturbing to me is the implication in Douste-Blazy’s question -

As if to say - "Well, of course governments deported Jews (as if sending them to Dachau can be covered so nicely under the tarp of ’deported’) during the war, so England must have done that too, right?"

I can’t decide if he thinks most countries willingly did that, hence his confusion about why England wouldn’t have taken the opportunity afforded to them to deport some Jews. Or maybe he just couldn’t believe that England managed to do what mighty France could not.

I wonder which I should be more concerned over - that some kid from Wisconsin can’t find Afghanistan on the world map, or that this clown is a Foreign Minister responsible for representing an entire country and helping set international policy.

Someone remind me again why Israel should listen to anything the French have to say?

And Shark, "Never been fired, only dropped once" - did you really want to re-arm Hezbollah with all those shiney new French weapons?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The one truth that has been apparent since 1948 is Israel must win all of its fights to survive while its foes only have to win one fight to succeed

I haven’t heard too many people say that Israel won the Lebanon war from 1982-2000. They’re still around.

Inherent in the philosophy Brooks talks about here is the belief that all men are rational actors and can be ’engaged’ on some level and enticed to do ’good’ by some offer, yet to be made. Negotiations are always best and, so goes the belief, will always work. Reality aside, their belief in this fundamental point is unshakable.

And then you have the people who believe that everyone who happens to be their opponent, their enemy, or waging war upon them are completely irrational, and can never be negotiated with or enticed to do good (although, positive acts of charity aren’t really what’s being discussed here), but are irrevocably committed to their total destruction or that of their opponents.
You meet people who talk like this all the time in the ordinary world - in family disputes, business disputes, and in global affairs. The tyrants, I might add, *always* paint their enemies in this terms.

And that is the problem. Until this school of appeasement understands that it is faced with a fanatic non-state actor which is supported by equally fanatic states and who view negotiations as a sign of weakness the entire cycle we see now will repeat until one day Israel’s foes win that one battle they’ve been striving for since that nation’s birth. The Palestinian Authority doesn’t want peace or stability. It wants Israel gone. The same with Hezbollan, Syria and Iran. No less is acceptable to them.

So, if these undetterable, one-of-us-will-die-tonight fanatics are out right now to commit the destruction of Israel, what does the master plan look like? I’m Hizballah. How do my 10,000 Katyusha rockets "destroy Israel"? Aren’t these the smart, sophisticated, savvy 4G-war guys we were talking about earlier? Can we assume that they don’t really think that with the next Katyusha rocket they fire, the state of Israel will dissapear? So, if they entered this conflict with the goal of destroying Israel, why do they have no logical plan for doing so with their current capabilities and battle plans?

I could go through a similar exercise with Iran, but I’ll cut to the chase. Iran may have goals contrary to US interests (and the world’s best interests) but they are obviously rational and deterrable. If they weren’t, they would have wiped out their entire national population in human wave attacks on US soldiers in Iraq. Here we are, the Great Satan, right next door... No iranian invasion. Obviously, they have other priorities.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
NATO just took over southern Afganistan from the US. Lets give the Europeans credit for putting their armed forces where they can do some good.

Israel just blew up a UN outpost that was begging them to stop bombing them. Any country that cares about its soldiers is not going to put them on Israels borders without the hardware and orders to shoot in either direction if challenged.

Its their mess. Let them clean it up ... Just not on our nickel.
 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
Israel just blew up a UN outpost that was begging them to stop bombing them.
Right Cindy ... the rest of that story which conveniently gets left aside is Hezbollah had set up a number of positions in the shadow of that outpost and were firing into Israel.

Sound familiar?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I haven’t heard too many people say that Israel won the Lebanon war from 1982-2000. They’re still around.
War? It was an occupation. The "war" proceeded it. Obviously Israel got the best of it given it was they who were the occupiers. All of the conflict in the time span noted was mostly contained outside of Israel.
And then you have the people who believe that everyone who happens to be their opponent, their enemy, or waging war upon them are completely irrational, and can never be negotiated with or enticed to do good (although, positive acts of charity aren’t really what’s being discussed here), but are irrevocably committed to their total destruction or that of their opponents.

You meet people who talk like this all the time in the ordinary world - in family disputes, business disputes, and in global affairs. The tyrants, I might add, *always* paint their enemies in this terms.
And it is the word "always" (along with "never") which marks an untenable philosophy. No situation, no enemy, no set of circumstances is ’always’ amenable to a single solution. Sometimes negotiations aren’t the way to proceed. Sometimes brute force is the answer. Sometimes a little bit of a lot of things is what works. But rarely does appeasing an enemy have agreeable results - except for the enemy.
So, if these undetterable, one-of-us-will-die-tonight fanatics are out right now to commit the destruction of Israel, what does the master plan look like? I’m Hizballah. How do my 10,000 Katyusha rockets "destroy Israel"? Aren’t these the smart, sophisticated, savvy 4G-war guys we were talking about earlier? Can we assume that they don’t really think that with the next Katyusha rocket they fire, the state of Israel will dissapear? So, if they entered this conflict with the goal of destroying Israel, why do they have no logical plan for doing so with their current capabilities and battle plans?
Few wars are won in a single battle and while this is a larger battle than most, both Hezbollah and Hamas’s war against Israel has been going on for years. This latest outbreak of overt hostilities has only underlined the commitment of these non-state actors to Israel’s destruction. The size and sophistication of the Hezbollah arsenal speak volumes to that point. Anyone who doesn’t understand that just isn’t paying attention.
I could go through a similar exercise with Iran, but I’ll cut to the chase. Iran may have goals contrary to US interests (and the world’s best interests) but they are obviously rational and deterrable. If they weren’t, they would have wiped out their entire national population in human wave attacks on US soldiers in Iraq. Here we are, the Great Satan, right next door... No iranian invasion. Obviously, they have other priorities.
Really? Do you honestly want to advance that as an argument? They couldn’t even pull off the human wave attacks against marginal army like Iraq. Imagine them against a country with air superiority.

And yes, as is obvious they have different priorities, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re rational or deterrable. Their rationality or whether they’re deterrable certainly isn’t proven by the lack of human wave attacks in Iraq. It also depends on their context. In the context of world conquest, Hitler’s attack on Poland was ’rational’. To the rest of the world which wanted peace, it was irrational.

One of the obvious ways Iran implements some of its regional priorities is to attack their enemies through proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas. The question remains, is it their plan to keep the status quo in that regard or is that an interim solution until they have developed nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them? Or let someone else who is gaining experience right now and has a martyr complex deliver them for them? Thus far they haven’t appeared willing to negotiate on the nuke priority at all.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You missed the most important part of Carter’s panacea:
The urgent need in Lebanon is that Israeli attacks stop, the nation’s regular military forces control the southern region, Hezbollah cease as a separate fighting force, and future attacks against Israel be prevented. Israel should withdraw from all Lebanese territory, including Shebaa Farms, and release the Lebanese prisoners.
The old man can’t even get the least fact right.
 
Written By: someone
URL: http://
McQ ... did the Israelis tell the UN to clear out before they blew them up? No, they just murdered them, the same way the murders americans on the USS Liberty. Now they expect the UN to clean up after them.

but check this out ...

kurds attack turkey

By the reasoning of McQ et al, a country that is attacked by a terrorist from another country has the right and the duty to teach that country a lesson. Otherwise the terrorists wiin. Do I have that Right?

Thus Turkey should attack the kurds in Iraq. Likewise India should attack Pakistan for the attacks on the rail roads a could of weeks ago. Bunch of stratigic thinkers here, eh?
 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
did the Israelis tell the UN to clear out before they blew them up? No

Wrong again, cindyb.

The Israelis told everybody to clear out. The UN told them to stay, so they did. Kofi murdered them, not the Israelis.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
By the reasoning of McQ et al, a country that is attacked by a terrorist from another country has the right and the duty to teach that country a lesson. Otherwise the terrorists wiin. Do I have that Right?
No, you don’t have that right.

The important caveat being, if the country in which the terrorists are in residence, can and will take care of them effectively. If that condition could be met, then no, pre-emptive self-defense would be needed.

This is not the case in Lebanon, which has been ineffective against Hizbollah, even with the UN resolution, and even with the UN stationed on the southern border.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
the same way the murders americans on the USS Liberty
Common theme in some of your threads Cindy, mentioning the Liberty, although, given that it’s coming on 40 years I’m not sure how it reflects on the current governments of any country, at this point in time.

Trying to find that magic link that will convince us it’s okay for Israel to be wiped off the map?


Regarding the Kurds/Turks - the difference is all three of the countries involved (Iraq, the US by proxy, and Turkey) have all acknowledged that the Kurd group you’re talking about ARE terrorists. So, there’s no one officially who thinks these are great guys hiding out in Iraq and attacking Turkey.

And the Americans politely asked Turkey to restrain themselves and we’d see what we(Iraq) could do, and Turkey did.

Contrast that with Hezbollah -
Lebanon at first washed their hands of it saying they couldn’t prevent it - and now?...here’s a recent statement from the President of Lebanon (yesterday) -
excerpt from Fox -

"...in an exclusive interview after meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Beirut.

He also said Lebanon needs Hezbollah to protect the nation from Israel.

You know what it means to finish with Hezbollah? It means Lebanon would go back to the past before the resistance, that Israel can go into Lebanon whenever it wants to, and no one will bother her,” Lahoud told FNC
There you go, the President of Lebanon’s view of Hezbollah. So, Lebanon can’t stop them, they’re not terrorists in his view. Here we see he views them as necessary. They attack Israel with rockets, kill and kidnap her soldiers (an act of war). And Lebanon does what?

He recognizes Hezbollah as a necessary force to stand up to Israel for those times when Israel retaliates for attacks Hezbollah launched on Israel.
Gotta love that logic.




 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
They couldn’t even pull off the human wave attacks against marginal army like Iraq. Imagine them against a country with air superiority.

Absolutely. They’d get the living daylights kicked out of them, and might end up losing their country. But you could argue that if they were *truly* irrational and undeterrable, they wouldn’t know that, believe it, or care. They’d believe that their God would grant them victory in this world or the next, and charge right in.

This latest outbreak of overt hostilities has only underlined the commitment of these non-state actors to Israel’s destruction.

This latest outbreak of overt hostilities has only underlined the commitment of these non-state actors to Israel’s destruction.

I’ll just note my disagreement and move on.
On to happier subjects,

One of the few is to continue, doggedly, with the reduction of Hezbollah’s physical capability to attack Israel come hell or high-water or world condemnation.

Happily for everyone, Hizballah seems to no longer be firing the longer-range missiles. Maybe they ran out. Maybe they’re conserving. Maybe they’ve decided to de-escalate. Anyway, this option is working a lot better now that the Israeli army is focused on house-to-house in South Lebanon with the modest goal of a buffer zone, rather than airstrikes in Beirut. So, under the game plan of the last 24 hours, I pretty much agree.


 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Absolutely. They’d get the living daylights kicked out of them, and might end up losing their country. But you could argue that if they were *truly* irrational and undeterrable, they wouldn’t know that, believe it, or care. They’d believe that their God would grant them victory in this world or the next, and charge right in.
Why do that when you can do what you want, "with God’s help", with nuclear weapons? The fact that they don’t want to die in their attempt to destroy their enemy doesn’t mean what they do want to do is rational or deterrable.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
How about assuming they are "rational" but their goals may not be, in the sense that I want to destroy Israel (not very rational) but I know I can’t do it right now, so I do what I can instead. I thinks it fairly rational for a 4G warfare group to conduct small raids to anger Israel and then use the propaganda sympathy route to try to get bigger allies involved.

(and of course, barring the suicide bombers, most of these actors do want to stay alive, and thus don’t go down in human wave attacks.)
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://

 
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