Sunday, July 16, 2006

While it might be hard to tell sometimes, this is actually a blog that has something to do with foreign policy. After some appropriate links, my comments on the war between Israel and the PA, various terrorist groups, Islamist militias and their state supporters, Syria and most importantly, Iran.

Blogging the War:

Abu Aardvark, Atlas Shrugged, Aqoul , American Footprints, American Future, Austin Bay, Belmont Club, Bliss Street Journal, Captain's quarters, Collounsbury, Chicago Boyz, Centerfield, Cliopatria, Coming Anarchy, Counterterrorism Blog, Dan Drezner, Deja Vu, Democracy Project,
Glittering Eye, Global Guerillas, History Unfolding, Instapundit, Iraq the Model, Juan Cole, Memeorandum, Michael Totten, Middle East Perspectives, OPFOR, Penraker, Rightwing Nuthouse, Shloky, Sic Semper Tyrannis, SyriaComment, Thomas P.M. Barnett, Whirledview

Now that the Right, the Left, the Middle, scholars, amateurs, soldiers, strategists, journalists, partisans and professors have had their say, I'll weigh in with a brief analysis:

Iran, and specifically Ahmadinejad's faction in the leadership, have sought to provoke Israel into action for some time now. Scratch Hezbollah enough and you find the Pasdaran - particularly when Hezbollah suddenly demonstrates newfound military capabilities.

Conflict serves to strengthen Ahmadinejad's hand and allow Shiite Iran to pose as the champion of Islam against the "Zionist Entity"- a goal of the late Ayatollah Khomeini and a dual propaganda blow against both the conservative Sunni monarchies of the gulf and the radical Salafist movement that regards Shiites as "apostates". Provoking Israel distracts the Europeans away from Iran's illegal, covert, nuclear weapon program and toward the more comfortable and politically safer topic of condemning Israel for defending itself.

On the Israeli side of the equation, it is evident that invading Lebanon will not get any kidnapped soldiers back nor is it intended to do so. It is primarily intended to disrupt the Hezbollah, Pasdaran and Syrian intelligence networks in Southern Lebanon and secondarily as a punitive expedition against Lebanon for Hezbollah's ( read Iran and Syria's) transgressions. In principle a good thing, but it would be of more practical use directed against Syria and cause Israel far less political damage. The Lebanese state may be passively complicit in Hezbollah's attacks and be legally responsible, but Damascus is actively complicit as Iran's satellite, and is a better target in terms of maintaining Israel's moral legitimacy. The Lebanese government no more controls its own territory than the Governor of Maine controls the Mexican border.

If Israel rolls through Lebanon, destroys and disperses the Hezbollah network, hangs Nasrallah or some other notorious figure from a nearby tree and gets out quickly, the Israelis will at least win some tactical gains. They will also send a message to Syria and Iran that proxy warfare is going to be regarded as warfare - particularly if some Syrian infrastructure takes some heavy hits along the way. If Olmert drags the military process out and replays Begin's televisually shocking seige of Beirut, he courts strategic defeat.

As for the soldiers, they will only return through quiet negotiations, if at all, after the dust settles.
I think that return of 2 soldiers, if done as a part of ceasefire, will be a huge blow to image of Hezb, so is very worth to achieve
(though I am very pessimistic about this).
No more evidence is needed for Israel to destroy Syria & Iran.

Or should Israel wait until Iran obtains nuclear capabilites & destroys Israel, as it has
repeatedly promised?

Anything less than victory will make a mockery of reputed Israeli "strength".
In my view Israel's strategy is risky but comprehensible. They're really going after Hezbollah, hoping to destroy it or weaken it sufficiciently that Lebanon can re-occupy south Lebanon.

Syria is on the horns of a dilemma. It can lay back and risk losing Hezbollah without which its chances of regaining Lebanon are substantially reduced. If they do that, Israel wins. Or it can engage Israel and risk losing the Assad regime. In that case everybody wins (except Assad, of course).

The main risk is that Iran will enter the conflict. In that event things will very definitely have gone pear-shaped.
Hi Dave & the Anon,

As a practical ( if not political) matter the soldiers are gone. If they are not dead they will most likely be tortured to death like William Buckley, barring the value of Israeli held prisoners for an exchange being very, very high. That's who the other side is and if Iran is willing to sacrifice Hezbollah itself to buy time then the lives of a few men are an afterthought.

Israel can destroy the Assad regime in, I would guess, only a few days but they won't do this unless pushed to the wall. Lacking the ability to occupy Syria they have to live with what will come afterward, be it failed state or a Muslim Brotherhood regime.

Hezbollah can be shredded and disrupted but not " killed". It will take years to rebuild to their former level of strength - which is a tactical victory Olmert can put alongside the loss of soldiers for the Israeli public. If he cannot accomplish that he'll be finished as PM in short order.
How long before the political price for the US becomes too high to continue to support Israel's "long-term" (according to the WAPO) campaign? I don't see this doing wonders for our interests, especially if Israel can't achieve any real successes with this campaign.
Hi Eddie,

That depends entirely on what the Hezbollah are doing. So long as a fair number of missiles are hitting Israeli cities, the IDF will have a free hand ( imagine our reaction if 200,000 Americans were in air raid shelters. Or Europe's if it was 200,000 French or British).

The sticking point will be diplomatic when Hezbollah runs out of missiles - there will be a greatly increased pressure on the U.S. to prevent Israel from altering the regional balance by occupying Southern Lebanon. Hence the unheard of willingness of the Arab League to condemn Hezbollah for starting trouble and the Euros to consider peacekeeping troops.

As far as the U.S. public is concerned, to the extent that they pay any attention, most hope that Hezbollah gets annihilated and that the U.S. not get involved in peacekeeping. No pressure on Bush there unless the IDF replays the Beirut scenario - that will go over poorly here.

If Olmert wishes to accomplish real gains he needs to move faster than he is currently doing. It would have been better, overall, for Israel to have hit Syria hard but the missing soldiers created a urgent dynamic inside Israel to cut Lebanon off from Syria and Iran.
Post a Comment

<< Home
Zenpundit - a NEWSMAGAZINE and JOURNAL of scholarly opinion.

My Photo
Location: Chicago, United States

" The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances as though they were realities" -- Machiavelli

Determined Designs Web Solutions Lijit Search
02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 / 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 / 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 / 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 / 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 / 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 / 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 / 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 / 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 / 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 / 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 / 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 /

follow zenpundit at http://twitter.com
This plugin requires Adobe Flash 9.
Get this widget!
Sphere Featured Blogs Powered by Blogger StatisfyZenpundit

Site Feed Who Links Here
Buzztracker daily image Blogroll Me!