August 10, 2006

IF YOU CAN"T BEAT 'EM:

Government and IDF racked by unprecedented leadership crisis (Jonathan Ariel August 9, 2006, Israeli Insider)

According to informed sources, there is an almost total breakdown in trust and confidence between the General Staff and the PM's office. They have described the situation as "even worse than the crises that followed Ben Gurion's decision to disband the Palmach, and Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan's cynical decision to place all the blame for the Yom Kippur fiasco on the IDF's shoulders.

Senior IDF officers have been saying that the PM bears sole responsibility for the current unfavorable military situation, with Hezbollah still holding out after almost a month of fighting. [...]

Some senior officers have been mentioning the C-word in private conversations. They have been saying that a coup d'etat might be the only way to prevent an outcome in Lebanon that could embolden the Arab world to join forces with Syria and Iran in an all out assault on Israel, given the fact that such a development would be spurred entirely by the Arab and Moslem world's perception of Israel's leadership as weak, craven and vacillating, and therefore ripe for intimidation.


Hopefully that's just hard-line hysteria, because it would turn a merely ill-advised war into an illegitimate one.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 10, 2006 4:47 PM
Comments

Hardline hysteria? I suppose. But petrified bull patties is more like it. This whole deal has been carefully co-planned and co-managed by Bush, Blair and Omert. Their objective has never been to conquer southern Lebanon or wipe out the Hezbos as a political force.

The military objective has been focussed on removing Hezbo militiamen, armaments, and bunkers from that southern area. (Most of those are ... or rather were ... located well south of the Litani.) The primary political objective has been to subordinate Hezbo to a strengthened Lebanese state. The secondary political objective has been to show Syria (and, by extension, Iran) to be unwilling to openly confront Israel (and, by extension) the US of A.

The threat of a massive IDF invasion up to, and possibly beyond, the Litani was a negotiating tactic aimed at the UN. Bush, Blair and Omert (oh my!) really did not want to go that far north. And it looks like they won't have to.

Like I said earlier, it's all good. Just not aggresive enough for the IDF hardliners.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 10, 2006 6:27 PM

It's believable that one was this stupid, not all three.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2006 6:42 PM

Stupid or no, it's a troika. (I think not stupid, at all.)

Posted by: ghostcat at August 10, 2006 7:16 PM

The military effort has been far more successful than generally reported. And an intelligence coup, to boot.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 10, 2006 7:19 PM

W didn't listen to Blair, why do you think Olmert is listening to W? Leaders pursue their own agendas, often ineptly.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2006 7:22 PM

Military? Boy, you really don't get it.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2006 7:26 PM

I guess not. Different paradigm, perhaps.

Anyhow. Iran-by-proxy had created a very elaborate kill-zone for IDF tanks and other armored vehicles in far southern Lebanon. German-engineered bunkers (no electronics, thank you), filled with Iranian-trained ... and coached ... anti-armor teams. They planned to provoke, at a time of their choosing, a traditional IDF offensive north to the Litani. Right past the well-hidden bunkers and beyond. They would then swarm out from behind and kill a whole bunch of IDF folks ... especially armor crews.

But the Iran-by-proxy guys didn't expect the engagement to occur this quickly, and the IDF didn't fall for the trap. They (IDF) have been methodically locating and taking out the bunkers, prior to any move further north.

Now, it looks like that northern push will not occur. And the troika really do plan to have an aggressively armed and chartered international force take over south of the Litani. Plus vetted Lebanese troops, with NATO training and support. And they fully understand that the Hezbos will remain a major political force.

But the Hezbos don't get to keep their own Iran-by-proxy army. Much less acquire their own nation-state. Different paradigm.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 10, 2006 7:55 PM

No, same paradigm.

Play it out in your head. Suppose the military phase has been absolutely successful or will be by its end and Hezbollah is disarmed entirely.

What follows?

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2006 8:01 PM

First, what does not follow. (The dog in the night-time and all that.) Israel does not lose the cream of its armor before being hit by Syria and/or Iran. And Iran does not keep its proxy army, unaccountable to the Lebanese people and equipped with increasingly sophisticated weaponry.

What does follow. A well-armed international military presence south of the Litani indefinitely, with a strengthened Lebanese army eventually supplanting them. Hezbollah probably playing a major role in both the Lebanese government and the Lebanese military. (But perhaps not, we shall see. More Lebanese blame the Hezbos for the current unpleasantness than are seen on television.) Israel would much rather deal with an accountable nation-state than a literally subterranean Iran-by-proxy.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 10, 2006 8:30 PM

"Hezbollah probably playing a major role..."

So it's all pointless.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2006 8:36 PM

Not in the slightest. The point is to have Hezbollah be merely one component of a legitimate and accountable nation-state. Even if Hezbollah were to dominate Lebanese politics, that is vastly preferable to the status quo ante.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 10, 2006 8:52 PM

In other words: the state must have a monopoly on organized, heavily-armed violence. Period.

So, either Lebanon takes control south of the Litani or some other state does. Not Israel ... they don't want it. And certainly not some new Hezbostan.

New micro-states that are ethnically pure, ideolologically inclined towards mass murder, and armed with modern weapons are NOT a nifty idea. They might eventually grow up, but the terrible twos and temperamental teens could be internationally disastrous.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 10, 2006 9:15 PM

If we accept everything else you believe to be true how is it better for Israel to have a Hezbollah that can arm itself above the table and without limit?

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2006 9:15 PM

Defeating Hezbollah would create "one man one vote" democracy in Lebanon. Leaving Hezbollah armed creates "one terrorist one vote" rule by intimidation and assassination.

I agree with the hard-liners that this campaign has been a failure and a missed opportunity. I agree with ghostcat that Bush and Blair had a lot to do with that failure. They are trying to keep Arab and UN Security Council allies on board and to push off a confrontation with Iran, Syria, and their proxies to a later date. We have to assume they're working toward a long-term goal.

But I have to say, it looks like Iran and Bush are designing strategies under two entirely different conceptions of reality. Let's hope that Iran doesn't know things we don't.

Posted by: pj at August 10, 2006 9:16 PM

Ghost:

Nifty? It's just inevitability.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2006 9:18 PM

pj:

That's thoroughly unserious. The Sunni and Christians will never allow a one man one vote state of Lebanon, which is why the Shi'a are so aggrieved in the first place.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2006 9:19 PM

At the end of the day, I have a great deal of faith in Blair, Bush, Rice and Bolton. (Olmert, I don't know from Colbert.)

And I hope you're wrong, oj, about the inevitability of micro-states. Because the inevitable response to that chaos will be repressive transnationalism.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 10, 2006 9:59 PM

If the Shi'a want one man / one vote, then they should have aimed their rockets to the north. Or perhaps to the east. They would have been more effective.

Suppose the "war" to degrade Hezbollah takes 3 months. If the rockets are spent, and the bunkers are gone, and the Bekaa Valley has been visited at will, then what? Iran has to decide whether to resupply, Syria has to decide whether to facilitate it, and the US has to decide whether to tolerate it.

If a UN resolution is broken by such a resupply, then the pretext to sweep into Syria is now public. The US will not 'invade' Iran, but Syria would be simple. And this time, the 'mistakes' of Iraq could be easily avoided, no?

One way or the other, Syria is done. Leaving them alone under such circumstances would be a de facto surrender on our part.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 10, 2006 10:18 PM

oj,
As one of your biggest admirers, you've lost me on the whole militant Israel hating Muslim issue.
What would we have with a "disarmed" Hezbollah? Blind hatred w/o weapons. Ditto for Hamas.
The Shia's are nothing like our founders, there can never be a "reformation" of Islam.
Muslims believe a meglomaniac pedophile wrote down G-d's words, subject to no earthly interpretation.
I'm well past my tipping point, a radioactive wasteland is far preferable to any Islamic state. They are, almost, all clinically insane.
Mike

Posted by: Mike Daley at August 10, 2006 10:29 PM

What jim said.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 10, 2006 10:29 PM

ghost:

To the contrary, extreme nationalism will prevent even the bits of transnationalism that were emerging--like the EU--but it's still a bad thing. Of course, it's something we fueled though.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2006 11:24 PM

jim:

Degrade them? It's just strengthening them.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2006 11:25 PM

Mike:

Just because Israel is wrong doesn't mean we have to hate them. Indeed, it's because they're allies that we ought to get them to stop shooting themselves in the foot.

The Islamophobic nonsense is unbecoming.

Posted by: oj at August 10, 2006 11:27 PM

oj,
We part company early on, I do not believe Israel was/is wrong.
Is it Islamophobia, or just a realization that there has never been, nor can there ever be, a reconciliation between Islamic thinking and Judeo/Christian thinking?
Judeo belief, G-d has made a convenant, which will be fulfilled when the Messiah comes.
Christian belief, Jesus came and gave his wordly life to forgive all, who accept Him, their sins.
Islam belief, conquer or kill all who don't accept nut job Mohammed's claim he spoke for G-d!
They've been trying to kill or enslave all non-believers for almost 1,200 years!
Because it's the 21st Century they've changed how?
Mike

Posted by: Mike Daley at August 10, 2006 11:53 PM

No, we part company at the point where to say that Israel is making a mistake is Jew hating. That's the level to which the Islamophobic Right has sunk though.

Posted by: oj at August 11, 2006 12:01 AM

"we part company at the point where to say that Israel is making a mistake is Jew hating. That's the level to which the Islamphobic Right has sunk though."

Which is about the same level you sank to when you began equating opposition to illegal immigration to racism.

JP

Posted by: jefferson park at August 11, 2006 9:30 AM

JP:

It's all the same. Note that the same loons who are all worked up about the Dubai port deal and Mexican immigrants are likewise in favor of nuking the whole Middle East. It's simple applied Darwinism.

Posted by: oj at August 11, 2006 10:29 AM

I was for the ports deal. I am very pro-immigration, if they want to work let them in. But after careful analysis and much reading I must come to the conclusion that Mr. Daley is correct. I guess I am just 1/2 loon.

Posted by: BJW at August 11, 2006 10:46 AM

It's not half if you want to kill a billion people over the actions of a few.

Posted by: oj at August 11, 2006 10:50 AM

"It's all the same. Note that the same loons who are all worked up about the Dubai port deal and Mexican immigrants are likewise in favor of nuking the whole Middle East."


Nonsense. The commenters here have expressed varying levels of concern (ranging from highly concerned to absolutely indifferent)on both those issues. You're the only person here I've seen seriously advocating nukes.

JP

Posted by: jefferson park at August 11, 2006 10:54 AM

What do you think they mean by turning the Middle East into a sea of glass or "a radioactive wasteland is far preferable to any Islamic state", the comment you're currently defending?

Posted by: oj at August 11, 2006 10:59 AM

"It's not half if you want to kill a billion people over the actions of a few."

Exactly wrong on both counts. It's considerably less than a billion and considerably more than a few.

JP

Posted by: jefferson park at August 11, 2006 11:01 AM

"What do you think they mean by turning the Middle East into a sea of glass?"

Same thing you mean by advocating the burning of witches -- empty rhetoric,

Posted by: jefferson park at August 11, 2006 11:03 AM

As long as we agree that you want the mass murder, why quibble.

Posted by: oj at August 11, 2006 11:05 AM

Ah, but I'm serious about defending monotheism. As long as you're unserious about what you say then there's no problem.

Posted by: oj at August 11, 2006 11:10 AM

"As long as we agree that you want the mass murder, why quibble."

I don't consider killing terrorists to be murder, mass or otherwise. If you do, well that explains alot.

Posted by: jefferson park at August 11, 2006 11:15 AM

"Ah, but I'm serious about defending monotheism."

Doubtful. But hey, a pagan's a pagan so why not start with Islamicists?

Posted by: jefferson park at August 11, 2006 11:19 AM

"a radioactive wasteland is far preferable to any Islamic state" though "considerably less than a billion"

Posted by: oj at August 11, 2006 11:19 AM

Because they aren't pagans.

Posted by: oj at August 11, 2006 11:22 AM

Yes. Considerably. Your point?

Posted by: jefferson park at August 11, 2006 11:22 AM

Sure they're not. They're people of the Book -- just like Methodists.

Posted by: jefferson park at August 11, 2006 11:26 AM

Hey, can I go back and edit my comments too? Or is that just the Host's prerogative?

Posted by: jefferson park at August 11, 2006 11:29 AM

Just mine, though I have made a conscious effort this week not to delete any comments and have been disappointed to see that folks promptly began slandering Islam and advocating genocide. I'll probably just ban the recidivists but try to leave comments up as a general rule.

Posted by: oj at August 11, 2006 11:34 AM
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