Restarting the 34 Day War

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14652.htm

*By Mike Whitney *

“/I prefer the most unfair peace to the most righteous war/” – *Cicero *

*08/22/06 “**Information Clearing House*
<http://informationclearinghouse.info/>* ” – — *Israel is in a state of
post-war trauma. Its 34 day pounding of Lebanon achieved none of the
stated goals and has left the public furious at the incompetence of the
Olmert government. 118 soldiers were killed in the conflict and Israel’s
celebrated “power of deterrents” has been smashed to smithereens.
Nothing was gained. In the north, industry was brought to a complete
standstill while the local people were shunted off to fallout shelters
for weeks on end.

What for?

Hezbollah hasn’t been “disarmed” and the 2 captured Israeli soldiers
haven’t been returned. The whole travesty was a dead loss.

The war ended as abruptly as it started. It was suddenly called off when
Olmert couldn’t bear the rising death-toll, a fact that was not lost on
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Nasrallah said from the very
beginning that the only way to beat Israel was by “killing soldiers and
destroying weapons”. Olmert’s retreat just proves that that Nasrallah
was right.

Kenneth Besig summarized the feelings of many Israelis in his comments
in the Jerusalem Post:

“Fewer than 5,000 poorly-armed Hezbollah terrorists stood off the mighty
IDF for over a month. An Islamic terrorist gang with no tanks, no
artillery, no fighter jets, no attack helicopters, and just a few RPG’s
and rifles held to a standstill nearly 30,000 crack IDF troops with the
finest tanks, the best artillery, the fastest and most advanced
fighter-jets and attack helicopters in the world. And they can still
empty our northern communities with their rockets whenever they want. If
that is not a victory, then the word has no meaning.”

Besig may be wrong when he calls Hezbollah “terrorists”, but many
Israelis agree with his overall analysis. Israel may have decimated
Lebanon, but no one believes they won the war.

Since the ceasefire began, the recriminations and finger-pointing have
only gotten worse. The daily gnashing-of-teeth in the media has reached
a crescendo with every major newspaper calling for the resignations of
Olmert, Defense Minister Peretz and “George Armstrong” Halutz.
Disgruntled reservists are flocking to the streets in public protests
calling for “heads-to-role” while hundreds of IDF regulars have signed
petitions demanding an independent inquiry into the botched war plans.

“I’m telling Ehud Olmert and Emir Peretz to look me in the eye and tell
me they are fit to hold their posts,” said Sgt. Major Lior Vilnes one of
the many protestors.

So what does this firestorm of public outrage auger for Lebanon and the
prospects for peace in the region?

The probability of peace “breaking out” has never looked more dismal.
Public opinion is thrusting Olmert towards another war. Already,
government officials have begun talking about a “second round” of
hostilities, a euphemism that is being reiterated with worrisome
regularity in the press*.* <http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/>
The mood in Israel is ugly and many believe that it foreshadows greater
violence ahead.

Olmert is surrounded by “hawks” from the Sharon era who brush aside any
plan that doesn’t involve force. That makes military action all the more
likely even though the objectives are as ambiguous as they were before.

Eli Yishai, Vice Prime Minister, sums up the current thinking in the
Olmert administration:

“No army in the world is more moral than the IDF….We cannot be bleeding
hearts while our citizens are being hurt. If Lebanese citizens pay the
price, they will rise up against Hezbollah. I have proposed that we
damage infrastructure and flatten villages because Hezbollah personnel
must know they are not immune. We should make it clear to them that all
residents in villages from which firepower is launched at IDF soldiers
will be warned and required to leave their homes in 48 hours. And later
these villages will be bombed from the air. That policy would have
assured that Lebanese citizens would not permit Hezbollah to live next
to them.” (Haaretz)

Isn’t this the same flawed-logic that led to “shock and awe”? What gives
people like Yishai and Olmert such confidence in violence when it hasn’t
worked in 40 years of occupation?

The penchant among the Israeli high-command for resolving political
issues with brute force doesn’t bode well for Lebanon. Israel wants to
settle accounts with Nasrallah and reestablish its dominance in the
region, but that can only be accomplished by dealing a knockout blow to
Hezbollah.

Olmert has no chance of defeating Hezbollah. Guerilla groups disappear
in one place and pop up in another; crushing them is nearly impossible.
The clueless Prime Minister is probably more interested in salvaging his
own carreer than in protecting Israel’s national security. In truth,
Olmert’s bruised vanity won’t allow him to be remembered as the “man who
lost the war to Hezbollah”. This will lead to a steady escalation of
incitements (like yesterday’s commando raid on Balbak) which will
eventually trigger an all-out war.

Restarting the conflict will only create greater threats to Israel’s
security. It will strengthen the Lebanese resistance, weaken the
already-feeble Siniora government, rouse more hatred for the United
States, destabilize friendly Arab regimes, and further erode the
perception of Israeli invincibility.

Israel has little to gain and everything to lose.

Never the less, Olmert seems to be disregarding the consequences and
blundering ahead in the futile hope of silencing his critics while
indulging his right-wing allies. Anything less than a full-blown assault
on his Lebanese arch-rival would be tantamount to political seppuku.

Former Shin Bet chief and current Internal Security Minister Avi
Dichter, made a reasonable proposal that could mitigate the tensions and
extract Olmert from his current predicament. Dichter said, “We must not
sit and wait for the next war. A peace agreement in exchange for giving
back the Golan Heights would disconnect Syria from Iran and disarm
Hezbollah.”

Bingo.

Dichter’s advice is dead-on. If Israel conceded the Golan to Syria, then
Syria would cut-off supplies and weaponry to Hezbollah setting the stage
for a comprehensive peace treaty between the 3 nations.

It’s a long-shot, but it could work and it reduces the liklihood of more
fighting.

Unfortunately, Olmert quickly dismissed Dichter’s plan saying, “We are
not going into any adventure when terror is on their side. When Syria
stops support for terror, then we will be happy to negotiate with them.”

Blah, blah, blah; terror, terror, terror; the same worn mantra we’ve
heard from Bush for the last 5 years while the entire Middle East is
doused in gasoline and ready to explode like a stick of dynamite.

Olmert has erected another road-block to peace and set the stage for a
“second round” of destruction and bloodshed. His choice is bound to
create more enemies for Israel while condemning thousands of Lebanese
civilians to death.

That’s a strategy for failure, not success.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: