Skip to comments.If this was a defeat, the Israelis must be praying for a lot more of them
Posted on 08/13/2006 3:56:57 PM PDT by Pokey78
IF ONLY Israel were as effective at public relations as at military operations, the results of the conflict on and around its border with Lebanon would be so much starker. As it is, however, the real meaning of the UN resolution that will start to come into force today is being widely misrepresented. Hezbollah is hailing a victory of sorts, albeit one of a presentational character. In a bizarre situation, Israeli politicians on both the hard Left and the hard Right appear to agree with the terrorists. All are profoundly mistaken.
What, after all, does this Hezbollah claim consist of? The organisation considers it a triumph that it has not been completely destroyed after just four weeks of fighting. It contrasts this with the dismal record of several Arab armies combined in 1967. It has not yet been disarmed and may not be formally neutralised in the near future. Nor has it been discredited on the Arab street, where it has enhanced its popularity. The Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah, thus proclaims himself a new Nasser.
As victories rank, not being destroyed, disarmed or discredited is not that impressive. It is hardly Henry V at Agincourt. The idea that the Six-Day War represents the military standard for the Arab world is a somewhat humiliating notion. Allowing for the feeble record of the original Nasser, Israelis should not be too disturbed by the prospect of another incarnation. Nor was the Arab street that equivocal about Israels existence before these clashes started.
The facts now evident on the ground suggest an entirely different assessment.
First, the damage inflicted by the Israeli Defence Forces on Hezbollahs infrastructure and resources is far, far greater than the equivalent harm that it has suffered. A sizeable proportion of Hezbollah rocket launchers and fighters have been eliminated, while the Israeli army has lost no more than a few tanks and, to its regret, about 100 soldiers. For a body that is used to incessant combat, this is not a spectacular setback.
Secondly, Hezbollah has deployed a huge percentage of its missile arsenal to very little advantage. Only in the Alice in Wonderland world of the Middle East could it be seen as a triumph for a terrorist organisation simply to launch Katyusha missiles in the direction of Israel and roughly 95 per cent of them to hit nothing of any value. It took Hezbollah six years to accumulate a stockpile that, fundamentally, it has wasted.
Thirdly, the administration in Lebanon, which had ostentatiously refused to send its soldiers to the south of that country for the past six years, has been obliged to pledge to the United Nations that it will now do so. It will, furthermore, be under the de facto control of a much larger international force than has been assembled in that region before one that will be judged a success or otherwise by the extent to which it keeps the place quiet.
The wider strategic consequences of these recent events are yet more significant. Hezbollah was, until July 11, a problem exclusively for Israel. That dilemma has been internationalised. It is now of paramount importance to the Lebanese Government and the UN Security Council. If Lebanons troops cannot pacify Hezbollah then ministers there well know that Israels air force will be back over Beirut. The UN will come to appreciate that if it cannot maintain the peace this will be because Hezbollah has broken the ceasefire that the Security Council imposed, and its own authority will be endangered. This is an important breakthrough for Israel. If Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister, had been told six weeks ago that Hezbollah would cease to be the principal militia in southern Lebanon by the beginning of September he wouldnt have believed it possible.
Further, Israels security has been improved more than has been acknowledged. Fewer than three years ago, Israels northern border was exposed to Hezbollah, its eastern boundary with the West Bank was so porous that suicide bombers regularly broke through it and its military was engaged in a bitter and often futile attempt to contain Hamas in Gaza. As of now, it can be confident of pushing Hezbollah back beyond the Litani river in Lebanon, the barrier it erected around the West Bank has reduced the number of suicide blast atrocities to the level of an unfortunate irritation and Hamas, whose military command was decapitated by Israel in a series of controversial strikes in 2004, is more likely to engage in a civil war with Fatah than it is seriously to inconvenience Mr Olmert.
The final dimension to this saga may, nevertheless, prove the most compelling. The past few weeks have exposed Irans pivotal role as the political patron of terrorism as well as the audacity and extent of its ambitions to shape Islam in its image. None of this has taken Israel by surprise. It has been a severe blow to Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Jews constitute no threat to mainstream Sunni Islam. The Shia challenge is another matter. Once the crocodile tears for Lebanon have dried up (which will take a month at most) and the mood on the Arab street has moved on (which will not take much longer), it will become obvious to Sunni regimes that Israel is an ally against Iran. The rhetoric directed against Israel will not abate, but it will be increasingly irrelevant.
That Lebanese civilians with no connection to terrorism have died while all this has occurred is a tragedy of the highest order. Israel relied too much on air power at the start of these exchanges and allowed its opponents a propaganda opportunity. Yet, in the end, Israels survival does not depend on Arab hearts and minds or opinions expressed by television viewers who live many thousands of miles away. It relies instead on winning crucial battles. If this is a defeat, then Israel can afford many similar outcomes.
That, is about the way I see it. Thanks.
Refreshing assessment. Many aspects of the recent action not previously considered. Especially the writer's view that the "ceasefire" does not tie Israel's hands regarding future action.
But goll dang, Ah sure as heck's fire hope that the sonafab!tch is right!
He is. If this is what winning a war against Israel amounts to, I would REALLY hate to see what losing one would look like.
The death of anonymous civilians in war is not a tragedy at all, let alone of the highest order. It is one of the grim and brutal consequences of war.
Thanks. I needed this.
I agree, except that the drive-by media are willing accomplices of the hezziemuzzies. All that Nasrallah al-Dirtbag has to do is to declare, "I'm alive, the Jews failed to kill me, therefore I win!"
And so it is reported by the Osama News Networks of the world.
Anybody remember the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam? Huge tactical defeat for the NVA/VC, yet Walter Krankheit declared them victorious. Calamity would later follow.
Those who fail to learn from history.......
My bet is that the ceasefire will not last 24 hours. No way are the fanatical Hezzies going to stop.
I think it is far too soon to label either side the winner or loser. Israel suffered dozens of casualties Saturday and more on Sunday. This war is far from over. We can't even know what it will look 72 hours from now. Go IDF!
Make-believe stories like this will make proper reform impossible. Not until the US and Israel realize the catastrophe that Olmert-Condi have forced on all of us will we be motivated to ask for real change. Israel battling a force of 3000 for 4 wks and making no gains whatsoever is an enormous PR coup for radical Islam, which they will use to stage ever more daring attacks against the West. Any chance for moderation in Jordan, Egypt, etc., is now gone as these regimes realize they must make ever greater concessions to their mad populations. Worse still, this Israeli PR defeat (Hezbollah taking over Israel was never really a question--PR was 85% of this war) virtually ensures future attacks, perhaps by an Iran-Arab coallition.
You don't seem to understand that the presence of the UN now will only serve the purpose of making Israel's future retaliation almost impossible. Also, Israel makes the territorial concession of Sheba farms, thereby having gone into this war with more territory than it comes out...Hezbollah, in other words, managed de facto to conquer a part of Israel.
We need to realize the depths of this defeat so we can throw out backstabbers like Olmert and Condi.
(Go Israel, Go! Slap 'Em Down Hezbullies.)
What do you consider "proper" reform? And how did Condi stab anyone in the back?
You're smelling a little like a troll, my friend.
Stop threatening. I think Bolton should replace Condi. Just because I'm a conservative I don't have to agree with the Scowcroft-trained Condi.
Proper reform: resignation of the Olmert cabinet, and a Likud govt. in place; in the US, replace Condi with Bolton, and Rumsfeld with someone better, I don't know, anyone...like Michael Savage.
PS Condi stabbed Israel (and us) in the back by pushing through and agreeing to this "cease fire" = defeat. She didn't have to do this...she "thought" she had to, because "it's her job" as sec. state. She's an empty skirt.
You're smelling a lot like a troll now.
I agree with most of your post. However, I think Rice and Bolton did about the best they could when they realized that the Olmert goverment was not going to attack the hezbos on the ground.
Me too. I've been saying similar things. The end is not near, the sky is not falling. Olmert took moderate meaures and got a moderate result. That's not good enough he has to go. The glass is half full. Build on it and win next time.
He is. Check his posts in the last 12 days since signup.
Nothing but rants against Condi Rice.
The Secretary of State does not MAKE policy. She conveys the policy of the Administration.
The above article is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise morose landscape of certain Israeli defeat.
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