Wednesday, July 12, 2006

American Policy: Better Hypocrisy Than Hamas

Better hypocrisy than Hamas

How many times has Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) failed to meet American expectations, how many times have they looked around in search of the next leader, "the real one" - and nonetheless stuck with him. They didn't do this out of love, nor out of hope, which had already faded. Abu Mazen, the president of the Palestinian Authority, is the default option. Without it there would remain only one of two options - chaos, or Hamas - which are respectively American policy's two most bitter fears today. Therefore the Americans will protect the leader everyone already agrees is incapable of providing any goods.


Moyhabin said...

Israel has just invaded Southern Lebanon and is facing stiff armed resistance from Hizbollah. It looks like the ME is slipping down the slope of a new generalized armed conflict that could soon involve Syria and a surprise attack on Iran. Please comment on this Tony ASAP. Regards and thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I too would be interested in hearing Tony's comments on what could turn out to be a very big deal indeed.

But let's not get too carried away. So many people have this - IMHO, completely unfounded - idea of the IDF as some sort of invincible wonder army. Yet, the facts are that it has never faced a competent military enemy and was defeated by Hizballah, a movement which probably never had more than about 400 men under arms. Also, the IDF may be high-tech, but the number of soldiers it can deploy is neccessarily small.

In other words, bluster aside, can it really mount a sustained simultaneous attack on countries like Syria, not to mention Iran? I really don't think so.

Tony said...

There are several things that are related to each other and that are sending a certain message.

First, the tenacity of Hamas and its adamant refusal to release the Israeli prisoner of war without reciprocation by Israel, in the face of enormous pressure. Part of that pressure was applied on Syria and Israeli and American threats were delivered to Damascus. The Usraeli demands included expelling all Hamas leaders from Syria and even the capture of Mash'al (by Syria) and his delivery to Israel. John Bolton personally made some of these demands. Rumors floated that Syria was intimidated and that the Hamas leaders, including Mash'al, had already left Syria.

The shattering response came when Mash'al made his press conference in Damascus a couple of days ago. It was in a hotel (Four Seasons), in defiance to Israeli threats to kill him. In that press conference Mash'al was confident and he was unwavering in insisting on the demand of prisoners' exchange. It was obvious that Damascus was not giving in to pressure and was sticking by Hamas.

The other significant development was Iran's refusal to budge on the EU's demand to stop the enrichment process. Iran was acting from a position of strength. In addition, the Iranian president was the one defiant voice in support of the Palestinians and it was in sharp contrast to the deafening silence and cowardice of just about all Arab leaders. It may be just bluster, but Iran felt confident enough to at least bluster.

Now comes the attack by Hizbollah, the capture of two Israeli soldiers and killing of seven more. This was obviously a well planned operation and the timing was not an accident. Israel is responding with the same Nazi tactic that it is using in Gaza; the destruction of the infrastructure and punishing the Lebanese population in the south. Borrowing a page from the U.S. book, Israel relies on air power and maximum destruction to intimidate and to end the conflict on its terms. While this Israeli arrogance has worked with the Arab regimes in the past, it is not working against Hamas, and certainly will not work against Hizbollah.

The message is clear: if Usrael is planning to attack Syria and Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah are providing a preview of what it will be like, on a much larger scale. This will be a Fourth Generation War (4GW) like you have never seen. The alternative is for Usrael to get the message and to cut a deal with Iran and Syria. We have to always keep an eye on this potentiality.

Molly said...

Tony, maybe you should post it rather than leaving it as a comment? That way more people will read it.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the US/israel's threats to Damascus for 'harbouring terrorists', I don't think this is anything new. Nor is Syria's refusal to play ball.

"Hamas and Hizbollah are providing a preview of what it will be like, on a much larger scale."

i dont't know if they are, Tony. After all, there is just no way Israel could mount a ground attack on either country. It would have to be entirely by airpower, and the limits of airpower in warfare have been shown many times. I do think that unless Israel can persuade the US to fight Iran and/or Syria for them, there is little Israel can do right now. And it is highly unlikely, if not actually impossible, that the US will fight either country on behalf of Israel.

Tony said...

One possibility is for the US to rely on an air campaign against Iran, similar to the Kosovo campaign, and for Israel to do the same against Syria and Lebanon. I agree that neither country (the US and Israel) has the manpower for a major ground invasion. What both are counting on are campaigns of "shock and awe" to be followed by an "easy" ground advance.

The Iranian/Syrian/Hizbollah response will be to attack in an asymmetric fashion.

Anonymous said...

I really do think, Tony, that even the silly US public will not tolerate another American embroglio in the Middle East. And yes, I know how foolish and arrogant the US 'leadership' is, but I just don't think that even they would - again- buy into the idea of an 'easy' war in the region. So, as I say, I'm pretty certain the US is not contemplating any military action in Iran. Which isn't to say it wouldn't like to do it - it simply can't.

Israel will have to fight its own battle this time.

Moyhabin said...

I don't agree with the last commentator. Israel is testing the water and creating the objective conditions for launching a major operation against Syria. They will force an escalation of hostilities, inviting for attacks with katiushka rockets on Israel from within Lebanon, hoping that the display of innocent civilian victims in Israel will create an outcry of support in the US. The Neocons are in this, and the strategy Israel is pursuing, has been planned at both ends of Usrael. Of course, Hizbollah, Syrian, and Iran are well aware of what is going on, and have decided to pursue also the path of war. Both sides of the conflict believe they can prevail, and thus the subjective conditions for a major armed conflict have been set in motion. This is the beginning of a global war in the ME, and one that will gradually engulf the entire region and beyond. Expect oil prices to go over $100 per barrel over the next few months.