Tuesday, November 14, 2006
By Juan Cole
"Haaretz is outraged and a little amused that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert came to Washington and said this to Bush about Iraq:
' "We in the Middle East have followed the American policy in Iraq for a long time, and we are very much impressed and encouraged by the stability which the great operation of America in Iraq brought to the Middle East. We pray and hope that this policy will be fully successful so that this stability which was created for all the moderate countries in the Middle East will continue." '
There is no mystery here. Olmert has already proved that he does not understand asymmetrical warfare or the Arab world, and that he has a mystical faith in tanks. Saddam had a tank army, of which the Israeli military was always mysteriously afraid, and it is gone. Iraq has 78 tanks, last I knew. If you equate a big tank army in the hands of an enemy of Israel as "instability," then now you have "stability."
It seems to me in contrast that Hamas is picking up Ramadi and Falluja as hinterland support, and Hizbullah now has the opportunity for backing from the ruling Iraqi Shiite parties of Da'wa, SCIRI, and the Sadr Movement, which in turn have the prospect of getting rich off Iraqi petroleum. But if Olmert and Bush understood these sorts of things, they wouldn't have adopted such disastrous policies.
Olmert's predecessor was trying openly to goad the United States into a war with Iran. Most of the time you can't listen to Israeli hawks about Middle East policy. They are like carpenters with a hammer to whom every problem looks like a nail. Every political issue looks to them like a good little war would solve it. They don't seem to be able to notice that nearly 60 years of such war-at-the-drop-of-a-hat has not gotten them anywhere in the region and if anything, as Bashar al-Asad said last summer, every generation of Arabs hates them more. The hawks don't fear the hatred of the masses because they only understand tanks, not asymmetrical or geopolitical struggles. And that is where we came in."
Olmert to Bush:
Here are your new mission instructions. The stability you brought to Iraq needs to be extended to Iran. Don't worry that you have only two years left. AIPAC has made sure that the Democrats will continue this bipartisan policy. You see AIPAC IS bipartisan.