Sunday, April 29, 2007
Does This Make Sense to You?
By Tony Sayegh
May be I don't understand how things work in occupied Palestine. It appears that normal rules that apply in a guerrilla war of liberation, or what is called Fourth Generation War (4GW), have been suspended there. It appears that the Palestinians, of all people on earth, are blazing their own way and are trying to rewrite the book, without much success so far. Let me give a few examples.
Non-State versus State
War historians who have studied 4GW and who have written extensively about it have recognized that it is very difficult for the forces of a state, including a modern army, to deal with non-state forces waging a 4GW against the state. You can say it is easier to pin down, immobilize and defeat the forces and institutions of a state than to build a state. Another way to put it is that it is easier to destroy than to build.
So, why are the Palestinians who do not have a state in reality want to pretend that they have one? Why are they burdening themselves with the trappings of a state when these are not assets, but liabilities? So you have a "parliament" that can't convene because half of its members have been arrested. You have an "executive force" that is patrolling streets and street corners making for easy targets for the Israelis; what is the point?
Look at Iraq, Afghanistan and more recently Somalia. These are examples of 4GWs where the guerrilla is fighting the forces of a puppet state supported by an occupying power. We have the same situation in occupied Palestine: the PA is an extension of the occupation and it is propped up by the occupier and by the U.S.; why pretend otherwise? Are the U.S. and Israel not arming and training the PA forces? For what purpose? Are the Israelis and Americans not coordinating "security" with the PA? For what purpose?
Regular Army versus the Guerrilla
One secret for the success of a 4GW is that it is waged by an entire people. You can't tell who is a guerrilla and who is not. In Vietnam, the peasants were planting rice and carrying a gun to shoot U.S. helicopters at the same time. We did not see Vietnamese regulars in uniform until Saigon fell and the North Vietnamese army advanced in their tanks to claim the city.
So why are Palestinian fighters wearing military fatigues? Is this the macho thing to do? Why not wear a bull’s eye in addition?
Secrecy and Surprise
The element of surprise should belong to the guerrilla; he keeps a very low profile and he is difficult to detect. He selects the time and place; he is always on the move.
It is ironic that Israel uses these tactics more often then the Palestinians do! Israel has its own undercover teams who disguise themselves as Palestinians. They speak Arabic and blend easily with Palestinians. They infiltrate at will and they assassinate and kidnap Palestinians anytime they want. In contrast, why do Hamas fighters (also Islamic Jihad) invariably have a full beard? This is giving the Israelis quite an advantage. They already know who belongs to these organizations. Why give them such an advantage? Is it not possible to go to Paradise without a beard?
The Israelis do their clandestine assassinations and deny responsibility in many cases; they are interested in results. The Palestinians have press conferences to threaten about what they would like to do. Does this make sense?