An inevitable outcome in Gaza

Sphinx "Hamas officials were set to hold talks in Cairo with Egyptian mediators to hear the Israeli response to proposals put forward by the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has offered a one-year, renewable truce on condition that all Israeli forces leave Gaza within a week and that all the border crossings with Israel and Egypt are opened.

A senior Israeli official said on Saturday the Jewish state planned to halt its offensive in Gaza without any agreement with Hamas. A Hamas official has vowed the group would fight on.

Mubarak also said Egypt would call for an international meeting to discuss post-war reconstruction in the Palestinian coastal enclave.

He said his country would not agree to the presence of foreign observers on its soil to monitor the border with Gaza.

"I say that this is a red line and I will not allow it," he said in the speech.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said earlier in the dayEgypt was not committed to a U.S.-Israeli deal, signed on Friday, to halt arms smuggling into Gaza."  Reuters


If I remember correctly, this outcome was predicted here.

If it was that evident, then why did Israel begin such an operation?

The Israelis have failed to humble Hamas. Rockets still arrive in Israel.  This failure in their self-declared war aim will cost them dearly in the strategic contest.  They are going to halt their "offensive without any sort of concession from Hamas?"  I suppose that they do not want the burden of this ongoing action to be carried forward into their relations with the Obama Administration.  The futility of what they have done in Gaza will be burden enough.

It is claimed by the agitpropers that Hamas is a satellite organization of Iran.  If that is so, then Iran has done a poor job of supplying their Palesinian subsidiary.  Where are the Iranian product improved and manufactured weapons that Hizbullah possessed in numbers in '06?  Where are they?  Impossible to deliver? All of them?

It would seem that political support and encouragement is one thing.  Supply is another.

This summons from Mubarak indicates a need to placate the Cairo mob.  No foreign inspectors on Egyptian soil?  That means that Egypt will not make a serious attempt to halt smuggling into Gaza.

Not a good outcome for Israel.

Perhaps a truce with Hamas would not be a bad idea.  pl


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33 Responses to An inevitable outcome in Gaza

  1. LJ says:

    Here is one commentator’s summary of Israel’s goals with their latest incursion into Gaza. Opinions?
    “Instead Israel is planning to resort to its favourite diplomatic manoeuvre: unilateralism. It wants a solution that passes over the heads of Hamas and the Palestinians. Or as Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, put it: “There is no intention here of creating a diplomatic agreement with Hamas. We need diplomatic agreements against Hamas.” The formula currently being sought for a ceasefire will face opposition from Israel unless it helps achieve several goals.
    Israel’s first is to seal off Gaza properly this time. Egypt, although profoundly uncomfortable at having an Islamic group ruling next door, is under too much domestic pressure to crack down on the tunnelling. Israel therefore wants to bring in American and European experts to do the job. They will ensure that the blockade cannot be broken and that Hamas cannot rearm with the the help of outside actors like Iran. At best, Hamas can hope to limp on as nominal ruler of Gaza, on Israeli sufferance.
    The second goal has been well articulated by the Harvard scholar Sara Roy, who has been arguing for some time that Israel is, in her words, “de-developing” Gaza. The blockade has been integral to achieving that objective, and is the reason Israel wants it strengthened. In the longer term, she believes, Gazans will come to be “seen merely as a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no political claims.”
    In addition, Gazans living close to the enclave’s northern and southern borders may be progressively “herded” into central Gaza – as envisioned in Vilnai’s plan last year. That process may already be under way, with Israeli leafletting campaigns warning inhabitants of these areas to flee. Israel wants to empty both the Rafah area, so that it can monitor more easily any attempts at tunnelling, and the northern part because this is the location of the rocket launches that are hitting major Israeli cities such as Ashkelon and Ashdod and may one day reach Tel Aviv.
    The third and related goal, as Barak and Vilnai proposed more than a year ago, is to cut off all Israeli responsibility for Gaza — though not oversight of what is allowed in. Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian analyst, believes that in this scenario Israel will insist that humanitarian supplies into Gaza pass only through the Egyptian crossing, thereby also undercutting Hamas’ role. Already Israel is preparing to hand over responsibility for supplying Gaza’s electricity to Egypt – a special plant is under construction close by in the Sinai.
    Slowly, the hope is, Gaza’s physical and political separation from the West Bank will be cemented, with the enclave effectively being seen as a province of Egypt. Its inhabitants will lose their connection to the wider Palestinian people and eventually Cairo may grow bold enough to crack down on Hamas as brutally as it does its own Islamists.
    The regime of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, meanwhile, will be further isolated and weakened, improving Israel’s chances of forcing it to sign a deal annexing East Jerusalem and large swaths of the West Bank on which the Jewish settlements sit.
    The fourth goal relates to wider regional issues. The chief obstacle to the implementation of Israel’s plan is the growing power of Iran and its possible pursuit of nuclear weapons. Israel’s official concern – that Tehran wants to attack Israel – is simple mischief-making. Rather Israel is worried that, if Iran becomes a regional superpower, Israeli diktats in the Middle East and in Washington will not go unchallenged.”
    by Jonathon Cook

  2. ISL says:

    Indeed it was predicted here. Given the ambiguous goals of Israel, and the path of other recent Israeli efforts, only amazing that SST is one of the few (very few) places that made the prediction.
    The strategic loss appears likely to be very large – And not just the strengthening of Hamas and weakening of Fatah.
    Boycott by Europe of Israeli fruit:,7340,L-3656454,00.html
    China promises to help rebuild Gaza:
    And a new US administration greeted with mideast blood as a gift.

  3. Got A Watch says:

    Exactly, Sir. I had thought Israel was wildly unrealistic, and they have proved it again.
    Textbook example of how to win every battle but lose the war. None of Israel’s “goals” will be met, in all probability.
    Hamas is more popular than ever on the street. They cannot be defeated by air and artillery strikes or killing leaders. Abbas looks like the ineffective figurehead he is. Fatah look toothless.
    Egypt will not agree to the anti-smuggling efforts. So much for all those grand ‘agreements’ Israel ‘announced’. Turkey and other trading partners are pissed.
    Israel has lost much influence and goodwill, which may translate into economic losses as well. There appears to be a growing unofficial boycott of Israeli goods. The IDF appears brutally efficient, but not able to fully root out Hamas in close urban quarters.
    Hatred on the streets looks to have markedly increased, all over the globe. Extremism got a steroid shot.
    Al-Qaida even got a boost, bin-Laden’s new tape likely got a listening from a wider audience than his last one. Recruiting is easier now.
    All in all, yet another global strategic setback for Israel. Far short of any ‘victory’.
    Driven mostly as you said by anger and their curious belief that they are more clever than everyone else. I am not sure where they got the notion that they should determine who runs Palestine, it is absurd.
    If the right-wingers win the looming election, I predict more of the same. Banning the Arab political party’s just turns up the heat even more, another stupid move.

  4. somebody says:

    I just hope the war crime issue is finally addressed.yes, it is not just Israel, but was done in Iraq and Afghanistan, too. it needs to be addressed. urgently.

  5. Lysander says:

    I agree with LJ. The goal was to destroy *Gaza* not Hamas. The rockets are a nuisance but were never really Israel’s main objective.
    Whether they succeed is another matter. It may be that enough help gets through to rebuild Gaza. It will be difficult to maintain international support for a blockade with Gaza so devastated (perhaps not impossible, though) And Egypt’s interests-rather I should say Mubarak’s interests-no longer coincide entirely. Chaos in Gaza is not good for him. Not only does it look bad, but all those starving Gazans will do their best to flee to Sinai. Some of them will be angry and retaliate against-Egyptian tourist sites.
    Then again, what will Egypt do? Hopefully, it will unconditionally open the border. Don’t know if that’s possible, but hopefully there will be so much pressure on him that he wont have much choice. If he does, Israel may simply seize control of the border itself, but at least then it would be harder to maintain the fiction that Gaza is no longer occupied.
    As for Iranian smuggling into Gaza, I don’t know what to make of it. On a map Gaza looks awfully hard to get weapons into. Indeed, how does one even get the weapons to Egypt without anyone noticing?
    Still, somehow they managed to get Grad rockets into Gaza and I can’t help but think that some antitank weapons would have been much more useful.

  6. J says:

    It was Israel who breached the ‘hudna’ back in November, not Hamas. That was even reluctantly acknowledge by CNN, that Israel was the ‘truce breaker’. Why should Hamas believe anything that Israel says? Why should any Palestinian? Why should Egypt? Why should any resident of the Mideast?
    Israel speaks with ‘forked-tongue’! Our U.S. government has gone to bed with a slippery snake (Israel), and it’s time to push it to the curb.

  7. michael c. henry says:

    Col Lang,
    The mainstream press here in the US never mentions that the Prime Minister of Israel, Tzipi Livni, is the daughter of one of the more famous terrorists of his generation Eitan Livni formerly Chief of Staff of Irgun.If I remember correctly he made a name for himself in the late 1940s blowing up hotels in Jerusalem and hanging captured British Army NCOs.Tzipi herself was a Mossad operative. Imagine the chutzpah of a person from a background like that giving as a reason for not negotiating with Hamas as “they are terrorists”. I always got a laugh out of the pictures of her sitting with Dick Cheney; the next thing you know we will see pictures of him sitting down with Osama Ben Laden’s son.
    Semper Fi

  8. Propagandist says:

    Israel’s losses against Hezbollah and Hamas remind me of Aesop’s “Boy Who Cried Wolf”.
    Israelis have continuously cried “wolf” against these two organizations, both of whom pose little actual threat to the existence of Israel. The world has grown weary of this endless scheme, as evidenced by the ever-increasing contempt directed toward Israel and the IDF. In my mind (and I’m sure the minds of others), sixty years of crying wolf while treating Arab children like so much cattle has forever tarnished the rights of Israelis to claim victimhood in this conflict.
    It leaves me wondering.
    What will happen to Israel now… when the real wolf does arrive?

  9. greg0 says:

    Will the truce be agreed to by inauguration day? And what about a truce between Israel and the UN?
    Reading the many pro ‘Zio-con’ comments on other sites, one can’t see any truce lasting for long. Looks like war is the natural state of those with the power to wage it. And with more smuggling and resupply on both sides, it will undoubtedly reoccur.

  10. Abu Sinan says:

    Col. Lang,
    I read a report that says more than 20,000 structures were destroyed in Gaza. Given the small area and population, wouldnt you agree that this makes Gaza into nothing more than a giant rubbish dump?
    Also, given that the Israeli troops actually went deep into places like Gaza City, shouldnt there have been higer casualties amoungst the IDF? Built up urban infrastructure should have leveled the playing field a bit for the Palestinins, but if you believe Israeli reports, they didnt loose a man in combat after the first week?
    With the high number of destroyed buildings I dont think Israel went into the built up areas and went house to house, room to room. Rather, I think any place they took fire from they backed up and had the structure destroyed from the air or other resources not requiring ground troops.
    I think a choice was made not to fight in the traditional manner, house to house, room to room. I believe it is pretty clear that they decided that they’d not risk any IDF casualties, they’d just destroy any structure from which hostile fire came without worrying about civilian casualties.
    I honestly think that is the only way they could have engaged in the urban combat that they did and not sustain at least modest casualties.
    I think they learned a lesson from Jenin where they took heavy casualties from booby traps and house to house fighting. If the only fighting was basically between Hamas fighers with light weapons against Apache helicopters and F-16s, that would explain the almost non existant IDF casualties and the very high number of civilian deaths.

  11. Dan M says:

    I’m going to (probably foolishly) disagree with Pat and others who have a much better appreciation of matters military than me. While I think “failures” like this latest Israeli one in Gaza are strategically harmful, i see the harm as minor and incremental. Sure, Hamas gets a little boost, Fatah looks more innefectual, and various Arab publics are even angrier at Israel than they were. Big deal. The average palestinian already thinks Fatah are a bunch of thieving simps, the average arab already hates Israel, and Hamas is already the closest thing to a standard bearer of “legitimate resistance.”
    I think the only logic behind Israel’s action is a domestic political one. Sad and cynical? Sure… but it’s the only shoe that fits.
    If every dollar spent on the Gaza offensive was spent to make West Bankers more prosperous and to dismantle various outposts there (“see how much fun it is to play ball with us”) Israel’s long term objectives would be much, much better served and Hamas would be on shakier ground. Instead, we have yet another case of everybody losing (Squabbles over who lost worst? Film at 11.)

  12. curious says:

    I think one of Israel drive to do the gaza offensive:
    that “last minute hurrah”. They need to weakened hamas as much as possible, while they can get away with large scale bombing. Thus the choice of target: tunnel using deep penetrating bomb(can’t use that once Obama is in, without creating much diplomatic ruffle), school, all visible hamas offices, significant facilities and infrastructure, etc.
    My guess what Israel will do next. Make sure the heavy damage remain and can’t be repaired. (blockade, lengthy negotiation to bring in equipments, ship, etc)
    So, this is all an extension of the siege.
    It would be interesting what Hamas will do next.
    1. Clearly they are penetrated. (at least some of the more visible targets are known to Israel. so they will have to fix their intel and counter intel tools)
    2. They seems to survive, but with heavy damage. How to repair and rebuild would be an interesting logistic challenge for them
    lat. I think the Iranian takes note the performance of deep penetrating bomb. That is pretty big deal in this conflict. In Lebanon Israel didn’t have this weapon. (freebie from Bush.) They still have about 800 or so left. (did they get 1000 round?)

  13. mo says:

    Stop looking for ulterior motives and goals. There is only one and only ever been one: Which is to show the Palestinians that resistance is futile, that they are people forgotten and that no-one is coming to the rescue. In other words, what they have been working towards is not a peace treaty or negotiated settlement. What they want is for the Palestinians to surrender, formally.
    They will fight whomever is providing the resistance and support any Palestinian who is willing to come on bended knee. They don’t give a damn if the resister is Hamas or Arafat. And wouldn’t care less if the person signing the surrender is Hamas or Abbas.
    Today, the only thing that looks futile is Israels wish to keep up any pretense of military might.
    Just the air force to go.

  14. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “The mainstream press here in the US never mentions that the Prime Minister of Israel, Tzipi Livni, is the daughter of one of the more famous terrorists of his generation Eitan Livni formerly Chief of Staff of Irgun.”
    Michael C. Henry, All,
    There is extensive coverage of Eitan Livni in Prof. J. Bowyer Bell’s classic: Terror Out of Zion. The Violent and Deadly Shock Troops of Israeli Independence 1929-1949 (New York: St. Martin’s, 1977).
    Coverage of Livni pages 116,134,142,151,159,256, and 160, 166, 196, 197, 204-218.

  15. jr786 says:

    Given zionist claims of 15-20,000 ‘militants’ (a man defending his family and country or determined to exact revenge for his murdered children is now a militant) and their best case scenario of, what?, 5 or 6 hundred killed, no one can believe their ever more riculous assertion of having broken Hamas.
    I think what has been broken is any Arab/Muslim hope is changing public opinion or political realities in the United States, something I confess to still believing possible right up until a few days ago. Zionists have a death grip on politics in the US, nothing will change that.
    Even so, hope is born from hopelessness, and things are pretty hopeless right now. I do think, however, that the visceral contempt for the desoicable pro zionist regimes has taken such firm root that it will not be long before one of them falls.
    We, Arabs/Muslims have to look to ourselves to change things. That was always true, of course, but now it is clear.

  16. Highlander says:

    Was it all a “tail wags the dog” gambit by the current Israeli administration in an attempt to get them through the Feb. general elections? It appears at this point to have gotten their approval ratings up by about 50%.
    A politican is all about his own political survival first and foremost. Until that is assured, all the wailing about white phospherous and talk of strategic loss doesn’t mean a “tinkers damn” to him or her. You spent some time in the “belly of the beast”. Would you agree?
    However, most of your readers can take heart if the gambit is a success. It was conducted by the current “softy” left wing Israeli leadership, and if it gets them reelected. They will over time probably pull back to Israel’s 1967 borders. Thusly setting the stage for Israel’s end game.

  17. trstone says:

    I try to express my anger about the ignorance of those in charge when they are unwilling to accept the fact that all peoples have the desire to control their own destinies, no matter how the USA feels about it!
    However, I can’t put into rational sentences that, those who have a better grasp of the lamguage can.
    What that leads to is a burning anger, an anger that has burned since VN. At least there are those who can are able to voice my feelings here!

  18. curious says:

    random bits from the net
    Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff is the so of Benhamin emanuel.
    this is going to be a mess for sure.
    Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, once a member of the Irgun militia that fought for Israel’s statehood, was asked in an interview with the Hebrew daily Maariv if his son’s appointment would be good for Israel.
    “Obviously, he will influence the President to be pro-Israel,” said the elder Emanuel, who immigrated to the U.S. from Israel in the 1950s.
    “Why shouldn’t he do it? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floor of the White House.”

  19. jr786 says:

    The two-and-a-half page document outlines a framework under which the United States will provide military and intelligence assets, including detection and surveillance equipment, as well as logistical help and training to Israel, Egypt and other nations in the region. The equipment and training would be used for monitoring Gaza’s land and sea borders.
    The document also calls for the U.S. to expand work with its NATO partners in the effort, particularly in the Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and eastern Africa, according to a text.
    It also commits Washington to use “relevant components” of the U.S. military to assist Mideast governments in preventing “weapons and explosives flows to Gaza that originate in or transit their territories.”
    Although signed by the Bush administration, the agreement is binding on the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama and Rice and State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said both Obama and Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton had been briefed on the details.

    Thus the tail wags the ever more compliant dog. What do the zionists have to do? Anything?
    I admit to loathing the zionists and their country but is there any other way read this agreement other than yet another concession on the part of the US to do the zionists work for them? Is my judgment so clouded or is this ‘agreement’ an unseemly foreign entanglement?

  20. jr786 says:

    Col. Lang, you write:
    This summons from Mubarak indicates a need to placate the Cairo mob. No foreign inspectors on Egyptian soil? That means that Egypt will not make a serious attempt to halt smuggling into Gaza.
    The US-zionist agreement cleary states that:
    The United States will work with regional and NATO partners to address the problem of the supply of arms and related materiel and weapons transfers and shipments to Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza, including through the Mediterranean, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and eastern Africa, through improvements in existing arrangements or the launching of new initiatives to increase the effectiveness of those arrangements as they relate to the prevention of weapons smuggling to Gaza.
    Eastern Africa? The Red Sea? Sounds like foreign (read American)inspectors in Egypt to me.
    Mubarak is a whore. Whatever lies he tells Cairenes are as transparent as Rice-Livni geographical euphemisms for Egypt.
    So now American soldiers are committed to customs duty at Rafah. What’s next?

  21. FP says:

    As its strategy, Israel has shown and proven it is willing to disproportionately inflict far more damage than it receives. It is a strategy to deter and cower the enemy into ‘submission’.
    The problem with such a strategy, is that Israel becomes the ‘monster’. Instead of a victim, Israel becomes the pariah state.
    Some within Israel have a growing sense of this.
    Israel may be successfully defending its land, “but it is destroying Israel. Destroying its soul and its image.”

  22. Larry Kart says:

    I agree with Highlander that the primary goal (internally fractious though they may be) of Israel’s current leaders in the Gaza campaign was to make it significantly less likely that Netanyahu will become the next leader of Israel. Note especially Olmert’s claim about the phone call to Bush that supposedly changed Rice’s vote. Surely that was intended for domestic political consumption.
    If the above is the case, the degree of would-be realpolitik involved here is breathtaking, or however one wants to put it. On the other hand, an Israel led by Netanyahu….

  23. J says:

    dont’ forget that rahm emanuel’s daddy bennie was also part of the assassin team that assassinated count bernadotte .

  24. R Whitman says:

    Three unrelated facts that merit consideration:
    1.The complete failure of the Israeli Air Force to accomplish any stated goals in this war. The rockets still go on.
    2.The current Israeli governments banning of the Israeli Arab political parties from the upcoming election. Are they afaid of their own people?
    3.The probable emigration from Israel of more Jewish families who have children close to draft age.Why subject them to this meat-grinder. There are already close to a million Israelis who do not live in Israel.

  25. David Habakkuk says:

    It is highly questionable whether any Israeli government is going to able to be capable of withdrawing to the 1967 borders.
    From the most recent piece by Hussein Agha and Robert Malley in the New York Review of Books:
    ‘In Israel, endemic governmental weakness and instability and deepening social fragmentation, combined with the spoiling capacity of small yet increasingly powerful settler constituencies, call into question the state’s ability to achieve, let alone carry out, an agreement that would entail the uprooting of tens of thousands of West Bank settlers. The generation of Israeli founding fathers, perhaps, might have succeeded in carrying off such a withdrawal, though it says something that even they didn’t try. Their successors, more factional chiefs than national leaders, are not so well equipped.’
    As Agha and Malley point out, the problem of the absence of a cohesive leadership able to deliver a settlement is yet worse on the Palestinian side.
    In an interesting recent article, Alastair Crooke, has suggested that the approach taken by Tony Blair and other European Union leaders has contributed significantly to reducing the likelihood of any Palestinian leadership being able to deliver a two state solution. As a result, he suggests, the time when this was conceivable may already be past.
    As Crooke was special Mid-East adviser to European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana, and adviser to the International Quartet, his views on the disastrous effects of trying to see Middle East realities in terms of a simple ‘grand narrative’ of ‘moderates’ versus ‘extremists’ are worth at least taking seriously:
    ‘Former British prime minister, and current Middle East envoy for the Quartet group of the United Nations, Tony Blair’s proselytizing around the world on this theme has been a huge asset for an Israel which aspires to become the leading member of a “moderate” bloc, rather than an isolated island in an increasingly Islamist Middle East. Yet Blair’s and other Quartet members’ attempts to fit this simplistic mechanical template over a complex Middle East, facing multiple struggles, has reduced the Palestinian crisis to being no more than a pawn in a bigger “game” of the existential global struggle against “extremism”.
    ‘But such models, once generally accepted, force a deterministic interpretation that can blind its advocates to the real results of such narrow and rigid conceptualizing: a humbled Hamas was seen to be a blow to Hezbollah, which in turn represented a blow to Syria, which weakened Iran – all of which strengthens the “moderates” and makes Israel safer.
    ‘Whether this thinking will achieve anything approaching this result remains highly improbable; but its price – Hamas clearly branded and now attacked as a part of these global forces of “extremism” – has been the foreclosure on the possibility of any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
    ‘European acquiescence to this Blairite vision of squeezing and humbling Hamas has directly contributed to the bloodshed seen in the streets of Gaza today. European leaders are complicit in creating the circumstances that led to today’s disaster.
    ‘At one level, Europeans may say they have been working diligently to pursue an Israeli-Palestinian solution, but their actions suggest the opposite – that they have been more concerned to deliver a knock-out blow to the camp of global “extremism”. Pursuing such irreconcilable ends has only succeeded both in stripping their protege Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of any popular legitimacy and in closing the path of political participation to Hamas.
    ‘They have destroyed any hope to achieve a truly national Palestinian mandate for any political solution for the foreseeable future. European “social engineering” in Gaza has created only deep division among Palestinians, and possibly pushed a Palestinian state beyond reach.’
    If this is the case, the ‘end game’ almost certainly involves a Jewish minority trying to maintain its control over a progressively larger Arab majority in Greater Israel. And if anyone can describe to me a way in which this ends other than very badly, I will be most interested.

  26. jonst says:

    I would advise President Obama that the odds will clearly be on his side, if, as a general rule, he puts himself in opposition to anything Tom Friedman is for.

  27. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    We will have to take a close look at the so-called agreement with Israel per Gaza.
    Perhaps SST lawyers will weigh on it when details are out.
    I cannot see how Bush can bind Obama who is free to have his own policies. Also, is this an Executive Agreement or what kind of legal (or illegal) vehicle do we have here??? Will Congress review this document? How, which committees?

  28. jamzo says:

    i look at the map of the middle east and i think about israel and iraq and i wonder:
    what do persians gain by championing the palestinian nationhood cause – by being militant anti-israeli?
    is some of their energy a result of the anti-american fervor that was part of the iranian revolution?
    do their bellicose attitudes and actions toward israel confer advantages in iranian domestic politics?
    they are clearly projecting their power
    what do persians have to gain projecting power in the arab middle east?
    the arab states are not potential oil clients, they have always been oil competitors
    was the iranian revolution more threatening to arab governments than is generally acknowledged in the media narrative?
    do governments fear populist religious revolution in their countries?
    still after almost 3 decades?
    what politial advantage do persians gain by championing shiite against sunni in lebanese politics?
    what are the power conflicts between iran and saudi arabia other sunni arab governments?
    is it based on islamic culture and religon or is there more to it?
    what do sunni arab governments fear will happen when iraq is squarely under iranian hegemony?
    was this another political fault line created when nation-states emerged from being british colonies?
    or is the loss about islamic religious and cultural politics?
    it the israeli obsession with iran
    a)a realistic assessment of threat
    if so, why would the iranians attack israel and why would the do it
    us-soviet relations vis a vis mutually assured self-destruction would indicate the israelis and iranians are checkmated if both had nukes
    do israeli’s who also built nuclear capability believe iran can be prevented from accomplishing what they accomplished?
    what do the israelis think make iran drop nukes on israel?
    b) political, there are domestic and international advantages to naming a specific threat #egypt, syria, plo, now iran)
    c)a political symbol – the emnity of iran-us relations are used to leverage us-israeli relations?

  29. Byron Raum says:

    Greater involvement by the US in the Israeli conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. It is important to keep in mind that for the most part, Americans are a decent, well-meaning people, albeit frustratingly naive. Consider the Iraqi and Afghani occupations. There have indeed been incidents of quite savage brutality, and there are certainly ones that we don’t know of yet. But, as a whole, it is fairly benign. The majority of American officers are genuinely concerned about making the places they are occupying better for the residents. This is the most admirable result of having it drilled into their heads, for several generations that all men are equal.
    The real problem is that Palestine is very far from the US. If the suffering of the Palestinians could be brought to light in mainstream America, I suggest that 90% or more would be firm Palestinian supporters. One of the better things that can happen is dumping a few thousand average Americans into Gaza, and letting them see for themselves what is going on.

  30. Anon AF says:

    “If it was that evident, then why did Israel begin such an operation?”
    Five hypotheses:
    1) Very cynical: Electoral considerations on the part of Livni and Barak
    2) The Israelis found the rockets in Southern Israel intolerable, and also frightening (what if there were, indeed, rockets than could hit Tel Aviv rather than Beersheva), and also, concurrently, wished to weaken Hamas
    3) The Israelis have been itching to demonstrate deterrent capabilities, and improved military prowess, since the 2006 War (fiasco?)
    4) Related to 2), the Israelis wished to weaken Hamas to strengthen Fatah, and to demonstrate to Gaza residents that Fatah would yield good outcomes, whereas Hamas would yield bad outcomes
    5) The outcome was not apparent, at least to the Israelis. Mirror-imaging might be at play here. The wargaming and planning athe “The Bor” might have yieled different outcomes than that predicted on this blog (the Israelis too clever by half).
    “The Israelis have failed to humble Hamas. Rockets still arrive in Israel. This failure in their self-declared war aim will cost them dearly in the strategic contest. They are going to halt their “offensive without any sort of concession from Hamas?””
    It remains to be seen what “facts on the ground” will remain the same, and which will change, with behind-the-scenes maneuvering and diplomacy between now and the end (if any) to the self-imposed cease fire. The Israelis, merely be acting, did change facts on the ground, and altered what would have been the case otherwise.
    “I suppose that they do not want the burden of this ongoing action to be carried forward into their relations with the Obama Administration.”
    The Israelis might have wanted to test a new administration, and perhaps take advantage of it, by presenting it with a fait accompli [sic] to which the new administration might simply accede, perhaps because said fait accompli is something with which it has little deal deisre to deal, instead sticking with predetermined agenda sequences. (Apologies for the run on.)
    Or, they wanted the cover of a lame-duck pro-Israel president, and the advantage of overwhelming a new administration without its house in order, and (once more) with an agenda that might not have included this situation, thus rendering them (the administration) more inclined not to intervene.
    “The futility of what they have done in Gaza will be burden enough.”
    The Israelis might not have perceived this is as a failure, just as Gaza residents perceive the Israeli operation an attack on Gaza, rather than the Israeli position of this being an attack on Hamas solely.
    “It is claimed by the agitpropers that Hamas is a satellite organization of Iran. If that is so, then Iran has done a poor job of supplying their Palesinian subsidiary. Where are the Iranian product improved and manufactured weapons that Hizbullah possessed in numbers in ’06? Where are they? Impossible to deliver? All of them?
    It would seem that political support and encouragement is one thing. Supply is another.
    This summons from Mubarak indicates a need to placate the Cairo mob. No foreign inspectors on Egyptian soil? That means that Egypt will not make a serious attempt to halt smuggling into Gaza.
    Not a good outcome for Israel.”
    I imagine if the rockets stop, Shalit is returned (alive or dead), smuggling stops, and Israeli deterrent power restored (much more nebulous and future-determined than the other three), the Israelis will have considered a success. The international opprobrium over their actions, and the extent to which Hamas rather than Fatah gains from Israeli actions, will be countervailing factors the Israelis might or might not consider. The overall context of this operation is the problem that has never been solved since 1967, and arguably 1948: two states or peoples’ with claims to a single land. If the Israelis let the Palestinians return, then the Zionist liberal democracy dream disappears. If the Israelis do not let the Palestinians return, then they will be forced to resort to repression of varying degrees. A two-state solution, in which the Green Line boundaries are sufficient to quell Palestinians desires to return to the places from which they were expelled, might or might not be expelled. In this sense, the operation was arguably par for the course, an escalation to nowhere, as Cordesman labeled the Second Intifadah.
    (I have not followed this thread closely; apologies for redundancies or failure to advance the discussion)

  31. mo says:

    Anon AF,
    if the rockets stop, Shalit is returned (alive or dead), smuggling stops, and Israeli deterrent power restored?
    I’ll give you odds on 0 from 4

  32. L Dubinsky Jr, says:

    If you say that Israel has not humbled Hamas, you’re wrong.
    If you say that Israel has not stopped the rocket attacks, you’re right.
    If you think that Hamas can continue the rocket attacks beyond a few days, you’ll probably not be surprised by what will again follow.

  33. Dubinsky,
    You ahould sign your own name here. Anonymity is unbecoming in one so warlike.
    As I asked you off line, “is there anything that Israel could do that you would not approve of?”
    I mean other than conclude a peace of equals with the Arabs. pl

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