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[As everyone looks for a clear understanding of what is really transpiring in the Middle East, FTW’s Carolyn Baker brings us a review of the critical facts and the best analysis surrounding this frightening situation. One of the most interesting developments just breaking is that Iran is encouraging all Arab countries to cut oil pipelines to Israel. That may be the most potent, and volatile, weapon of all.
The San Francisco Chronicle has just reported that this strike on Lebanon was planned for many years. They state:
In a sense, the preparation began in May 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, when it became clear the international community was not going to prevent Hezbollah from stockpiling missiles and attacking Israel. By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across the board.
But FTW’s Military Affairs Editor, Stan Goff, had this to say in response to the Chronicle’s reporting:
Israel is the most pro-active military force in the world when it comes to planning. That is an outcome of a huge military budget against a small area of operation with an extremely well developed intelligence apparatus. There is hardly an inch of ground in the immediate region that has not been assessed and inserted into some kind of target folder with a basic offensive operations plan. That's why they can "strike back" so quickly, and also why it never seems quite appropriate to the triggering event. They pull down a plan that most closely corresponds to an emergent situation and tell a commander, “Execute this.” So, while it is probably quite true that there were op-plans for everything they are doing, that does not mean that the operation was on the calendar. That is an important difference. This was a contingency plan, not a conspiracy. No one has that kind of control of contextual factors. Everything points to Hezbollah picking this fight in reaction to the Israeli pounding of Gaza and kidnapping of Hamas elected officials.
Has Israel just walked into an Iraq-style quagmire? – MK]
Hunkering Down For Asymmetric War
Carolyn Baker, Ph.D.
© Copyright 2006, From The Wilderness Publications, www.fromthewilderness.com. All Rights Reserved. This story may NOT be posted on any Internet web site without express written permission. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. May be circulated, distributed or transmitted for non-profit purposes only.
Holy cow! We’re alone!
Glen Beck in Interview with Robert Baer, former CIA agent and Middle East Specialist,
CNN Headline News, July 21, 2006
July 24th 2006, 11:50 [PST] - On July 12 two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by the Lebanese Hezbollah organization, resulting in swift, armed retaliation by Israel.
At the outset of the conflict, Israel was attempting to back Hezbollah in Lebanon away from the southern border in order to create a buffer zone to shield Israel from Hezbollah rockets. Over the course of the past two weeks, however, we have seen not an Israel “defending itself” as it vociferously maintains, but an Israel on the offensive. Whereas Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel were highly strategic, inflicting very few casualties, Israel has reacted much less strategically inflicting a much higher number of casualties.
Syrian political analyst, Sami Moubyaed, writes1 that Israel may be attempting to repeat its 1982 triumph of driving Yasser Arafat out of Lebanon with its military might, but it may not be able to accomplish this feat with Hezbollah. Essentially, Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, and Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, may have cornered themselves into positions which would make an exit extremely problematic. Were either to surrender now without having made significant gains for Lebanese and Israeli public opinion, both could be committing political suicide.
Olmert entered the war promising his country that he would liberate the kidnapped soldiers and destroy Hezbollah, but instead, he has failed to accomplish either objective even as Hezbollah’s attacks have embarrassed the Israeli government. As for Nasrallah who entered the conflict promising the release of Lebanese prisoners from Israeli jails and the liberation of the Israeli-occupied Sheba Farms, neither objective has been accomplished. What has been achieved is the destruction of Lebanon.
British Guardian reporter, Timothy Garton Ash, refers to the emerging geopolitical scenario as “multi-polar disorder” as opposed to the uni-polar condition of American supremacy2. The development of technologies with potentially violent methods of delivery mean that small states or organizations can challenge political giants and seduce them into asymmetric warfare which FTW military affairs editor, Stan Goff, defines as, “the use of unconventional tactics to counter the overwhelming conventional military superiority of an adversary.”3
Michael Clarke of the Times Online, asks why Israel has been sucked into this asymmetric war. “One reason” says Clarke, “is that Israeli military and intelligence services have been achieving real successes targeting Hamas terrorist leaders in Gaza and the West Bank. Dramatic increases in Israeli intelligence have allowed their security forces to target individuals much more precisely, to penetrate terror networks and intercept a number of plots.”4 Feeling confident that they were succeeding against Hamas, Israel has taken the fight directly to them. However, since not much has been achieved in almost two weeks of fighting, the Israeli government is left reaching for higher political ground in the court of world opinion. According to Ash, this is exactly what asymmetric warfare ultimately means--that the most powerful military in the history of the world can lose a war, not on the battlefield of bombs and bullets, but on the battlefield of world opinion. Clearly, this is the state of affairs in the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and it appears that Israel is going to be as vulnerable to asymmetric warfare as the United States has been.
Haaretz News reported on Sunday, July 23, that Hamas leadership in Gaza is ready to halt rocket fire as part of a cease-fire deal that could end Israeli action in the Gaza Strip. The plan, initiated by Egypt, would include freeing kidnapped solider Gilad Shalit, a joint cease-fire, and the sessation of Israeli assassinations in the Gaza Strip. A later release
of Palestinian prisoners would also be part of the deal. Hamas political leaders in Syria may or may not agree to such a deal, and although most Palestinian factions have agreed to the Egyptian proposal, they argue that Israel will not be ready for a cease-fire as long as Shalit is held captive.5
Another issue virtually unmentioned by mainstream media is the water crisis occurring in the Middle East and affecting all players in the region. Over the past 70 years, the world’s population has tripled while water demand has increased six-fold. On the West Bank, Israelis control the water supply from the Jordan River which has left Palestinians with just enough water for basic survival. Murhaf Jouejati, a scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute in Washington, agrees that the allocation of water in Israel leaves the Palestinians in a very desperate situation. But he says the water issue is a symptom of the region's broader political problems. All attempts to solve the water crisis in the Middle East look like they would fail in the absence of an agreement on the larger political conflict. So if we are going to solve the water issue between Arabs and Israelis, it is not going to be through low level or low political programs. It is going to be through the resolution of the larger political conflict.5
At this point, we do not yet know exactly how the two 800-pound gorillas, oil and the dollar, play into the current scenario. We do know that Syria, accused by the United States as supporting terrorism, plans to end its currency peg to the dollar by December of this year. This in addition to Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Sweden, and Finland who have all indicated their plans to diversify their reserves away from the dollar.6
A number of mysterious questions continue to nag: How did the rockets launched against Israel by Hezbollah, allegedly made in China and sent from Iran, arrive in Lebanon when the only way they could logistically be transported would be through Syria or through Turkey where pro-U.S. and anti-Iranian Kurds would be encountered? What is the role of oil in the present equation? What do Condoleeza Rice’s cryptic references to “a new Middle East” mean? To what extent is Iran behind Hezbollah’s assaults and if so, is it raising the stakes by giving the message: Go after Hezbollah, and we’ll shut down the oil?
The head of Iranian armed forces, Maj.-Gen. Hasan Firuzabadi called on Arab states to cut oil supplies to Israel in response to its military offensive against Lebanon according to the Iranian news agency ISNA reports.7
According to Michael Clarke, “There is growing evidence that Iran encouraged Hezbollah to attack now so as to widen the diplomatic struggle over its nuclear ambitions. A Shi’ite front against Israel and its western friends would put extra cards into Iran’s diplomatic hand.”
Moubayed summarizes that destroying Hezbollah by war is very difficult, yet destroying Israel is impossible for Hezbollah who will get the upper hand only if Iran enters the battle, but Iran has said that it will only be dragged into war if Israel attacks Syria. He anticipates that the United States will continue to support the war of attrition until casualties and human disaster ruin thousands of lives, morale, and finances. The U.S. will then push Hezbollah back into the Lebanese heartland and lobby for U.N. peacekeeping troops on the Lebanese-Israeli border. Were that to occur, Hezbollah would have no base from which to launch a war on Israel, and it would have no choice but to transform into a 100% political party in the Lebanese system. If Moubayed’s analysis is correct, this could be the last military battle for Hezbollah. However, if events do not unfold as he forecasts, then Israel will be forced to contend with asymmetric warfare, which as the United States has learned since its occupation of Iraq, is profoundly draining of resources and lives.
Regardless of how the situation plays out, all nations understand that Israel is a client state of the United States and that the empire is being backed into a corner. It is likewise understood that Hezbollah is an Iranian client organization and that it has provoked the current situation, but ultimate endgame remains unclear.
In the above interview, Glen Beck asked Robert Baer which countries are our allies, which are part of the axis (of evil), and which are “spineless.” While I have many reservations about quoting Baer, the infamous CIA agent on whose novel the disastrous movie, “Syriana” was based, in this case, his assessment is borne out by merely witnessing current world events. The essence of Baer’s appraisal was that geopolitically, the U.S. functions essentially alone—its uni-polar “moment” in history subsiding as wars of attrition devour the beast and its appendages.
1 Bunkered Down For A War Of Attrition (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HG22Ak01.html)
2 Lebanon, North Korea, Russia…Here Is The World’s New Multipolar Disorder (http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1824420,00.html)
3 Continent Of Vulnerability (http://www.sandersresearch.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=
4 Israel Faces The Dangers Of An Asymmetric War (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2281776,00.html)
6 VOA News Report (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/
7 Iran general staff chief commander: the Arabs must close all oil pipelines to Israel
8Syria Plans To End Peg Of Its Pound To U.S. Dollar (http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/11/bloomberg/bxpeg.php)