Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Why Israel Should Bomb Syria... Now
WHY ISRAEL SHOULD BOMB SYRIA.
by Michael B. Oren
Only at TNR Online
Post date: 07.17.06
N <http://www.tnr.com/images/dropcaps/N.gif> early 40 years ago, Israel and the Arab world fought a war that altered the course of Middle Eastern history. Now, as the region teeters on the brink of a new and potentially more violent cataclysm, it is important to revisit the lessons of the Six Day War, a conflict that few Middle Eastern countries wanted and none foresaw.
By 1967, ten years after the Sinai Campaign, the Arab-Israeli dispute had settled into an uneasy status quo. The radical Egyptian regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser still proclaimed its commitment to liberating Palestine and throwing the Jews into the sea, as did its conservative rivals in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, but none of these states made any attempt to renew hostilities. On the contrary, Egypt remained quiescent behind the U.N. peacekeeping forces deployed in Sinai, Gaza, and the Straits of Tiran since 1957. Jordan maintained secret contacts with the Israelis. Israel, for its part, had long learned to ignore bellicose Arab rhetoric and to seek backdoor channels to even the most vituperative Arab rulers. As late as April 1967, officials at Israel's foreign ministry were speculating whether Nasser might be a viable partner for a peace process.
But one Arab state did not want peace. Syria, then as now under the rule of the belligerent Baath Party, wanted war. Having tried and failed in 1964 to divert the Jordan River before it crossed the Israeli border--IDF jets and artillery blasted the dams--the Syrians began supporting a little-known Palestinian guerrilla group called Al Fatah under the leadership of Yasir Arafat. Using Lebanon as its principal base, Al Fatah commenced operations against Israel in 1965 and rapidly escalated its attacks. Finally, at the end of 1966, Israeli officials felt compelled to retaliate. But, fearing the repercussions of attacking Soviet-backed Syria, they decided to strike at an Al Fatah stronghold in the Jordanian-controlled West Bank.
The raid unfortunately led to a firefight between IDF and Jordanian troops, and to Jordanian claims that Nasser had not done enough to protect the West Bank Palestinians. Desperate to restore his reputation, Nasser exploited a spurious Soviet report of Israeli war plans to evict U.N. peacekeepers. He closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, concentrated 100,000 of his troops along the Israeli border, and forged anti-Israeli pacts with Syria and Jordan. The Arab world rejoiced at the prospect of annihilating Israel, and even the Soviets, eager to find some means of distracting American attention from Vietnam, were pleased. Israeli leaders had no choice but to determine when and where to strike preemptively.
And so, suddenly and unexpectedly, a regional war erupted that the principal combatants--Israel, Egypt, and Jordan--neither desired nor anticipated. The lesson: Local conflicts in the Middle East can quickly spin out of control and spiral into a regional conflagration.
The lesson is especially pertinent to the current crisis. Then, as now, the Syrians have goaded a terrorist organization, Hezbollah, to launch raids against Israel from Lebanon. Then, as now, the rapid rise of terrorist attacks has forced Israel to mount reprisals. If the Soviets in 1967 wanted to divert America's attention from Vietnam, the Iranians--Syria's current sponsors--want to divert American attention from their nuclear-arms program. And once again Israel must decide when to strike back and against whom.
Back in 1966, Israel recoiled from attacking Syria and instead raided Jordan, inadvertently setting off a concatenation of events culminating in war. Israel is once again refraining from an entanglement with Hezbollah's Syrian sponsors, perhaps because it fears a clash with Iran. And just as Israel's failure to punish the patron of terror in 1967 ultimately triggered a far greater crisis, so too today, by hesitating to retaliate against Syria, Israel risks turning what began as a border skirmish into a potentially more devastating confrontation. Israel may hammer Lebanon into submission and it may deal Hezbollah a crushing blow, but as long as Syria remains hors de combat there is no way that Israel can effect a permanent change in Lebanon's political labyrinth and ensure an enduring ceasefire in the north. On the contrary, convinced that Israel is unwilling to confront them, the Syrians may continue to escalate tensions, pressing them toward the crisis point. The result could be an all-out war with Syria as well as Iran and severe political upheaval in Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf.
The answer lies in delivering an unequivocal blow to Syrian ground forces deployed near the Lebanese border. By eliminating 500 Syrian tanks--tanks that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad needs to preserve his regime--Israel could signal its refusal to return to the status quo in Lebanon. Supporting Hezbollah carries a prohibitive price, the action would say. Of course, Syria could respond with missile attacks against Israeli cities, but given the dilapidated state of Syria's army, the chances are greater that Assad will simply internalize the message. Presented with a choice between saving Hezbollah and staying alive, Syria's dictator will probably choose the latter. And the message of Israel's determination will also be received in Tehran.
Any course of military action carries risks, especially in the unpredictable Middle East. But if the past is any guide, and if the Six Day War presents a paradigm of an unwanted war that might have been averted with an early, well-placed strike at Syria, then Israel's current strategy in Lebanon deserves to be rethought. If Syria escapes unscathed and Iran undeterred, Israel will remain insecure.
Michael B. Oren <http://www.tnr.com/showBio.mhtml?pid=227&sa=1> is a senior fellow at The Shalem Center in Jerusalem and the author most recently of Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Oxford University Press).
2. From National Review:
Hezbollah's Casualties, The Cynical View [Jonah Goldberg]
I should have mentioned this in the original post. But several readers have raised the other possibility that some of the "civilians" are in fact members of Hezbollah and the Western press takes casualty reports at face value. Maybe. It's not like we haven't see that before. Still, most of these casualties must in fact be civilians . the refugee caravan for example . and Israel has not denied as much.
Posted at 9:42 AM
3. Eradication Now:
4. We are all Israelis now:
5. Police detain Al-Jazeera news team in Haifa
Etgar Lefkovits Jul. 16, 2006
The Israel Police on Sunday detained an Al-Jazeera news team after it
broadcast live footage which disclosed the area of Sunday's deadly
attack in Haifa, in violation of military censorship rules, police and
security officials said.
Eight people were killed and dozens were wounded in the mid-morning
attack, the most lethal Hizbullah rocket attack since Israel's withdrawal from South Lebanon six years ago.
The station's Israel correspondent, Elias Karram, was among those
detained by police.
6. While the Israelis for a Second Holocaust are holding anti-Israel rallies to oppose Israeli aggression and imperialism against Lebanon, some of the academic moonbaterie are also active.
Rachel Giora is a fanatic anti-Israel pro-terrorist from Tel Aviv University in linguistics, having taken over as TAU's leading linguistics cheerleader for terror now that Talya Reinhart has been forced into requirement.
Her web site is at http://www.tau.ac.il/~giorar/index.htm
She is distributing a petition denouncing Israel for defending itself in Lebanon and demanding that the US take action against Israel, not against the Hezbollah.
Here is what she wrote:
From: Rachel Giora
Sent: Monday, July 17, 2006 8:16 PM
Subject: Fw: petition
Please sign & forward this petition:
" Israel attacks Lebanon"
"Believing that the current actions by the State of Israel in
invading/attacking the State of Lebanon is both an unlawful and
unwarranted attack upon innocent civilians by an aggressor nation, we call
upon the United States of America and the United Nations to condemn the
State of Israel, and the actions thereof, and to demand the immediate
cessation of all military action by the forces of the State of Israel
within the borders of the state of Lebanon, and to demand the immediate
withdrawal of all personnel of the State of Israel from the State of
If you wish to tell the heads of TAU what you think of this, or to describe to them your intentions regarding future contributions to TAU, contact these people:
Tel Aviv University:
Friends and Alumni Associations: http://www.tau.ac.il/friends-eng.html
Public Affairs: http://www.tau.ac.il/affairs-eng.html
7. Oh what sad news for the Israeli Left:
Israelis overwhelmingly support IDF's Lebanon op.
Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 18, 2006
Nearly nine out of 10 Israelis say the IDF's week-old operation against Hizbullah is justified and nearly 60 percent say the operations should continue until the movement is destroyed, according to an opinion poll published Tuesday.
The Dahaf poll, published in Yediot Ahronot, found that 81 percent of Israelis want the military campaign to continue. Another 78 percent said they were satisfied with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's functioning.
The poll of 513 Israelis taken Monday was the first since the start of Operation Changing Direction on Wednesday. The poll had an error margin of 4.2 percentage points.
(Remember that one in 6 Israelis is an Arab)
More bad news for the moonbats. Take a look at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/739042.html
and read the talkbacks there!
8. Please forgive me.
I have been under katyusha attack all day so forgive me for this poor taste. But the news reports say that Israeli ground troops at long last entered Lebanon but were very quickly ordered to withdraw.
Please be advised that there are significant penalties for early withdrawal. (Frankly, I would term the 2000 Barak withdrawal from Lebanon as "premature ejaculation")
9. Soviet Joke Telling:
10. Think this is relevant?
In late April, Arab terrorists affiliated with the Fatah terrorist group, headed by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, issued a communique in which they call for kidnapping Israelis, as well as Jews outside of Israel.
"This is an open call to all our fighters in the homeland to focus on kidnapping Israeli soldiers and civilians inside our occupied land," the Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades declared. "If the enemy does not release our prisoners, then Zionists outside Palestine will be an easy target for our fighters."
11. Or this?
ROM WND'S JERUSALEM BUREAU
No. 2 for Israeli PM's party
in U.S. a convicted criminal
Kadima rep with history of forgery, grand
larceny speaking in synagogues, debates
Posted: July 15, 2006
5:27 p.m. Eastern
By Aaron Sichel
WASHINGTON . The man who has been serving as the No. 2 representative in America for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima Party is a convicted criminal facing a possible lengthy prison sentence after pleading guilty to felony grand larceny and has in the past been convicted of forgery, WorldNetDaily has learned.
Marc Mishaan, who was listed as the vice president of Kadima USA, has been representing Olmert's political party at various public events the past few months.
According to criminal conviction documents obtained from the New York state court system and to community leaders and associates of Mishaan speaking to WND, the Kadima representative has a long history of fraud, forgery and financial improprieties. One Jewish leader accused Mishaan of embezzling from his charity fund.
Kadima USA is the American fundraising and public support branch of Olmert's party.
Jewish community leaders said they informed Kadima USA officials of Mishaan's documented criminal past, but they said Mishaan continued to serve in an official capacity even after they delivered their warnings.
12. Nice political cartoons at
13. Axis of Appeasement:
14. Bay Area Jews for a Second Holocaust:
15. Juan Cole cheers the Hezbollah to punish the Jews for blocking his gig at Yale:
16. The Enemy is Iran:
17. Stalin's ghosts at The Nation