Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tactics, Strategy, Grand Strategy

Lets look at Israel's strategy and grand strategy in the current war and see how it affects what happens next. First however I'd like people to look at the morale factor in Israel. Later we will look at the morale factors in the Arab and Persian world. The will of the people and their expectations play a crucial role in the outcome of any war. Especially this one. So first off:

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Deu 31:6

We will get back to this later. First thing I'm going to look at is the foundations of war fighting.

The foundation of the art of war is fear and deception. Sun Tzu is always good for a quote:

Warfare is the Way of deception.
Therefore, if able, appear unable,
if active, appear not active,
if near, appear far,
if far, appear near.
If they have advantage, entice them;
if they are confused, take them,
if they are substantial, prepare for them,
if they are strong, avoid them,
if they are angry, disturb them,
if they are humble, make them haughty,
if they are relaxed, toil them,
if they are united, separate them.
Attack where they are not prepared, go out to where they do not expect.
What brought that to mind was trying to figure out from Israeli maximum objectives and the unfolding of the battle what was actually happening.

Let us start by looking at deception plans in WW2. One of the most interesting deception plans in the Middle East was Plan Bertram used in the Battle of El Alamein in 1942.General Montgomery did a build up of equipment and supplies right under the German noses. A number of interesting deception plans of that era are described in a book "Bodyguard of Lies" by Brown which discusses British and American deception plans.

Since public morale and desires fit so much into how this war is prosecuted and what the outcome will be let us look at that Biblical quote. Banners with excerpts from that qoute (or a similar one) line the streets of Israel. The banners say Be of Strength and Courage!.So despite the rocket attacks morale is high in Israel. This is a war the Israelis want to fight despite the losses.Why would that be? Because they has finally come to the conclusion that the war is for their survival. There is nothing their enemies want except their deaths. I predicted this over a year ago when I discussed the Sharon Plan. There I talked about Gaza. Clearing the Lebanon Problem is a bonus.

The morale in Lebanon? Low. Few want to die for Hizbollah. Other than the fighters and many people forced to stay on the battlefields to act as human shields.

In Syria the people are agitating to get into the fight. Hizbollah is dying and the Syrian Army is idle. Right now morale and war fever is high. This is good for dictators. It means that when they use harsh measures they will have support.Even dictators must have some base of support. Assad came in as a reformer. However he has changed his tune.
Assad's response has been to ditch all pretenses of reform and appeal directly to the Islamic "street" in Syria and the wider region. That's when the posters of Assad flanked by Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad became ubiquitous in Damascus.

This spring, when the Prophet Muhammad cartoon controversy turned ugly, Assad's security police stood by while a mob torched the Danish Embassy in Damascus. Also this year, for the first time in many years, Syrians were allowed to publicly celebrate the Prophet's birthday.

Last week, cars with pale yellow Hezbollah flags paraded through the streets of Damascus, and cheers erupted in many neighborhoods when TV broadcast the news that Hezbollah rockets had hit Israeli targets.

All of this has greatly boosted the prestige of Assad. The young president now portrays himself as the defiant defender of the "resistance," determined to confront the U.S. and Israel everywhere in the Middle East.
That street is going to force him into a war if he wants to maintain his credibility as a strong leader. The only kind that survives in a dictatorship.

In Iran morale is low. There is a strong movement against helping Hizbollah. The government of course has different ideas.

The Arab world is rising up behind behind Hizbollah. The Egyptians lost the Six Day War and here Hizbollah has been fighting for over two weeks and is still in the field. A moral victory if not a real one.

So there is the civilian morale factors. There are of course others which I intend to ignore for purposes of this analysis.

Next I'd like to state Israel's maximum war aims, followed by how the war in Lebanon started and evolved. What is the desired outcome for Israel? The defeat of Hizbollah, Syria, and Iran.How do you do that? Pin the Hizbollah. Take the Bekaa resupply area. Syria gets involved out of popular desire, and because the Bekaa Valley is on the Syrian border. Iran comes in to support Syria. America takes out Iran.

So those are the goals and grand strategy. What strategy and tactics are required to achieve those goals?

The first part of the strategy was to give Hizbollah 24 hours to respond to Israeli demands to return its soldiers or else. With no response Israel crossed the border but didn't get far. Raids. Reconisance in force. Day after day. Occasionally new troops are called up. Stupid Olmert insist that they be used to relieve front line troops. They rotate in and out of what amounts to a live fire exercise. Hizbollah is being attrited but no ground is being gained. The Israeli Army and government is looking more and more incompetent by the day. Israel defeated five armies in the Six Day War. It is now going on two weeks plus and 5,000 Hezbollah fighters are holding the mighty Israeli Army within a few miles of the border. The front is static. The hizzies are winning. This is no Six Day War. The Israeli forces are checked by what appears to be a force barely adequate to hold them for a day let alone several weeks. Things are not going well. Not going well at all. The Arab street is convinced of the ineptness Israeli generalship. The civilians in goverment from Olmert on down are giving the military bad advice. Who put those galoots in charge? The thing that is fooling most people is that Olmert, Peretz, and the rest look and sound like nebbishes. And they are mostly Labor. Not known for their warrior spirit. All the better. And all the reporting about cabinet meetings saying there is dissention in the cabinent and they are holding the troops back.

That is almost all deception. Its purpose is to entice Syria and Iran. If that doesn't work secondary pressure can be brought from an inflamed Arab street. And the Arab street is on fire. So much so that Saudi Arabia has been forced to change its "official position" on the war. And the troop rotations? Well when the big push comes you will have a lot of very well and recently trained troops to lead the way and teach others. Reducing casualties.

In any case Hizbollah is pinned. Its forces reduced and the axis of advance to the Bekka Valley has had the chance and intensity of flank attacks reduced.

This is what is called preparing the battlefield. Such artistry hasn't been seen since WW2.These folks will go down as some of the greatest warriors in this century or any other. The only thing that could hurt this plan is lack of time.

That has always stopped the Israelis in the past. Not this time. Condi is making painfully slow progress. At the start Bush delayed any diplomacy for a week. Her latest gambit is proposing a multinational force (Which does not exist) to separate the two warring parties when the fighting stops (which it hasn't). Hizbollah can't stop fighting. Its street cred is on the line. How can it be a "resistance" if it stops resisting? So nothing useful diplomatically will be done for weeks. It does help to quiet the French street though. French diplomacy is also enhanced since Condi is proposing the French military be the lead force. Best to keep the jaw jaw going while the war war continues for those who need to believe something is being done by the International Community to stop the war.

What about American leadership? Bush is telling what is going on:

Bush said Thursday[27 July '06] that Iran is connected to Hizbullah, and now was the "time for the world to confront this danger."

Fortunately he is so stupid no one will believe him.

The next move to look for is an Israeli advance into the Bekaa. Expect it in less than a week.

What is the end state in Iran? The Iranian people who are already unhappy with the government and might over throw it for losing a war. Think Russia 1917. If they start lobbing missiles at Israel, Bush might invoke his mutual defence promises to Israel and attack Iran.

The really interesting thing is that the hizzies, Syria, and Iran are so enmeshed in the Israeli plan that no matter what move they make now it will only give them bad and worse options. At this point you could lay the plan out in front of them and it wouldn't make any difference. They are defeated.

What about the hizzies? The primere rule of guerilla warfare is no fixed positions. Mobility. The typical mistake guerillas make is transitioning to normal military formations before the field is appropriately developed. i.e. the opposition weakened and sufficient recruiting and training is possible. Hizbollah hoped to beat this problem by taking over the Lebanese Army. The Israelis beat them to it and forced them into a war for which they were not prepared. That is called a spoiling attack. The number one mistake that Hizbollah made at the start of all this was that they were a guerilla movement that didn't know where its sanctuary was. They thought it was in Lebanon on the border with Israel. That thinking forced it to fight toe to toe with a regular army that had tanks and an airforce. Almost always the death of guerilla movements. Get out the old vegematic. Slice and dice time.

As to book larnin' may I suggest "Strategy" by B.H.L. Hart. The premiere book in the field and required reading for all the American Armed Services. There is a nice addendum by General Yigal Yadin discussing battles in the 1948 war for Independence. Another set of books that is easy to read and also required reading by all the American Ground Services (Army and Marines) is Gordon R. Dickson's Dorsai series. Start with "Tactics of Mistake".

I am having so much fun with this. Sadly.

Well death to our enemies. Coming soon to a theater near you.

=====================

My thinking for the above article developed out of comments made at the following blogs.

Power and Control
Winds of Change
Winds of Change
Winds of Change
Winds of Change
Captain's Quarters
Captain's Quarters

Update 01 Aug '06 0438z

For those interested in my defence of the above speculations see the following threads:

Winds of Change
Captain's Quarters
Bellmont Club

Update: 02 Aug '06 0519z

As I predicted above Israel has moved into the Bekaa. Some good maps are linked as well.

Update: 12 Aug '06 0258z

Unfrozen Caveman Linguist links with a very good analysis. (article dated 10 Aug)

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37 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think Hizballah does not need to truly "resist" Israeli troops to keep their morale. They just have to keep firing rockets.
As I see it today, they can keep firing for longer time than Israel has, before diplomatic pressure from oil exporting countries become too strong.
Both Siria and Hizballah can wait ( they have plenty of Lebanese to sacrifice ).
If Israel send ground forces to finish the job, they will have to be very quick and effecient, but they can not achieve that without killing lots of human shields.
Israel could not allow herself to kill human shields before, why do you think this time will be diferent ?

Anonymous said...

the Hezzies attacked the UN embassy in Beirut.

hmmm.. thats smart.

attack the organisation that will supply your supporters with food, water and medical aid.

Anonymous said...

"If Israel send ground forces to finish the job, they will have to be very quick and effecient,"

some idle speculation.
how far away is Damascus from the Golan heights border - 25 to 40 miles?

Maybe a flanking attack?

masterwebspinner said...

I have read BodyGuard of Lies. It is my Bible on how the Allies won WW2.
I have been saying for a few years now how the big battle out of all that has been happening is going to be Iran and that it is the US main concern. Not Iraq. What has been going on the past while is a side show to the main event.
The US is just itching for a reason to unleash on Iran and the Defence Pact with Israel is perfect.
Iran can't stay out of this if Syria gets suckered into this war.
They will try to help Syria by either long range rockets against Israel, and if really stupid, also Southern European countries like France and Italy. But Iran will probably target oil shipping and production in the Gulf area.
Either rocket attacks against Kuwait and or Saudi Arabia, especially where American forces are based. Their next target will be direct attacks against oil tankers. Either of these options or both will get the US to retaliate in force with a rain of cruise missiles and even very high altitude smart bombing of targets. The newer B-1 and B2 bombers can release dozens of 2,000LB GPS guided bombs from a very high altitude that can fly about 60 miles to their targets thus keeping the planes for the most part out of Iranian air space and away from any SAM defences.

About comparing the Israeli actions today to the 6 Day War is like apples to oranges.
Hezbolla has had years to dig in and prepare. While in the 6 Day War, eventhough the Arab countries were threatening Israel and preparing for a war, Israel's use of a pre-emptive attack against Egyptian and Syrian airforce units on the ground basically set the stage for the Israeli win even with Jordan getting into the war a few days late.
And one last thing to remember; it is a lot easier to bomb targets sitting on a sand dune then hidden in a cave.
Yes, this Israeli plan might be as you said but then it might also be the true result of a nation jumping into a retaliation war against a well entrenched enemy.
Just think of how hard it was for the US Marines in WW2 to clear out some of the Japanese islands that had a few years to prepare an indepth defence built into the mountains.
But we will know soon. This won't drag on for many months before it comes to a boiling point.

pessimist (former anonymous) said...

Iran will not atack directly, if they can use Hizballah and other NGO to do the job.
They will be carefull.
Iran will not attack directly, at least not untill they have completed the bomb. After then, they can do almost everything,because they will be a nuclear power.
What is to be seen is if the US can preemptively atack Iran, even without being atacked directly.

Anonymous said...

Hizballah is a dnager to the whole world. All these stupid security counsil resloutions and time tables are hogwash. Something is going to come to a head soon. WATCH AND SEE. I am ready for it.

I woudl like to see some glass parking lots here and there. That is the only resolution to this whole thing. If people cry out so be it. The murderers and evil haters need to be stopped and stopped soon.

masterwebspinner said...

Anonymous asked why or how could Israel now kill human shields when in other wars against Arab forces Israel tried to avoid such issues.
The answer is very simple.
Egypt and Jordan are attached to America like an umbilical cord between a newborn and it's mom. As long as these two Arab countries have leaders that either friendly or totally reliant on American support they will only make brief comments about any human shields being killed in Lebanon. They will use their security forces to limit any street level anti- Israeli and anti-American protests.
But the main reason is that after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1990 the Syrians lost their main military backer. One that had the BOMB and this always forced the US to limit Israeli reactions and tacticts.
Now Syria can't really do much to stop what is happening in Lebanon.
They can try and get involved to their regret and get their asses whipped. And what's even worse it will be almost impossible for them to resupply their military because there is no Soviet Union to force a cease fire long enough for Syria to re-arm.
Israel has very little to worry about if there are deaths in the human sheilds that Hezbollah are hiding behind.
As long as America does nothing to stop it and as long as the Israeli people support this war any human shield that gets in the way will be toast.

Anonymous said...

An excellent analysis. I am not sure whether it's true - Halutz is not Dayan or Sharon... but maybe he has hidden merit.

The real question will be the reactions of China with it's NK proxies and Russia with its resurging Imperialistic ambitions.

We're in for some interesting times, anyway.

Robert said...

Hezbollah has to do more than just survive to really win. They've spent six years and millions of dollars preparing the big offensive against Israel. How much of Israel have they captured? How many Jews have they killed? What are their prospects of marching into Jerusalem any time soon? Until they can come up with better answers to these questions than they can right now, they're in danger of being made irrelevant. Then attention begins to focus directly on Syria, then Iran.

masterwebspinner said...

Anonymous is worried that China with Noth Korea and a resurging Russia can still cause a problem for American plans for the mid-east.
China is just as worried and has almost as much to fear about any North Korean BOMB building program as the US has to fear. In fact, maybe even more so since they are neighbours.
China has only given support to NK when it came to any dicussion or fight over control of all of Korea.
Secondly, both China and the new Russia have so much international trade with America and the rest of the West that unless there is a direct threat to the national security of their nations they will not stop what is going on in the mid-east.
The only country that really has to worry about China is Taiwan because if America gets totally involved with Iran in any type of a shooting war then China will use it's huge conventional military forces to invade and retake this island.
And eventhough the US has a military pact with Taiwan for it's defense Taiwan does not have any oil wells and it's security will be at the bottom of any US to do list.

Doug Adamavich said...

First off, I just discovered this blog and it is right on. When I read the analysis I remember a story from the very un-PC Song of the South. Remember the story of the Tar Baby... Well, it is a good one that made me laugh when I was a kid.

Fast foward three decades and the Iran/Syria/Hezzie axis is STUCK. They mis-calculated BADLY and now have lost the initiative. Israel is calling the shots now, at least on the Lebanese front. What happens in Persia will be handled by the US, probably sometime later this year.

I think some fur is gonna start flying. 27 years of Iranian-sponsored terror is going to end soon, and I suspect in a dramatic fashion. The USAF and USN have not been heavily utilized over the past few years and have many tools at their disposal. Despite what they say, the Saudis, Kuwaitis, UAE, Oman, and others want Iran GONE. They cannot say this openly but they will be happy when the Iran issue is handled.

Well, many good throughts to read. Will certainly check back from time to time!

Unfrozen Caveman Linguist said...

I am not so optimistic. You have neglected to mention what a Hizbullah robbed of its ability to "resist" Israel means to internal Lebanese dynamics. Hizbullah has yet to get desperate, and when they do, they will see collaborators everywhere. They will direct their rage at that mirage of a support base that the international media thinks that exists for Hizbullah in Lebanon. Non-Shiites in Lebanon will become the enemy, especially Christians and Druze, and sectarianism will flame up again. Lebanese communities are always primed for such an occurrence; it is woven into the social fabric there. To ignore it in an analysis of a conflict there is to miss the endgame completely.

M. Simon said...

Unfrozen Caveman Linguist,

Yes. Post war will be very difficult for Lebanon. Also Syria. It will have to be dealt with on a muddle through basis.

I do not think Israel will defeat the hizzies. It will retain some strength for some time. That may damp civil war. Without Syrian/Iranian support they will wither on the vine. If the decline is slow there may be no civil war. The Lebanese are sick of war.

Iran is better. The democrats will take over. They will have a new constitution. The funding of terrorists will stop almost at once.

TonyGuitar said...

Very logically outlined and I have posted links to this site elswhere.

Not as immediate, but in the wings all the same is the oil factor.

In North America, 68% of imported oil is burned in transport.

The switch to Electric Vehicles is well underway.

Oil values are bound to drop when the general public sees the new technology.

Iran may feel the pinch. It*s now or never eh?

You know we all agreed that the electric vehicle could free us from oil wars. Well at least that is some part of it.

Well, Uh oh, is the shocking problem with the GM EV1 or with GM?

http://TonyGuitar.blogspot.com

He drove one for six years. = TG

hgwells said...

M Simon -- Looks like you got the better part of this right except that Syria is not going to cooperate so it will only be Hizballah that is destroyed by Israeli forces.

Amid the relentless images of the dead extracted from a building in Qana, amid the fiery anger those images generated – from Lebanon to Europe and from Egypt to Indonesia - and amid deafening global cries for an immediate ceasefire, a curiously contradictory picture is emerging from the battlefields of Hizballistan: Hizballah is on the ropes, running short of resources and desperate for a ceasefire for its very survival.

ThreatsWatch

Tom Perry said...

I see no mention of the Operational arts or Grand Strategy actually. Beyond wrecking Syria/Lebanon and hoping for the best, the Grand Strategy is lacking. Israel has two major options as I see it. Oh, I want to throw some names around too: Fuller, Luttwak, Delbruck, Jomini, Gabriel, Glantz...

Fares said...

M Simon, interested in your take
read the article of Eric Margolis as well (linked there)

on update#4 in my post
Neo cons new fiasco using Israel
PEACE

eyesallaround said...

Excellent! This is extremely well written and you are obviously well informed. I'll be back:>)

Sophia.Abady said...

"Iran comes in to support Syria. America takes out Iran."

How does America "take out" Iran? You make it sound so easy.

Fares said...

M Simon,

This post is the response of your questions, hope it helps you in understanding the complexities of what is going on and how these tragic events are deadly and detrimental to the region

Assad is the natural choice
PEACE To Lebanon

M. Simon said...

Sophia.Abady,

How America takes out Iran will depend on events.

It could be that a Syrian defeat will trigger unrest in Iran - with help from American special forces.

Might be an attack on Iran's nuclear weapons manufacturing triggers a revolt.

It could be an American ground attack from Afghanistan and Iraq.

When my crystal ball clears I will write something.

Sophia.Abady said...

dream on.

Tom Perry said...

The foolish leadership of America and Israel have undermined our own side. Iran is stronger for the debacles in Iraq and Lebanon. But, I still won't worry about Iran until they develop a Strategic Rocket Force, a blue water navy, and first world quality conventional forces.

Osaid Rasheed said...

What deception Israel is using while 200-300 katushas arefalling of northern Israel daily ?

I believe israel imagined the war in south lebanon to be quick and smashing for the enemies. They have been used to fighting a group of 2-3 palestinians with primitive arms and an RBG at the best estimation. The IDF sends its troops to a place like Gaza, west bank and soon tens such 'resistants' will appear with their hands up, and probably wearing their pants only. The 'mighty' and 'moral' army will then convince the world that it is "fighting terror' and that it 'successfully' cleared the area of 'terrorists' who were 'dangerous' and a 'threat to israel's national security' !!

The story in Lebanon is NOT the same. Here we see Iran and syria arming Hizbollah properly, with high-tech weapons, that - together with elements of hiding,and surprising the IDF- are serving them well.

I noted you talking about human shields.. That is impressive..you accuse Hizbollah of using civilians as shields.. How immoral, right ??
What about the HRW reports that constantly DOCUMENTED the use of palestinians as human shields in IDF 'operations' ? Israel is not more or less moral than hizbollah.. I even see Israel committing wider and more systematic violations of all ethical and legal rights.

Syrians are the only winners this time. No matter how stupid and weak they look, the are fighting with Israel with Iranian guns and tactics, lebanese and Israeli land, and Lebanese fighters. they cant run a better war with Israel..Can they ?

....

Let me remind you that the 'spirits' ( in the arab world ) were astonishingly rised after the 'persumed victories' of Hizbollah in Lebanon. Not only did hizbollah keep rocketing south and mid Israel, but it has been fighting IDF troops all over south lebanon,killing 3-5 soldiers daily. As you said it : even the arab armies at the 6-day war could not do better !!

The arrogance that we are used to seeing from the Israeli governments has been challenged.

Palestinians should learn lessons from this war : military confrontation is NOT the right way to deal with Israel. At least it is not right in the mean time. Civil resistance and nonviolence will surely give us more results than armed resistance.

Osaid Rasheed said...

What deception Israel is using while 200-300 katushas arefalling of northern Israel daily ?

I believe israel imagined the war in south lebanon to be quick and smashing for the enemies. They have been used to fighting a group of 2-3 palestinians with primitive arms and an RBG at the best estimation. The IDF sends its troops to a place like Gaza, west bank and soon tens such 'resistants' will appear with their hands up, and probably wearing their pants only. The 'mighty' and 'moral' army will then convince the world that it is "fighting terror' and that it 'successfully' cleared the area of 'terrorists' who were 'dangerous' and a 'threat to israel's national security' !!

The story in Lebanon is NOT the same. Here we see Iran and syria arming Hizbollah properly, with high-tech weapons, that - together with elements of hiding,and surprising the IDF- are serving them well.

I noted you talking about human shields.. That is impressive..you accuse Hizbollah of using civilians as shields.. How immoral, right ??
What about the HRW reports that constantly DOCUMENTED the use of palestinians as human shields in IDF 'operations' ? Israel is not more or less moral than hizbollah.. I even see Israel committing wider and more systematic violations of all ethical and legal rights.

Syrians are the only winners this time. No matter how stupid and weak they look, the are fighting with Israel with Iranian guns and tactics, lebanese and Israeli land, and Lebanese fighters. they cant run a better war with Israel..Can they ?

....

Let me remind you that the 'spirits' ( in the arab world ) were astonishingly rised after the 'persumed victories' of Hizbollah in Lebanon. Not only did hizbollah keep rocketing south and mid Israel, but it has been fighting IDF troops all over south lebanon,killing 3-5 soldiers daily. As you said it : even the arab armies at the 6-day war could not do better !!

The arrogance that we are used to seeing from the Israeli governments has been challenged.

Palestinians should learn lessons from this war : military confrontation is NOT the right way to deal with Israel. At least it is not right in the mean time. Civil resistance and nonviolence will surely give us more results than armed resistance.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous wishful thinking on your side. Just remember that Israel already invaded Lebanon. Nothing happenned. They were trapped there for 18? years and then had to retreat dihonourably, leaving behind a long list of hideous war crimes and Hizbollah converted into a major player in the region.

Anonymous said...

Interesting debate. I think your premise is colored by wishful thinking. US public opinion has turned against the Iraq fiasco, and is evenly divided over which side bears responsibility for Lebanon. There's no appetite for another ME war -- especially one that just pulls Israel's nuts out of the fire, sets Iraq on fire with Shiite resistance to the US troops who are "hostage" there, risks cutting off oil supplies (not only via Hormuz, but every single pipeline in the ME), and also indirectly threatens China -- which is now sitting on $1 trillion of US gov bonds. We have Congressional elections in November, and if Bush tried an "October surprise," the Republican Party would lose both House of Congress, he would face impeachment, and US troops would exit Iraq by Jan. 30 2007 -- just in time for Hezbollah's Iraqi contingent to pick up the reins. Aside from all this, an attack on Iran would only serve the interests of the hard-liners. In the long run, remember, Israel's 1981 attack on Saddam's nuke reactor backfired -- he redoubled his efforts to build a bomb, moved everything underground, and came damn close to building one by 1990; if it had not been for his stupid invasion of Kuwait, he would have gotten away with it.....Libya came even closer, and Pakistan....well, who knows what they would do if Iran were attacked. (...recent overtures between the two...). In short, israel is unlikely to draw the US into a war with Iran at this point. Implications: (1) Israel may have to consider going to war with Iran alone (using the folks it has probably planted all over Iran over the years...). That would be a very tall order. (2) Iran will not worry so much about a US involvement -- the US has been deterred. It may be willing to be more aggressive, if Syria is attacked. (3) Syria, in turn, may be tougher to deal with -- a Golan deal, at a minimum, may be part of the price tag for Israel. (why Barak didn't complete that is a mystery...perhaps he could have avoided some of the support for Hez. if he'd paid more attention to settling that and helping Syria with its moribund economy.) (4) Hezbollah has, in a sense, already achieved a greater "victory" than anyone expected, and may now actually be expected to "disappear into the civies," if it has any sense....It appears to be far more strategically astute than, say, the al-Qaeda self-sacrificers....

Finally, Israel has another vulnerability here that I don't think you have considered adequatetly: the economy. It now depends on foreign investment for half its total investment...Tourism is worth another 10% of GDP. Foreign aid also remains important, and foreign technology and trade are critical. Now Israel was on the brink of important deals with Turkey with respect to oil, etc, as well as with the EU, Morocco, China, etc. All this could be up for grabs if, say, hostility increased to the point where foreign boycotts started to be discussed. From this standpoint, Iran is relatively advantaged by the current capacity shortage in global oil markets --just 1.5 mm bpd of excess capacity on an 85 mm bpd base. Not a good time to be dependent on oil imports, as well as foreign trade; but a great time to be Iran...

In short, Israel needs to think very carefully before it widens this war any more than necessary. It needs to throw Abu Abbas a bone and begin to get serious about a deal for the West Bank. It needs to do some adroit deals to divide its enemies. It needs to get out of a "pissed off, angry mode," start thinking clearly about how to defeat Hez. in the long run -- including possible "quiet" deals with Lebanon and Syria over land mines, Shebaa farms, and reconstruction relief. It needs to get its Air Force "stupid bombs" out of the global headlines, and it needs to have Bibi go back to Jerusalem and stop trying to whip up sentiment for World War III......

M. Simon said...

Anon Wed Aug 09, 11:49:27 PM UTC,

You know every one (well almost) tells me it is wishful thinking. When the war is over we will all know.

You are right. There is no appetite for a new front in the war. So I expect an attack by Syria on Israel when Israel moves into the Bekaa and possibly a nuke attack on Israel by Iran on 22 Aug. That will change everything.

If China sells bonds it will destroy its economy. I mean really. What exactly will China buy with its $1 trillion? Paper money? Euros? Oil? Gold? Platinum? Diamond? What?

If it sells a lot of bonds it will depress the value of its remaining bonds. Is that a smart move?

Suppose it actually worked to screw up one of its largest customers. Chinese industry is already in trouble. An American recession could lead to big unrest in an already strained China. I'm sure you can explain why that would be in China's interest. I can't.

No need for an October surprise. We already have one in August. How exactly do weak on National Security (net roots Lamont) Dems capture enough seats to make impeachment possible? I guess I'm not the only one guilty of wishful thinking. Besides if the Jews desert the Dems they are sunk. What is the value in that?

Saddam redoubled his efforts to build a bomb. Outsourced the work to Libya and still came up short. You are right about Saddam being stupid. I'm betting the Iranians have caught the same disease.

Israel expects to lose 1% of GDP because of the war. Not much of a vulnerability there.

Throw Abbas a bone? Abbas will be begging Israel for what ever he can get. The oil shieks are not going to pay him for more war. There is no profit in it.

How to defeat Hez in the long run? I thought I already explained that. Take out Syria and Iran and the hizzies are just another bunch of beggars with tin cups trying to sell pencils on street corners.

Too bad you don't have the courage to put a name to your wild speculations.

Anonymous said...

My response: 1) anonymity is freedom, in my case; 2) China has a very high internal rate of return on its investments -- it has been investing in Treasuries to placate US pressures for revaluation. If the relationship goes down, so do the investments in 6% T bonds. That sinks the dollar, boosts inflation, and causes the Fed to induce a deep recession. WallSt ain't buying it. 3)It doesn't look like Israel is heading for Bekaa any time soon, as of today....the Olmert/Peretz coalition is having hard time agreeing on anything, and is not likely to buy into such an aggressive move. Chances for some sort of UN deal are increasing as we speak; 4) Syria isn't stupid enough to attack Israel unless in internal defense; 5) Israel's 1% loss estimates were for a four week war...now they're talking one- two more months, which means real damage to tourism and foreign investment. Longer term, "human capital" may also be affected -- even tho Aliya this year was a peak, the economy depends on highly educated people wanting to live in Israel, and you have to admit that Israel's liveability just took a big hit...After all, these folks have alternatives. So does "big Israeli capital" -- the top 18 families, who control half of business GDP...They've all got a foot in foreign capital markets, believe me. So personally I'd be very interested in a "cold blooded renalysis" -- forget Zionist passions for a minute -- of Israel's economic viability...eg the shekel is a big short here. 6) If Bush went into Iran, whether in August or October, it wouldn't matter that the Dems are soft in the head -- the American people are sick and tired of the Iraq War, they've got lots of economic troubles at home, Bush is widely perceived as incompetent, and they'd vote for Mickey Mouse just to get Regime Change in the US...Supporters of Israel (and I include myself in the hardcore realist faction of that group) had better get its head around this -- support for "adventurism" in the ME is wearing thin. More subtle, clever, longer term, indirect approaches are called for. AIPAC had better take a break and go underground before there's a popular revolt against the whole agenda....

M. Simon said...

anon,

Not even the courage of a nome de plume?

I guess 2/3s of all Americans are sick of the war. However, if 1/2 of them want a more agressive prosecution of the war the left is not going to win any elections.

If Iran starts lobbing nukes at Israel all bets are off.

Let us suppose Israel loses 1% for every month in the war. A 3 month war brings their growth rate to zero. Not a catastrophe.

The Syrians are getting their bomb shelters ready. Note the Syrians did not prepare their bomb shelters in '82 - the last time Israel invaded Lebanon. They did prepare them in '73. The last time Syria attacked Israel. Now that is kind of interesting, don't ya think?

Anonymous said...

1. You may be a "strategist," but clearly you are not an economist...a common problem among geopolitical types - viz Kissinger, etc. If the war escalated to include Syria and Iran, Israel's economy would experience sharp negative growth and a massive human and physical capital flight...which would probably not be coming home anytime soon. 2. Syria is in a much weak relative military situation than it was in 1973 - the Soviet Union, its partner, was still around, its economy was not so weak, and its perception of its own military skills was much stronger. Today, apart from iran (hardly a reliable partner) it is isolated, economically troubled, barely energy sufficient, and militarily backward. if it is building bomb shelters, this is because it perceives that Israel has an "agenda" that includes trying like hell to widen the war...
3. I note that you haven't really responded to my point about the likely political impact of a Bush-backed invasion of Iran; the point is not just that there is already strong feeling against the Iraq War, but also strong opposition to an attack on Iran...The only possible exception would be if some kind of "deception" were staged by israel/ the US military to suggest that (a) Iran/ Syria are "hiding" wmds and (b) have imminent plans to use them. This would hardly be the first time in history that Israel (or at least the IDF) tried to provoke a war -- viz Sharon's unprovoked "Operation Kinneret" in Syria, in 1954; the Suez war plot, etc....But this time around, given the missing WMDs in Iraq, it would have to be done PERFECTLY....perhaps even to the extent of having Irael "nuke itself" and then blame it on Iran. Is that conceivable, my friend? If it IS conceivable, good Zionists everywhere may want to think twice about how far they are willing to go for the sake of their ideology -- it is becoming a bit like Soviet style Communisim in the 1930s, willing to sacrifice its own people for the sake of "the nation"...

M. Simon said...

anon. Fri Aug 11, 09:28:40 PM UTC,

22 Aug will change everything.

A good economy is of no use to dead people.

If the Syria/Iran problems are solved there will be a massive inflow of capital.

And that is about as much additional attention as you deserve. Your "Zionist" hysteria is clouding your judgement BTW.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

". . . You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely 'anti-Zionist.' And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God's green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews--this is God's own truth.

The Proud. The Few. The Jews.

Deal with it.

Too bad you don't even have the courage of a nom de guerre.

Anonymous said...

I happen to be Jewish, you Zabotinsky prick. "The few, the proud, the universally reviled...."

Anonymous said...

The Aug 22 date is the one that Iran itself picked for a response to the UN proposals. Only the arch neocon Bernard Lewis, who's been wrong on so many other predictions, has predicted that it would mark the beginning of World War III. Neofascist/ Zionazi drivel. These folks need collective counseling for their machismo/ short dick complexes....

Anonymous said...

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in April 1968, 1 year after the 1967 war. Since then, we've had 38 years of illegal occupation of the West Bank...I doubt that he would feel the same way today. More likely, he would have joined Rachel Corrie in peaceful protests against the Israeli occupation -- and discovered that the IDF, unlike the white police in Selma Alabama, plow peaceful protesters under with bulldozers.....Hamas and Hezbollah are not uncaused causes, they are the consequence of four decades of Israel caring more about land than people

M. Simon said...

So our anon of Sat Aug 12, 04:58:22 PM UTC

Prefers "universally reviled" as his nic.

I'm down with that.

M. Simon said...

Anon of Sun Aug 13, 03:42:15 PM UTC,

Says Israel cares more about land than people.

Perhaps he could explain the Arab rejectionism by the Arabs of any land for peace deal since 1967.

Egypt got the Sinai back in exchange for peace.

Jordan did peace with no land exchange.

And then you have the withdrawals from Gaza and Lebanon. The land was given up unilaterally.

No peace.