Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Israel has surprised me with its last two wars in 2006 and 2008. I didn't expect either.
The lesson of both wars is that Israel's military is capable of killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure and not much else. Israel pathetically did not even try to hold territory in Gaza, facing a literally smuggled-in armed opposition.
Gaza was a unique situation because it is surrounded by Israel and an Egypt ruled more by AIPAC than by Egyptians. Israel, through the US Congress is able to order Egypt, under pain of withholding effective bribes to Mubarak's family, to prevent Hamas from importing both rebuilding materials and basic food and clothing. This has increased the impact, in this unique situation, of the expertise Israel has developed in destroying civilian infrastructure from the air.
Syria is surrounded by Iraq and Turkey and has free access to the sea. There is absolutely no chance Syria will not, one year after the bombing stops, pose much more of a threat to Israel than it does now.
So how would a conflict look? Israel is not going to put tanks onto Lebanese or Syrian territory. If it does, it will lose more soldiers than its opponents. Israel will bomb Territory, Syria and Lebanon will fire missiles back, Iran and Turkey will rebuild Syria and Lebanon and the one change will be that the people of the middle east will have a new reason to hate the US.
Is this something Israel would do? I'm not sure. There will not be a green light from Washington, which may answer the question right there.
This is not something Syria or Lebanon want, but anti-American forces in both countries would be strengthened. The entire Middle East would veer further against the US. Which is to say that the overall effect of the conflict would be positive for Syria and the resistance countries and negative for the US and it's controlled countries.
One question, if a war happens, is how many missiles will reach major Jewish population centers this time and how much damage they'll do. The easy answer is more than has ever been done and enough to make safety a primary concern of people deciding if they wasn't to live in that country.
An attack on Syria is a bad idea for Israel, but Israel is in an interesting position, managing a decline in its strategic position that may well end in there no longer being a Jewish majority state. There is no guarantee or even strong expectation that Israel can behave rationally under these circumstances.
I can't predict that a war will happen, I can easily predict that Israel's rivals will emerge from any war in a better regional position than Israel's supporters. I hope it does not come to pass. Not for Syrians sake in a strategic sense but for the sake of the thousands if civilians who would die and have their lives disrupted by the conflict.
Posted by Arnold Evans at 9:59 PM