Friday, July 14, 2006

 

Israel at War

I sit in a break room, watching Fox News report on Israel’s declaration that they are in a state of war.

As it happens, today I begin the first day of active duty, part of annual training in support of an upcoming Warfighter exercise.

I have been watching developments closely since earlier reports of additional capture of Israeli soldiers, and the two week incursion of Israeli forces into Gaza. Now it seems that rocket attacks against the Israeli city of Haifa, a location deeper in Israel than has previously been attacked, have provoked a dramatic Israeli response.

Israeli actions thus far include strikes against “hundreds of militant positions” (presumably Hezbollah), full military alert, a disabling attack against Beirut International Airport and Television towers, a sea blockade against Lebanon, and certainly other measures.

Perhaps more importantly, Israel has denounced the Iranian and Syrian Governments, accusing them of sponsoring, supporting and orchestrating repeated Hezbollah attacks against Israel.

This afternoon, US Markets react with a significant downturn, the DOW down 175 points as of 3:00 pm EST.

The United Nations has announced that it will send a team to head to the Middle East, with an initial destination of Syria, described as the “only location” the UN Team can get to at this moment. Kofi Annan reports that he is sending his Special Political Advisor among a team of liaisons.

Reports of the latest capture of an Israeli soldier led me to conclude that Israel might as well openly declare war against her enemies. Israel has more or less been at war for the past 6 years, if not for its entire existence.

Rockets, suicide bombings, captured soldiers, how violent, how many casualties would Israel have to sustain before they would be provoked to war?

Lesser countries, exercising lesser restraint, would surely have been at war quite some time ago.

No doubt the Israelis are gravely concerned with an escalation of violence against them, and signs that their enemies are willing to push the envelope at this particular time. That Israel faces some unpleasant options, in no way makes this a moment of (positive) possibility for Palestinians. I seriously doubt that the hapless Palestinians will be pleased with whatever outcome derives from their fateful electoral decision to place their government in the hands of terrorists avowed to the destruction of Israel.

Who wins? I think Israel already knows, hence the denunciations against Iran and Syria.

A Fox News analyst this moment is suggesting that this may explain recent statements by Iranian officials about pending attacks and the potential for violence against Israel. He further suggests that the Iranians may have initiated the recent actions by their Hezbollah proxies, precisely to spur the kind of responses that Israel undertakes.

How this plays out remains to be seen. I do think that Israel’s enemies, even the ones not usually in public view but pulling the strings, make a habit of overestimating their capabilities while simultaneously not appreciating the will or power of the beleaguered Jewish state.

Those enemies have been known to underestimate US resolve as well, after many seasons of quite properly viewing us as a “paper tiger.”

What route will we take? How much will we do to support our number one ally in the Middle East? Less, perhaps, than we should. Just as likely, more than we or our enemies would prefer. ‘Twas ever thus.



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