the egyptian magician said...Say what you will about the US government, but there's no denying that we really know how to sieze territory. We may be lacking when it comes to making friends with the locals, following through on promises to promote democracy and/or give the wealth back to the people, and the like, but when it comes down to the crass logistics of knocking down an old government and scattering its supporters to the winds, ain't nobody come close to doing it like we do.
The nation of Israel will use technology, American assistance, industrial wealth, fake treaties and brute strength to repel attackers of the territory it claims.
The nation of Palestinians will use terrorism, Iranian or Syrian assistance, oil wealth, fake treaties and ruthlessness to attack occupiers of the territory it claims.
Just look at Iraq . . . when Saddam gets too big for his britches, we don't go marching in and just kick him out, with his regime still at full capacity. That would be ridiculous. The American people love watching $#!+ blow up, but we're not prepared to deal with a protracted ground war against an entrenched military on a war footing. Too ugly.
No, we don't just go marching in and kick him out. First we let him think he can act with impunity, leading him to take actions which provoke the international community to call for a response. Public relations firms are employed to cast those actions in the worst possible light, including outright fabrications of atrocities demanding a forceful response.
Once public and international opinion favors military action, we seal Saddam in, cut off the supply routes, use air power to systematically degrate the nation's infrastructure, and keep a stranglehold on the whole country for a decade, under the pretext of trying to disarm a disarmed nation. Send in "inspectors" to collect intelligence on good targets, and if anybody objects to the state of affairs, just bomb 'em harder.
After thirteen years of this, steadily eroding the country's ability to defend itself, we approach key military leaders and offer them nice retirement packages in Michigan if they help us out. With no armaments to speak of, and no hope of defending against the coming attack, the leaders accept.
Finally, the ground invasion is preceded by a massive aerial bombardment designed not only to obliterate any potential base of defense operations, but to terrorize (or "shock") the target into utter submission (or "awe").
And so, our boys get to roll into Baghdad -- effectively unopposed -- and hoist our flag in victory. Rah, rah, rah.
As mentioned before, this strategy hasn't helped much in terms of stability or relations with the locals in the aftermath of the invasion, but as a method for seizing territory, it's been terribly effective.
Now we turn to Lebanon.
Lebanon was, until fairly recently, under Syrian military and political occupation. This changed after the assassination of an opposition leader sparked civil unrest and calls for Syrian withdrawal. A direct connection between Syria and the murder was never made, but the UN investigation concluded that (pdf page 2):
[ . . . ] the assassination of 14 February 2005 was carried out by a group with an extensive organization and considerable resources and capabilities. The crime had been prepared over the course of several months. For this purpose, the timing and location of Mr. Rafik Hariri’s movements had been monitored and the itineraries of his convoy recorded in detail.Therefore, the reasoning went, it must have been Syria. (The fact that Syria had nothing to gain and, in fact, lost control of Lebanon by this action doesn't seem to have figured into the reasoning at any point.)
Whatever the cause, UN calls and civil outrage led Syria to withdraw its forces from Lebanon, and the Syria-dominated government resigned, beginning a transitional period during which authority is diffuse and the country's ability to defend its territory is badly hindered. The new government is not considered a supporter of terrorism -- indeed, it recently arrested several of its citizens and accused them of plotting an attack on New York City.
However, this state of affairs has not saved Lebanon from physical attack. The nation of Israel has identified militants in Southern Lebanon as a threat to its own security. However, rather than demand that the new Lebanese government act to shut down the militias, or even offer cooperation in that regard, the Israeli response has been to take advantage of the state of affairs and . . . seize more territory.
A Lebanese government with an eagerness to cooperate with the US and a total inability to defend itself will undoubtedly be willing to make significant territorial concessions to the invaders, which makes this a prime opportunity for Israel to roll in -- effectively unopposed -- and grab up as much land as it can get away with.
With US public opinion on their side in this action (an essential element given the symbiotic nature of US/Israel military and intelligence operations in the region), now is the ideal time for Israel to expand. They can worry about what to do about people already living on that land later. They've kept up an occupation for this long, so what's one more territory?
It all boils down to calculated pragmatism . . . you don't attack your enemies where they're strong, you attack them where they're weak. Always kick 'em when they're down.