A council of despair is convening over at Haaretz, while the IDF, as the Angry Arab has been documenting, has been making triumphal pronouncements that befit a boyscout troop, not an army that once found itself in Beirut in six days … What does it all mean? Who knows?
“Who would have believed that a guerrilla organization with a few hundred regular fighters, something like a brigade and a half, could paralyze half a country, firing off hundreds of missiles every day? A total of 2,200 by Sunday morning, says the defense minister. Who would have believed that cities like Safed, Acre, Nahariya, Tiberias and especially Haifa, the capital of the North, would wake up every morning to the sound of sirens and deadly rocket fire that would turn tens of thousands of people into refugees and shut down life in a large part of the country? And that’s even before Hezbollah has tried to use its long-range missiles on Tel Aviv.”
“Who would have believed that the Israel Defense Forces, the army that is prepared for large-scale wars, that Iran fears will attack its nuclear facilities, that can drop 23 tons of bombs in a single night, is incapable of stopping Hezbollah’s missile fire? How is that as soon as the IDF announces Hezbollah’s TV station has been bombed, Hassan Nasrallah pops up in blooming health to continue his taunts against us?”
Who indeed? I know we are all conditioned by history to expect it to be the Arabs making ridiculous false claims about stunning military successes? But are the Israelis encroaching on this Arab province? Impossible to know unless you down south, but interesting to consider … One alternative explanation for the Israelis annoucing the capture of dusty villages with such pomp and circumstance may be the utter lack of a political strategy for waging this war and the fact that the political class had no time to prepare the Israeli public on the what, why and wherefor …
Given that the ultimate goal of the military adventure seems to change each day (prisoners, then destroy Hizbullah, then disarm Hizbullah, then push back Hizbullah, then enable the GOL to disarm Hizbullah and then prepare the border for multinational force), the Israelis may need these daily “victories,” however small, as a sort of narrative that takes the place of actually having some strategic objective and thereby political strategy for their war.
Here is Shimon Peres calling for the Lebanese Army to help out … Which only adds fuel to speculation that either the Israelis have become clueless about Lebanon or are starting to grasp for straws ..
“In this war, there is no alternative to victory against terrorists,” Peres told Israel’s parliament. “Morally, Hezbollah has already been defeated. It will also be defeated militarily.”
Hezbollah made a strategic error, he said, when it assumed that “with `12,000 rockets, it could break Israel’s spirit.”
“This could be your great opportunity,” Peres said, referring to the Lebanese. “You have at your service an army of 80,000 troops. Where are they?”
Also, Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri seemed cool as a cucumber today with Sec. Rice which may mean he knows something she does not … We will have to stay tuned …
Unfortunately, this may be bad news, as the Israelis will be all the more dangerous if they are either operating without any knowledge of Lebanese realities or becoming desperate as either scenario could lead the Israelis to look for something spectacular to reinvigorate sagging morale at home for the war of no purpose …. More difficult is trying to think of some way the Israeli leadership will be able to sell this adventure as a victory back home? We will see …