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  • Israel Should Attack Iran and Syria

    Posted by Jonathan on July 14th, 2006 (All posts by )

    Michael Oren is right:

    In countering Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel has little choice but to strike at those who authorize the attacks: the heads of those organizations. Both Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza and Hasan Nasrallah in Lebanon appear indifferent to their own people’s safety. For propaganda purposes, they order rocket crews to operate in densely populated areas so that Israeli retaliation will inflict the maximum number of civilian casualties. But these leaders remain extremely reluctant to pay for terror with their own lives, a fact that Israel discovered when its policy of targeted assassinations compelled Hamas to agree to a cease-fire.

    By contrast, punishing the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples collectively, as Israel has been doing, only strengthens their support for terror while creating painful ethical problems for Israelis. And negotiating with the terrorists for their hostages’ release merely encourages them to kidnap more Israelis. Ultimately, Israel has no alternative other than convincing these leaders that terror incurs a personal cost.

    But even targeted assassinations are no substitute for deterring the state sponsors of terror. Israel cannot hope for quiet along its borders as long as Hamas leaders continue to direct terror with impunity from Damascus and as long as Hezbollah receives orders from Syria and Iran.

    Efforts by the United States, the United Nations and the European Union to dissuade Iran and Syria from activating their terrorist agents have consistently proved ineffective. Therefore Israel has no realistic option but to convince these states that the price of promoting aggression is prohibitive. If Israeli soldiers and civilians are the targets of Iranian- and Syrian-backed terror, then the Iranian and Syrian militaries must become targets for Israel.

    Iran opened this new front in its war against the West. Syria is Iran’s puppet and ally.

    Israel blundered by threatening instead of acting in response to provocation, showing weakness that I think brought on the attacks. Instead of sending planes to buzz Assad’s home Israel should have leveled it. They should have resumed their campaign of assassination against Hamas, and now Hezbollah, leaders. But that’s water under the bridge.

    Iran has skillfully exploited the democracies’ aversion to open conflict. The mullahs have played the USA against the Europeans for years, gaining time to pursue WMD programs while the Americans and Euros each hoped the other party would take care of the problem. Now Iran exploits the reluctance of the USA and Israel to do what obviously must be done sooner or later. Israel hopes that the USA will deal with Iran and vice versa.

    Israel should take this opportunity (if it hasn’t already done so) to renew its assassination campaign against the Hamas leadership, and to start similar campaigns against the leaders of Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. Make the leaders personally accountable. Try to kill Assad and his cronies. Go after Ahmadinejad and the mullahs. While they’re at it they should probably also bomb the Iranian oil terminals and other governmental/military targets of opportunity. Such attacks would be audacious and difficult to pull off, but even the attempt would be likely to strike fear into our enemies. And it might succeed.

    The people who are behind the war don’t want to be killed or personally endangered. They want to run the campaign by proxy, tie up the Israeli government and military, make life hell for Israeli civilians and split the USA from its Arab allies. So much the better if Israeli counterattacks kill lots of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians and encourage Muslim unity against the Islamofascists’ enemies.

    Israel should do what the mullahs probably don’t expect. It should take the war to them, personally. If Israel won’t do it, the USA should.

    (Via Rachel)

     

    28 Responses to “Israel Should Attack Iran and Syria”

    1. Lytman Says:

      isreal attacks syria, iran attacks isreal, lebanon attacks isreal, the palistinians attack isreal, the US attacks iran, (already engaged in iraq, afganistan) oops how long did russia try to win against the afgans? Japan attacks north korea , US attacks north korea

      sounds like a world war to me

    2. Mike Moser Says:

      When do we get some rational people on all sides
      to resolve the conflict in the Middle-east.

      The radical elite, including Israel, USA, Iran, Syria are exploiting these hostilities for their own personal gain.

      Who is the voice of reason and progressive though in Israel, USA, Iran, Syria, ?? How many more years of bloodshed and agony for the common man before this simple conflict is resolved?
      Mathematically, logically, there is an optimal solution for all parties.

      Let’s have hope.

    3. Mitch Says:

      Counter-battery fire, prompt and plentiful.

    4. Shannon Love Says:

      Mike Moser,

      When do we get some rational people on all sides
      to resolve the conflict in the Middle-east.

      Oh, the autocratic leaders of the countries and groups of the non-democratic Mideast are acting quite rationally to maximize their own individual self-interest. For the leaders of countries, anti-israeli hysteria deflects attention from their own corrupt rule and justifies a military that they can use to maintain control of their own people while they loot the country.. For leaders of subnational groups, terrorism is big business. Arafat had an estimated fortune at least in the tens of millions and perhaps the hundreds of millions. Leaders of other groups are making out almost as well.

      The non-democratic leaders of the mideast use the conflict to amass vast fortunes and virtually unlimited power within their own domains. What is irrational about that?

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      Assassination fell out of favor in West following the development of a meritorious democracy. In such a system, individuals do not matter only the institution. Policy arises from a broad consensus and no one person is criticle. Killing an individual who holds a particular office is pointless because another individual will assume the dead persons place and follow basically the same policies.

      The same does not hold true of family based autocracies like those that dominate the mideast. Each individual occupies a unique position in an extended alliance network. Killing that individual breaks the network. That is one reason assassination works so well in that situation.

      The other reason is that the leadership is all a bunch of self-serving bastards so bringing the war to them personally is the only real way to deter them.

    6. Jonathan Says:

      When do we get some rational people on all sides to resolve the conflict in the Middle-east.

      The Israelis are rational. It is rational to defend your country against attack. Defending can stop the attack. Not defending makes attacks worse.

      The radical elite, including Israel, USA, Iran, Syria are exploiting these hostilities for their own personal gain.

      What evidence do you have that the elites of Israel or the USA benefit from this war? This kind of moral-equivalence rationalizing rewards aggressors.

      Mathematically, logically, there is an optimal solution for all parties.

      Why? In situations where one or more parties to a conflict want to destroy another party (Israel, in case that’s not obvious), there can be no optimal solution for all. There can be only victory or defeat for one side or the other.

      Conflict is not always the result of misunderstanding. Often it is the result of calculated predatory behavior on the part of one side in response to weakness (or perceived weakness) on the part of the other.

    7. david foster Says:

      “Mathematically, logically, there is an optimal solution for all parties”…in game theory, which is the mathematical analysis of conflict, there is a construct called the “objective function”…that is, the value that the parties are trying to maximize. It need not be the same for all parties. Party “A” may be attempting to maximize the welfare and happiness of its citizens; party “B” may desire only the hegemony of a certain religious or philosophical system and value the happiness of its citizens not at all. It is true that in game theory there will be a solution to the above, but it is likely to be something very different than you appear to think it is.

    8. GFK Says:

      Great comments Shannon, Jonathan… So many seem blind to the motivating force of power. They are so eager to believe that foreign leaders put the interests of their country ahead of their own, when the opposite is usually the case! Castro, Chavez, Mugabe, Arafat… all working for the people! Mexico, the middle east, africa… all victims of the west! But Bush… he’s only it for the oil and his families’ IRA accounts… Sheesh!

    9. A. Scott Crawford Says:

      Jonathan,

      I can’t help but agree with you, as sad as it is to admit. Israel has been very patient, but there’s a limit beyond which it’s unjust for the US to ask them to take yet another body blow by Syrian and/or Iranian proxies while the Euro’s fail in their “soft diplomacy”. For all the good that’s come out of the Cedar revolution, it was predictable that if Hezbollah was the only political faction to remain armed they would eventually use their stock-piles to attack across the Israeli border.

      What’s also predictable is the manner in which the Euorpean press and intelligencia will respond… with outrage at Israel for not just laying down and letting itself get beat on. If France, Germany, and the UK had sent remotely serious delegations to Iran over the nuke issue, Hezbollah might not have been sent supplies of rockets and ammo by Iran and Syria. But as Iran is now confident that the European three lack the political will to do anything (which should be grounds to doubt any of them deserve a Security Council veto), knows that Russia and China will veto any attempts by the US to get the UN to apply “hard power” against them on the nukes, and finally… knows that the US is too engaged in Iraq to invade Iran… the mullahs basically have every reason to believe that they can spare the military hardware that they’re sending to be used against Israel.

      Likewise with Syria. The Baathists in power cannot afford to let their own people see Democratic processes gain a foothold, either in Iraq or in Lebannon (which Syrians view as a client state). Too much of the Syrian populace is educated enough to know that there’s a choice other than a dictatorship. Damascus has something like 1.5 million Iraqi baathist exiles living in Syria… enough that kept stolen money from Iraq to drive Damascus housing prices up, and enough that are so broke that the price of prostitutes in Damascus has gone way down (due to a flood of Baathist Iraq women undercutting the local rates). Plus the loss of control of Beriut has cost Syrian rulers an estimated $1 billion per year in off-book revenue, as well as a way to directly control either Hezbollah factions or the opium fields (or the quantity of smack that floods into Syria on it’s way to Europe… where most Lebanese dope is sold).

      Thus for Syrian Baaathists, a war with Israel, even one they know they’ll lose, is a risk worth taking if it allows them to hold onto power. Damascus knows that nothing deflects non-Baathist Syrian intellectuals and powerless bourgeois like the big bad Israelis. They know that the Europeans, especially the French and English, harbor such weird resentments towards Israel that the London and Paris and Belgium press will bend over backwards to make the IDF (and US) look like the villains. And they know that there’s no practical way for the Israelis to disarm Hezbollah without setting off Hamas and other anti-Israeli Lebanese factions, and thus sending Lebannon back into factional chaos.

      This said, I don’t agree with all of your assessments on how the Israeli’s should respond. Assassinations of Hezbollah and Hamas leaders send a message, but are only a stop-gap measure. Nor will re-occupying and blockading Lebannon and it’s ports, by itself, be enough. Nor should Israel attack Iran or Syria without first distinguishing between the UNPOPULAR Baathist’s and the Syrian people, and the unpopular Mullahs and the Iranain people.

      Israel should officially ask the US, India, Japan, and Brazil to send food and supplies to Beriut during the blockade, as this would send the message that Israel is ONLY pissed at Hezbollah and Baathist stooges and doesn’t want to harm the Lebanese people. Israel should point out that it can trust the Countries named above to NOT ship arms to Beriut, and that while Iranian, Syrian, Chinese and European weapons of recent manufacture are being used to attack Israeli civilians, the IDF has little choice. Brazilians, who have great hearts and huge surpluses of food, and who are now suffering domestic gang violence, would certainly respond well to this kind of request. As would India, which produces medicines and other types of goods, and which knows all too well what it’s like to be plagued by cross border attacks. Japan is arguably the most responsible first world Country in terms of sending unqualified aid, and because N. Korea’s missle tests and nukes threaten Japan in a similar way that Iranian missles and nukes threaten Israel, there is obvious common ground… and the fact that Israel is TRYING to avoid harming innocent Lebanese will resonate with the Countries it asks to help, as well as with neighboring Egypt and Jordan, which need a good pretext to stay out of the conflict. By asking Japan, Brazil, and India (and maybe Germany) to step up in an international situation where the Chinese and Europeans (including the UK and Russia) have shown themselves to be irresponsible and hypocritical, Israel would appeal to both solidarity AND the long term National interests of those Countries, which all have UN Security Council aspirations and a need to prove that they’re more than just regional international powers. A chance to show up the Europeans (and Chinese) in a peaceful way doesn’t come along very often, and should lessen the effectiveness of European and oil sheik anti-Israeli lobbying at the UN.

      Next. If Israel were to attack Iran over it’s use of Hezbollah as a proxy, the IDF should wait until it’s able to secure enough “bunker buster” munitions (& etc.) from the US to be able to focus on Irans nuclear facilities, radar network, and air force. The Israeli air force, if given the appropriate degree of US logistical and comm support (which we’d DENY, of course) and clear attack corridors over US controlled airspace (oops), would be able to hurt Irans mullahs and military without wrecking Irans economy or civilian population. Jonathan notes the Iranians aren’t expecting an attack from the Israelis, but it’d be more accurate to say the Iranian air defense system is strategically situated to defend against US strikes from Iraq and Kuwait (and Afghanistan and the US Navy). The Iranians keep tabs on US airbase and naval traffic, but more importantly, they rely on their European and arab friends to give them advance warning. If the US provided a plausable diversion for the Euros and Iranians (who’d be assured by their contacts that the US wasn’t planning an attack), such as massive coordinated excercises against targets in southern Iraq, Kuwait, and/or southern Afghanistan, it’d be seen as the US flexing it’s muscle to scare Iran into cutting a deal on the nukes. Such a diversion, using assets from Countries across the region, would provide a perfect cover for the Israelis, who aren’t typically included in such things anyway, to slip in and hit the Iranians when they’ve been focusing elsewhere.

      What’s interesting about this scenario is that Israel is the only regional actor that has the air power to pull a large scale strike off while the US and allied forces were massed elsewhere. Moreover, whereas attacking Syria would set off a land war along Israels border, an attack against Iranian nuclear sites and it’s air force independently of the US would leave the Iranians in the position of being unable to respond directly. As long as the Europeans oil investments in Iran weren’t too severly harmed, the EU would toast the Israelis in private for putting off the nuke problem. The Russians and Chinese, knowing they’d be getting replacement orders for the Iranian planes shot down, would restrict themselves to blaming the US. The regions sunni leaders, having suffered Iranian mockery and criticism over Israel for generations, would be vindicated at last. And lastly, having raved and ranted against Israel for so long, were the clerics unable to respond to an Israeli attack, they’d lose a lot of the religious authority that keeps them in power…

    10. Jonathan Says:

      Israel has no choice but to secure southern Lebanon, because Israel cannot long tolerate a situation in which hundreds of thousands of its citizens are forced to spend large amounts of time sitting in bomb shelters. At the same time everyone in Israel is acutely aware that the last major incursion into Lebanon became a twenty-year quagmire. So while the Israeli govt may not want to expand the scope of direct conflict beyond Lebanon and Gaza, I think that there’s a good chance that sooner or later there will be substantial popular support for radical measures including at least attacks on Syria’s military and perhaps political infrastructure.

    11. awkward questioner Says:

      So, was the occupation of South Lebanon really a quagmire? Was the cost in lives and capital greater than the lost productivity and civilian deaths from rocket fire? Not to mince words here, but it is the job of soldiers to risk their lives so that civilians may live. Perhaps the occupation was the best of a bad lot of options.

      Of course, back then the South Lebanon Army did a lot of the fighting and dying to keep Hezbollah out of the border region. They were all screwed by the Israeli withdrawal and are unlikely to fight again for them.

      And of course what appreciation did Israel get from the “international community” for leaving Lebanon? Yeah, right.

      Beginning to look like occupying Lebanon and Gaza wasn’t so dumb after all.

    12. Jonathan Says:

      It is widely viewed in Israel as having been a quagmire. Israel is a small country with almost universal conscription. Most people’s children serve in the military. The drumbeat of casualties eventually became politically intolerable. I think that the Israeli govt, as a consequence of that experience, is likely to go to great lengths to avoid another occupation.

    13. James R. Rummel Says:

      i>Who is the voice of reason and progressive though in Israel, USA, Iran, Syria, ??

      In the past few years, the Liberals have done their best to hijack the word “Progressive”. They aren’t of the Left or Liberal anymore, now they are Progressive.

      The Palestinians are the darling of the Liberals, so I suppose you could say they represent Progressive thought.

      They also refuse to adhere to any treaty or agreement, which means that the various Roadmaps to Peace or Middle East Peace Plans which have been proposed over the past few decades have been left in the dust thanks to their actions.

      They also seem to be rather fond of genocide, judging by how they aren’t shy about dreaming aloud of pushing Israel into the sea. This makes sense considering the links between National Socialism and Palestinian nationalism. Considering that National Socialism was a Leftist ideology, this aligns the Palestinians squarly in the Progressive camp.

      Personally I wouldn’t want to be associated with murderous, genocidal terrorists who refuse to negotiate in good faith. But I’m not a Liberal.

      James

    14. DS Says:

      The situation in the middle east will have to be settled by war once and for all. The only way to end what has gone on for centuries is for there to be an absolute winner and an absolute loser. Anything less will just continue this endless game. There is no peaceful solution. Once you accept that, then it is in the whole world’s interest to get on with it and get it over with.

      The best way forward is for the world’s various non-islamic and non-Israeli countries to vacate the area and let them have at it until somebody prevails. At this point I don’t have a preference, but somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, the current situation is unsustainable. There are no “good guys” and “bad guys” any more, just 2 sides that cannot and will not get along. I’m done with trying to see the merits of one side or the other. It’s time for the proverbial “after-school brawl” to end the fighting once and for all.

      I know I don’t paint a pretty picture but the pretty picture scenarios for resolving the middle east do not exist. There has been and will be massive bloodshed. It has happened before in human history and it will happen again.

      Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it isn’t inevitable.

    15. Tatyana Says:

      DS: there is no good guys anymore? Are you blind and deaf? Mad?

      Ashes of Klaas knock at my heart.

    16. Enoch Says:

      With the nitwit fringe ensconsed in Congress I doubt the president could easily follow through with any new initiative. Ah, American politics and the poison known as the Left. Pity.

    17. LotharBot Says:

      DS, if you don’t have a preference, you need to pay more attention to what sort of people are in power in the countries mentioned.

    18. Ginny Says:

      Well, if you have DS’s point of view, it would appear you end up at the same place as most of the people here, who I believe have a much more pro-Israeli vision, despite considerable sympathy for the majority of quite reasonable Lebanese who do not share the terrorist’s point of view & once upon a time had a quite nice country. That is – leave them alone & Israel is quite likely to be the victor.

    19. Tyouth Says:

      “In the past few years, the Liberals have done their best to hijack the word “Progressive”. They aren’t of the Left or Liberal anymore, now they are Progressive.

      The Palestinians are the darling of the Liberals, so I suppose you could say they represent Progressive thought. ”

      James,

      According to the novelist Tom Clancy, at least, security-minded folks in the former USSR referred to sympathetic citizens in a foreign country (whom they figured to be good canidates for espionage) as members of the “progressive element” in that country. Why the left would feel comfortable with the term is puzzling to me.

    20. Tatyana Says:

      Tyouth, you address the wrong person; ask a leftie!

    21. DS Says:

      The idea that this thing should be played out to and end game is pro-Israeli. The West has put shackles on Israel for years. Remove them and let there be a winner and a loser.

      For the record: if this scenario plays out I will be chearing for the Israelis.

      I just can’t imagine what an Israeli victory looks like. The fairy tale ending where all of Israel’s neighbors accept its right to exist, end terrorism and every body lives happily ever after is not going to happen through negotiation, and is even less likely to happen no matter how thorough the Israeli military victory. So what does it look like?

      On the flip side I can imagine what an Israeli defeat looks like: The arabs of the region can go back to doing what they ahve doen for centuries: fight amongst themselves.

      I’m just not interested in the huge, endless controversy that this little country and its backward, psychopathic neighbors have caused throughout the world.

      And I’m tired of taking sides in somebody elses war.

    22. Jonathan Says:

      It’s not someone else’s war. As a Jew and someone with family connections in Israel I have a personal interest in Israel’s well being. As an American I have a personal interest in preventing our common enemies from succeeding in their flanking attack and splitting us from our Arab and Muslim allies, and ultimately in defeating those enemies. As a resident of the West and a beneficiary of the values, traditions and success of western civilization I have a personal interest in preventing the enemies of that civilization from being victorious. I don’t know anything about you but I assume that you are at least a westerner. Israel’s enemies and the USA’s enemies consider you to be their enemy too. Why do you think you have the option of having no interest in this war?

    23. DS Says:

      Jonathan,

      I am an American, I am not a Jew and I have no direct connection to Israel. The fact that you are a Jew and have a connection to Israel simply means you do not speak for me or most Americans. It is not my war. I suggest you join the Israeli Army if you are such a true believer.

      Be clear, I am in favor of removing the shackles from Israel and letting them do whatever they think is in their best interest. I have no interest in seeing Israel’s enemies “win” whatever that means, I have no sympathy for any of them, they have earned their lot in life. But I am not interested in being a third party to this any longer either. These are precisely the kind of debates that go nowhere.

      Here’s a more interesting thought experiment:

      Make a case for what the world looks like if each side “wins”. Can you even define what “win” means? Setting aside the absurd notion that Israel’s neighbors will finally recognize its right to exist and everybody lives happilly ever after, does Israel “winning” mean that the Arab world is exterminated of all of Israel’s enemies? That’s about a billion dead people.

      If the islamists win they go back to fighting amongst themselves, which they have done for centuries. The only thing uniting them is hatred of Israel. Without that they will remember how much Sunnis hate Shiites, and none of them likes the Kurds……….

    24. Jonathan Says:

      As an American you certainly have an interest in stopping Iran’s long-running jihad against America and the West, of which the attack on Israel is a part. One of Iran’s obvious strategic objectives in attacking Israel is to divide the USA and its Muslim allies. It’s working, too. Look at the recent anti-American demonstrations in Iraq.

      Victory for Israel, as for the USA, would consist of a loss of the will to fight on the part of its enemies. The USA and its allies didn’t have to exterminate the Germans and Japanese to achieve such a result in the Second World War. It was enough for us to punish them militarily to the extent that they wanted to give up. Our war against jihadist Islam will be no different, except that I don’t think we are going to have to kill nearly as many people if we can maintain our resolve.

    25. Ralf Goergens Says:

      Great post, Jonathan.

      This article is three years old, but it still is the best article on targeted killings I’ve read so far.

    26. Jonathan Says:

      Thanks, Ralf.

    27. randy Says:

      I THINK THE MIDDLEEAST IS NOTHING BUT TROUBLE INCLUDING ISRAEL IT HAS BEEN THAT WAY SINCE MANKIND HAS EXSIST IF ISRAEL WOULD LEAVE EVERYTHING ALONE THEY WOULD NOT GET ATTACKED.I WAS IN HAIFA IN 1986 US NAVY I WAS ATTACKED TWICE WHILE ON SHORE LEAVE IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. THEY DONT HAVE MY SYMPATHY.THEY JEWS DONT LIKE US. AND FOR OUR PRESIDENT LET THEM FIGHT IT OUT. HE ALREADY HAS THE WHOLE WORLD AGAINST US.HE HAS BEEN THE WORST PRESIDENT WE HAVE EVER HAD. TOUGH ON THE MIDDLE CLASS GREAT FOR THE RICH

    28. LotharBot Says:

      randy, you may want to look into getting that caps lock key fixed.

      As for “IF ISRAEL WOULD LEAVE EVERYTHING ALONE THEY WOULD NOT GET ATTACKED”, how do you explain what happened May 15, 1948 or May 1967?

      We need Israel to win because we share a common ideology and common enemies. And Israel will win — no doubt about it.