Friday, August 11, 2006

Israel --- more

My older cousin David ran Jewish Holocaust survivors illegally into then-Palestine. He was put in prison in Cyprus and Acre. He later fought with Haganah. He has done some path-breaking work on aging among the Druze.

He is a hero of mine.

He knows what he's talking about.

Ben


> ANALYSIS: GOVERNMENT AND IDF RACKED BY UNPRECEDENTED> LEADERSHIP CRISIS > By Jonathan Ariel August 9, 2006 > Relations between the country's political and> military leadership are at the > lowest point in the country's history, on the verge> of a crisis. In > addition, there is a growing lack of confidence> between Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, > the first CoS to hail from the air force, and many> of his general staff > colleagues from the ground forces, who say he and> his "blue clique" [blue being the > color of the air force uniform-ed] do not fully > appreciate the nature of > ground warfare. > According to informed sources, there is an almost> total breakdown in trust > and confidence between the General Staff and the> PM's office. They have > described the situation as "even worse than the> crises that followed Ben Gurion's > decision to disband the Palmach, and Golda Meir and> Moshe Dayan's cynical > decision to place all the blame for the Yom Kippur> fiasco on the IDF's shoulders. > > Senior IDF officers have been saying that the PM> bears sole responsibility > for the current unfavorable military situation, with> Hezbollah still holding > out after almost a month of fighting. > This plan was supposed to have begun with a surprise> air onslaught against > the Hezbollah high command in Beirut, before they> would have had time to > relocate to their underground bunkers. This was to> have been followed immediately > by large scale airborne and seaborne landing> operations, in order to get > several divisions on the Litani River line,> enabling them to outflank > Hezbollah's "Maginot line" in southern Lebanon. > According to these officers, Olmert was presented> with an assiduously > prepared and detailed operational plan for the> defeat and destruction of Hezbollah > within 10-14 days, which the IDF has been> formulating for the past 2-3 years. > > This plan was supposed to have begun with a surprise> air onslaught against > the Hezbollah high command in Beirut, before they> would have had time to > relocate to their underground bunkers. This was to> have been followed immediately > by large scale airborne and seaborne landing> operations, in order to get > several divisions on the Litani River line,> enabling them to outflank > Hezbollah's "Maginot line" in southern Lebanon. This> would have surprised Hezbollah, > which would have had to come out of its> fortifications and confront the IDF in > the open, in order to avoid being isolated, hunted> down and eventually > starved into a humiliating submission. > This was exactly what the IDF senior command wanted,> as Israeli military > doctrine, based on the Wehrmacht's blitzkrieg> doctrine, has traditionally been > one of rapid mobile warfare, designed to surprise> and outflank an enemy. > According to senior military sources, who have been > extensively quoted in > both the Hebrew media and online publications with> close ties to the country's > defense establishment, Olmert nixed the second half> of the plan, and > authorized only air strikes on southern Lebanon, not> initially on Beirut. > Although the Premier has yet to admit his decision,> let alone provide a > satisfactory explanation, it seems that he hoped> futilely for a limited war. A > prominent wheeler-dealer attorney-negotiator prior> to entering politics, he may > have thought that he could succeed by the military> option of filing a > lawsuit as a negotiating ploy, very useful when you> represent the rich and > powerful, as he always had. Another motive may have> been his desire to limit the > economic damage by projecting a limited rather than> total war to the > international financial powers that be. > Whatever his reasons, the bottom line, according to> these military sources, > is that he castrated the campaign during the crucial> first days. The decision > to not bomb Beirut immediately enabled Nasrallah to> escape, first to his > bunker, subsequently to the Iranian embassy in> Beirut. > The decision to cancel the landings on the Litani> River and authorize a very > limited call up of reserves forced the ground> forces to fight under very > adverse conditions. Instead of outflanking a> heavily fortified area with > overwhelming forcers, they had to attack from the> direction most expected, with > insufficient forces. The result, high casualties> and modest achievements. > This is the background of yesterday's surprise> effective dismissal of OC > northern Command Maj. General Udi Adam. According to> various media sources, > Olmert was incensed at Adam's remarks that he had> not been allowed to fight the > war that had been planned. Adam allegedly made these> remarks in response to > criticism against his running of the war, and the> results so far achieved. > Olmert's responsibility for inaction goes much> further. The US > administration had given Israel the green light to> attack Syria. A senior military source > has confirmed to Israel Insider that Israel did> indeed receive a green light > from Washington in this regard, but Olmert nixed> it. > The scenario was that Syria, no military match for> Israel, would face a rapid > defeat, forcing it to run to Iran, with which it> has a defense pact, to > come to aid. > Iran, which would be significantly contained by the> defeat of its sole ally > in the region, would have found itself maneuvered> between a rock and a hard > place. If it chose to honor its commitment to> Syria, it would face a war with > Israel and the US, both with military capabilities> far superior to Iran's. > If Teheran opted to default on its commitment to> Damascus, it would be > construed by the entire region, including the> restless Iranian population, as a > conspicuous show of weakness by the regime. Fascist> regimes such as that of the > ayatollahs cannot easily afford to show that kind> of weakness. > As previously mentioned, Iran's military> capabilities are no match for > Israel's. Bottom line, all Iran could do is to> launch missiles at and hit > Israel's cities, and try and carry out terror> attacks. If there is one thing history > has shown, it is that such methods do not win wars.> Israel would undoubtedly > suffer both civilian casualties and economic> damage, but these would not be > that much more than what we are already> experiencing. We have already > irreversibly lost an entire tourist season. Any> Iranian and Syrian missile > offensives would be relatively short, as they are> further form Israel, and therefore > would have to be carried out by longer range> missiles. These, by their very > nature are much bigger and more complex weapons than> Katyushas. They cannot be > hidden underground, and require longer launch> preparations, increasing their > vulnerability to air operations. In addition it is> precisely for such kinds > of missiles that the Arrow system was developed. > The end result would be some additional economic> damage, and probably around > 500 civilian casualties. It may sound cold blooded,> but Israel can afford > such casualties, which would be less than those> sustained in previous wars (for > the record, in 1948 Israel lost 6,000, 1% of the> entire population, and in > 1967 and 1973 we lost respectively 1,000 and 3,000 > casualties). > The gains, however, would be significant. The> Iranian nuclear threat, the > most dangerous existential threat Israel has faced > since 1948, would be > eliminated. It would also change the momentum, which> over the past two decades as > been with the ayatollahs. This could also have a> major impact on the PA, > hastening the demise of the Islamist Hamas> administration. > Instead, according to military sources, Israel> finds itself getting bogged > down by a manifestly inferior enemy, due to the> limitations placed on the IDF > by the political leadership. This has been> construed by the enemy as a clear > sign that Israel is in the hands of a leadership> not up to the task, lacking > the required experience, guts and willpower. In the> Middle East this is an > invitation to court disaster, as witness by Iran's> and Syria's increased > boldness in significantly upping the ante of their> involvement in the war. > Some senior officers have been mentioning the C-word> in private > conversations. They have been saying that a coup> d'etat might be the only way to prevent > an outcome in Lebanon that could embolden the Arab> world to join forces with > Syria and Iran in an all out assault on Israel,> given the fact that such a > development would be spurred entirely by the Arab> and Moslem world's perception > of Israel's leadership as weak, craven and> vacillating, and therefore ripe > for intimidation. > Seeing the once invincible IDF being stalemated by > Hezbollah's 3,000 troops > is a sure way to radiate an aura of weakness that in> the Middle East could > precipitate attacks by sharks smelling blood. > >

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