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Sunday, 06 August 2006 00:36

Israeli and Lebanese Civilians: Pawns in the Neo-Con "Great Game"

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Strategy for self-defense in modern times is like a chess game. It exists on a variety of levels, of which the use of military force should only be used sparingly and for achievable military objectives, not political ones.

After Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated by a right wing Israeli, the Likkud Party used fear to move Israel away from the Oslo Accords and peace. Instead, they chose, like Bush, to advocate military confrontation as the sole solution to the attack on Israel by extremist Palestinians.

Hezbollah and Hamas are basically well-armed gangs at this point, who are disciplined and well-supplied. Clearly the Likkud Policy that began with an assassination (although no one is accusing Likkud of being responsible for Rabin's death, they didn't particularly mourn his loss either) has been as about effective as Bush's policy in Iraq.

In both cases, it is foolhardy to believe that the entire Arab world will be "conquered" or defeated by U.S. and Israeli air power. That didn't work in Vietnam -- and it certainly is not going to work in the Middle East.

After Israel retaliated against Hezbollah for its killing of Israeli soldiers and kidnapping of two, the Israelis struck back with "shock and awe." The result has been that Hezbollah has unleashed a furious attack of rockets on Israel -- killing many -- and Israel has killed even more civilians in Lebanon. The fighting has been reduced to trench warfare, with the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) making little progress and suffering many casualties (they had already retreated from the Lebanon quagmire once a few years back).

In the modern world, public relations, negotiation and the perception of force counts for a lot more than ineffective trench warfare.

That's a lesson that both the Neo-Con Busheviks (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Their Puppet George W.) have not learned. Olmert, who despite being head of the new Kadima Party, is really following the Netanyahu anti-peace ("rejectionist") agenda is failing as miserably as Bush has.

Under Rabin, Barak and Clinton, Israel came tantalizing close to a peace treaty with the Palestinians and a Palestinian state that could be held accountable for its behavior as a nation (even with the corrupt and devious Arafat as its head). The Likkud faction in Israel has been as much a failure as the Neo-Cons. They believe that the iron fist is the only solution to every problem.

One tragic irony is that Israel, as a result of the peace moves that began with Jimmy Carter, Sadat and the "old warhorse turned peace agreement signer" Begin have saved Israel from wars reminiscent of the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War.

At that time, all the Arab nations in the Middle East joined in battle against Israel. Now it has peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt (however tenuous they may be) -- and no Arab nation is currently attacking Israel, despite its war with Hezbollah and destruction of the Lebanon infrastructure.

BuzzFlash has offered the notion several times that what is happening in Lebanon is a proxy war. The Busheviks, due to the coming mid-term elections and a public mood against extending the Iraq debacle into Iran and Syria, was -- and probably still is -- hoping that Iran and/or Syria would be drawn into the Israeli assault in Lebanon. This would then allow the Israelis to launch air attacks on either or both of those nations, particularly since Hezbollah largely exists because of Iranian financial backing. In the right circumstances, it might even give Cheney and Rumsfeld an excuse to justify U.S. air attacks on either and both nations.

If you look at the Hezbollah attack on an IDF outpost in Israel and the ensuing war through that prism, both the Israeli public and the Lebanese civilians are pawns in a Neo-Con great game that began with the invasion of Iraq.

Israel should be ensured its safety and well-being, but as the Washington Post reports today, many Israelis are now wondering about the wisdom of Olmert's apparent folly into Lebanon. Hezbollah shouldn't be allowed to launch rockets into Israel, but Olmert has increased the threats to Israelis, not decreased them.

It sounds a lot like the failed Neo-Con policy in the Iraq, because it IS a lot like the failed Neo-Con policy in the Iraq.

The Palestinians have their extremists, and so does Israel. This includes the large number of settlers who were sympathetic to the assassination of Rabin and the Netanyahu "no peace, just conquest" extreme Likkudniks.

Both policies are doomed to failure.

It is most unfortunate for the Middle East, Israel and peace that the Hezbollah gang has turned out, at this juncture, to play a better game of chess than Olmert.

And most tragically, it is the pawns (civilians) on the board who are suffering the most.