[News] The IDF Will Become Even More Violent

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 25 11:32:52 EDT 2006


http://www.counterpunch.org/

July 25, 2006


The IDF Will Become Even More Violent


Why Israel is Losing

By ASHRAF ISMA'IL

The world is witnessing what could be a critical turning point in the 
Arab-Israeli conflict.  Israel is now engaged in a war that could 
permanently undermine the efficacy of its much-vaunted military apparatus.

Ironically, there are several reasons for believing that Israel's 
destruction of southern Lebanon and  southern Beirut will weaken its 
bargaining position relative to its adversaries, and will strengthen 
its adversaries' hands.

First, Israel has no clearly defined tactical or strategic objective, 
and so the Israeli offensive fails the first test of military logic: 
there is no way that Israel's actions can improve its position 
relative to Hamas or Hizballah, much less Syria or Iran.

The logic of power politics also implies that a no-win situation for 
Israel is a definite loss, because Israel is the stronger party and 
thus has the most to lose.  In an asymmetric war, the stronger party 
always has the most to lose, in terms of reputation and in terms of 
its ability to project its will through the instruments of force.

The lack of any clearly defined objective is a major miscalculation 
by Israel and its American patron.

Second, Israel cannot eliminate Hizballah, since Hizballah is a 
grassroots organization that represents a plurality of Lebanese 
society. Neither can Hamas be eliminated for the same reason.  By 
targeting Hizballah however, Israel is strengthening Hizballah's hand 
against its domestic rivals, such as the Maronite Christians, 
because  any open Christian opposition makes them look like traitors 
and Israeli collaborators.

Consequently, while Hizballah will obviously pay a short-term 
tactical cost  that is very high, in the long run, this conflict 
demonstrates that it is Hizballah, and not the Lebanese government, 
that has the most power in Lebanon.

The Shia represent an estimated 35-40 per cent of  Lebanese  society, 
while Lebanese Christians are thought to constitute no more than 
25-30per cent of the entire population.  Furthermore, the Shia 
community's fertility rate is thought to be far higher than that of 
the other religious components  within Lebanon.

Thus, the current confessional division of power in Lebanon, which 
grants Christians a political position that goes far beyond their 
minority status, is ultimately unsustainable, which means that the 
Maronite Christians will lose even more power, and the Shia and 
Hizballah will inevitably gain more power.

Third, Israel's failure to achieve anything at all greatly enhances 
Syria's influence over Lebanon and  its bargaining position relative 
to the U.S. and Israel itself.  No solution in Lebanon can exclude 
Syria, and so now the U.S. and Israelis need Syria's approval, which 
certainly weakens both the U.S. and Israel.

And  even Israel's accusations against Iran, although largely 
baseless, greatly enhance  Iran's prestige in the region, and may 
bring about exactly what the Israelis are trying to prevent.  While 
the Arab states look like traitors, Iran looks like a champion of the 
most celebrated of all Muslim causes.

Fourth, Bush's impotence is a clear demonstration that America has 
lost a great deal of global power over the last three years.  If Bush 
cannot control Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, or Israel, then what 
real power does  the world's "hyper-power" possess?  America's 
inability to influence any of the actors that are relevant to the 
current crisis is yet more evidence that America's foreign policy is 
a form of global suicide.

Fifth, the age of great power warfare has been replaced by a world in 
which great powers must live and compete with non-state actors who 
possess considerable military capabilities.  William Lind calls this 
transformation "4th generation warfare."

Consequently, the  age  of  Bismarckian warfare, or what William Lind 
refers to as "3rd generation warfare," is effectively 
over.  "Bismarckian warfare" is a term that describes large-scale 
wars fought by large-scale armies, which require national systems of 
military conscription, a significant population base, and enormous 
military budgets.

Bismarckian warfare seems to have become ineffective in the 
Arab-Israeli context, because Israel no longer poses the threat that 
it once did to the Arab regimes, and the Arab regimes much prefer 
Israel to the rising non-state actors growing within their own borders.

William Lind has also argued that non-state actors such as Hamas and 
Hizballah can checkmate the Israelis as long as these Muslim parties 
never formally assume power.  If Muslim parties were to assume the 
power of states, then they would immediately become targets for 
traditional Bismarckian warfare.  However, as long as Muslim 
movements retain theirnon-state identity, they are strategically unconquerable.

Sixth, we must more carefully study the reasons why Bismarckian 
warfare is no longer effective.

The global diffusion of the news outlets is obviously important for 
understanding why Bismarckian warfare has become so ineffective.  For 
instance, Hizballah has its own media network, and can draw upon the 
global satellite network to get its message out, and can also use the 
global media to take advantage  of  Israel's targeting of civilians 
and civilian infrastructure.

Further, the competition between Arab and Muslim satellite channels 
is also important, because  each station wants to demonstrate its 
sincerity by spreading news that is not only critical of Israel and 
the U.S., but ultimately undermines people's trust in the Arab 
regimes and thereby lends legitimacy to non-state actors.

And although the American media largely supports Israel, the 
information about the Americans stranded in Lebanon limits Israel's 
freedom of action, and makes Israel look like it cares nothing for 
the lives of American citizens.

At an even deeper level, the rate and density of global information 
transfer, and lack of any centralized control over the global 
distribution of information, is causing the fabric of space  and time 
to contract, and so Israel's crimes can much more quickly create a 
global backlash.

Time and space, as we experience them, are contracting because the 
global diffusion of technical and scientific knowledge is permitting 
events in one part of the world to increasingly influence events in 
other parts of the world, and events that once took years or even 
decades to unfold can now occur within mere months or weeks.

As a consequence, the disenfranchised peoples of the world are 
developing the ability to affect the lives of the more privileged 
members of humanity, which means that anything that Israel does to 
the Palestinians or Lebanese will have effects upon Israel that are 
more direct and more negative than ever before, and that further, 
these effects will occur in an accelerated time scale.

Thus, as it becomes self evident that Israeli military power is no 
longer as effective as it once was, this will surely accelerate the 
flow of Jewish settlers out of Israel.  Information regarding 
emigration of Jews out of Israel is a closely guarded secret, but 
using Israeli government statistics, we can infer that immigration to 
Israel has rapidly declined over the last several years, and that 
Israel may even be experiencing a net outflow of Jewish migrants. 
According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of 
Jewish immigrants to Israel declined to 21,000 in 2004, which is a 
15-year low.  In 2005, the number of immigrants rose slightly to 
23,000, which is still dramatically lower than the 60,000 that 
immigrated in 2000. Furthermore, Israel became a net exporter of its 
citizens in 2003, when9,000 more Israelis left the country than 
entered, and in the first two months of 2004, this figure rose to 13,000.

The global micro-diffusion of military technology is also critical, 
and so military innovation and its global diffusion will only 
strengthen grassroots rebellions and allow them to more effectively 
resist the instruments of Bismarckian control, as well as the 
depredations of the military hippopotami that are the ultimate 
guarantors of statism and statist regimes.

For all of these reasons, Israeli attempts to impose terms on 
Lebanon, or to redraw the political map of Lebanon, or even to impose 
a NATO  force upon Southern Lebanon, are not militarily feasible nor 
politically achievable, and if attempted, will prove ultimately unsustainable.

As will soon be demonstrated  by events on the ground, Israel will 
not be able to destroy or even disarm Hizballah.  Neither will Hamas, 
Hizballah, Lebanon, or Syria permit Israel or America to dictate 
terms to them. Consequently, if Israel lingers too long in Southern 
Lebanon, its presence will be paid for at such a high cost, that it 
will be forced to withdraw in ignominy, as it has so many times in the past.

In the end however, Israel's loss of power will make it even more 
dangerous, because  the more threatened the Israelis feel, the more 
likely they will launch destructive wars against the Palestinians and 
Israel's other adversaries.

Finally, the same can be said of the U.S., with respect to its loss 
of global power.  Instead of becoming more careful with its use of 
force, the erosion of America's global dominance will likely make the 
U.S. government more aggressive, as it attempts to re-assert its 
former position relative to its adversaries and competitors.

And it is precisely because America and Israel are losing influence 
over global events, that an American attack  upon Iran in 2007 
becomes more likely.

God help us all.

Ashraf Isma'il is an academic whose interests range from 
international relations, international economics and international 
finance, to global history and mathematical models of geo-strategy.


The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
www.freedomarchives.org 
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/news_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20060725/0782fb14/attachment.html>


More information about the News mailing list