thank you for that most interesting explanation of why Hizballah may indeed, as Nicolas Noe suggested in Asia Times last month 'believe that the next war can and should be the last one between
and its enemies.' Israel
What you write, however, has the effect of further inflaming a suspicion which has been growing steadily stronger in me over the past weeks -- that the situation in the
Middle Eastis rather like a smouldering volcano. It may not erupt, but could well do so, and if it did, the eruption might come suddenly and unexpectedly, generating a conflict which could escalate out of control, possibly with totally catastrophic results.
And the likelihood of catastrophe is, I think, greatly increased by the fact that many people are living in a fool's paradise, and do not grasp quite how dangerous the situation
A key part of the background here I take to be the change in Israeli attitudes described in the seminal 2008 Middle East Policy article 'Abandoning the Iron Wall:
and the "Middle Eastern Muck"' by Ian Lustick. Israel
The fundamental change whose implications Lustick explores in this paper is the effective abandonment over the last few years of the 'Iron Wall' conception, which Jabotinsky set out in 1925, and which was the basis of Israeli policy until recently. In essence, this conception involved bludgeoning the Arabs into accepting that
could not be destroyed, as a prelude to negotiated accommodations. Israel
What has now replaced this, Lustick argues, is an image of
as an isolated outpost of Western civilisation, in an Arab/Muslim world with which no accommodation is possible. And this change opens up all kinds of possibilities for catastrophe. Israel
According to Lustick, Israelis are 'coming to see the Middle East as a whole the way they came to see
in the 1980s.' A 'natural feature of this overall outlook,' he writes, is: Lebanon
'an image of the Arab/Muslim world, and the Palestinians in particular, as irrational, brutal and violent, imbued with intractably anti-Semitic hatreds fortified by deeply anti-Western, Muslim-fundamentalist fanaticism.'
This is relevant to the point made -- very fairly -- by Fred and 'different clue', that all kinds of other factors are involved in the increasing propensity of Israelis to emigrate, besides the growing military capabilities of Hizballah and
While that is clearly so, the evidence presented by Lustick suggests that apprehensions about the security situation are an increasingly important motivation in causing Israelis to think their future may lie elsewhere. And this is, surely, not surprising. For implicit in this view of
as an isolated frontier post in a 'civilisational war' is an obvious question as to whether it makes sense to stay there. Why live on Hadrian's Wall, when one could live in Israel Rome-- or , or indeed Londonium, as it once was called? Seville
A further effect of this image of the 'Arab/Muslim world' as 'irrational, brutal and violent', obviously, is to make the increasing military capabilities of Hizballah and Iran look yet more threatening than they would otherwise seem. It may indeed be that, as 'different clue' suggests, if the Israelis decided 'to think very slowly and clearly' they could live with these.
But if one sees the possessors of these capabilities in the terms in which Lustick suggests that Israelis see the whole 'Arab/Muslim world', then the threat does indeed come to seem 'existential' -- and the collapse into the all-too-easy and catastrophic analogy with genocidal aspirations of Nazi Germans follows.
What further follows is that even a perfectly 'rational' Israeli strategist may be right in perceiving the threat from Hizballah rockets and possible Iranian nuclear weapons as 'existential' -- because if people believe it to be so, it becomes so.
In a kind of vicious circle, the maximalist definition of Israeli security requirements which results further diminishes the possibility of the kind of grudging acceptance of the presence of a Zionist 'settler state' from the 'Arab/Muslim world' which the 'Iron Wall' conception made the basis of Israeli strategy.
So the route down which
has chosen to go makes it, from Nasrallah's point of view, too dangerous -- and perhaps also too sheerly insulting -- to be accorded even grudging acceptance. And at the same time, it has also opened up the possibility of a perfectly 'rational' strategy to exploit the fears of Israelis to cause the state to self-destruct. Israel
However, it seems to me that both their dramatic successes against Israel, and the fact that these do make it eminently possible to conceive of a strategy which will cause the settler state to self-destruct, may be inducing in Hizballah a combination alike of hubris and exaggerated -- or perhaps it would be better to say misdirected -- fear..." (continue/ here)
Saturday, May 1, 2010
"...It has to be demonstrated that Israel cannot now & in the future, destroy the retaliatory capability of Hizballah..."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 10:13 AM