Thursday, July 27, 2006


some bloggers (e.g.) are saying that israel is beginning to panic that they just might lose this war they've unleashed on lebanon. i'm not sure if it's true, but i don't blame them if they're starting to feel that way. it's two weeks into the conflict. one week ago the israelis said that 50% of hezbollah's arsenal was destroyed. at that rate they should be done by now.

instead we're hearing a completely different story:
He [israeli general gantz] added, "We have a long way to go and a lot to achieve," though he would not talk about how many villages needed to be cleared of Hezbollah fighters. Israeli Army officers are saying that it is probably unrealistic to expect that the military can wipe out Hezbollah’s well-hidden and widespread arsenal, which was believed to have contained more than 10,000 missiles when the fighting began.

General Gantz conceded that it would be difficult to stop the rockets that have menaced northern Israel with purely military means, noting that the launchers are mobile and easily hidden and can be fired remotely or with timers.

Another officer, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press, noted that even if Israel managed to destroy 50 or 60 percent of those rockets, there would still be enough left to keep up the current pace of roughly 100 rockets a day for weeks.

"All Hezbollah has to do to win, is not lose," another officer said.
as i said from the beginning, i don't know how this offensive could possibly benefit israel in the long run. the original goal of the operation--freeing the captured soldiers and stopping hezbollah rocket attacks--have clearly not been met. yesterday 130 rockets hit northern israel. i think that's a new record. and i'm not sure if anyone is even trying to secure the freedom of those two soldiers anymore. if they are, bombing any areas where hezbollah might be is not the way to do it. the israelis talk about a new security zone in southern lebanon, but then later deny that they want to reoccupy any part of the country. they seem completely lost. the conflict seems to have taken on a logic of its own. i'm not sure if the israelis even know how to stop without it looking like a defeat.

the other night at drinking liberally a friend of mine had an interesting theory. he said he thought that olmert expected the bush administration to reign them in by now. for the past few decades the u.s. has tried to position itself as a peace broker and would insert itself into these conflicts to obtain a cease fire and allow a negotiated settlement. if that happened, then olmert could prove he can take tough actions by starting the conflict and could then blame the u.s. for cutting it off prematurely. and still he could claim credit for making a "tough choice" between israel's military goals and loyalty to its most important ally. but instead the bush administration has broken from prior u.s. policy and given israel a green light without conditions. there's no one to pull back on israel's leash and olmert is stuck in a predicament that may not have a way out.

anyway, it's just a theory. i'm not sure if it's right, but its one i've been mulling over recently. unless either the u.s. or israel change their position on a cease fire, i don't see any end to this conflict anytime soon. and that's not at all in israel's long-term interests