News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: The Horror... the Horror

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Horror... the Horror

I've been posting at Pat Lang's excellent blog Sic Semper Tyrannis. In response to his posting on what he's calling the Tabouleh Line, I've gone off the deep end and given in to paranoid brainstorming. Maybe it's my reading of The Machiavellian Moment, maybe it's angst related to the world going to hell in a hand basket. Maybe it's even sorrow over the death of the American Dream. ...

I started out with the following:

What are the chances that the Israelis are playing 'possum here? That is, they are giving the impression that they are losing so that the UN will try to mediate a cease-fire. Knowing that Hizbullah is feeling overly confident, perhaps the Israelis are counting on the notion that Hizbullah will break the ceasefire. Once this occurs, the Israelis can then take off the kid gloves and really begin their offensive.

My reasons for bringing this (remote) possibility into play is that I believe, along with several others (including Steve Clemons, Luttwak, and Alexandrovna), that the Israeli invasion was planned as a way to get the US to invade Syria/Iran. If this hypothetical were true, then Israel perhaps has every intention to make it look as though it is pressing forward to the Litani and beyond as a defensive strategy.

Escalating the war in this way would perhaps make it very difficult for Iran/Syria to sit it out on the sidelines.

Many hypotheticals here, I admit. The major assumption is that this war was started not as a response to Hizbullah capture of Israeli soldiers but an attempt to get the US more involved vis a vis the alleged puppet-masters Syria/Iran.
Okay, that's not as strong as I thought it was. So I really jump into the fire with this one:
The obverse of my prior theory is a bit wilder. With the UN resolution under consideration, a cease-fire seems imminent. If it passes and French and other countries, along with Lebanese troops, secure southern Lebanon Hizbullah will be effectively neutralized.

One of the arguments put forward by Helena Cobban against the US invading Iran is Hizbullah rockets. Should the US or Israel attack Iran, this line of thinking goes, Iran would order Hizbullah to attack Israel. Ergo, Israel and the US would not risk attacking Iran.

Assuming that Israel, Lebanon, and Hizbullah abide by the UN ceasefire, French troops will ensure that Hizbullah does not pose this threat to northern Israel any longer.

With their northern front secured, Israel/US can now attack Iran without that concern. They are now emboldened to carry out the Israel and neocon dream of disposing of the Iranian threat anytime--some are suggesting an October surprise--they wish.

The irony of this perhaps fanciful scenario is that the French would have been dragged into the "war on terror" without having wanted to get involved. Of course, the fact that the French are there in southern Lebanon might prove to stop all of this from occurring.
In response to the last assertions, another commenter raised objections to which I responded:
I understand that HB could continue its rocket attacks on Israel, should it wish to break any cease-fire should Israel/US attack Iran. I guess you'd have a further crisis within Lebanon which could or would fracture that society.

That is, how would the Lebanese army respond to the breaking of the ceasefire? If they refused to act, then Israel would have to deal with it. If, on the other hand, the Lebanese actually do take on HB, you're back at civil war which effectively neutralizes HB.

I don't know how Iran would do against the US Navy. If memory serves me, Navy brass have expressed confidence in the past that they can handle anything Exocet missiles. The notion of an Iranian navy is of course laughable.

The question is whether Iran could jam up the straits themselves by sinking a ship or two there. That assumes that they can a ship close enough to do that or have the technology to take out one. Supposedly, the US has wargamed this and they have come up with contingency plans.

I've been arguing--somewhat fancifully perhaps--that Cheney/Rumsfeld are selling the idea that Iraq is "sufficiently contained" and that US troops do not have much to worry about there. If they need to, they can simply retreat behind the fences of their super-bases and let the Sunnis-Shiites kill each other. These bases are supposed to be huge and with sufficient air cover are probably impregnable to everything except maybe an army of a million.

Of course, I exaggerate, but I really think that this is what the Pentagon is saying these days. This model rests on the notion that order within Iraq is not the be all and end all of the strategy. A contained, implosive instability within Iraq is all that the US troops need.

Most people seem to think that the strategy in the Mideast is to promote peace by way of policeman-like stability. I disagree. I think that one way of thinking--by those who might wish to do this--is to bring about peace by igniting the region in unrest. The Pentagon is smart enough--haha--to know that the rift between Sunnis and Shiites is lethal. Why not exploit that hatred to bring about a situation in which they direct their hatred at each other rather than us? Once attrition does its job, the US can then move in to pick up the pieces and impose a more lasting peace.

I know. This is all too simplistic.
Pat's been kind enough to allow this stuff to be posted at his blog.

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