In the name of Allah, the Merciful to all, the Compassionate
I once had a discussion with one of my friends who is the son of a late RCAF fighter pilot, killed in World War II. Because of his father, he knew many in the military/intelligence community. At that time, he was very adamant about how Mossad and other Israeli intelligent services are superior to the western ones, let alone third world middle eastern countries. If you search on the internet, you will find many articles about how Jews are smarter than other ethnicities, and their IQ is 10 to 15 points above the average. Especially Ashkenazic Jews of European origins, who form a majority of migrated Israeli citizens.
On the other hand, I did not buy this, because I can name many occasions when Israelis shot themselves in the foot. Their strategy, if one can call it that, is to create a beast and then slay that beast in such a brutal and professional way that teaches everybody else a lesson. And when they find that the beast of their own creation grows in such a way that they cannot slay it, they have temper tantrums and blame others.
“Any example?”, you might ask.
Of course, the Gaza disengagement is a very clear example of that. Former prime minister Ariel Sharon pulled out of Gaza in 2005 to divide Palestinians into two factions, in order to sow discord among them and conquer them easily. But Gazans learned from Hezbollah how to conduct a successful resistance, and therefore Israel can never conquer Gaza again, even with all of its military might.
Another example is how Israelis force Iranians to put their boots on the vicinity of Golan borders. Decades ago some IRGC commanders asked Hafez Assad to let them to have a small military base in Syria. The late Assad did not give them that permission, on the grounds that they would come in small numbers, and make troubles with Israel. Not being strong enough to handle the trouble, Syrian forces would have to pay the price. Assad’s conditional agreement was to allow them to have a base, only if they officially commit to keep at least two divisions of Iranian forces there, ready to fight on the frontlines in the case of war.
Obviously Iran could not afford to keep such a big force over there idly. At the time, they had to fight with the capable and well-equipped Iraqi army on their very own borders; and compensate their lack of equipment with man-power. In all the years after the 8-year Iran/Saddam war, establishing a base in Syria was a forgotten dream for Iranian commanders – until CIA/Mossad did their best to create ISIS/Daesh, and support any other Al-Qaeda affiliated groups, like Al-Nusra, in Syria and Iraq.
At a first glance the plan looks very clever: instigating the Middle Eastern version of the Thirty Years War, between Sunni and Shiite factions, as Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, branded it. But it was obvious that this plan is not going as well as they intended. Firstly, it does not take that long. Secondly, it would have a clear winner. Thirdly, these terrorist groups gave Shiite militants a very good reason to establish their presence in Sunni lands. In some cases, Sunni tribes invited them to be there to help repel these relentless terrorist groups.
The so-called Israeli master-minds really thought they could topple Bashar Al-Assad through such a dumb plan, and create an order out of chaos there. Now, Iranian troops are invited by the legitimate and elected government of Syria, to fight terrorism on Israel’s doorstep – and Israel cannot do anything about it. I wonder if anybody asks strategists, like Mr. Haass, why they consider themselves so clever.
Now Israelis have two choices: the easy way is through diplomatic channels. They can put pressure on the Syrian government to reduce Iranian presence there. Iran’s economy is not in good shape, and many Iranian officials oppose keeping their troops abroad. So, if CIA/Mossad do not support terrorist groups there, and just leave Syrians/Iranians alone, they have no motivation to stay in Syria. The hard way, which is really dumb, is to attack Iranian bases in Syria, or maybe some targets in mainland Iran. Israelis have temper tantrums if they can’t get their own way, so I am sure they will choose the dumbest option. By attacking Iranian assets in Syria, they become aggressors, and are considered a legitimate target for retaliation. Due to Iranian presence there, this conflict may turn to a war of attrition, and Israel’s psychological situation is not ready for it.
Another indication of Israeli leaders’ childish understanding, is what Netanyahu said on Wednesday from the newly named Shimon Peres Nuclear Research Center in Dimona:
“Shimon aspired toward peace, but he knew that true peace can be achieved only if our hands strongly grasp defensive weaponry”
“In the Middle East, and in many parts of the world, there is a simple truth: there is no place for the weak. The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history, while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong.”
What is childish about what he said is he really considers his Nuclear arsenal as a synonym for strength. A nuclear arsenal may be considered as an element of strength for some countries, but for Israel it’s totally different. Israel has no strategic depth. It just takes two nukes, or a few missiles with chemical warheads, to wipe out the whole country. For the rest of survivors, it’s just a triathlon race to escape; Israelis rarely have motivation to fight to the death.
For me, strength is a combination of strategic patience, tolerance, common sense, and a sense of co-existence, along with military might. Missing any of these elements makes military might useless. For Israel, as a tiny entity, the sense of co-existence is far more important than nukes.
Another childish remark by Netanyahu in that speech is the following:
“Just yesterday, we saw the fruit of this pressure in remarks by the Iranian president, who said that many among the Iranian people have lost hope in the future and strength of Iran, due to the resumption of economic sanctions”
What the Iranian president actually is saying is “the damage is serious, and someone must foot the bill”. What Netanyahu is saying is “pick me, pick me!”. He is begging for trouble, and seemingly he will get it, big time!.