A few day’s ago, Arthur posted the following comment in the old Marwan Barghouti thread. I’m reposting it here, followed by my own thoughts about current events in Gaza.
The hazards of prediction are well exposed in two articles published here by me, last year: How goes the war for greater Israel? (June) and Marwan Barghouti: 25 August! In both articles, I stuck my neck out by predicting that the Israelis were about to release Marwan Barghouti. Trends are one thing, but the confusion of general trends with the ability to predict even the next week’s actual events is quite another! The conclusion I draw is the familiar one, to be written by me 100 times on the blackboard.
I must not draw any direct conclusions from general policies.
Now where was I? Oh yes.
Marwan Barghouti has now become the central player in the eyes of the competing Israeli leadership as they have just launched a war to smash Hamas, and in doing so cut Abbas adrift to go the way of Olmert. Like Bush and Howard, they are now yesterdays men.
The Israeli leadership intends to make it possible for this soon-to-be released and rapidly emerging leader of the Palestinian people to reintegrate Hamasstan with the West Bank during the coming handover period. They want to hand over not just the West Bank piece by piece, but also the Gaza strip, piece by piece, once they have cut it up again.
We really are now in the end stage of the failed war for greater Israel. The next stage will be the establishment of an Israeli goverment that can legitimately conclude the war in the eyes of its own people.
IMV, the assault by Israeli ground forces won’t risk going in deep enough to bring on dozens of Israeli casualties (that would mostly certainly give Netanyahu the next election). That means that there will be depth for retreat to urban centers, as the Israelis methodically advance. But Gaza will be cut up , surrounded and subjected to a brutal siege.
Surprise cannot be meaningfully achieved in this type of war (without finding yourself deep in where you don’t want to be, engaged in Stalingrad rubble fighting and taking far more casualties than you have to). The Israelis intend to take control of open ground, and surround urban centers. They are not playing close and kill, but stand off and butcher. So surprise is not required of the ground force. Rather, brutal artillery work is required.
Given that that 40 years on, it’s actually quite clear that Israel has lost this war, the current military operation is not trying for conventional “victory”. Israeli forces will demonstrate their brutal artillery might but will do nothing which risks substantial casualties on their own side. However, they do intend to smash Hamas, and that means that Abbas will be the collateral damage. As far as I can see, Abbas is virtually finished. The popular imprisoned leader, Marwan Barghouti , is now ‘the great hope’.
But what of the current outrage in the context of my remarks last year, in How goes the war for greater Israel? ?
The obvious answer as we head to the 42nd anniversary of this war, is more than just ‘not good’. The reality is that this damn war has failed and what we are seeing now is the grotesque and murderous march of the undead Zombies / Zionists. This war reflects Barak’s personality, in that while it is tremendously one-sided, it is still high risk.
What a difference from the way things looked six days after this war was launched! Forty years (and many thousands of Palestinian, plus some thousands of Israeli lives) later, the ‘victory’ has now clearly gone the other way. But still, we are right in the midst of yet another murderous Zionist attack on the Palestinian people. How does this make sense? What are they up to?
Arthur said ‘…the parallels with both the previous murderous assault on Lebanon, and Nixon’s Christmas bombing of Hanoi again strike me as eerie.’
Contrary to Arthur, I don’t think that in Lebanon, Olmert was trying to demonstrate to Israeli public opinion that continuing the war is all “quite hopeless” and it’s time to “back off generally”. The way Olmert conducted that stage of the war, just put him in an enormous political hole. I think it is better explained by seeing the Israeli leaders as just typical reactionaries. In that case they reacted, their inflated view of themselves mcausing them to believe that they were still capable of dishing it out, as in the past. (Much like Bush, even when on the right side). So they rushed in, copped some grief, and were forced to regroup and take every opportunity to end that front of the failed war, as soon as they got the opportunity. I’m thinking it’s more like walking and chewing gum.
Arthur says; ‘The main point of outraging world opinion by the Xmas bombing of Hanoi was to prepare the way for agreeing to withdraw completely only a few weeks later. Such gestures disorient the diehards on one’s own side by keeping them so busy defending the indefensible that they lack energy, inclination or credibility for obstructing the subsequent “triumphant” or “defiant” retreat.’
In fact, the US would have already have done the deal since it was settled in October. In my view, Nixon launched the Christmas bombing in order to mislead the leadership of South Vietnam (who were successfully misled by it).
It’s worth looking at this newly released audio of Nixon and Kissinger discussing the Christmas bombing, just declassified as far as I can tell, that’s well worth a listen (took me ten times to hear it all. Anyone want to transcribe it?).
Anyway, although I don’t know for sure about Nixon’s motives, I do know that imperialist disregard for the lives of common people, as they order this or that “show of force”, can still amaze me.
Yet for all that, I am trapped with a firm understanding (that I’m sure I share with the political leaders in Israel), that the war for greater Israel remains a failed war!
Nevertheless, they still have to get it ended, and in order to do so, they have to hold power. Olmert couldn’t get it done and will go down in history for having failed. Nixon did not fail. But then Nixon was a president, and Olmert, only a PM.
I don’t know how bad this latest round of Zionist bastardry will get, but the Israeli spokespeople say it’s going to go on for some time. Since I don’t have solid grounds to doubt them, I suspect it could get quite a bit worse, although I hope it won’t. After seven days, there are already around 500 dead, and the attacks have been designed neither to please the international community, nor to win any Palestinian hearts and minds, wherever they live. What’s more, it’s been clear from the beginning that there’s no chance that such attacks can achieve what the Israeli government says it wants. So what is it all about? When will there be enough killing and destruction for the Israeli government to claim victory, withdraw, and then implement the policy changes that it must.
This is both a strategic war and an election war. They may get a truce in a couple of weeks and that would hold till after the elections, or they may keep butchering all the way through to that election. Provided there are few Israeli casualties, the whole affair can still be framed as an Israeli victory. There’s a good chance that it will have the effect of convincing the Israeli electorate that the current government is as tough as is required, and that Netanyahu would be unable to do anything tougher.
I suspect there is a grim determination on the part of the Israeli leadership to leave a death toll in Gaza that well tops the 1,000 mark. I also believe this mass slaughter has been planned for some time. (This makes it unlike Lebanon where they quickly, and with a degree of overconfidence, reacted to events. They now have that experience to draw on and will be engaging with far more strategy. Also the terrain is different and the enemy less well armed and prepared). Their war planners will have presented the grim figures of the death toll achievable in Gaza with even a limited ground assault. )
It’s quite clear to me that the Israeli government is currently more than just divided. They have been pushed by Barak into giving him a good shot at being the next PM. They are all prepared to take some risks with the direction in which the Palestinian people may swing because they know that in the end, they can do the deal and release Barghouti. He is clearly capable of doing the job of pulling the entire Palestinian people together in the way required for a Palestinian State to get up and running. Knowing this, allows the Israelis feel free to continue targeting Hamas until they get what they already have got!
In order to actually “defeat’ Hamas, Israel would have force the concession from them that the ceasefire be permanent or Gaza will be handed bit by bit back to the PA. However as I understand it, that won’t be on offer, other than in a formulation that the occupation is ended and such a deal be submitted to a referendum.
Arthur says; ‘The only plausible “exit plan” I can see is that both sides agree on an actual permanent ceasefire, with Gaza’s borders open instead of still under an absurdly prolonged Israeli occupation blockade, long after the Israeli occupation became completely untenable.”
International monitoring is all about monitoring borders between enemies, so I take all this talk of monitoring as the Israelis declaring that they want to stop, and that they will not violate the Palestinian border any more, and keep killing at will, as a aggressive power of occupation, provided that the PA in partnership with Hamas, agrees to suppress any force like Islamic Jihad etc which wants to launch attacks against Israel. Monitors are not much good for the now friendly Egyptian border. They just won’t work, and wouldn’t do so even if Mubarak was a strong leader and not already heading for the scrap heap.
I suppose that Arthur is correct in saying:
‘That gets seen as victory for Israel and defeat for Hamas by those who want to see things that way, just as the Vietnamese were supposed to have been bombed into allowing the Americans to withdraw with honour, and Hezbollah was forced to let the Israelis stay out of Lebanon, and forced to join the Lebanese government!’
As I’ve already mentioned, this latest atrocity is clearly in the interests of Ehud Barak et al. Provided it can be carried off with minimal Israeli casualties, it will have the effect of demonstrating that an alternative (Netanyahu led) government could not produce a tougher response to the pin prick Hamas rockets.
Of course those rockets continue because Israel continues not to uphold a truce with Hamas AND the continuing occupation has created a massive, angry prison right alongside Israel. This problem won’t go away until the failed war for greater Israel has been brought to an end. None of these politicians really believe that there’s any other solution. It just hasn’t happened because the Israeli politicians can’t get the numbers right to both do the required deal and hold on to personal political power. So hundreds more Palestinians get slaughtered because this Zombie leadership is unable to get its act together .
So several years on from 9/11 we repeat the now all too familiar question “how goes the war for greater Israel?’ and everyone answers yet AGAIN ‘not good’. But still no finality.
This Zionist bastardry is going to harm Abbas, and the Zionists don’t care because he is yesterday’s man. It’s going to harm Mubarak, and they don’t care because he is also yesterday’s man. It will upset the Lebanese and the Syrians, but they don’t mind because the same deal will be done with them happy or not happy. It can’t be a way of shutting the Gaza prison even tighter because it will have exactly the opposite effect since the Egyptian side of the border will become even ‘blinder’ in practice, monitors or no monitors. The prison wall can’t be established again so that can’t be the goal of this action.
I say it’s both an election stunt and yet another stage in the failed war. With regard to the latter, it seems to be an attempt to dismember Hamastan (to the extent they can) and prepare the way for an integrated Palestinian state.
And no, I didn’t predict this. But nevertheless this entire stream of events remains best explained as part of the endgame of the war for greater Israel . I think we are almost certainly now viewing the last scenes of the final Act. But….