Friday, July 21, 2006

Here we go, again.

Crystal ball time, dear readers. Actually, it doesn't take a supernatural ability to foresee the future to figure out what is probably going to happen next in the Middle East. What it takes is an appreciation for the central role of human conflict in the history of civilization (or lack thereof in this case). War, in one shape or another, is the norm for mankind.

First, lets look at what is liable to happen in the latest campaign in the Arab--Israeli Long War. By all accounts, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is preparing to mount a limited invasion into Southern Lebanon with the operational objective of eliminating the cabability of Hezbollah to fire rockets and conduct raids into Northern Israel. Israel's strategic objective is to gain as long a period of peace as possible for its citizens. It won't be a permanent peace. In order to accomplish that, the IDF would have to invade Syria and bring down the Assad Bathist dictatorship (Saddam-lite). While Israel has the cabability, it does not have the will to do that. So, what Israel hopes to accomplish is to severely degrade Hezbollah as a fighting force and hope that the UN steps in with peacekeeping forces to implement the resolutions it already has passed calling for the disarming of Hezbollah. I think that is what is likely to happen. In the meantime, the news media will continue to hyperventilate over civilian casualties and the prospect of "escalation" to all-out war between the Arabs and the Jews. Hint: As long as Israel is the only one with nukes and a very good delivery capability, the Syrian Army (and the armies of the rest of the Arab nations) will stay in barracks. By the way, this is merely a repeat of Israeli military operations conducted in Southern Lebanon nearly 25 years ago.

Second, while the world frets over the current Arab-Israeli fracass, my spider sense tells me something big is about to happen in Baghdad. Think Saigon, February 1968. Breaking a truce for the Tet holiday, Viet Cong (VC) insurgents in the south and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops in the north, staged a suprise offensive in Saigon and Hue, respectively. South Vietnamese and US forces were intitially caught off guard but relatively quickly (and very bloodily) regained control. While it was a resounding battlefield defeat for the North Vietnamese and the insurgency they were supporting in South Vietnam, it was a classic strategic victory for the North and precipitated the eventual disgraceful exit of the US from the war. Something similar is about to happen in Baghdad. The Iraqi insurgents are going to attempt to stage a very violent offensive, soon, in the hopes of accomplishing the same objective as was accomplished by the Vietnamese Communists. It will be destroyed on the battlefield, by the force of American arms.

It will win on the American homefront, by the force of American political opportunism and defeatism.
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