Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Who is winning the opening skirmishes of WWIII?

By Aussiegirl

Ralph Peters has a very pessimistic column today about how Israel is losing, and it only reaffirms the gut feeling that I had all day yesterday that things are not going as well as we first had assumed they would. We expected that once Israel set out to retaliate, it would be a quick matter of slapping Hezbollah down and cleaning them out. But Hezbollah is much stronger and armed with far more sophisticated weapons than anyone realized, and is obviously spoiling for a fight. This is going to be a lot more difficult than was first thought.

As Ralph Peters writes, things are not going according to plan in Israel. They have not succeeded in doing much damage to Hezbollah with their bombing raids, and have incurred much bad world and media opinion (surprise, surprise!). Reports are that a much smaller percentage of Hezbollah targets and rocket caches have been destroyed than was first thought.

The time pressure is all on Israel, and time may be running out. It appears that Israel may be backing down from a full-scale ground invasion, perhaps because they have been surprised by the sophistication of weaponry that Hezbollah has at its disposal and its unexpected strength, and by its own failures to inflict much damage from the air. There has been an obvious failure of intelligence on a massive scale, both on our part and on Israel's part. Hezbollah's advanced rockets came as a complete surprise to Israeli and U.S. intelligence. It is noteworthy that the United States is rushing sophisticated precision guided weapons to Israel. Regardless of how it looks to the rest of the world, we must arm Israel and stand by her.

It is clear that not only Syria and Iran but also China are in this mix, judging by the weaponry discovered -- Silkworm missiles and even unmanned aerial drones. It is believed that Iranian revolutionary guards helped to fire the missile that hit an Israeli naval vessel early in the crisis. And of course, as I've stated previously, this gives the lie to those who claim that our intelligence reassures us that Iran is still a long way off from possessing nuclear weapons.

And the question must be asked -- why couldn't Iran have already obtained nuclear weapons from North Korea? They already have a delivery system. And China is obviously supplying Iran with advanced weaponry. Why not a nuke from its client puppet, North Korea? This is what worries me. Iranians were seen to be observing those North Korean missile tests that took place on July 4th. And don't tell me that those tests were not part of a coordinated strategy of probing the West for signs of weakness. In addition, there is the unspoken threat of WMD that might be put on those missiles -- biological or chemical weapons. Iran has already shown a willingness to arm Hezbollah with advanced weaponry, why not WMD? Perhaps even Saddam's WMD may have made their way into Lebanon via Syria. It was widely thought that the weapons may have been smuggled out of Iraq to Syria, prior to the U.S. invasion. Ahmadinejad makes no secret of his desire and goal of eliminating Israel from the map.

As I've said before, the Axis of Evil is currently composed of China (with their client state North Korea), Iran (and its clients Syria and Hezbollah), and even Russia, which provides tacit and other support covertly to these regimes. The opening rounds of their plan to confront and destabilize the West may already have been put into motion with these provocative actions by Iran's proxy, Hezbollah.

I think what has possibly happened is that Iran has pulled a surprise early opening skirmish to WWIII. I hope this doesn't mean that they already have a nuclear weapon, even while the world has been debating about how long it will be before we have to start worrying, as evidenced by numerous placating articles and statements by administration officials to that effect. This deliberate provocation and the willingness, indeed eagerness, of Hezbollah to engage in military action with Israel appears to be more than simply a ploy designed as a distraction from the UN's consideration of Iran's nuclear program. Indeed, as Peters writes, the West risks suffering a humiliating defeat in this confrontation. Victory for the West must be a resounding and unequivocal win, while the other side needs simply to have remained standing in some form, bloodied but unbowed.

The border area is mined with enormously powerful IED's that have already blown up an Israeli tank, killing 4 Israeli soldiers. Another one blew up under a huge tractor that only just survived the blast by sheer dint of its enormous size and weight. To go into that hornet's nest is to risk enormous Israeli casualties. According to Peters, this is precisely what Israel is reluctant to risk. Hezbollah knows every square inch of that territory and they are well dug in, with a network of tunnels and weapons caches and places to hide and attack. This will obviously not be an easy task.

As Peters so rightly says, in this asymetrical world, we have to win decisively and overwhelmingly in order to claim victory, while Hezbollah merely needs to remain standing in some form. The gains in stature in the Muslim world for Iran, Syria and Hezbollah will be enormous if they can give Israel a bloody nose or hand them a humiliating half-victory. This truly is the opening of WWIII, and we are caught off-guard and ill-prepared, and lacking in the will to respond with the kind of overwhelming force necessary.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is jetting over there, as if this is just one more in a long series of little crises that a little shuttle diplomacy can paper over. Peters is saying that Israel should have launched a massive ground invasion immediately. As it is, they have damaged Lebanon heavily, but Hezbollah has only been empowered and emboldened so far. And now Israel appears to be hesitating, massing on the border but announcing that only limited incursions will be taking place. Evidently the loss of that tank has caused a loss of nerve in the Israeli command.

It looks to me like Iran has already decided to put into motion whatever plan it is they have in mind. Obviously, the element of surprise has worked so far. It's going to be either a very bloody fight now for Israel to pull this off -- or, they are going to find some face-saving way to retreat, realizing that they cannot clean Hezbollah out completely. That is a defeat for the West, and a very bad signpost for the future. I fear that the reason Condi is going over there is that the Israelis are now looking for a diplomatic way out, and that Condi's trip is their way of extricating themselves from this through some gimcrack cobbled-together force that supposedly will take control of that area and protect Israel from attack. If that's the case, then things are not at all good.

The answer to this problem lies in Iran and Syria, not Lebanon. Unfortunately, there is no stomach for taking on that unpleasant reality now. As Spengler has said, the West will do it eventually, but by then, it will be too late, and the repercussions will be horrific. It is getting late. None of our choices are good. And there is little support for any muscular action. The West is sleepwalking towards its demise, I fear, both internally and externally, unless it wakes up to the danger. Ultimately, the Muslims have the desire and the belief in their own rightness and cause, while we have lost faith in our own, and merely want to be left alone to reap profits and to live in comfort and denial. I pray that Israel has awakened, and that the United States engages the real centers of the danger before it is too late. As the Bard of Avon wrote:

There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.


At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading your blog (and this article post) it seems to me that Israel picked the wrong fight. Israel is loosing this fight and I’m so happy that it is. A bully in the play ground always meets his fate eventually and I can just see that happening. From the news sources it seems Israel has gone against are large ground offensive (involving more troops) to tackle Hezbollah since Hezbollah kicked Israel in the teeth and knocked out few teeth and the bully in the playground is calling out to his big brother (US) do something, hurry please.

I just wish this conflict escalates so that Israel can be dealt with once and for all. Israel maybe able to rape Lebanon since Lebanon has always remained weak but Syria and Iran are massive in comparison to Lebanon and I’m 100% confident that only Syria on its own can send Israel into the sea (their only safe heaven).

Israel with all its military might (sponsored exclusively by US) cannot even tackle Hezbollah are true men would do in a flat battle field, even though Israel has an advantage of more sophisticated weapons, but yet like the cowards they are they picked the wrong fight and now unable to defeat their enemy (from their own doing) they are calling out for help and staying away.

Shame on Israel, time has finally come to start the ending of Israel.


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