03 June 2010

Dialog on the "flotilla" incident and implications in region

I had the following exchange with a colleague who is more inclined to see Israel's side in various affairs than I am. I post this because I think it shows an interesting dialog on policy, where both sides have goodwill but just don't see the same reality in the news reports.

You and I see Israel/Palestine issues and US/Israel issues rather differently, but I appreciate that we can discuss these issues with mutual respect.

Anyway, I haven't had time to immerse myself in the whole Turkish blockade-running ship boarding incident (a better description that "flotilla" I think), but the International consensus seems to be that the video you referred to was, at minimum, "decontextualized" by the IDF. The ship was, after all, boarded in international waters, so I think it's fair to say, at least, that the breakout of violence can't just be blamed on those on board based on an edited video without investigation.

I'm sure there's questionable conduct on both sides, as usual. Yigal Arens, who, unlike his father Moshe, believes that the siege of Gaza is wrong, and is in favor of an aggressive pursuit of a territorial settlement, had some very interesting comments on Ian Masters' The Daily Briefiing yesterday.

Whatever your view of what happened, and who's right and who's wrong, I think it's pretty clear this was not a foreign policy win for Israel.

If anything good may come of it, it's at least conceivable that it could cause a shift in the complete bogdown of the so-called "peace process," whatever that's supposed to mean (more like "stalemate process").

Your view that Hamas and Hezb'ollah are going to launch a two front war this year is definitely not on most commenters' radar screens. I'd be curious what you're reading that makes you think this. If it's true, it shows that the leadership of both organizations are among the stupidest political leaders on the face of the Earth. (Not an ideological judgment, but a strategic one. There's just no way such action could benefit them in even the medium-range future). Still, without more information, I just don't see it. 


Dave, check out the actual video.  Activists? Upon arrival with clearly visualized paint ball guns the mob attacks to kill. We stop ships in int waters all the time.  If it was an aide mission, boats could have docked as asked so cargo could be inspected first as is done all the time.  Israel is at war.  Blockade has legitimate purpose.  I see no issue there.  Organizng turkish group has tie with muslim brotherhood.  After 6k rockets fired at them since gaza withdrawal, I can imagine suspicion of boats unchecked making deliveries. Reality is that This was a pr war event that israel blindly walked in to.  The people on that boat were clearly and expressly determined to deliver as planned or succeed in martydom.  Very clever as   paving way for hostilities I forsee soon. The pr war is just as important as fighting war.  I'm sure the lebanese christian community beleagured as it is, is not fooled by any of this.  classic hezbo. Tactic.

Here is the real issue.  Whether the us is engaged in ME peace process or not, I don't think it makes any difference.  What israel does or not does not make a diff. Either.  We are dealing with proxy forces. Period.  So long as political ambitions of syria and iran dictate otherwise, the palistinian will continue to be used as cards by their arab brethren who only stand to loose leverage should peace break out.

God forbid there should be peace.  To what external enemy would these barbaric regimes look to in order to keep their own people confortably distracted and preoccupied?  Would the masses with free time to consider their own "civil" institutions soon question the religio-political yoke of islam that has trapped 50% of their population under burkas, out of classrooms, and socially retarded. Oh no.  This civilization is 50-75 years from being ready for peace.  Everything else is a side show and let the reality of demographics plod on.

Apparently we'll have to agree to disagree. I just don't see it this way, and I am only concerned about US interests, which I don't see as congruent with Israel's. It's in our interests to disengage from this regional conflict, and the best way to do that is to try to foster (broker is too strong a term), a 2 state negotiated settlement. There is precedent. The peace with Egypt has lasted 30 years, and Jimmy Carter is the only US president to have ever actually brokered a peace deal in the Middle East.

If Israel is at war, it's her war, not ours, and in my view if that's the case, it's to a large extent Israel's choice in the matter. You can interpret history differently, but I reject the Neocon analysis outright, and believe that continued occupation and population transfers into occupied territories are illegal. (It's the world consensus view, although of course some don't agree). Israel is in a difficult position. It wants to be a first world country in a region that just isn't; but if you want to be a first world country you have to sign on to the norms of International Law. Sure, the other powers didn't get where they are in that regime, but that's the way it is.

I pretty much favor walking away from continued US involvement Middle East if a settlement can't be induced through diplomacy. The risks outweigh the potential benefits, to this country.
I think our differing views are in part based  on a different analysis of whose interests are important. To me, the risks in the region outweigh the benefits, and the US would be better off trying to pressure a negotiated settlement, then disengaging from the entire region as much as possible, including economically (by developing alternative energy resources). Not least because those of us in this country who want to defuse the Forever-War party and reduce the military sector of the economy have to think longterm about changing the entire dynamic in that part of the world vis-a-vis the US. What happens between Israel and the other regional powers is their problem, unless nuclear weapons are used, in which case all bets are off and whoever is dumb enough to have used them will be responsible for destabilizing the world totally at the worst possible moment in history; very possibly a fatal outcome for the human race. But I can't see current US policy as making that less likely.

I still don't see where you conclude that a two front war is likely. (I don't see where it's in Iran's or Syria's (which are pretty much identical) interests anyway; the status quo is to their benefit).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Gyromantic Informicon. Comments are not moderated. If you encounter a problem, please go to home page and follow directions to send me an e-mail.