Sunday, October 29, 2006

The next war in the Middle East

Westhawk points to an article in the WSJ identifying the next war in the Middle East. It will be in Gaza. But who will fight who has not yet been determined. It could be between the forces vying for the leadership of the Islamic world.

On Friday, relatives of a Fatah man recently killed by Hamas opened fire on Mr. Haniyeh's convoy in Gaza; Fatah militiamen have also threatened to assassinate the entire Hamas cabinet. Hamas, for its part, recently assassinated top Fatah militiaman Mohammed Shahadeh and intelligence officer Jad Tayah. Earlier this month, Hamas security forces opened fire on Fatah-affiliated policemen who had raided the Gaza branch of the Bank of Palestine in protest of their unpaid salaries. At least 10 people died; Fatah's Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda newspaper called Hamas's actions "Sedition" in banner headlines. Mr. Abbas is considering dissolving the government and moving to new elections; Hamas Interior Minister Said Siam deems the idea a "coup."

Westhawk describes this political contest for the "leadership" as a kind of Olympics of death.

The battle between the Hamas and Fatah factions for control of Gaza may thus increasingly become a proxy war between the Iranian/Syrian/Hezbollah alliance supporting Hamas, and the Egyptian/Saudi Arabian/Gulf State alliance supporting Fatah. The plight of the Palestinians has for decades been the major cause celebre in the Islamic world, and a convenient distraction for regimes in the region. Now that alliances are forming backing the two sides in the Gaza civil war, each side will seek to make sure that the other does not emerge as the victorious Great Protector of the Palestinian people, the loser thus having his honor and credentials tarnished. Meanwhile, the objects of the exercise, the Palestinians, are ground down in the process.

Alternatively it could be a reprise, in miniature, of the War in Lebanon. The WSJ article continues:

Last week, Egyptian police in the Sinai intercepted a shipment of 200 crates of guns and ammunition headed for the town of Rafah, which straddles the seven-mile Egyptian-Palestinian border. Also last week, the Israeli army (IDF) discovered 13 smuggling tunnels running under the border in addition to the 12 discovered since June. Israeli intelligence estimates that in the past year at least 19 tons of explosives have been smuggled through these tunnels into Gaza, plus some 15,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 1,000 RPGs, and quantities of Katyusha rockets, Strella antiaircraft missiles and Russian-made Kornet and Metis antitank missiles.

All this is in addition to an indigenous Gazan military industry that produced the hundreds of short-range Kassam rockets that have rained continuously on southern Israel for two years. And it explains why Israeli military planners feel they need to deal Gaza a punishing blow sooner rather than later, when the Palestinians might be in a position to bloody Israel the way Hezbollah did last summer.


Or it could be an everyone-against-everyone barfight; which seems pointless but is actually quite rational within the context of the politics of the Middle East. A continuous supply of violence is necessary to sustain the formation of "militant" organizations whose sole purpose for existence is to keep existing. And since they are useless for anything but mayhem, the violence must on no account stop. Otherwise, what would the millions of men who know nothing other than to live by the gun do?


Blogger Peter Grynch said...

For perspective, read an article by Don Morris on how Hungary has thrived since the totalitarian Soviet Union left:

"Still, the world, through its actions, regretably reinforces actions and behaviors that are contrary to self-reliance, economic development and acceptance and tolerance of other people. I submit for consideration this is the result of their own victimhood and we witness these horrific results daily."

10/29/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

On Friday night, leaders of the two rival sects agreed to halt the ongoing street fighting between their gunmen in Gaza Strip.

Fatah movement said it was satisfied with the truce agreement, which also included the content to protect the public buildings and to beef up police and security forces to restore order.

Fatah Agrees

10/29/2006 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Westhawk points to an article in the WSJ identifying the next war in the Middle East. It will be in Gaza.

Gaza is only 1/4th the area of Los Angeles, but if there was a conflict in LA we wouldn't call it a war, we'd call it a battle.

10/29/2006 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

Pallywood theatrics. A scam to con the morons in Israel into letting more Jihadi fighters, weapons and munition into Gaza Judea-Samaria.

10/29/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Quig said...

"Gaza is only 1/4th the area of Los Angeles, but if there was a conflict in LA we wouldn't call it a war, we'd call it a battle."

You might change the nomenclature if Mexico and/or Venezuela were peripherally involved.

10/29/2006 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Abu Nudnik said...

I'm betting on a free-for-all, Wretchard. On Sunday, JPost reported Iran objecting to so many troops on too many of its borders (!) and international exercises in the Gulf. Oh yeah, military manoevers that involve the French, British, Americans and even an Arab country (Oman, if memory serves)... a lot of spectators too. In Israel, Sunday is Monday, hence Jpost scooped us here, where Sunday is not usually a big news day. Japanese planning was aware enough of the somnolescent atmosphere on Nov. 7 , 1941.

10/30/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Rancher said...

Prediction: Israel will attack Gaza and reoccupy some parts to stop the daily rocket attacks and stem the porous Egyptian weapons pipeline. Fatah and Egypt will quietly aid the Israelis. Syria will take the opportunity to attack and try and retake the Golan Heights. Syria thinks that because Israel “lost” against Hezbollah that Israel is now beatable. Syria will of course, like ME despots usually do, be proven to have grossly miscalculated.

10/30/2006 11:44:00 AM  

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