Friday, May 18, 2007

What I did last summer

Allison Kaplan Sommer describes the political effects of the Hamas rocket attacks on the Israeli town of Sderot from locations in Gaza in an article in Pajamas Media. It's obvious, she argues, that Hamas is eager to provoke Israel in order to reunite Palestinians now engaged in civil conflict by rocketing Israel. And Israel, for domestic political reasons, will probably oblige, since Olmert can hardly stand around and do nothing while the equivalent of 60 mortar rounds (they come in three types, ranging from 60 mm to 200 mm) land on the border town each day. Once the IDF crunches into Gaza, the world press can go back to its normal characterization of the the violence as Jew on Arab, David against Goliath. Late last year I happened by Sderot at the invitation of a nongovernment organization and took some video.

It's a little nondescript town near Gaza with a shopping center and a strip mall. The Kassams themselves have no guidance systems. They are all marked "to whom it may concern" and at the time of my visit the last victim had been a lady walking her dog in the park. A little explanation on the video. The picture of masked men below is from a newspaper article and shows what a Kassam looks like before it is fired. A long rocket tube that can be fired remotely or by timer, thus making counterbattery problematic. The only things I actually saw were the fragments of recovered Kassams stored in the back of the local police station, which is piled high like a junkyard with these things. Later, we stopped by the mall where one had landed but caused no casualties other than ruining a storefront.

It seems odd to think that Israel has to endure the equivalent of getting mortared without being able to do much about it. But that's about the size of it. Israeli countermeasures will probably reduce the attacks for a while, but the attacks will probably reoccur in the future. As Allison puts it, "as the candidates in the United States debate about military action in Iraq because they worry the terrorists will follow them home, in Sderot, attacks are already as close to home as it gets – in their houses, offices, and their children’s classrooms." The unthinkable sometimes does happen. You accept it, but you never really get used to it.


Blogger RWE said...

The really sad part is that Israel has the MRLS. I studied the development of it while I was at Ft. Belvoir. A really neat system, mounted on a tracked vehicle that has a digital command link that automatically elevates and traverses the launcher. Three buttons. 1. Close blast shields over the windows. 2. We are at the launch site, can point and fire. (Whoosh!) 3. Done - where to now?

Standard load is 844 grenade sized bomblets. Kill area the size of a football field. Range of 20 miles.

One for one? One from Hamas, one back MLRS from IDF?

But no can do. It would work TOO good. Result: The losers win because they ARE losers.


5/18/2007 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Little is gained from tit-for-tat. If the Zionists did not have their current international reputation as greedy land-grabbers acting since UN Res 242 as arrogant defiers - they might have a case to annex Gaza land a few hectacres here, a few there as penalty for ongiong missile assaults.

Israel lacks that moral capital.

Then again, they can always count on the ACLU-type lawyers and judges and the almighty Law to deal with threats.

When I knew the Jewish Lawyers like Omert finally took over Israel, I knew that they would lose against Hez.

5/18/2007 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Sometimes the Hamas guys would fire the Kassams right around the time kids went to school, both in Israel and in Gaza. That way either the Kassams would get some Israeli kids or the Israeli counterbattery, if there was any, would stand a good chance of totalling some Arab kids headed to class. Real sweethearts those Hamas guys.

Conan Doyle once wrote in the Speckled Band that it was the superfluous beauty of the flowers which suggested the existence of goodness and God. But by the same token, superfluous cruelty must indicate the existence of evil. I can accept that some at least in the Hamas are fighting out of a sense of patriotism, duty and loyalty. But it is these little touches of cruelty which make me wonder whether some don't thirst for blood for its own sake.

5/18/2007 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Wretchard, wonder?

In order to be patriotic the stalwarts have to ignore some inconvenient items such as how they would ascribe the same attacks on their own children. The terror is the desired end, not the patriotism.

5/18/2007 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs believes al-Qaeda is thriving in Gaza, just as it grows in any place where central order has collapsed. In such places, terrorist groups proliferate in a kind of free market of mayhem. "The Johnston affair reveals, then, the complexity of the reality of Palestinian terror. The Hamas prime minister is working for the release of a British journalist who was kidnapped by al-Qaeda, which is maintaining close operational cooperation with Hamas. Since it came to power, Hamas has had no interest in acting against the al-Qaeda branch that is functioning in the Gaza Strip but is interested in preventing an international crisis that would likely harm the Palestinian Authority, and it criticizes the 'Army of Islam' only for its 'mistaken choice' of a target. The Palestinian Authority thereby shows that it has no moral legitimacy to demand to be recognized as a political entity like other nations and that it is an entity providing sanctuary for international terrorism."

The task of terrorism is simply to spread entropy. The amount of free energy necessary to reverse this entropy can be prohibitively high. Consider the effort necessary to manufacture an atomic bomb versus the decades of energy that went into building New York City. You can never outbuild terror. At some people civilization has to learn to interrupt the metabolic pathways of terror. Massive surgery may sometimes be required, but for the most part we must learn to disrupt the metabolic patterns of the virus, to scramble its dna and to create other biological agents which resist it.

5/18/2007 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Cedarford said...
Little is gained from tit-for-tat.

correct, israel needs to use disportionate response..

C4.If the Zionists did not have their current international reputation as greedy land-grabbers acting since UN Res 242 as arrogant defiers - they might have a case to annex Gaza land a few hectacres here, a few there as penalty for ongiong missile assaults.

Israel has returned 99% of all captured lands, some of several times, back to the arabs, from the sinai to giving the palios control of both gaza and the west bank. Currently BOTH Sinai and Gaza are in arab hands, and the vast majority of palestinians do NOT live under israel contols. The world has many "popular" but bullshit majority POVS. Israel does not need to annex any of gaza, she needs to cluster bomb and make dead zones of areas gaza.

C4 : Israel lacks that moral capital.

When it comes to the world NOONE except a jew hating mass murderers, and dictators have moral capital..

C4: Then again, they can always count on the ACLU-type lawyers and judges and the almighty Law to deal with threats.

When I knew the Jewish Lawyers like Omert finally took over Israel, I knew that they would lose against Hez.

Now did they really lose?

hmmm... lebanon lost 20 yrs of progress, 1000 killed, hezbollah lost 1/3 of it's fighters, most of it's bunker system (est 3 billion iranian funded), pushed back across the river, played it's trump card early and LOST it's ability to scare israel with rockets. Caused Israel to re-arm, re-organize, re-examine its ways, means and yes fitness for war.

no the loss of last summer's war is far from clear israeli loss...

the real boon from last year's BATTLE was a wake up call...

so now we have hez trying to take over lebanon, iran and syria still playing mischief makers, fatah and hamas infighting...

screw olmert, he is meaningless, israel is and will be ready for the next battle...

5/18/2007 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

The theory is starting to go around that the Pals want to destroy Israel by allowing the "occupation" to continue. See Analysis: What a PA collapse would mean for Israel.

The basic idea is that the "occupation" causes many problems for Israel. The refusal of the Pals to accede to Israel and the international community's demands places Israel in a difficult position since Israel is in some way responsible for the anarchy, chaos, and humanitarian problems that exist in Gaza. As the chaos gets worse and worse Hamas expects that Israel will implode. (or something like that.)

For now it seems that the IDF will maintain a steady but low intensity pressure on Hamas. During the four or six months after Gilad Shalit was captured Israel killed about 300 Pals, mostly terrorists. At the end of that time Hamas declared a cease-fire.

I think that Israel can keep up its current sort of pressure on Hamas, consisting of aerial attacks and modest ground attacks for an extended period. This won't degrade Hamas's capabilities that much but it will keep them busy and will certainly not endear Hamas to the man on the street in Gaza. At some point Hamas will either escalate or call for another cease fire. A higher intensity response by Israel would start a timer running for the international community to call for Israel to stop.

There have been reports that Hamas has Grad missiles that can be used against Ashkelon and it's possible that they've got ground to air missiles. Use of anything like that would force Israel to escalate.

If Hamas scores a mass casualty attack against Israel (hitting a kindergarten in Sderot for example) then Israel will be forced to escalate.

As long as there is a steady stream of attacks against Hamas Olmert can rest easy. Pressure on him to act will be reduced and he can worry about other things.

The winner in all this is Kaled Mashaal. He pulls the strings in Gaza and he wins over weakling Abbas as long as the chaos continues.

5/18/2007 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

This is a microcosmic version of the argument, which I made elsewhere, that Islamic terrorism's strategy is simply to spread entropy, because the free energy required to create order is much larger than generating the entropy. In Israel's case, forcing an occupation by creating a security and humanitarian disaster in which the IDF must intervene is the preferred method. In attacking the US, it will suffice for terrorists to rip up the Gulf Area, the Horn, the Caspian sea area because the US must keep the energy flowing as world system administrator or the globe stops spinning.

But as I've also argued elsewhere, because the US does not have any territorial ambitions, it has been able to embark on the gambit of creating countervailing indigenous institutions, such as for example in Iraq. If you think about Iraq versus the Palestine, America unlike Israel was an outsider. It had no dog in the fight and basic fault lines to play with from the outset in the Sunni-Shia-Kurdish situation. By genuinely supporting local interests, the US could create revolutionary political institutions on the ground in ways that Israel, with its immediate existential needs, could not.

That's my theory. But right now I don't think the US still has the tools to efficiently build countervailing local institutions (i.e. antibodies) to the terrorist infection. Performance in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Gaza itself shows how clumsy the present methods are. But clearly America has the great strategic advantage of wanting to build a stable, prosperous outcome that is anathema to the terrorists, who want entropy. If you think about the analysis which argues that compelling a continuous occupation by unrelenting mayhem is the way to defeat Israel, you will see that the weakness of terrorism is the dual of its strength. In order to embrace the strategy of entropy, terrorism will have yoked itself to a relentless program of barbarism. Simply by opposing them we will automatically be the good guys, whatever the NYT says.

But at least the people-centric nature of the conflict has become dimly understood. The traditional military heavy weapons will still have a role, but it will be a supporting role. The main weapons will be intelligence work and the ability to mobilize, organize and consolidate people who work with us. It will be language capability, databases, raids and really hi-tech devices to negate the latest terrorist murder weapons. What I fear most of all about an abandonment or Iraq, as opposed to an eventual withdrawal on our terms, is the betrayal of those who are our sharpest sword against the enemy. If we do this, who will trust us again?

Israel is in far worse case. Palestine is a political obsession in the Arab and Muslim world and thereby distorted. Nothing can be taken at face value. The Palestinians themselves are just pawns being shoved around by regional forces and the Left for political gain. Nobody actually gives a hoot about them, though everyone pretends to.

My guess is that Israel is hoping Palestine blows back on the Arabs. And this could happen because the terrorist groups now fighting there are proxies of the different Sunni countries and Iran (for simplicity's sake) with subfactions to boot. Al-Qaeda is in there already. And pretty soon all that madness may start spreading as the Jihadis on all sides head for home or anger Israel to such an extent that it starts to lash out, such as happened in Lebanon. One day Syria may have its neck wrung. Or Iran bombed. God only knows. But clearly sponsoring terror groups has its downside. Look at what happened in Waziristan. The ISI created one terror group to fight the other and they multiplied their Frankenstein monsters. Who knows if they can control them all now? This may happen to Arab countries in the region too. By supporting terror the religious and political establishments in the Arab world are destabilizing themselves.

Some people I know don't think much of Olmert. My guess is that he'll just muddle along. Everyone will just muddle along. And by and by the crisis, which contains some of the elements I've just mentioned, will reach an bursting point.

Have a good weekend everybody.

5/18/2007 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

What Is Occupation:

Don't waste your time with Cedarfudd. A good antisemite never lets the facts get in the way of another incoherent, psychopathic rant.

C-fudd started out here raving about "Jewish lawyers". When people started getting on this obvious bigotry, he started using the phrase "Jewish and gentile lawyers".

He must have been so proud of himself! He actually thought he was concealing his antisemitism instead of drawing attention to it. Is C-fudd actually this much of a pathetic stumbing nitwit? Is he really that stupid? Of course he is. Because when you're an antisemite, it's like wearing a big neon sandwich board saying "I'M A DUMMY AND A LOSER AND I CAN'T OWN UP TO MY OWN FAILURES AND SHORTCOMINGS SO I BLAME IT ALL ON THE JOOOOOOOOOOS!!!!"

5/18/2007 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

utopia parkway,

Ashkelon holds three strategic facilities, damage to any one of which would be deeply harmful to Israel. The blogger Israel Matsav points to these on his site. If Olmert does not act to bring the PA to its knees, Israel runs the risk of finding itself without electricity, petroleum pipe lines, and/or water. All it will take is one lucky shot. The game played by Olmert, if lost, will wreck havoc upon Israel. Hamas must be stopped, now!

5/18/2007 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

utopia parkway,

I failed to mention that two days ago, Kassam rockets came dangerously close to one of the aforementioned facilities. Israel then moved in armor, presumably hoping to push the Kassam launchers beyond the range of Ashkelon. However, the Palestinians are steadily improving the range of their missiles. Ultimately, Israel will have to face up to its existential problem. Hamas must be stopped, immediately!

5/18/2007 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Nice try Rosen, when you fail to assimilate or be considered positive contributors in nation after nation, empire after can try calling the resulting animosity "psychological or 'envy'. When you are the sad local pariah in HS, it's disturbing how many that go bad have honestly deluded themselves into believing that their scorning is based on other's "envy and psychological" problems.

As you may know, Israel is the only country that places lawyers, their Supreme Court, OVER all other branches of government. Israel is also the only nation that exceeds America in lawyers per unit of population.

Israel did pretty well when it had kibbutzniks, farmers, tradesmen, and former terrorists and dudes that had been fighting since their teens in charge of the country and the military. But the lawyer overclass eventually couldn't resist taking control of national government and trying to run the military and counterterrorism as lawyers...
which sucks for Israel.

As for 242, everyone, incuding the USA, voted for it so the ME wouldn't destabilize - as it later has. Israel may not like that other nations tell it it isn't the 19th Cenury colonial era any longer, but their early leaders and the Brits made the mistake of settling them in a place that ensured future conflict, physically cutting the Ummah in half - not us.

Then compounded their problem by Begin & Co launching the Settler movement against the wishes of nations Israel depends on for it's survival. As hundreds of thousands of settlers moved out into new lands for expanding Israel against the Geneva Convention, UN 242, UN's original supporters (no doubt all envious and with psychological issues) dwindled away to just the USA.

Which alone prevents Israel from being choked out of existence with an oil embargo or from attack by massed armies.

Other nations have the moral capital to tell another nation to knock off attacks or they will respond and expel civilians from an attack area and set up a people-free military buffer like the Korean DMZ, or a big mined posted, people-free area like Thailand used to have on the Cambodian Border.
Ater tens of thousands of unprovoked land and water grabs, Israel lacks that moral capital. It would be a rational response allowed other nations that haven't made a habit of it. Not Israel.

Which leaves tit-for-tat and attrition.

5/19/2007 01:16:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Screw the world C4...

The world sits and watches darfur, tibet, zimbawa etc..

the palios are self destructing and the virus of egyptian politics (arafatism) is now spreading into the hinterlands....

all those that support and fund the palios right to murder jews will in fact have backlash...

Israel's land grab (as you see it) is a tiny fraction of land. Israel HAS withdrawn from 99% of all disputed/grabbed lands. Sinai, Gaza & parts of the west bank are evac'd as for the TINY amount of land that is actually in dispute MOST of that has been offered in a peace settlement with the ever disfunctional palios, you cannot simply ignore the fact that even today with the "fake people paletine" are butchering each other, the CURRENT israely government is talking of additional withdrawls from the disputed lands of the west bank.

The total area of dispute is 20 square miles. But the dispute is NOT over land my anti-semitic friend... It's over the fact that ISRAEL IS.

MAKE no mistake, the palios dont have a national depression day over the 1967 war, they have it over the UN announcement of Partition.

The problem with arm-chair anti-semites and israel is that they believe the bullshit they shovel about "land for peace" and israel is land grabbing... the truth is? israel is 1/650th of the middle east and it has 1 million arabs as citizens (not perfect but not as bad as blacks in america 10 yrs ago) and the arab world (also a occupier of kurds, berbers, copts jewish & maronite lands) simply is not interested in real peace.

To claim the land for peace saudi plan is real would say that they could enforce a PEACE FROM the islamic POV. this as we can see is nonsense. For decades arafat played this game of hat exchange from one terror group to another when making peace..

ok, the PLO makes peace with israel, then a NEW group pops up and desnt, oh we dont have control, then we get control and another new group pops up and wont make peace oh, hamas wants peace, no the real leaders say no...


Even if israel stole lands (yes america, france, arab world, china dont look in the mirror) this is NOT the basis for the fight...

it is a war with islam.

oil is the key..

5/19/2007 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Jews " to assimilate" and Israel "...cut the Ummah in half".

Jeez, C4. you don't want 'em here, you don't want 'em there --where DO you want 'em?

And, like, who exactly do you think you are? God?

5/19/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I think Wretchard is right, with the "muddle through". France just joined the pro-Israel camp (along with all the other first and former second-world nations that have elected pro-USA, pro-Israel, anti-jihad governments in the last several years). The global economy is growing in a strong, controlled manner, a wealth and liberty "melt-up" unprecented in human history. Yes, the Jihad will go on forever, but it is coming a Salamis/Tours/Lepanto/Vienna-sized cropper, so say the correalation of forces.

5/19/2007 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

C4's top ten favorite things about the Mona Lisa:

1-Dull colors.
2-Goofy, unfashionable clothes from today's vantage point.
3-Non-descript fuzzy background elements.
4-Leonardo may not've painted it.
5-Leonardo may've borrowed one of his brushes and forgot to return it, maybe.
6-An apprentice may've helped out in the studio.
6-This apprentice may have been mean to his mother's pet canary.
7-It's in a "French Museum" --hmmm.
8-Nobody can prove it has an inscrutable smile.
9-Canvas should have been smaller, or maybe larger.
10-People the world over don't like it all that much.

5/19/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

"cut the Ummah in half"

Now C-fudd is parrotting islamofascist talking points. Has he looked at a map of the ME lately? Maybe he has, but since he's semiliterate it's not surprising he doesn't know how to read one. Israel is a tiny sliver of land with no oil, surrounded by crackpots outnumbering them 30 or 40 to 1 who want to destroy them. The poor oppressed Muslims have almost nothing, except for trillions of dollars they have received from the West for a mineral they wouldn't even know how to get out of the ground without our technology. I guess it's the fault of the Joooos that they have nothing to show for it except limousines, concubines, and brutally repressive backwards regimes.

Jews have survived for 4000 years - three times as long as Islam and over 300 times as long as the "thousand year Reich" that is the apparent source of what passes for C-fudd's political "thought". When I look at who does and does not like Jews, it reinforces my belief that one of the best things about being Jewish is antisemites for they are losers, nitwits and crybabies, every last one of them.

5/19/2007 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger William Tyroler said...

As for 242, everyone, incuding the USA, voted for it -- hardly: Arab countries were against it because it acknowledged Israeli sovereignty at all -- so the ME wouldn't destabilize - as it later has -- that's a joke, right? the ME was stable prior to 242?

5/19/2007 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Same thing happened to those poor Moslems in southern Thailand. Apparently, the Asian Continent's two thirds of the world landmass has up and cut them off from Mecca, hence they're being forced to behead groups of infidel schoolgirls.

5/19/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

When you are the sad local pariah in HS, it's disturbing how many that go bad have honestly deluded themselves into believing that their scorning is based on other's "envy and psychological" problems.

what the f**k?? that explains everything, C is still in High School!! His reactions aren't due to Israeli or Zionist actions, its from an upbringing. "the sad local pariah in HS" are always jews and the going "bad" part is classic. He's like a totally deranged Charles Bukowski without the talent.

5/19/2007 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Jewish Odysseus said...

"When I look at who does and does not like Jews, it reinforces my belief that one of the best things about being Jewish is antisemites for they are losers, nitwits and crybabies, every last one of them."

A tip o' the kippah to you, Gary Rosen, I only wish I cd have put it that well myself! :- )

5/19/2007 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger gioconda, not sardonic said...

Hate to state the obvious, but that list of Mona Lisa objections is pretty funny. The only thing missing is something about our failure to raise taxes on account of her-- for our kulturell fight against a smug-looking woman’s iconic supremacy, maybe?

5/20/2007 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ah, yes --taxes too low. How vill der fatherland buy milk for der little baby nazis?

5/20/2007 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger 1/4 German brunette said...

Ja, but der teat of robust blue-eyed blondes is better, you know.

5/20/2007 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ach du lieber!

5/20/2007 12:45:00 PM  

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