Friday, June 15, 2007

Both Sides Now

Noah Pollak at Michael Totten's assesses events in Gaza. "The collaboration between Iran, Syria, and Hamas, and the millions of dollars that Iran has poured into Gaza, have indeed paid dividends. America and its allies in the Middle East are being surrounded: There are now two Iranian clients, Hamas and Hezbollah, on Israel’s borders; Syria and Iran bracket Iraq and provide money, training, leadership, and manpower to the insurgents fighting there."

There's a war on, but only one side realizes this. It's like being in a basketball game where one side keeps scoring points while the other side talks to its lawyer about whether it is legal or not to make attempts at the enemy's basket.

Nothing follows.


Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

One curious thought I had about this whole business in Gaza: It gives Abbas an opportunity. If he were willing to give up Gaza, at least for the time being, he might be able to make real progress on a state in the West Bank.

The main objection that Israel has had has been the violence emanating from the Pal territories. If Abbas were to really stop the violence in only the West Bank he would put Israel on the spot. Madam Rice seems to be in the Clinton short-timer mode where she wants to make a deal, any deal. If things quiet down markedly in the WB and Abbas claims to have no control over Gaza then he might be able to force Israel to deal with him.

At a minimum we could see release of tax funds to Abbas, removal of checkpoints and other restrictions in the WB. Most of the violence in the past year or two has been the rocket fire from Gaza anyway. By separating from Hamastan Abbas might seem to be moderate again, if not effective.

It's hard to believe that he would actually have orchestrated this whole business to this end but it might benefit him and the Pals in the end. Things will have to settle down in the next few weeks before we can see how things will turn out.

Of course we are talking about the Palis so they will screw it up somehow.

6/15/2007 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I wrote someone I know in Israel last night, and his feeling is it won't stay in Gaza. The troubles will spill over to the West Bank. The old line moustache Petes of the Nasser and Arafat era are discredited in the radical arena by the Islamists. Fatah is past it now, maybe. Giving money to Abbas might be a good idea if he didn't steal it. But, despite the paeans of the BBC, even Arafat -- maybe it would be more accurate to say especially Arafat -- had his finger in the pie.

I'm not sure anybody is interested in providing a good life for the poor Palestinian Joe. He may have even forgotten what it's like and his aspirations have closed to this ganglike space in a way similar to the guys who grow up in slums. In Basilan, I recall, a survey showed all the kids wanted to be armed men. Policemen, soldiers, rebels. Didn't matter which. They were the guys they could see with money, power and girls in the community.

6/15/2007 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Utopia, Abbas has no authority. He's not like say a French King or Prime Minister who can order his troops to cease fire and expect it to be obeyed. He is like what Keeley in War Before Civilization describes as a tribal chief.

Abbas has some influence, but that's it. He can't control his hawks who can restart the war at any time by killing someone in the neighboring tribe. This is why tribal life is so brutal and deadly, around 40% attrition rate for men according to some calcs. If the tribal warfare and murder rate were applied to the civilized world in the 20th Century over 1.5 billion people would have been killed violently.

What Gaza does is make it clear that the tribal divisions and nature of the enemy means only a Hama rules, or Sherman-esque destruction of the Plains Indians will suffice.

6/16/2007 12:02:00 AM  

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