Saturday, June 19, 2010

Glad I virtually met Caroline Glick... and a suggestion

Once again, it was Martin Kramer who gave me the lead to Caroline Glick's excellent article Weathering the approaching storm (click in the title to read it in full). I'll get back to it later.

She must be well known, but it was my first contact with her. It won't be the last one. I was so interested that I had to check her about-me. This is how it starts:
"I grew up in Chicago's ultra-liberal, anti-American and anti-Israel stronghold of Hyde Park. Hyde Park's newest famous resident is Barack Obama. He fits right into a neighborhood I couldn't wait to leave." (emphasis added)
There is a lot to say about the whole paragraph from my Spaniard and personal point of view and situation, but I'll do it, if I do, some other time.

Her article forecasts political and diplomatic strategic scenarios for Israel, both in the short and medium terms (she says long term... which only means she might be young enough), derived from the recent flotilla-guerrilla's feint.

All of it is very interesting. By the way, from day one, the whole flotilla's feint reminded me of the mid 70s Moroccan Green March onto the Spanish Sahara, except, I hope, that Israel is not as weak and uncommitted as Spain was then.

First, she states the obvious:
"Recent statements by the leaders of Iran, Turkey, Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah make clear that the members of the Iranian axis view the Mavi Marmara episode as a strategic victory in their ongoing campaign against Israel. The international stampede against Israel at the UN, the White House and throughout Europe exposed Israel's Achilles heel. The Mavi Marmara demonstrated that on the one hand the IDF cannot enforce its blockade of Gaza without the use of force. On the other hands it taught Israel's enemies that by forcing Israel to use force, Iran, Turkey and their allies incited a UN-EU-US lynch mob against Israel." (emphasis added)
She rightly asserts the well known and long-lived value of martyrdom, both for internal and foreign purposes:
"The Mavi Marmara showed Iran and its allies hat they can win strategic victories against Israel by giving the IDF no option other than using force against them. This means that Israel can bank on the prospect that all the ships they are dispatching will be populated by suicide protesters. Indeed the Iranians have openly admitted this. Mohammad Ali Nouraee is one of the regime officials involved in dispatching the Iranian ships to the Gaza coast. In an interview this week with Iran's official IRNA news agency Nouraee said that the passengers aboard the ships, "are willing to become martyred in this way."

The Lebanese ships are being organized by Hizbullah-affiliated individuals and the Turkish ships are being organized by the IHH terror group that organized the Mavi Marmara. Hizbullah's penchant for dispatching suicide squads is of course well known. And the IHH showed its devotion to suicide protests on the Mavi Marmara. So it is fairly clear that the passengers aboard the ships from both countries intend to force the IDF to kill them."
If something works and can be easily replicated we tend to exploit it to the maximum, so she clearly foresees what is coming:
Israel can and should expect mobs of suicide protesters marching on Gaza to force Israel to surrender control over its borders. Israel can expect mobs of suicide protesters marching on Israeli embassies and other government installations around the world in an attempt to increase its diplomatic isolations.

In the air, Israel can expect charter flights to take off from airports around the world with a few dozen kamikaze protesters who will force the IAF to shoot them down as they approach Israeli airspace.

Iran and its allies have found a weak chink in Israel's armor. They will use it any way they can.

(...) The Iranian ships are already en route, and the ships from Lebanon could appear at any moment. The mass demonstrations against Israel throughout the world and the threatened violence from the Hamas-supporting Israeli Arab leadership indicate that mobs of suicide protesters could appear anywhere with no prior warning."
Then Caroline goes to what she says is the bigger problem that outcomes from all of this (I am not sure to fully share her view, in fact, I don't, but she might be right): war or, in fact, wars... of a new kind. That's what she says:
"THE SECOND and far more dangerous implication of Israel's enemies' aggressive adoption of suicide protests is that by ensuring violence will be used, they increase the chances of war. Indeed, Iran and its allies clearly believe that suicide protests are a vehicle for initiating a full-scale war against Israel on what they view as favorable footing. According to Bahrain's al Wasat press service, Hussain Amir, Iran's ambassador to Bahrain threatened this week that, "If the [Zionist] entity dares to direct any aggressive attack [against the Iranian ships] then it is certain that [Israel] will be met by a much stronger and firm blow."

Syrian President Bashar Assad told the BBC Wednesday that the region is moving towards war. And the Turkish government is continuing to escalate its assaults on Israel. On Thursday Turkey threatened to cut off diplomatic relations with Israel if Israel does not issue a formal apology for its takeover of the Mavi Marmara and pay restitution to the families of the terrorists killed on board the ship.

Obviously the most disturbing aspect of the war threats is the specter of Turkish naval vessels attacking the Israeli navy. If Turkey - a NATO member -- participates in a war against Israel, the repercussions for Israel's relations with NATO member states, including the US, as well as the EU are liable to be unprecedented. "
She also dares to say what is needed (easier said than done):
"Israel needs to quickly develop tactics and strategies for contending with this."

"IN THE days and weeks to come, Israel's political and military leaders must move resolutely to prepare to withstand these new threats that arisen in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara episode. To meet the expected deluge of suicide protesters on sea, land and air, Israel must immediately acquire non-lethal means to disperse these protests. This involves purchasing and producing tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and other non-lethal weaponry. These non-lethal weapons must be rapidly distributed to IDF units deployed along the frontier with Gaza and to the Navy. They must also be supplied to Israeli security teams tasked with protecting government installations worldwide. Forces must undergo intense and immediate training in crowd control and mob dispersal to be ready to meet what is clearly on the way.
Diplomatically, Israel needs to hold its new line on the Gaza blockade. Netanyahu's buckling to US-EU-UN pressure has encouraged them to redouble their assault on Israel. The new line must be held at all costs. Otherwise, Israel will have no diplomatic line of defense as the approaching threats become reality.
Strategically, our leaders need to consider what our aims will be in the coming war. For instance, as far as Turkey is concerned, Israel's aim will be to end the war as quickly as possible. Here the tools of diplomacy with NATO members and public diplomacy with the American people will be crucial to convincing Turkey to stand down. They must be aggressively and energetically utilized without delay.
From a military perspective, evasion is preferable to confrontation. This understanding must guide naval operations towards Turkish forces.
As for Iran, Israel's aim must be to prolong the war as long as necessary to secure its strategic objective of denying Iran nuclear weapons. Moreover, it is important to use both kinetic and non-kinetic means to change the relative power balance between the Iranian people and the Iranian regime. While in all likelihood today the Iranian opposition green movement is unable to overthrow the regime, if Iran initiates a war against Israel, Israel must use the opportunity the war affords to change that balance of power.
Once Israel's political and military leaders determine the strategic goals of a regional war, they must move swiftly to outfit and train the IDF to fight it. This war will certainly be different from its predecessors and Israel's strategic goals - and the clear strategic and tactical preferences of its enemies - dictate the training that the IDF must initiate immediately. "
In this line of thought, I'll dare to put out a suggestion, not necessary meant to be a course of action but food for thought. Israel could address the international community (specially, NATO community) saying:
"We would like you to help us to stop the next flotillas-guerrillas before they reach the blockade zone in the appropriate manner you consider fit.

We will cooperate with you in that purpose with everything you require, as we sincerely don't want to have to sink those boats and the martyrs they bring onboard."
The point is, if trying to do the minimum damage when obliged to do what is needed has brought (and will probably bring) and uproar of protests, put the ball in the uproareres' camp. (PS Today, Sunday morning, I read the following: Next Flotilla will be stoped: Israel tells the UN Lebanese flotilla will not be allowed into Gaza; as I said, I believe it would be wise to complement said declaration with a push to NATO allies to do their part... or shut their mouths.)

And one more thing on my part: Israel should also look carefully at what is happening both in the US and the EU, and other places around the world... but not from an Israeli point of view, not looking at how it can affect Israeli interests, but looking at the problems, threats and fears the peoples of those countries face in their daily lives. And the sooner Israel starts identifying Islam, Hamas, Hizbollah and so on with Communism and Communism with the actual problems affecting the people worldwide, the better. Avoid using expressions as left, antiglobalization, liberals or the kind, as they don't bear the pejorative taint required. And yes, I know, communism looks incompatible with islam... but common interests make allies, even if temporarily, as we all know.

Now, reaching what I really wanted to emphasize from the beginning (I didn't do a good job of synthesis, I know, but as I said at the beginning, the whole article is so interesting), Caroline Glick points to the heart:
"The longer term lesson of the Mavi Marmara incident, and the threats that emerged in its wake is that war is too serious a subject to leave to generals. The IDF and the Defense Ministry clearly misunderstood the nature of the threat posed by the Turkish-Hamas flotilla. Indeed, recent reports that until the Mavi Marmara Israel wasn't even collecting intelligence on Turkey despite its obvious, multiyear transformation from ally to enemy underlines the fact that the IDF is woefully incapable of assessing, understanding and preparing for the threats Israel faces."
And, once again, she is brave enough to suggest a course of action:
"In light of the IDF's failure to understand Turkey's transformation from ally to enemy in a timely manner, its incompetent planning for the takeover and its problematic performance in both Operation Cast Lead and the Second Lebanon War, Netanyahu must create an external body empowered to assess and dictate the means for preparing for emerging threats. This body can either be a new department in the Prime Minister's Bureau or the National Security Council can be empowered to perform this function. While this is not the most urgent matter on the national agenda, the establishment of such a body should be a central mission of the government."
She is probably right, but we all know that if Israel was prepared to produce such a capable body now, the body would already exist, because the capable people call to integrate it would had foreseen what was coming and would have had the will and the power to maneuver for it to be in place by now... and we shall never forget the old saying: if you don't want to solve it, form a committee. Maybe what she is proposing, as she does, is to bring new capabilities and power into the NSC.

But she is right, public awareness and globalization (where we people worldwide tend to have an opinion -a very strong and, ususally, way far-fetched opinion-, and an 'easy solution' for everything, even when the problem is happening somewhere we can not put in the map or involve people and histories we know nothing about) has change so many things that it is very probable that the IDF are not prepared to handle the new scenario by themselves, without help and further training.

Any how, just in case she is absolutely right, the formation of the proposed body should already be in its way... although I am not sure that, in the end, it should be empowered. Empowerment should only come if everything looks right, after a very careful and skeptical, if swift, evaluation of the formation and preliminary works (work in practice) of said body.

Yes, I know, work in practice is not work and could itself arise added problems, from selection of members to integration with the general organization and other existing bodies and society in general... but I'll rather take that path.

But then again, she might be right and action can't wait for all that trying and evaluating. as she warns us:
"Time is of the essence. No, Israel does not want another Goldstone kangaroo court. But right now, kangaroo courts are not our biggest problem."
I hope Caroline doesn't get angry with me for almost reproducing her article and tearing it apart. My first intention was only to cite a couple of her ideas... but as I have repeated, it was so interesting.

Now a relief... a relief that shows some other modern war games and tactics.

Sometimes you have to laugh or make others laugh. Better if you do it frequently... so I let you here with the Three Terrors:
Post a Comment