...Given the war in Lebanon and the rhetoric of Hezbollah’s Iranian patron, it is an appealing journalistic conceit to suggest that thoughts of yet another Jewish disaster can’t be too far from the minds of most Israelis right now, but that is not really how it is here.
The night before last I was at a small bar when one of the departing patrons wished the bartender, a barrel-chested guy in his mid-20s, a good night and added, “Hey man, I hope you get called up.” “Thanks,” said the bartender cheerfully, “I appreciate it.” Did he mean that he hopes you get called for reserve duty, I asked. “Yes,” the bartender explained. “Everyone really wants to do their part in what’s going on right now.”
It has been curious these last three weeks to follow the ongoing press narratives: On one hand, there is the “Israel” constructed by the media, a country divided, fearful and unsure of itself and its capacity to fight; and then there is the press version of “Lebanon,” where “disproportionate” Israeli bombing has driven all the Lebanese into the warm embrace of the Islamic resistance.
The young [Lebanese Forces] people idolize their za’im, Samir Geagea, even though, among other bloody acts, Geagea is believed responsible for the 1978 assassination of Tony Franjieh, his wife, and daughter. In contrast, My bartender, who served in Gaza last year where the Palestinian factions repeatedly used human shields, did everything possible to avoid hurting civilians, especially children. “You want to protect yourself,” he says, “but you can’t fire if you see a kid. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I hit a kid.”
Clearly Hezbollah, like the Palestinian groups, uses human shields. We do not know precisely what happened at Qana and may never know for sure, but it is likely that we have reached a stage where the IDF believes itself damned regardless of how it regards civilian life, which makes things worse for Lebanese civilians, easier for Israeli troops, and will likely have no effect at all on the international media campaign that Israel has already lost.
And yet Israel seems to be gaining in another of the war’s psychological battles. There’s been some mention lately of Israel’s psy-ops campaign against Hezbollah: hacking into the telephone system and interrupting Al-Manar broadcasts with messages warning of Nasrallah’s impending death. But the most significant Israeli victory to date has largely been overlooked. Hassan Nasrallah, the man whom large sections of the Western press claim without any evidence is more popular now than ever, has been sent underground and will not ever publicly ascend to the real world again in safety. Nasrallah will never again be able to lead a rally of thousands without knowingly endangering the lives of everyone shouting along with him. It is sadly indicative of the state of regional politics that the most charismatic Arab leader since Nasser has been, as Martin Kramer puts it, bin Ladenized… [italics added]
In the noise and smoke emanating from the doctored photos of Lebanon, we are losing sight of the real war and its very real aims. Israel is not losing. Israel is a desert fox. It has not lasted this long by being predictable or soft, and in the end, I believe it will prevail.
Want to see how it turns out? Read this prediction by M. Simon. Here’s a snip:
Any encirclment north of the Litani will be a feint. The real action will be the move towards the Bekaa. When the right flank of the encirclement movement makes its left turn a blocking force will be sent up on the road to the Bekaa. The blocking force will really be the hammer. Light forces will be inserted North of Ballbeck to act as the anvil. They need only have anti-tank and light artillery. The heavy artillery will be air cover. Think Market Garden (WW2 Holland — a Bridge Too Far) without the failure. The light forces will be on the defensive. The strongest tactical position. Thus the force need not be over a regiment or two in size.
Syria will be forced to attack (see Syria Has a Problem) they will mostly be defeated on the road. This will draw Iran in.
At the end of all this the Palestinians will be told by their Arab brothers to take what they can get and shut up. The new rule in the Middle East will be business not war.
Game, set, match.
From Simon’s pen to God’s eyes. Yes, indeedy, it does sound like a plan.
Those sneaky Zionists…