Sunday, August 27, 2006

Austin Bay on Israel-Hezbollah...

See his blog.

In general, I concur with him and Amir Taheri. Israel scored a huge strategic victory, despite the less-than-complete tactical victory, and despite the mistakes.

I wrote about the winners and losers of the Israel-Hezbollah war earlier this month at Strategypage. Particualry this part comes to mind:
Iran's also been caught supplying weapons (including anti-ship missiles) to Hizbollah. This will make the United States even touchier about Iran's nuclear weapons program than it already is. The last time the United States got very touchy about a dictator pursuing weapons of mass destruction who was also known to assist terrorists was in 2003.
Why do I compare what we have seen now to the concerns we had in 2003? My piece last month on what the implications of Hezbollah's tactically-successful C-802 attack might be is worth a look.
Iran's transfer of C-802 missiles (along with the training to use them) is not the only such threat that has been worried about. One of the reasons that the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq was the possibility of the transference of chemical or biological weapons. The amount of these weapons needed to cause mass casualties are small – and artillery shells full of sarin nerve gas or mustard gas are much smaller than a C-802. Vials of anthrax, ricin, or smallpox are even smaller. The thought of weapons of mass destruction possibly getting into the hands of terrorists who are willing to die to complete their mission warranted removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, which had not shown the ability to transfer weaponry to terrorists (although Saddam Hussein was willing to cut $25,000 checks to the families of murder-suicide bombers).
In 2003, we took down Saddam Hussein's regime - and we had proof of lesser support for terrorists (remember those checks to the families of murder-suicide bombers?), while since the war, recovered memos have indicated a relationship with al-Qaeda.

Israel fought a limited war, and while Hezbollah has the claim of fighting the IDF to a draw, it needs to be noted that the IDF pulled its punches. Even then, the strategic victory is Israel's, because hard evidence of Syrian and Iranian support support for Hezbollah has been exposed and in an "open" manner (to wit, the IDF captured it on the battlefield).

And in return for all of that, Hezbollah got a brief "public-relations victory". That's not a good trade, although I have the feeling Nasrallah won't realize it until it is too late for him. I think a line from Vic Deakins (the villain of the movie Broken Arrow that was played so well by John Travolta) seems appropriate here... if only I could decide which one.


karlos said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
karlos said...

Good work Harold.
Remove comments you disagree with.