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19 August 2006


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Jaime Gormley

Wouldn't be this David Kimche would it?

Well, on a related topic, I'm off to re-read this:
"When David Became Goliath"

I understand there's a sequel in the works.
Good night all.

Ahoy, Condi. Ugly baby...big sharp fangs, tho! Who's Dad?

Chas Freeman


For what it's worth, I had quite a different reaction to David Kimche's piece. I agree with Grimgrin that the preambular "analysis" of what happened is nonsense, but saw this as Mr. Kimche's payment of the price of admission to a policy debate inside the Israeli government, which has no interest in admitting its errors to itself or anyone else and which -- in its currently beleaguered state would angrily reject suggestions from establishment figures, like Mr. Kimche, that seemed to denigrate its competence and "achievements" in the recent unpleasantness. For me, the key element in this piece, which came from one of Israel's most respected diplomats, was at the end -- the obvious cry for help from the US and the plea for a comprehensive approach to peace. These points, it seemed to me, amounted to a barely disguised, almost desperate call for the US to save Israel from its own quite obvious lack of credible grand strategy.

I am not, however, optimistic about either the reaction in Israel or our response. The mood in Israel is even more dysfunctional than usual and our Administration seems unable actually to hear anything that does not conform to its militarist ideology, which persuades it, like mainstream Israeli opinion, that if the use of force has proven counterproductive the answer is simply to apply greater force. Moreover, I have my my doubts about the degree of diplomatic credibility and clout we still have in the region after six years of diplomacy-free foreign policy. This is a very different moment than the end of the Gulf War, when we enjoyed a reputation for power, fair-mindedness, and sagacity that enabled us to gather all concerned at Madrid. It is kind of Mr. Kimche to hark back to that highpoint of American prestige, but how relevant is it to circumstances now?



I agree with the analysis of the above commenter. No need to repeat.
1. Does the news aeticle reflect prevailing thought within Israel? If so, then Israel has many missteps coming up in its future.

2. I've got one of those sinking feelings that many in Israel agree with the article, and many in our White House echo the same thoughts. Not at all good.

3. Semi-related: Israel, and the USA neocons seem to just be itching for a fight with Iran & Syria. The Helo raid today/last night into Bekaa could be a sign. Israel/USA will "discover" wholesale violations of rocket re-supply by Iran/Syria. The "discovery" could be the pretext for USA military action. Or perhaps we get fired upon out in the Persian Gulf. Tonkin, anyone?



As long as we are talking about bein delusional, our own Commander in Chief was on TV last week declaring Isreal the clear victor.... I had to turn off the TV in shame.

Abu Sinan

The article was nonsense. I wonder why Israeli writers always feel the need to insert references to Nazi images or themes?

Of course the "long knives" is a reference to the "Night of the Long Knives" as it was known during the Third Reich.

W. Patrick Lang


Always glad to hear from you. p

Patrick Kennedy


This is one depressing
Op-Ed in the Washington Post. It describes what can be expected if the Iraqi civil war really takes off.

Has there ever been a more consequential U.S. foreign policy blunder than our invasion of Iraq?


Kimche: "Could the Americans pull it off again? My guess is that this time it would be much easier. It could be a coup for American policy in the Middle East ... We should go for it, and do our utmost to persuade the Americans and others that "Madrid Two" could be the ideal sequence to that ugly war in the North."

No correlation with observed reality at all, too many false assumptions and fallacies to detail, but - easier to pull it off again, American policy coup, go for it, ideal sequence, that ugly war (where and when was the pretty one?) ... it's like reading bad science fiction.

Kimche restates The Times's "defeat is victory" assertion, of course, and then there's this from the Sunday Business Post Online (Ireland), Dr. Michael Kerr of the London School of Economics:

"One Israeli goal in this conflict was to increase the tension between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s communities. The Israelis hoped the Lebanese would collectively blame Hezbollah for bringing war to their country.
Beneath the surface, Israel succeeded in that goal."


Exactly how far beneath the surface is that success?


"Analysis: Explaining the Baalbek operation to Kofi Annan" (Haaretz)

"Israel says the operation was not a violation of the cease-fire, because it was an intelligence-gathering mission, not an attack, which Security Council Resolution 1701 calls against. Had Hezbollah not discovered the unit and it had returned home safely, the operation would have remained covert. [By definition - duhh.]
They said the operative hitch would not jeopardize the cease-fire. Rather, it would encourage troop-contributing states to stop dragging their feet and send their soldiers to the UNIFIL force."


Interesting method of encouragement.

In other news, Kool-ade production rose steadily for the twentieth consecutive quarter ...


That's a nice Calvin and Hobbes reference.

still working it out

Angry Arab believes the commando raid
"...was another failed at attempt to kidnap Shaykh Muhammad Yazbak. To cover the embarrassment, the Israeli military later claimed that this was an attempt to prevent a shipment of arms."
- link

still working it out

Personally I am happy they keep pumping out delusions of victory. If they really believe they won, then they are less likely to feel the need to fight the same war all over again.

If a war ends with both sides thinking they have won then both sides can walk away with their pride intact, which is a good way to build peace.

Lets hope that is the case, but somehow I think that that, deep down, the Israeli's don't really believe their own analysis.


In related new:


"One-tenth of the Israeli tanks that took part in the Lebanon war were destroyed or disabled, a military study found."

IDF spins madly:

"Some experts said the tanks dispatched to Lebanon were older, less protected versions of the locally made Merkava."

Riiiiight. There are plenty of pics of burning mk4 Merkavas on the net. All photoshoped by Reuters no doubt.



I had the same reaction to the President's statement. I had to reach for the remote. Literally. He is detached from reality.


I fear you are correct in your premise, certain parties are itching for a fight. Or, to put it more precisely, perhaps, itching to watch a fight. They want to be in on the landing, and the vacation, if the plane lands. But not in on the crash...if crash it is to be.

And, further, I fear they are going to get what they desire. But not what they deserve. At least in the short run. Anyway nothing I could add re Kimche that would add anything new. It's been well covered.


Let the Israelis declare victory and go home. Israel is very dangerous when it thinks it's losing. Notice how they have returned to their favorite punching bag, the Palestinians, since "winning" in Lebanon. My only question about Israeli infighting is this: Which one is Erich Ludendorf?


Chas Freeman wrote:

"The mood in Israel is even more dysfunctional than usual and our Administration seems unable actually to hear anything that does not conform to its militarist ideology, which persuades it, like mainstream Israeli opinion, that if the use of force has proven counterproductive the answer is simply to apply greater force."

Reminds one of the old saw about the British Colonialist's "solution" when natives populations didn't understand him - speak English louder!

Ambassador Freeman. Nice to see you posting here. Hope you choose to add your thinking here more frequently. John McGrath, Little Compton.


as for Ludendorffs, I think they have them aplenty. Ludendorff was responsible for the implementation of the Schlieffenplan, led the department planning for it. He embodies the type of soldier for whom politics are, have to be, subordinate to military planning. From what I saw in the last months, it was so that military considerations determined policy towards Lebanon. Israel's splendid little raid, truce, schmuce, suggests that this attitude hasn't changed.

As I see it, the idea was that there was an undesirable political situation out of which they saw no way. So they started this splendid little war, in hope to impress neighbours by beating up a weak Hetzbollah handily. They hoped that victory would solve the political problem by allowing them to dictate their terms.
The Bush crew was more than happy to come on board, seeing it as a test-run for this war on Iran they are itching for so long now.

It is not really fair to say that in Israel military considerations drive foreign policy - after all Olmert refused to implement a more elaborate ground campaign plan, being presented to him by the General Staff, opting instead for the air campaign. So Olmert had the last word. However, they play an important role, and the role of the General Staff is way stronger than in other western countries.

Israel will have a rare round of accountability, something that won't happen in America too soon. Olmert IMO is dead meat. His head will be the first to roll. Great. But will that make Israel find a policy out of the current dead end? I don't know.

Babak Makkinejad

Blaming the Israelis is not completely justified. US has been pumping them up for years. If the Israelis did not have this "sugar daddy" chances are they would have been forced to accomodate the Arab concerns long time ago.


"If the Israelis did not have this "sugar daddy" chances are they would have been forced to accomodate the Arab concerns long time ago." - Babak

I guess that goes for the regimes in Egypt and Jordan too that have the same US "sugar daddy".

It seems that the situation has to get worse before it gets better. Israeli government and IDF "pride" will not allow it to take this "loss" in the fight with HA and they'll keep at it as we saw with the IDF raid in Baalbek. And assasinating Nasrallah seems a part of the strategy to win back the PR image of a "can-do" IDF. The HA and its sponsors as well as the many HA wannabes in Arab countries will feel emboldened and believe they too can achieve much at the end of a barrel of a gun. Since neither side has been "defeated" they'll probably have to fight to exhaustion before political settlements can get back on the table with a chance of success.


yet both Jordan and Egypt don't have pull that Israel enjoys.


"the key element in this piece, which came from one of Israel's most respected diplomats . . . "

It's hard for me to credit this description, given Kimche's role in Sharon's 1982 Lebanon coup de main, the Iran-Contra affair, the international arms trade, etc. I'd say he's more like an old spook in a hurry -- which, as Bill Casey proved several times over, is the last kind of guy you want shaping your grand strategy.



Thought we were talking about Korea for a moment.

Seems to me that the Hez horse copers sold the Israelis a ticket to ride on the Strawberry Roan, 5 weeks or so ago.

And they bought it.

The Nasty One is apparently pictured above.

John in LA

We can argue about who won this little skirmish until we're blue in the face.

The strategic framework is clear: Iran has tens of billions of petro deals outstanding - notably with SecCo P5 members China, Russia, UK and France. So there will never be any sanction on the petro/gas industry.

They have almost no econ relations with us at all, so commercial sanctions will make no difference.

Both the US forces and the IDF have - perhaps fatally - revealed their limits in the Iraq/So. Lebanon events.

Israeli Air - achieves nothing. US air - can only decapitate a regime, not secure a country.

Iran holds all the cards -- and this gives the US/Israel almost no leverage. Lebanon and Iraq make clear that a conventional invasion of Iran -- 5 times the size of Iraq -- is a military impossibility.

Oh, and if China doesn't want us to invade Iran, they stop buying Treasuries. Interest rates go to 8, 10+%, and the value of the dollar plunges - devestating the US mortgage market, consumer spending and economic growth.

The neocon race war has only one real, surefire, guaranteed tool at its disposal - a massive, sustained US/Israeli bombing campaign on Iran's energy complex.

This would be physically possible - but will immediately result in a devestation of the US economy and the slaughter of US forces as the Shia majority in Iraq declares war on the US expeditionary force.

If anyone thinks I'm wrong, I'd be happy to hear an alternative view.


John in LA

Its probably more important for the Cheney/Bush crowd of neo-cons to maintain complete hegemony of US domestic control and political power. Their ME adventures and GWOT and other jingoistic propaganda are quite likely primarily to enhance their domestic power agenda. And since even today a large percentage of Americans believe that Saddam was involved in 9/11 it proves that their propaganda is successful.


This weekend's Sunday Times report on the IDF's performance is quite enlightening.

These paragraphs were an eye opener for me.

Just before midnight, the order “Fire!” — given by the squadron leader — could be heard in the Tel Aviv bunker. Within moments the first Hezbollah missile and launcher were blown up. Thirty-nine tense minutes later the squadron leader’s voice was heard again: “Fifty-four launchers have been destroyed. Returning to base.”

Halutz smiled with relief and called Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, who was enjoying a cigar as he waited by a secure red phone at his residence in Jerusalem.

“All the long-range rockets have been destroyed,” Halutz announced proudly. After a short pause, he added four words that have since haunted him: “We’ve won the war.”

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