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22 January 2009


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So is the hokum that Iran backs Hamas. It doesn't. It backs Hizbollah.

Abu Sinan

I agree with MRW. "Iranian backed" hardly seems appropriate for what little Hamas has gotten from Iran. Besides, the "backed" moniker seems to have become almost a pejorative term.

The only way to "beat Hamas" would be to expel the entire populace of Gaza. Considering the comments of some of the Israelis, I dont think they'd mind.

The continum that the Israelis seem to always operate on is that "the Arabs only understand force". Israeli and Palestinian history supports the idea that the one thing Palestinians DONT understand is force.

The two state solution is long since dead. The only hope for peace is a one state solution, one person, one vote.

Then maybe, only maybe, Israel might become something like the US of the Middle East. Until then it is the Apartheid era South Africa of the Middle East.


Could someone please explain to me what Mr. Lieberman means by "complete the operation?" Does that mean killing all the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip? I'm asking this as a legitimate question.

“The soldiers succeeded, but the politicians failed,” said Avigdor Lieberman of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party, which has seen its support grow since the conflict. “They didn’t let the army complete the operation. What was achieved here? Zip, nada.”


Eli Yishai: "We should have hit thousands more houses and reached a point in which they don't dare shoot at Israel ever again."

Die Endlösung?

Mr Yishai has apparently already given up on displacement, ghettoization, etc.

The `iron fist' of such extremists makes the `iron fist' of the Nazis seem more like the (presumably once) soft and finely manicured of the pianist Liberace.

Michael Chevalier

To MRWs point, the BBC radio this morning emphasized that exact fact, also stating that Hamas would take Iran's help, or anyone else's as well. They were not ideologially compatible. Their natural allies are the Muslim Brotherhood.

Pat, I can't find any real details about what we were committed to by Ex-Sec Rice in this smuggling interdiction process. I heard "logistics" and intel. Logistics could equal equipment but I am fearful it would be boots as well. Is the US now a direct partner in maintaining a Middle East prison camp?



RE: "...group that refuses to recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist."

I think that should be, "...group that refuses Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State."

Why should non-Jews living in Israel proper want to be second-class citizens in a Jewish State? Why should non-Jews living in the West Bank want to live in Apartheid-like Bantu stands? Why should non-Jews living in Gaza want to live in squalid cities and refugee camps surrounded by a giant prison fence and patrolled on every side by a Jewish State military?

I don't get it. The Palestinians should WANT to be brutalized and imprisoned for being the wrong religion?

How about following Turkey's and India's lead and trying to create a secular state that makes an honest attempt to accommodate all religions? Do we really want religions states (ala, Iran the Islamic State and Israel the Jewish State) in the 21st century?



The Israeli government think they are above everything and everybody (including their own citizens) and can do whatever they want to, to anybody whenever and wherever they please, in essence they are a spoiled brat. If anybody dares to try to correct or scold them for their brutal and hateful behavior, they cry foul and shriek rants of antisemitism.


It's really touching, isn't it? Watching May shed tears and sorrow over the fate of the collaborators. Compare with the sentiments expressed over John Walker Lindh.


A baffling , often repeated statement, is that the Palestinians deny the right of Israel to exist. How can something that exists be denied the right to its existence? What happens in this case is that people got hold of Palestinian lands and evicted or subjected the population. The winning faction knows that it evicted people from their birthplace and realize that until those victims agree to their own eviction and disposession Israel will have no just standing. Disposessed people don't forget, witness the destruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior of Russia. Demolished once but the people remembered it and now seventy years later it stands again.


I just saw President Obama give his Middle East strategy outline on MSNBC.

"...What was achieved here? Zip, nada.”

Just look at the people around him...


Hamas has a lot of similarity with hezbollah.

at any rate. It seems what will happen in the next 2-3 yrs will be "more of the same"

spinning, foot dragging, skirmishes, big invasion, back track, more settlements building, elections, new people, ... repeat.

game changer:

- Iran declare nuclear and can defend its use, sustaining production. (I doubt they will use this ace until very necessary for them)

- Big change in Iraq that will refocus Israel on Iraq again. (probably won't happen soon.)

- Change of political mood in Egypt. (something radical happens. also probably won't happen soon.)

- Hamas develop credible light infantry force and win small battle. (very likely to happen in less than 2 yrs.)

- Iran develops credible conventional power that will force Israel to negotiate. New long distance bombing ability, more advance radar. This will reduce Israel F-16/15 capability. Before F-35 coming online. (very hard to say when, probably everything is very vague since both side are not that far apart in term of long distance bombing capability.)

-Something happens in US-Israel relationship. (unlikely to happen anytime soon)


Hamas specifically

1. Obviously they need to keep their house in order. Their command and communication structure are compromised.

2. Hamas cannot exist without its ability to "provide" the palestinians (basic economy, education, civil government) And Israel will makes sure nothing gets rebuilt. (bombing, blockade) So Hamas has to come up with some sort of economic plan.

3. It seems Hamas understand world opinion, but they don't have structure to connect effectively with bigger world. (This compared to hezbollah in 2006)


Israel challenge:

Obviously, from last offensive, they are not dealing with old Arafat/PLO/Fatah anymore. Hamas actually fight back and tries to hold grounds.

within a decade they will match basic Israel infantry capability. And than thing will get very expensive, specially if Gaza flips (Abbas is old, people. watch the clock)


Overall, unless Hamas basic structure is destroyed, they will keep fighting and get their independence in less than 15 yrs. Faster if they can increase their learning curve. (this is just simple comparison to Hamas previous performances and Hezbollah.)

so, it's all statistic and curve. The basic strategy won't change much. (Gaza is only 100 square miles big.)


PL: "The whole Gaza "Cast Lead" fiasco seems to have been predicated on the idea that Palestinians are "herdable." I don't get it. What is there in Israeli/Palestinian history that supports that idea."

The West Bank wall seemingly halted suicide attacks from there? Perhaps the Isralis need one of those large net type of walls you see at driving ranges.

On the serious side good luck to all those involved in finding a solution for this. My prescription: a First Amendment Bill for Israel.


The whole Gaza "Cast Lead" fiasco seems to have been predicated on the idea that Palestinians are "herdable." I don't get it. What is there in Israeli/Palestinian history that supports that idea.

Only this - the chauvinistic view of other people is almost inevitably that they are less than we are. It doesn't seem to matter who the "they" or "we" are, that's how it is. That's the only thing that supports that idea, and it seems to be completely impervious to any contrary facts or observations.

Tom Hennessy

I recall that one of Nixon's people - Colson? - had a sign in his office that stated "When you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow." I believe this is still a core belief of the Neocons. If we just hit them hard enough...

However, in my reading of history I see no indication that this has ever been true. The Israelis should be very aware of this; think of Masada or the Warsaw Ghetto. In both cases they were had by the balls, but did not give in. The British did not cave in from the Blitz.

You can defeat a people, but it is very difficult to get them to come to your way of thinking through violence. I really don't see what they conceive is the long term (50 year) outcome of this type of approach.

Clifford Kiracofe

What is the Team Obama legal position on the matter of the "right to resistance" under international law with respect to the Palestine Question?

There is such a principle in international law: the right to resistance by those occupied by a foreign power. Like the French under the Nazi's, for example. Or the Palestinians under the Israelis.

Does the Obama Administration accept that Palestinians have a right under international law to resist Israeli occupation?

If this right of Palestinians under international law is recognized then logically they have the right to bear arms and to use such arms against the occupying power.

The older US position was that Hizbullah and Hamas were resistance organizations. This has been and is the position of a number of countries. Bush43 rejected this and adopted the Israeli view.

Would US joint agreements and activities with Israel (and Egypt) to prevent weapons entering Gaza, for example, indicate that the US does not recognize a Palestinian right of resistance and accepts the Israeli view? Would the US thus be a party to the occupation?

Does the Obama Administration recognize the Gaza elections in which Hamas won?

Will the Obama Administration take the same legal position as Bush 43 per Hamas and Hizbullah. If so, where is the "change" from Bush43?


I find it interesting that people want to explain it away as rhetoric, empty bluster, or fabrication when representatives of Hamas are quoted as saying they want to wipe out Israel, and set up an Islamic state from the river to the sea but have no problem taking representatives of the nasty Israeli parties like Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas at their word when say more or less the equivalent about Palestinians.

A pox on all their houses.



Could someone please explain to me what Mr. Lieberman means by "complete the operation?" Does that mean killing all the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip? I'm asking this as a legitimate question.

Yes. Lieberman, the ex-bouncer from Monrovia and LordGodAlmighty to the settlers, has said on repeated occasions that the Palestinians should 'be pushed into the sea'. He was even caught saying 'Kill all Arabs', a common sign on walls spray-painted in English in Hebron and throughout Palestine. He's Begin on steroids.


Obama outlined his policy on the issue of Palestine and Israel in his speech announcing the appointment of Holbrooke and Mitchell.

If you missed it, let me summarise:

Same-old same-old


I wonder if Mitchell would have been successful in Northern Ireland if had been sent to talk negotiate a peace between the UDF and the UK, and not including the IRA until they accepted that N.Ireland was British first?

So is the hokum that Iran backs Hamas. It doesn't. It backs Hizbollah.

Bob Baer, in his recent book The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower, argues at some length that since Iran gave up revolution for pragmatism (somewhere around 1990) it supports whomever is effectively doing something that correates with their interests. By materially supporting Hamas in defiantly standing up to Israel when Sunni Gulf states give only lip service it undermines the legitimacy of those states in the eyes of the Arab street, thus supporting Iran's long-term goal of becoming reinforcing (thank you George W. Bush) its position as the dominant power in the Persian Gulf region.


Same-old same-old is not good for America. Same-old same-old will lead Obama into LBJ's shoes... the Great Society given up for the useless war.

Serving Patriot


This morning Clifford May and his MSNBC enabler David Shuster went on at some length on the theme that surely the Gazans would now repudiate Hamas.

This is the same ill logic evident up to, during, and after the Gazan election in 2006 that brought Hamas to power in the first place. You know, the one where it was evident to any rational observer that Abu Mazen was going to lose BIG TIME?

And this same failure underlies the attempt at a "covert"">http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804">"covert" coup using Dahlan's criminal gang.

I wonder how hard these folks are going to try to make their reality math the one we study and see in the Real World?


Abu Sinan


As a person who has spent a lot of time in the north of Ireland I dont think you'll find any member of the IRA or Sinn Fein who, to this day, who will accept the idea that the six counties are British.

They work in the power sharing government in Belfast and still maintain abstentionism when dealing with the British Parliament.

You made some good points. What is there to negotiate if all of the points to be negotiated are preconditions to the negotiations themselves?

There would have been no peace in Ireland had such preconditions been asked of the Irish Republican movement.

Babak Makkinejad


Mr. Obama cannot move on Israel-Palestine War without taking on himself significant political risk.


1. The electorate is squarely on the side of Israel.

2. US Congress on the side of Israel.

3. He (Mr. Obama) has no Peace Partners among Arab leaders or Muslim Leaders.

4. He has more important things to work on - such as US economy.

5. The Wars in Iraq and Afganistan are not yet terminated.

6. He needs to deal with Russia's comeback as well.

So he has appointed Mr. Mitchel (a very energetic 75 year old man - it seems) to kick the can down the street.

In my opinion, besides kicking the can down the street there is at least 2 other ways of trying to resolve the conflict.

One would be a limited war against Israel by Syria in which portions of the Golan Heights are recovered. The aim of this limited war is to force US Government to become seriously active in a stellement. This was the late Anwar Sadat's strategy in the Ramadhan War of 1973.

The other would be for the Muslim States (and not just Arabs) to create a unified agenda and approach to the resolution of the conflict. This united Muslim approach must be discussed with US (Russia, EU, China, India are all irrelevant) behind the scenes. The aim would be to give political cover to US President and to Hamas to move forward on a settlement publicly - a virtual Concert of the Middle East if you will.


SP @ 8:44 am:

This is the same ill logic evident up to, during, and after the Gazan election in 2006 that brought Hamas to power in the first place. You know, the one where it was evident to any rational observer that Abu Mazen was going to lose BIG TIME?

B B But Condi said that no one could have predicted that! ;)

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