TRUCE OR CONSEQUENCES?
Dry Bones shares my suspicions about the U.N. Security Council ceasefire resolution. The best that I can say about the situation is that it may never go into effect. If it does go into effect, and Israeli troops actually withdraw, neither the Lebanese Army nor the international forces (should they ever show up on the scene) will prevent Hezbollah from returning to their strongholds. Iran and Syria will quickly resupply all the missiles that have either been detroyed or launched at Israel.
On Friday night, at an "Oneg Shabat," I started to tell my friend Yossi, a native-born Israeli, that I had called on my blog for the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Before I could finish, he told me that in his view Olmert was the greatest Prime Minister in Israel's history. In Yossi's view, Olmert agreed to the ceasefire to save the lives of Israeli soldiers, because the IDF was not prepared to face the tactics and anti-tank weapons of Hezbollah. Yossi bet me lunch that in six weeks Hezbollah will either have disarmed or, having been absorbed into the Lebanese Army, would no longer present a threat to Israel. I very much hope to lose the bet, even though Yossi is a big eater and it will cost me. Sadly, I do not expect to lose the bet.
I should also add that Yossi supported the Oslo Accords and the unilateral withdrawal of Israel from Gaza, and indeed still defends both descisions. Please understand, my friend Yossi is a very intelligent person. He works for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and his work helps guide NASA interplanetary missions across space. He is quite literally a rocket scientist. So I guess that one can say, "Politics is not rocket science," but the meaning is the opposite of the conventional one.
Although this is a sad and depressing time, I do not believe that Hamas and Hezbollah will ultimately prevail. As reported in this story in the Jerusalem Post, the infamous Arab street already is trumpeting the ceasefire as the miliary defeat of Israel at the hands of the Hezbollah. At some point soon, having deluded themselves that they have actually defeated Israel on the battlefield (rather than in the world media and the halls of the Israeli Prime Minister's office, the U.N. and the U.S. State Department), the Arabs and Iran will try to press further against what they perceive is a wounded and weakened Israel, and move in for the kill. When Israel's citizens finally realize that they have no choice but to fight or be conquered, they will choose to fight, and they will choose a government who is willing to lead that fight to the end.
That time may come sooner than one would expect. Yoni reports that Syria has begun removing removing land mines located in the zone between the Syrian and Israeli lines on the Golan Heights and has moved a tank formation into the area. There would be no defensive reason to remove those land mines; indeed, if Syria feared an Israeli attack, it would want them in place. However, if Syria is contemplating an attack to try to recapture the Golan Heights, it would have to clear the mines to allow its armor, vehicles and troops to pass through. I would hate to be a Syrian tank crew in such an assault; the Israeli Air Force would very quickly turn the tank column into a smoking junkyard. For that reason alone, such an attack would seem to be pure folly.
But perhaps Syria does not plan to act alone. The repeated announcements from Iranian President Ahmadinejad that Iran will respond to the U.S. concerning its nuclear program on August 22 has prompted Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis to speculate on what might be the significance of that date:
What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.
Is Syria therefore planning an assault across the Golan Heights to coincide with some sort of Iranian nuclear attack on Israel, perhaps by missile, or perhaps a small atomic device or "dirty bomb" to be set off by a suicide jihadist already inside Israel? One hopes that Israel's security and military leaders have given adequate attention to the possibility.