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Monday, May 18, 2009

Israel, Palestine, and Iran: A Riddle Wrapped in an Enigma

There is a debate raging among folks that I would refer to as pseudo analysts about how to approach the issue of Iran's nukes along with the Israeli/Palestinian feud. Some, like the president, think that solving the crisis between Israel and Palestine will lead directly to weakening Iran and thus forcing them to give up their nukes. Others, like Alan Dershowitz, believe it's the other way around. To solve the Palestinian/Israeli feud you first must disarm Iran.

In my opinion, the reality is that all these things are symbiotic and the whole situation is like a massive onion that is unpeeled only to find new layers that cause problems. There's no doubt that peace between Israel and Palestine would in fact lead to Iran's disarmament because they would lose significant influence and be isolated to a point at which more nuclear build up would no longer be an option. It's also no doubt that if Iran stopped developing nukes and supporting Hezbollah and Hamas that peace between the two would be significantly easier.

Of course, all the players understand this and that's why Iran won't stop developing their nukes. It's also why Iran won't stop its support for both Hezbollah and Hamas. The new buzz word in the Middle East is the two state solution. Anyone that touts this frankly hasn't the first clue what's going on. The so called two state solution isn't the answer but the goal. You can't simply say we need a two state solution. It's sort of like me saying the answer to all my money problems is to make a million dollars this year.

The key isn't the two state solution itself, but rather, how we get to this. The current president hasn't given the first hint that he has any plan to how to get there. Of course, this would put him in the same category as every major politician for the last two thousand plus years. How exactly do we get to a two state solution when two major players, Hamas and Hezbollah, want the two destruction of one of the two states? How do we get to this solution when we have a major state funding these two groups? How do we get to this solution when most of the neighborhood refuses to even acknowledge the existence of one of the two states? How do we get to this two state solution when thousands of years bitterness, history, and religion need to be resolved before anyone on either side is willing to sit down for any serious compromise?

All of these issues are wrapped up in today's meeting between Bibi Netanyahu and Barack Obama. President Obama is said to be pushing a re newed effort for a "two state solution". Yet, all of these other issues remain to be resolved. It's as though most of the leaders in the world live in some sort of a fantasy land where the problems of the Middle East magically disappear just because they want a solution. President Obama apparently believes that talking to Iran and ignoring the stated goals of both Hamas and Hezbollah is the road to peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. Unfortunately, it isn't. Netanyahu can walk out of this meeting with Obama and proclaim himself a partner in the "two state solution" and ultimately it will mean nothing. That's because Hamas and Hezbollah are still determined to wipe Israel from existence and Iran is still doing everything it can to support both of them.

My solution is what my old boss referred to as "simply but not easy". By simple, I mean I can certainly say how to do it. Actually doing it, though, is another story. My solution requires the simultaneous combination of both a strong Israeli and American leader determined to see it through. Unfortunately, we never have had that. From my perspective, the ultimate road to the resolution of all these issues lies in Israel's ability to once and for all destroy even just one of its enemies entirely: be it Hamas, Hezbollah, or Iran.

This is of course not easy, but possible. The most obvious candidate is Hamas, both because of their proximity and their weakness. Such an action would require a bloody commitment that would involve brutal and sustained street fighting. It could take a year or more to accomplish. Furthermore, within weeks or months at the most, the whole entire world community would be condemning Israel for "overreaction". This is where a strong American and Israeli leader would be required. America would need to support Israel in this both geopolitically and financially. There's no doubt that as the war raged on many countries and groups would boycott all things Israel in an attempt to stop "Israeli aggression".

This can be done. Hamas is ultimately weak. There are only so many places they can hide and a sustained fight over months or even a years would destroy nearly all its fighters. Whatever is left would not amount to anything more than street gangs. Once Hamas is destroyed the message is sent that Israel is not fighting tit for tat. Their enemies face total destruction if they continue their aggression.

Ultimately, most of Israel's enemies are weak and cowardly and after they see the fate of Hamas they will disintegrate quickly. Without their proxies, Iran becomes an isolated nation that only counts Syria as an ally. Without Hamas, Hezbollah knows that any war is only on one front. Furthermore, they know that any war has the real potential to do to them what happened to Hamas.

Unfortunately, such a plan requires both an Israeli leader willing to see it through but also an American leader. I have no doubt that Netanyahu would see such an action through, but I wouldn't give Obama more than three weeks before he's demanding a pull back. So, for the next four years, we will all debate the worthiness of a "two state solution", while Iran bides its time developing its first nuclear weapon.


Anonymous said...

First off, I don't see how or why you equate Iran's nuclear weapons program with its support for Hamas and Hesbollah. Iran is perfectly capable of doing one without the other.

There is no way short of evicting every man, woman, and child from Gaza that Israel can achieve any sort of permanent destruction of Hamas. And that is something not even Netanyahu, or even Avigdor Lieberman, has considered. So I don't see why you have "no doubt that Netanyahu would see such an action through." As for Hesbollah, Israel can barely convince anyone that Hesbollah cares about anything other than keeping Israel out of Lebanon and nothing more. Not to mention that unlike Gaza, Lebanon isn't filled with just Hezbollah and its civilian supporters.

I have never believed much in the idea of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Iran is much more interested in a conventional weapons program of things like stealth aircraft, UAVs, DU armor that can withstand APFSDS rounds, and anti-ship missiles.

Finally, your peace plan isn't really a peace plan at all. You're just advocating the US take one side in a war and support that side until it wins.

mike volpe said...

I didn't equate anything. I said everything is wrapped together. Who do you think would take said nuke if and when Iran gets it. It would almost certainly be either or both Hamas and Hezbollah.

They wouldn't need to expel every man woman and child. In fact, what it would take is excellent intelligence by Mossad et al. With every captured and killed Hamas you get information about the next one. It's a vicious cycle. Once they push all the way through the West Bank, then they are in the middle of Hamas' territory. Then, they get excellent intelligence and pick them off one at a time. It takes a long time but once the senior leadership is destroyed everyone else falls apart.

I agree that Hezbollah is much more difficult though you are loon if you think that Israel needs to convince anyone that Hezbollah isn't out to destroy it. nasrallah isn't shy about his intentions.

Anonymous said...

You seriously think Iran would give Hamas or Hisbollah a *nuke*? They could barely smuggle food into the Gaza, much less a large, bulky device of almost prototype quality that would probably leak radiation like mad. Even if they tried such a thing, you think Egypt would allow that to happen?

Even if Iran can or wants to build a weapon, they'd be insane not to keep it for themselves as a deterrent to a potential US invasion.

Sometimes I think you forget that Ahmadenijad has absolutely no authority and will probably be unceremoniously trounced in the election on June 12.

And if you think Netanyahu is going to send his own men into the West Bank when both he and Obama are pouring boatloads of cash and weapons into training Abbas' men to do the job for them then you're letting your disdain for Palestinians cloud your analysis.

mike volpe said...

Of course, they would give a nuke to either or both Hamas and Hezbollah. They would also likely build more than one so that they would protect themselves against invasion. They are a lot less likely to use a nuke offensively than they are to hand a nuke to someone else. Once you build one nuke it is easy to build many.

As for Netanyahu, he has been PM about two months. as such he hasn't poured anything anywhere. I absolutely believe that if he thought his country and economy would be secure, then he would take an operation until its final conclusion. I don't think that is the case now.

I absolutely believe that the best way to resolve any of these and all of these crises is for Israel to totally destroy anyone of its enemies.

Anonymous said...

Iran's "nukes"??? What "nukes" would those be, the imaginary kind? Sort of like Iraq's "WMDs"??? when will you sheeple learn?