Is the endgame in sight?

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The outline of a settlement in the Israel Hizbullah War may be starting to emerge.  Shimon Peres was on PBS's Charlie Rose Show last night (Monday July 31).  Very likely he flew to the U.S. to pour some oil on troubled waters.  Which I think he did very effectively. 

'Is Israel going to lose this war?' 

'Charlie, I've seen worse.  I go back to the War of Independence.  Then we were 500,000 against 7 million.  We didn't have tanks, we didn't have aircraft, we didn't even have an army.  We didn't lose then and we aren't going to lose now.' 

Whew!  What about a cease fire? 

'Charlie, you cannot have a cease fire with people who don't want a cease fire.  They think they are winning.  All they have to do to have a cease fire is to stop firing.'

This morning, the IDF put forth spokesmen who speak American English, which (although that sounds self—centered) does help to improve our understanding of what is going on.  In addition, I suspect the Israelis themselves have now settled on a strategy.

Which is to send in the tanks up to the Litani River, a maneuver many of us expected on the first day.  Why didn't they do it then?  We will find out from the history books.  Quite possibly it was to give time for the local civilians to clear the area.  It is one thing to leaflet them, it is another for them to actually remove themselves from the battle area.  But that is a hypothesis. 

Very likely, the Israelis expected a greater shock effect from the air campaign, but it is also likely we will find out that it was necessary to take out selected Hizbullah installations and prevent resupply.

So, what does the end game look like?  Israel basically establishes a DMZ up to the Litani River.  They destroy all Hizbullah installations in that area.  Yes, that does not completely remove the missile threat, but it still makes a statement:  Hizbullah started the war on the Israeli border and they end it 15 miles north.  And the Litani River position provides the platform for punitive raids further north if they are necessary to take out more missiles.

Very likely once the DMZ is established, and when a multinational force moves in, Israel will retain some right of inspection and action, given that they were so let down by the previous UN force.  And very likely they will issue a statement that one missile over Israel is a causus belli.

That would be a satisfactory outcome.  The IDF would have once again demonstreated its dominance, but also its willingness to work within the constraints of a civilian society.  Hizbullah will bluster, but a defeat is a defeat, particularly if Israel credibly turns off the missiles now and for all time.

Greg Richards   8 01 06

The outline of a settlement in the Israel Hizbullah War may be starting to emerge.  Shimon Peres was on PBS's Charlie Rose Show last night (Monday July 31).  Very likely he flew to the U.S. to pour some oil on troubled waters.  Which I think he did very effectively. 

'Is Israel going to lose this war?' 

'Charlie, I've seen worse.  I go back to the War of Independence.  Then we were 500,000 against 7 million.  We didn't have tanks, we didn't have aircraft, we didn't even have an army.  We didn't lose then and we aren't going to lose now.' 

Whew!  What about a cease fire? 

'Charlie, you cannot have a cease fire with people who don't want a cease fire.  They think they are winning.  All they have to do to have a cease fire is to stop firing.'

This morning, the IDF put forth spokesmen who speak American English, which (although that sounds self—centered) does help to improve our understanding of what is going on.  In addition, I suspect the Israelis themselves have now settled on a strategy.

Which is to send in the tanks up to the Litani River, a maneuver many of us expected on the first day.  Why didn't they do it then?  We will find out from the history books.  Quite possibly it was to give time for the local civilians to clear the area.  It is one thing to leaflet them, it is another for them to actually remove themselves from the battle area.  But that is a hypothesis. 

Very likely, the Israelis expected a greater shock effect from the air campaign, but it is also likely we will find out that it was necessary to take out selected Hizbullah installations and prevent resupply.

So, what does the end game look like?  Israel basically establishes a DMZ up to the Litani River.  They destroy all Hizbullah installations in that area.  Yes, that does not completely remove the missile threat, but it still makes a statement:  Hizbullah started the war on the Israeli border and they end it 15 miles north.  And the Litani River position provides the platform for punitive raids further north if they are necessary to take out more missiles.

Very likely once the DMZ is established, and when a multinational force moves in, Israel will retain some right of inspection and action, given that they were so let down by the previous UN force.  And very likely they will issue a statement that one missile over Israel is a causus belli.

That would be a satisfactory outcome.  The IDF would have once again demonstreated its dominance, but also its willingness to work within the constraints of a civilian society.  Hizbullah will bluster, but a defeat is a defeat, particularly if Israel credibly turns off the missiles now and for all time.

Greg Richards   8 01 06