Archive for the ‘Kristol’ Category

Gaza: Some Blame “Zionists,” Some Iran

January 5, 2009

There is violence, death and by our definition war in Gaza.

Iran blames the “Zionists;” unable to even recognize that Israel is a state and a member of the United Nations.

But some blame Iran itself, calling for action against that nation. 

Gaza Day 11: Civilian Losses Mount; Israel Unmoved
Iran Claims 70,000 Volunteer to Fight Israel
Iran Behind Hamas, Hezbollah, Key Israelis, Others Say

Here is a report from Joe Klein at Time Magazine:

Leave it to Bill Kristol to take the situation in Gaza–a necessary corrective action on Israel’s part, I believe (with a few caveats)–and transform it into a call for war with Iran. But here he is, in today’s Times:

The huge challenge for the Obama administration is going to be Iran. If Israel had yielded to Hamas and refrained from using force to stop terror attacks, it would have been a victory for Iran. If Israel were now to withdraw under pressure without accomplishing the objectives of severely weakening Hamas and preventing the reconstitution of a terror-exporting state in Gaza, it would be a triumph for Iran. In either case, the Iranian regime would be emboldened, and less susceptible to the pressure from the Obama administration to stop its nuclear program.

But a defeat of Hamas in Gaza — following on the heels of our success in Iraq — would be a real setback for Iran. It would make it easier to assemble regional and international coalitions to pressure Iran. It might positively affect the Iranian elections in June. It might make the Iranian regime more amenable to dealing.

With respect to Iran, Obama may well face — as the Israeli government did with Hamas — a moment when the use of force seems to be the only responsible option.

Kristol is doing several dreadful things here. First, he is defining Israel’s operation in the starkest possible terms–victory or defeat–without defining either. To my mind, a clear-cut Israeli victory would be the end of rocket attacks from Gaza (as was accomplished on Israel’s northern border, a little-noticed victory in the 2006 war with Hezbollah) and the cessation on weapons-smuggling through the tunnels on Gaza’s border with Egypt. It will not be the elimination of Hamas or the end of Hamas rule in Gaza. That’s not going to happen. And so the clearest path to an Israeli victory is a negotiated cease fire of the sort offered by France and rejected by Israel last week–which was Israel’s first major mistake in what has been a well-planned campaign.

The more I think about it, the ground assault has the potential to be a second big mistake. It has made a symbolic defeat more possible, if still unlikely. If the IDF gets hung up in alley-fighting in Gaza City, with significant casualties–that will be seen as a defeat. If Hamas guerrilllas can kidnap or use suicide bombers to attack the IDF positions outside Gaza, that will also be seen as an indication of Israeli vulnerability. The problem is that the expectations for Hamas–which already has had its military capability smashed decisively, if truth be told–are so low. Any symbolic victory has disproportionate effect.

Read the rest: