While we’ve heard calls to arms from Libya, Iran and Yemen since the troubles brewed anew 10 days or so ago, they’re not truly the worrisome ones. I’ve found nothing, so I wonder to y’all - does anybody know anything about the alert status or movements of the Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian military forces?
Extrapolating from this article, it would appear that Syria has officially informed the U.S. and the U.N. that it considers the attacks of Hezbollah to be legitimate.
This is the equivalent of Mr. Garrison saying that Mr. Hand acted legitimately when he tried to poke Chef in the eye.
Let us hope the gloves don’t come off.
I dream of Mr. Sharon asking the Palestinian people’s forgiveness on Yom Kippur, since it was his stupid beligerent grandstanding at the Dome of the Rock that started this.
Of course, he sees nothing wrong with what he did, and that’s the problem, so my dream’s not likely to happen, is it? And even if it did, would the Palestinians forgive? What does the Koran say about an oppressor who comes to his senses, and asks forgiveness? Could Barak make an appeal to the Palestinians in terms that appeal to a Muslim heart?
Frankly, neither giving nor seeking foregiveance has ever made it on the program with either side over there. Guts of the problem: both sides include factions that insist the other side must cease to exist. No resolution possible while these factions remain politically viable.
A chilling thought comes from looking at the Algerian example - who were the first to be killed? The moderates.
Anyway, I’m not trying to send this to GD; I just want to know how close we are to the 2nd Yom Kippur War.
I think I am both guilty of injecting a little more opinion into this thread than is necessary. We have a chance here to answer some great general questions that might serve to better inform lots of people, so from this point forward I’ll try to stop mixing my similes and metaphors.
Rather than have this one tossed straight into the GD, I think this could be an interesting opportunity to spit up some good facts: military readiness and strength, diplomatic posturing, and perhaps some tempered prognostication. You know, armchair warrior stuff. So I’ll give it a try:
This travel warning from the U.S. State Department makes mention of mortar and/or rocket attacks on the Golan Heights by Hezbollah (presumably). The strategic position of the Golan is crucial to the defense of both Israel and Syria; there are few geographic barriers protecting Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or Damascus beyond this mountain range. Mortar attacks may be a way of testing Israel’s response, particularly if their projectile tracking radar is up to snuff. Or, it could be symbolic. Probably a mixture of both.
In the meantime, English speaking newspapers are beginning to toss out the disturbing term “brink of war.” Australia reports that there are 30,000 Syrian troops in the Lebanon, which could be exploited as a flank around the Golan if they were to initiate attack, or as a foil should the Israelis try to push into Syrian territory.
However, the CSIS considers the recent decline of Syrian military forces to be significant enough that as of July 11, 2000, they felt that Syria was lacking in the offensive capabilities they once possessed. The reports are huge for the bandwidth challenged, and in .pdf form, and not easily cited directly. I don’t know how I have a computer without Acrobat…
Egypt still keeps the Sinai largely demilitarized, I think. That could easily change within a matter of days should another Arab coalition against Israel coalesce. Jordan, for the most part, has found a degree of prosperity by keeping their offensive capability low. King Hussein was discreet in effectively reducing military tension between Israel and Jordan by reducing his own forces considerably. What his son will do is another imponderable.
For a variety of reasons I haven’t been following the news as closely as I usually do for the last few days. I know the kettle is getting stirred over in Israel but I confess I didn’t know it had progressed to serious thoughts of war.
Can the Arab world really be stupid enough to attack Israel?
A) The last two times the Arabs tried they got thouroughly whomped by the Israelis.
B) Whatever points the Arab world has earned for their positions against Israel will go right out the window. No country can seriously suggest that Israel doesn’t have every right to strongly defend itself…especially when such an attack constitutes a threat to the entire country’s very existence (not like the US pulling out of Vietnam).
Frankly, some Israelis would probably love a war. They could get back on their soapbox and say, “See! They can’t be trusted…we MUST keep what we have to defend ourselves!”
This whole thing, if true, is scary. It has WW-III written on it.
Arabs attack Israel and do a better job of it than in the past.
The US steps in to help its old friend.
The Arabs, in retaliation, cut off oil supplies to the western world.
The US can NOT afford that and starts taking oil fields.
Russia, seeing its chance to ‘defend its interests’, starts making land grabs of its own.
China, seeing everyone else otherwise engaged, takes its chance and nabs Taiwan.
The US cannot allow that to happen and now has wars with China, Arabs and possibly Russia.
THAT could be ugly…
So because some guy we don’t like visits some place we’d rather he didn’t, that is a good reason to ditch the peace process and start war?
IMHO the Palestinians are not only an unruly lot but very foolish because, as has been pointed out, the lose to the Israelis every time. I predict they will get whooped once again which will just fuel their spirit of martyrdom. Not only are they a disorganized, unruly lot, they are losers and they will lose.
Maybe no side is entirely right in this conflict but you have to give it to the Israelis that that are much better organized. They do have extremist factions but on the whole they are an organized society which can be ruled. The Palestinians don’t even come close.
The jews built the country, built a modern and disciplined army. All the Palestinians can do is throw rocks and not even in an orderly manner. They will get whooped again and again. They are losers. Martyrdom is for losers.
Perhaps coincidentally, NATO is holding an exercise in Turkey.
This here is the CSIS .pdf file that shows that Syria is kinda slummin’ militarily right now. Briefly stated:
About half of Syria’s tank force is obsolete, with 1200 of them in either static or storage roles.
Even the best of the Syrian tank forces consist mostly of T-72s, which we discovered aren’t all they were cracked up to be during the Gulf War.
About half of Syria’s enormous anti-tank capability is also quite old, but still dangerous.
About 78% of Syria’s artillery is towed or fixed. It lacks sophisticated fire-control procedures.
Syria’s combined-arms tactics, particularly helicopter tactics, are probably effectively countered by the addition of light anti-aircraft capability to all Israeli choppers.
The Syrian air forces posess no tankers, and no ELINT or airborne early warning capability. They appear to have about 30 MiG-29s, which also didn’t fare so well during the Gulf War, largely due to the quality of the pilots.
The bottom line is that Syria defaulted on her loans from Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a result, Syria’s military is about vintage 1989; their procurements have declined massively since then. Lack of modernization and possibly spare parts will probably make Syria think twice about doing the tango with Israel again.
Unless of course, Syria’s new president is as evil and insane as his predecessor. You know–his father.
Sometimes you have to wonder about the stupidity of politicians everywhere. US bases in Turkey are crucial for the US military (the ones they use to enforce the no fly zone in Irak, etc)
Rep. Rogan (R, CA) is trying to pass a non binding resolution calling on the executive to "recognize that the ottoman Turks carried out genocide against Armenians in 1915. Turkish president has warned that passage would damage US-Turkish relations beyond repair.
WTF is this going to accomplish (besides Rogan gaining votes from the Armenians in his district?). Sometimes you have to wonder at the irresponsibility of politicians.
BTW, WTF is “Letting slip the dogs of war” supposed to mean?
Who the heck are the dogs of war and who let them slip? Was it the ice?
`Cry “Havoc”, and let slip the dogs of war.’ --Marc Antony, Julius Caesar, Shakespeare
The dogs of war are military forces, and Julius Caesar’s vengant spirit (Great Caesar’s Ghost!) is the one who lets them slip.
Sofa King, thanks for the info. I had the feeling that Syrian military capabilities had diminished and knowing that Egypt has diplomatic relations with Israel, I thought the talk of war floating about the media was probably a little loose. But there was enough stirring (I work in the same building that houses the Israeli consulate and have seen demonstrations outside the building this last week - probably influenced my perception), and a shortage of info that I felt like asking.
Probably a bit of a rough period ahead, but I’m not expecting Arab regulars to get involved at this point.
C’mon sailor,…on the ice?
Actually, I posed a serious question that doesn’t belong to the GD forum. If, by some miracle of political and personal fortitude, Barak decided to appeal to the Palestinians for forgiveness in terms that would resonate with them on an Islamic basis, is there precedence in the Koran/Islamic tradition for doing that? What are the teachings on that? Is anyone here knowledgeable enough with Islam to address that?
“Take no prisoners, grant no mercy, ask for none.”
Military terminology has such charming concepts.
I just hope the CBN hardware stays in the bunkers.
For all our sakes.
I’ve always heard NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) as the version of that abbreviation. Maybe because I grew up with the National Broadcasting Corporation. BTW, is there a Canadian Broadcasting Network (CBN)? Just asking. (BTW, I know that deployment of the current technology in NBC would render the Middle East uninhabitable for centuries (chemical and biological) or millenia (nuclear). We gotta laugh at something about the end of the world.)
Acknowledging that JoltSucker claimed this as a non-GD approach, I’d have to comment (ACKK!! I’m dooming my own thread to GD, methinks, and without even a stated question for debate) on this:
We can skip the debate over Islamic resonance because it ain’t going to happen.
Another factor is internal politics. Jordan and Syria have new leaders who might feel a need to legitimize their successions by confronting a foreign enemy.
Seems most the major players have anted up, and some are now raising. The infrastructure has changed, and Israel probably still holds the high hand militarily.
So, are we there yet?
I don’t think the Syrian military is the definitive element here. Although Israel managed to defeat Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, that was then. Israel was (and still is) very wealthy and could afford top-notch training and equipment, whereas its opponents were considerably weaker. The situation has changed. While Syria’s military appears to have lagged behind, Egypt is rumoured to have been stockpiling weapons and equipment for years. At the same time, Egypt is the one country in the entire region that is probably most responsible for encouraging a peaceful resolution. Jordan will no doubt follow Egypt’s lead. As for Syria, it controls Lebanon and the Hezbollah, and could very well wage primarily a guerilla rather than a conventional war, at the same time providing its resources as back-up to any movement against Israel by other Arab countries.
Assuming that no other nations join the fray, this represents a huge problem for the entire world–which is the reason for Egypt’s efforts to attempt to defuse the situation. I sincerely doubt that the USA will get involved the same way they have in the past, because 1) a more informed public would react negatively, especially in the light of events all over Yugoslavia, and 2) the world has changed and force is starting to answer to human rights (a long and slow start, but I believe it is happening). Only a few decades ago, the USA “informed” Egypt that it would be pummelled to its knees if it did not surrender to Israel. The US will probably not commit again to such a controversial strategy.
The Israeli victory resulted in a quarter of a million refugees. Over the years, the refugee problem has not really improved–in fact, Israel seems to have made it a point to exacerbate it, perhaps in an attempt to subjugate the Arabs. I believe this in part contributes to the anger of the Arabs. It is foolish and uninformed to state that the Palestinians are losers, just as it is foolish and uninformed to say that the Jews have no right to Israel.
When territorial disputes start taking on these opinionated and frankly idiotic sides (we were here first/ this land used to belong to us thousands of years ago, etc.) it is hopeless to continue without hitting the reset button. Hell, the Romans owned and ran the region over two millennia ago, so I guess they should bring in the Italians because they “possessed and civilized this land”. Same argument.
I think another Arab-Israeli war would go differently, particularly because the rest of the world roughly agrees that Israel’s conduct in these matters is not appropriate, and Israel cannot hope to hold out in sustained conflict against numerically superior opponents on all sides without its ally, the US. I doubt there will be open war, but I am very interested to see what develops from here. This situation is a history of impasse after impasse.