Wednesday, July 26, 2006

1, 2, 3, 4 or 5? What will happen?


This is an attempt by the Independent to predict the outcome of the crisis through a matrix. However, I think it is foolish to try and do so as no one knows the real reasons behind this war or how it might turn. Worth reading though...
mrtez

The Middle East: What happens next?

Israel withdraws unilaterally? Diplomatic settlement? Israel snared in counter-insurgency? Lebanese government falls? Israel invades Lebanon? We analyse the options.
Published: 25 July 2006

Option 1: Israel withdraws unilaterally
How?
Amid international outcry over mounting civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure in Lebanon, President Bush is prevailed upon to pressure the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to rein in the military.
And then what?
Uneasy truce in which status quo is restored: probable halt to incoming rockets but Israel still vulnerable to raids like the one 13 days ago in which two soldiers were abducted by Hizbollah. Hizbollah celebrates "victory" and continues to build its strength as a military force, claiming it has twice defeated the Israeli war machine.
Winners ...
Hizbollah - would still claim victory over Israel, angering US, which views militia as a proxy for Iranian terror.
... and losers
Israel - would still say it had degraded Hizbollah " infrastructure," but at a huge cost to its international reputation.
So will it happen?
Unlikely, given the high political cost to Israel and the US.

Option 2: Diplomatic settlement
How?
Israel realises it has launched an unwinnable war. Its US allies fear the invasion has turned the region into a tinder box. Israel takes the route of least resistance and looks to the UN for a face-saving climbdown. The US accommodates by encouraging European countries to send a buffer force on the border with Lebanon.
And then what?
Buffer forces come in all shapes and sizes. To work they have to be accepted by all sides. Hizbollah is unlikely to make concessions unless pressed by Iran and Syria - and to do this they will want concessions. International troops would supervise the disarmament of Hizbollah. But Hizbollah is not going to accept foreign forces, having already ''liberated'' its land from Israel's 22-year occupation.
Winners...
The US would claim victory for its tactics as, of course, would Israel.
...and losers
Lebanon, with its country ravaged.
So will it happen?
Increasingly likely, as Israel sees no military solution.

Option 3: Israel snared in counter-insurgency
How?
Israel gets bogged down in protracted skirmishes on both sides of its northern border. This would effectively be a reversion before withdrawal from Lebanon by Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000. Hizbollah has showed it can survive under occupation. After these Israeli assaults, they would have many more recruits and could inflict terrible casualties.
And then what?
Guerilla war as Iran, Hizbollah's prime sponsor, decides to push for decisive victory. Hamas, allied to Hizbollah on Israel's second front in Gaza, intensifies rocket attacks. In Israel, public opinion would remain solid in the short term, but even Israeli morale flags in the face of constant bloodshed.
Winners...
In US and British eyes the "terror axis" of Hizbollah, Iran and Syria.
...and losers
Israel, facing unending conflict on yet another front and further international condemnation.
So will it happen?
Should Condoleezza Rice's diplomacy fail, quite likely.

Option 4: Lebanese government falls
How?
Probably only if Israel attacked Syrians first. Syria doesn't want direct conflict, which it would lose. Devastation caused by Israeli attack puts the fragile government in Beirut under unbearable pressure. The country, with 17 sects, risks fracturing. The Iranian and Syrian-backed Shia Hizbollah movement, which has two ministers in cabinet and 14 MPs, is strengthened.
And then what?
Disaster. General anarchy, although the US probably does not want to get involved in this. Possible return of Syria as power broker a year after its troops were forced out at the end of a 29-year occupation. But a much worse possible scenario: southern Lebanon could become a cauldron of terror as militant groups pour into the region in support of Hizbollah.
Winners ...
At first, Israel's military, Syria militarily.
... and losers
Lebanese people, Hizbollah.
So will it happen?
Should the Israeli onslaught continue apace, it is quite likely.

Option 5: Israel invades Lebanon
How?
Because Israel can't think of anything else to do. But it did not work in 1982, so why should it work now? This would be a massive military undertaking that would evoke memories of the previous invasion, which was the most unpopular war in Israel's history. Possible occupation of Lebanon south of the Litani river.
And then what?
Lebanese population and rest of the world mobilise against the invasion, which would fail to dismantle Hizbollah, given Israel's last experience. Israel would be the aggressor, rather than the victim (as it had been when its soldiers were captured). Disaster for Israel, which risks losing soldiers in large numbers and being bogged down in another occupation.
Winners...
Few winners except arms sellers and manufacturers. Hizbollah, as fighting wars is what they do best.
...and losers
Lebanese people and government, Middle East governments.
So will it happen?
Unlikely, given the huge pressure that would be brought to bear on Israel.

9 Comments:

Blogger HT said...

What about Option 6?

The Israelis invade Lebanon and Syria. They catch Syria with their pants down and wipe out their air force again. And, then continue on into Iran and bomb their hardened nuclear sites into oblivion.

I, for one, would love to see the United States get involved in destroying Iran's infrastructure. They have said enough smack. The time is now for the U.S. to get involved in dropping bombs on Iran too.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Option 6?

true.

israel change nothing and continue bombing.

European governments, put under pressure from the street, put israel under economic pressure to force a cease-fire.

Europe make 60% of israel economy.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that you are forgetting why Hezbollah has become a danger. First off the Israelis pulled out of South Lebannon, which they were there to make sure that Hezbollah did not gather there to strike Israel. Then you have not mentioned the assasination of the Lebannese PM on Feb 15th 2005 that was organized and followed thru by the Syrians after they were asked to leave the country also. This paved the way for Hezbollah to take over an already weak gov't in Lebannon. Now tell me why is it that every damn country(arab) that has state sponsored terrorism had a gov;t that was working towards Democracy only to be killed off and instead of having a gov't elected by the people they get terrorists that assasinate to gain their power. HHHMMM look at Saddam regime. Look at Irans regime. Those two countries had civil liberties and a gov't elected by the people until the extreme terrorist douches assasinated the leaders and took over. Now you talk about the US and other western nations trying to dictate. Well we do not assasinate to take over a country for it to be ran in a certain way. Look at you thoughts in a different perspective. you may be taken more seriouly my friend. Oh yeah the douche that is the leader of Hezbollah that wears the black turbin. Yeah he is supposed to be a direct decendant of the Prophet Mohammad. Give me a break. So i will wear a black turbin also and reign terror across the land.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do hope that what Annan pleas is the option, simple stop bombing.
You can leave your sick jokes at home HT, i dont hope you speak for the US but if you enjoy bombing of others then there is something wrong, if the reasoning is "talking smack".
I try to understand everyone's reason and you should too, even if its difficult to understand the mentality of foreign countries. You could do so peacefully

9:13 PM  
Blogger HT said...

The unfortunate reality is that "talking smack" is just the beginning of the problem. It foments there and then you have indoctrination camps to carry out the desires and wishes of all those radicals who were "talking smack" before. I've listened to your President from Iran. If allowed to zero in on him with a sniper rifle, I would be more than happy to pull the trigger. It is Muslim extremism that is one of the most dangerous challenges to the safety of Americans and to so many Middle Eastern countries as we speak. All of it started with someone "talking smack." When an Iranian leader endorses the annihilation of Israel, then, indeed, I do think we should resort to violence. We should first assasinate your Iranian weirdo president and then drop bombs on all of Iran's nuclear facilities. Take the heat off Israel for the time being. Believe me when I tell you that there are more than a few American pilots who would stand in a queue to drop bombs on Iran right now. Oh, I do understand your mentality. Or, are you just talking smack like every other Muslim?

4:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone that has left a comment on this site in my opinion does not see it first hand and has not seen or experinced how the Israeli's work. Israel has no respect and don't care for country in this region except themselves and how they have been the victims of the Nazi era. Hizbollah is an organization that I respect for defending my country and being able to show the world how to beat the best force in this region and that is what Israel cannot swallow while the Lebanese people have swallowed many bitter experiences at the the hand of Israel by targetting our civilians in order to terrorise us and force us betray Hizbollah! A question to the world has this worked before ? The Answer: NO!

Mr Hassan Nassrallah is a descendent of the Prophet and the proof is that he is the strategist on the ground in the south. Israel cannot open two more fronts through invasion if they do attack Syria and Iran they will have them for breakfast and don't think that either country has not planned it. SRS

9:56 PM  
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8:54 PM  
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12:57 AM  
Blogger MIKE ZONE said...

I myself have no time or patience for the illogical and ideologically flawed thinking of the left in this country, in Europe and in Israel.
Either arrange for key assasinations of Iranian leaders immediately or initiate with extreme prejudice an attack on Iran's industrial infrastructure, nuclear facilities and military targets. Deliver true shock and awe to a regime that continues to flaunt itself in the face or world opinion. Kill off and destroy any elements of the Iranian military which offer up any offensive posturing with an unimaginable and total attack using whatever means we have at our disposal to literally overwhelm Iran, crush their military, exterminate their government and give whatever populace that remains an open invitation to rejoin the peacefuo world community. Sometimes peace requires war. Iran is planning murder on a worldwide scale. Our friends in Israel need to be supported. Iran wants war, bring it to their doorstep with impunity.
Mike Zone

8:57 PM  

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