Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The International Politics of Israel's Strategic Defense

I put on my political scientist's hat the other night when writing about Israel's commando raid on the Gaza "humanitarian peace" flotilla. The most shocking thing to me is not that Israel troops were attacked by the Palestinian thugs on board, but that military commanders sent Israeli troops into harm's way with paintball guns. Yo, paintball guns? Considering the graphic and extremely violent clips of the besieged commandos as they rappelled down, the mind boggles in trying to comprehend the mission's decision-making thought processes.

That said, it's of course simply no question that the "humanitarian relief" mission was in fact a terrorist jihad flotilla designed for no other purpose than to destroy Israel, both in public opinion in the short run and existentially over the long run. The best essay I've read on that is Melanie Phillips' at Spectator UK, "
'Peace convoy'? This was an Islamist terror ambush":
As the international community rushes to condemn Israel for the violence on board one of the ships in the Gaza flotilla, which left a reported 10 people dead and dozens injured, it is now obvious that the real purpose of this ‘armada of hate’ was not merely the further delegitimisation of Israel but something far worse.

Gaza’s markets are full of produce, thousands of tons of supplies are travelling into Gaza every week through the Israeli-controlled border crossings, and there is no starvation or humanitarian crisis. It was always obvious that the flotilla was not the humanitarian exercise it was said to be. Here is footage of the IDF offering to dock the Marmara -- the main flotilla ship -- at Ashdod and transfer its supplies and being told ‘Negative, negative, our destination is Gaza’.

And now we can see that the real purpose of this invasion -- backed by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a radical Islamic organization outlawed by Israel in 2008 for allegedly serving as a major component in Hamas’s global fund-raising machine -- was to incite a violent uprising in the Middle East and across the Islamic world. As I write, reports are coming in of Arab rioting in Jerusalem.

The notion – uncritically swallowed by the lazy, ignorant and bigoted BBC and other western media – that the flotilla organisers are ‘peace activists’ is simply ludicrous. This research by the Danish Institute for International Studies details the part played by the IHH in Islamist terror in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. According to the French magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere testifying at the Seattle trial of would-be al Qaeda Millenium bomber Ahmed Ressamin, the IHH had played ‘[a]n important role’ in the al Qaeda Millenium bomb plot targeting Los Angeles airport. It was also involved in weapons trafficking, and played in addition a key role in galvanizing anti-Western sentiment among Turkish Muslims in the lead-up to the 2003 war in Iraq. ‘Peace activists’ these people most certainly are not.

And this flotilla was but the latest jihadi attack, deploying the Islamists’ signature strategy of violence and media manipulation. Here from MEMRI (via Just Journalism) is a clip showing the hysteria against Israel being whipped up on board before the ships set sail, with the chanting of intifada songs about ‘Khaybar’ – the iconic slaughter of Jews by Muslims in the 7th century which is used as a rallying cry to kill the Jews today -- and threats of ‘martyrdom’. This was not merely a propaganda stunt, but a terrorist attack.

Lots more at the link.

And see also David Swindle, "
Confession: Flotilla Nazis PLANNED To Attack Israel, Die as Martyrs":

Forget the "balanced" analyses of the left's useful idiots in the press. Top neocons are warning that Israel's failure to comprehend the breadth and magnitude of global jihad's infowar has compromised the very existence of the Jewish state. For example, as Max Boot writes:
Israeli officials are right to say the operation was justified and that the blood was on the hands of the pro-Hamas activists. Right, but irrelevant.

As it does too often, Israel took a narrow military operational approach to what is a broader strategic problem. Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups are conducting a skillful "information war" that is making Israel a pariah state in the international community. Israel, like the United States and other democratic nations, is at a severe disadvantage trying to combat a ruthless foe willing to sacrifice its own people to score propaganda points.
But read Carolyn Glick:
The reality is simple and stark. Israel is the target of a massive information war, unprecedented in scale and scope. This war is being waged primarily by a massive consortium of the international Left and the Arab and Islamic worlds. The staggering scale of the forces aligned against us is demonstrated by two things.

The Hamas abetting Free Gaza Web site published a list of some 222 organizations that endorsed the terror-supporting flotilla. The listed organizations from the four corners of the earth include Jewish anti-Israel groups as well as Christian, Islamic and nonreligious anti-Israel groups. It is hard to think of any cause other than Israel-bashing that could unite such disparate forces.

The second indicator of the scope of the war is far more devastating than the list of groups that endorsed the pro-Hamas flotilla. That indicator is the fact that at the UN on Friday, 189 governments came together as one to savage Israel. There is no other issue that commands such unanimity. The NPT review conference demonstrated that the only way the international community will agree on anything is if its members are agreeing that Israel has no right to defend itself. The conference’s campaign against Israel shows that the 222 organizations supporting Hamas are a reflection of the will of the majority of the nations of the world.

This war is nothing new. It has been going on since the dawn of modern Zionism 150 years ago. In many ways, it is just the current iteration of the eternal war against the Jewish people.

The red-green alliance’s aims are twofold. It seeks to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist and it seeks to make it impossible for Israel to defend itself. If these aims are met, Israel’s destruction will become an inevitability.
Political scientists love the increasingly-popular concept of "smart power." And while it's tempting to equate smart power with the academic left's "neoliberal institutional" paradigm of U.N.-led multilateral cooperation, in fact the most ruthless Machiavellians in world history have understood the crucial importance of intangibles in the deployment of state capabilities. For Israel and the U.S., clearly, a mastery of information combat that weds the moral, cultural, and (info) technological elements of power will be the sine qua non of state survival in the current age.