Monday, January 19, 2009

Gaza Cease Fire

Today Gaza went into cease fire mode. Of course we are regaled with immediate claims from whatever passes for Hamas leadership that this represents a ‘heavenly victory’. I cannot imagine someone so dense as to accept such nonsense. The international press is saying that neither side achieved their long term aims. A fair assessment if long term aims include the immediate destruction of Israel or the conversion of Hamas to common sense.

Israel entered Gaza, inflicted thousands of casualties and destroyed billions in property and public infrastructure. It has brought Egypt to the table as a possible guarantor of Hama’s good behavior. The leadership and direct supporters of Hamas have been hard hit.

While the cease fire discussions are been held, Israel can reposition for the next phase of combat while isolating a fresh inventory of targets. You usually do not have the luxury of a time out in most wars, because no opponent will be dumb enough to give it to you. We even have pretty stories of smiling Israelis leaving the Gaza.

In the meantime, Hamas will attempt to create defensible positions in civilian homes.

That leaves the remaining option for Hamas. Actually entering into a real cease fire and sticking to it. Because right now, Israel can answer every single rocket launch, with a 500 round artillery barrage. Hamas is discovering that no one is blaming anyone else for the Palestinian dead and the past three weeks have completely inured world opinion to sight of all those gratuitous injured children photo ops.

If this cease fire holds, it will because Hamas accepts virtually all of Israel military demands and Egypt possibly steps in to act as the peace keeper. Or perhaps we can get an all African peace keeping force to go in and inspect the magazines.

Hamas strategic thinking will forever mystify me. You acquire and fire rockets that are certain to miss, but as certain to upset the neighbors until they unleash their full military power on your community. When that happens, your highly trained combat specialists put up a spirited defense inflicting almost no casualties while absorbing prodigious losses. This was totally predictable.

The only rational explanation is that the Iranian paymasters love to give stupid orders to their dupes to stir things up a bit. A few hundred dead Palestinians here and there serve only to advance Iranian interests. Especially if your name is Prime Minister Whack Bar.

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