Friday, January 30, 2009

The Moral Cowardice of Spain and Hypocrisy of Turkey

Evidently, guilt feelings of the Spanish over their own past has caused them to join the chorus of Israel and Jew-bashing.

At the outset of the Iraq war, the Spanish had troops who were fighting alongside the Americans, as part of the international war on terror. Then there was a big terrorist attack in Spain, after Al Qaida demanded that Spain withdraw their troops from Iraq. The Spanish quickly complied. Since then, Spain has been towing an anti-American and anti-Israeli line. Recently, some provinces cancelled holocaust memorial services because of Israeli "Nazi" crimes. Yesterday they notified us that some of Israel's military and senior political officials will be tried for "crimes against humanity".

There is no doubt that endemic anti-semitism, along with Spain's Muslim population, is responsible for these outrageous allegations. Spain is being sucked into Europe's left wing "multiculturalism", a catch phrase for surrender to the Muslim's increasing demand for special privileges and "sensitivity" to their religion. Holland seems to have past the point of no return, as it recently announced the prosecution of the MP who produced the film "Fitna".

It is only a matter of time before many European countries wake up one morning and discover that they no longer have a liberal western Christian democracy, but a Muslim theocracy instead.

Turkey seems to be gradually going the way of Iran. Its not going radical in one revolutionary step like Iran did. Rather, through democratic means, it is slowly adopting the values and narrative of the angry bitter Muslim world who all share feelings of inferiority to the West. Erdogan's recent anti-Israel rhetoric showed great similarity to that of Ahmedinejad. He demonizes Israeli actions and deligitimizes Israel's self defence, and justifies his accusations by invoking Turkey's "honor". At the same time Turkey fights it own anti-terrorist war against the Kurds with an iron fist no less firm than Israel's. Yet the Europeans want Turkey in the EU, and have conditioned acceptance on "reforms" in Turkey which would weaken the army's secular hold on the country.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why Debkafile is Stupid

As many people probably know, Debkafile is a news and commentary website with an emphasis on "scoops" on security and terrorism issues.

It bears a neo-conservative approach with a tendency towards conspiracy theories.

I occasionally read it for entertainment value, although unaware surfers might become alarmed at their frequent dire warnings of impending disasters.

Some of you may be familiar with the documentary hypothesis for higher Biblical criticism. This utilizes the idea that sources from multiple authors were weaved together to produce the final version of the Bible that we have today. This theory solves the problems of multiple inconsistencies, anachronisms and contradictions that appear throughout the text.

I believe that the same methodology can be applied to Debkafiles "news" items. Although sources are never quoted and the articles' writers are never revealed , it seems that there are at least 3 different writers who produce this nonsense.

1. E-- the "editorialist"-- periodically a "report" will appear that is essentially a far right wing conspiratorial opinion piece, weaving together mostly known facts with a small dose of conjecture, to produce a story that paints a picture of complete failure, doom and gloom, and impending disaster. Israel's leaders are consistently shown to be incompetent, ignorant, malevolent, or all of the above. Israel leaders are also generally assumed to be deceiving the Israeli public about the enemy's endless capabilities. The enemy's leaders are portrayed as cunning, all-knowing, frighteningly powerful and competent. All events are shown to neatly fall into the scheme that the enemy has designed. So every new item, even just a comment, however seemingly minor, are seen as cataclysmic and fateful, somehow having a lasting and dramatic effect on the turn of events. Any tactical setback on Israel's part is presented as proof of our incompetence and impending defeat. Any tactical "success" of the enemy is greatly exagerrated by E to prove that the enemy is ever closer to its inevitable goal of defeating Israel. For Debka, usually the "end game" that moves closer with each fateful turn of events is total warfare.

2. S-- the "scooper"-- S scours the internet and other anonymous sources for tidbits of information. Some of these "scoops" prove to be correct and appear in the mainstream press shortly after appearing on Debka. Some appear to be total fantasy, like the impending terrorist attack in NYC which put the authorities on high alert in 2007. S often interprets these scoops, like his colleague "E" with a conspiratorial slant, weaving together seemingly unrelated or routine news items into a big story. S's favorite item is movements of warships, which are frequently used to indicated impending war. Another favorite is ominously reporting on some event that occurred "the very first time", showing us that we are ever closer to the inevitable Armageddon.

I think S could be divided into S1 and S2. S1 gets these scoops from lesser known but legitimate news sources, such as military publications, foreign media, etc. S2 get his information from whacky internet blabber or from some unnamed blabbing "official" who may or may not know whats going on. An example of this would be a so called detailed account of a secret conversation between an Iranian and a Syrian official.

Generally, I agree with many bloggers' assessments that Debkafile makes us dumber, not smarter. You can't really learn anything new from them, its mostly conspiracy theory.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Israel vs. Hamas: Who Won?

Much has been said and written about Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW). This refers to asymmetric armed conflict between state and non state actors.

In earlier "conventional" wars between armies, the outcome of combat was determined by surrender, occupation of enemy territory, cease-fires and end of conflict treaties. There were also clear distinctions between civilians and combatants. The Geneva Conventions, which defined international laws of war, were written in the context of this form of warfare. The major Western powers and Russia are the undisputed rulers in the world of conventional wars.

From the Vietnam War and onwards, this type of warfare has evolved into something new, 4GW. This term was coined by William Lind in 1989. Battles and victory are no longer defined by casualties, territory, or sovereignty. There are no clear lines between war and peace, or between civilians and combatants. Rather, we have an ongoing "struggle" or "resistance", whose mere existence is seen by its supporters as victory. Winning is defined in terms of perception, psychology, and on "moral" or ideological grounds. Civilians on both sides are considered by the non-state actor to be "soldiers": On their own side, to be sacrificed for political gains, and on their enemy's side, as legitimate targets whose strategic value is to demoralize the enemy.

In 4GW, the non state actor's strategy and goal is to demoralize and sap the resolve of the state, so that it gives up on the struggle as being "unwinable" or too costly. It does not aim to actually defeat the army of the state in the conventional sense.

In the case of Israel, the Hamas-Iran-Hizbullah axis seeks to continually erode Israel's self confidence, support abroad, and unity of its own people. This presumably would lead to further weakening of Israel's resolve to pursue its national interests. In the end game, Hamas sees that Israel will dissolve from within, through emigration, and social and economic collapse, thus forcing it to evolve into a bi-national Palestinian State, with the Palestinians rapidly overwhelming the Jews. Their model for this "internal rot" is the USSR and Apartheid South Africa (although they did not disappear because of guerilla warfare).

It is clear that in 4GW, from the terrorist non-state actors point of view, short of total annihilation, they can never "lose". If they exist, they win. They live on to hope and continue to struggle.

Their problem is that not all Palestinians share Hamas' point of view in this regard. Hamas' political leaders can continue to celebrate "victory" from within their holes in the ground, but what is the average Israeli or Palestinian to think?

I think that a very simple test is to ask the following question: Of you were an alien landing on earth and had to choose whether to be a Palestinian or an Israeli, what would you choose? A Palestinian, whose land was just ravaged by a foreign army killing thousands of people, while the "fighters" hid underground, to occasionally surface to fire off an ineffective rocket and then go into hiding again? Whose economy is essentially non-existent while the rulers of the land are considers pariahs by most of the world? Whose "fighters" failed to defend its civilians? Or an Israeli, whose economy is modern and thriving, who suffers occasional light civilian casualties from terrorism, and whose army is among the best in the world?

To me the answer is pretty clear. I know that many Palestinians and Hamas supporters do not think like that, but there is nothing we can do about that. Furthermore I think that the difference in perception about this war, incomparison to the Lebanon War, is gaping.

Therefore, any claims of "victory" by Hamas leaders in hiding will sound hollow to most Palestinians. Israelis, on the other hand, love to debate and argue, and particularly like to blame themselves for things not being perfect. Nonetheless, Israel has gained the upper hand for the time being. What the future will bring, only God knows.