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« Backtracking the missile | WILLisms.com | Quote Of The Day »

Pundit Roundtable

Hello again! This is an Open Mic edition of the Pundit Roundtable, I am your host Ken McCracken. First, some very useful links regarding the war in the Middle East:

Pajamas Media has been bringing consistent updates on the war - this is actually the best starting place in my opinion.

And do go check out Tigerhawk's excellent analysis Israel At War.

Commenter Lester brings us ShiaChat.com, a forum with updates on the war in Lebanon, obviously from a Shia perspective.

Israellycool is liveblogging the war very thoroughly, obviously from an Israeli perspective.

AllahPundit has been all over the conflict as well, over at HotAir.

The Truth Laid Bear has a superb roundup of Palestinian, Israeli and Lebanese blogger reactions.

Now, we did get a couple of responses to the topic for this week:

Israel is now fighting a two-front war against Hezboallah and Hamas. Tell us what outcome you would like to see, and make a bold prediction and tell us what you think will actually happen.

Give us any good links or juicy information you have on this conflict.

Please welcome Roundtable newcomer Bruce "McQ" McQuain from QandO:

"Oh, man, what I’d like to see is the destruction of the militant wings of Hamas and Hezbollah as well as the repudiation of them and their tactics by the Palestinian and Lebanese people, not to mention the international community. I’d also like to see Syria and Iran humiliated in the process.

Talk about pipe dreams.

The outcome of all of this is, however, very much in doubt. While I don’t buy the “proportional response” argument that France, the UN and others are making against Israel, I think there is a chance of Israel going too far in its response to the attacks by Hezbollah. By that I mean that the destruction of Lebanon and the collapse (or further alienation) of Lebanon’s government are not in Israel’s best interest. In fact that would strengthen the hand of just about every one of Israel’s enemies. Hezbollah, which has come under attack from within and without Lebanon (Saudi Arabia has even criticized them) stands to recover if Israel continues its offensive. And of course, Syria and Iran also stand to gain politically from an extended conflict. What Israel needs to do is clean out the south completely near its borders, smack Hezbollah around for a few days and then demand the government of Lebanon complies with the UN resolution which calls for the disarming of Hezbollah. While I don’t want to see further destruction of Lebanon for the reasons stated, the government of Lebanon must be made to realize that if they want to be treated as a sovereign nation, they are indeed responsible for what goes on within their borders. When, within 48 hours, 500 rockets are fired over their borders into another sovereign nation, it becomes pretty lame to claim “we didn’t know” or “we aren’t responsible.”

Unfortunately I don’t see this ending well unless the two soldiers kidnapped (captured?) by Hezbollah are somehow recovered fairly quickly. While PM Olmert has claimed Israel won’t stop their offensive until Hezbollah is disarmed, recovery of the soldiers would provide an acceptable excuse to stop the offensive. Hezbollah, however, is not likely to capitulate by surrendering them, and, I’m pretty sure the soldiers are being kept well away from the fighting so it is unlikely they’d be accidentally recovered. I’d also guess that both Syria and Iran are advising Hezbollah not to surrender them, understanding that the longer they can keep Israel on the offensive in Lebanon, the better it works for them, both regionally and internationally. Anger within Lebanon, and among other Arab nations, at the actions of Hezbollah will quickly change sides when it is perceived, whether reasonably or unreasonably, that Israel is doing more than it should in the name of ‘self-defense’. I’m afraid that time is nearing.

So, 2 predictions for the price of 1, both premised on the action of Israel.

Prediction 1: if Israel calls off the offensive soon, and demands that Lebanon take charge of its country and borders as well as disarming Hezbollah, and condemns Syria and Iran’s role in the Hezbollah attacks, Israel comes out on top while the stature Hezbollah, Syria and Iran are diminished.

Prediction 2: if Israel continues the offensive until perceptions change as I’ve argued might happen, then the stature of Hezbollah, Syria and Iran is enhanced within the region, and Israel’s is diminished. In that case, you’ll most likely see Lebanon’s government collapse and Syria quietly infiltrate the country again in an effort to reassert its authority there. A puppet Lebanon is very useful to both Syria and Iran.

Unfortunately, I’m a bit pessimistic about this particular dust-up, as I’m of the opinion, based on statements made by Israel’s leadership, that it may paint itself into a political corner and be unable to gracefully stop and do what is called for in prediction 1. I therefore am reluctantly drawn to conclude that prediction 2 is the most likely.

Our own Justin B. of Ski-Blog.com (and now WILLisms.com also!) comes by for a visit:

"Personally, I think the end result of this week will be that Israel is simply back to where it was before the ill-fated "Roadmap to Peace" started and that is occupying Southern Lebanon and Gaza. All the PA and by Proxy, Iran and Syria did is justify Israel never making any concessions for peace again and building higher and thicker walls and further isolating the Palestinians.

The reconciliation period is over. Israel knew it was at war despite giving back the disputed lands, which it only occupied as a buffer zone to prevent attacks. They tried the roadmap and negotiated in good faith and the PA did nothing and did not live up to a single promise.

Here is my bold prediction--the condemnations from the UN Security Council against Israel will be fare more harsh than those for North Korea and Iran over their missile and Nuke programs. Syria and Iran will not even get a UN slap on the wrists for their actions in provoking this.

Less bold prediction--Muslim "Charities" will see an unexpected surge in charitable contributions for Palestinians injured at work, but only if their work involves killing babies in cafes and grandmothers on busses.

Anyone that thinks this week was some major escalation in the conflict is smoking crack. There was a temporary lull in the fighting, but the war was still occurring and the PA, Iran, Syria, Hamas, et al, were just regrouping to wipe Israel off the map. Note to nutjobs in Middle East--stop f-ing with Israel. These people survived ovens, gas chambers, France selling them out, and 60 years of hell and Muslim attacks while establishing their country. They ain't rolling over. When you see people with tattoos on their forearms of numbers, these people are not intimidated by a couple of kids being abducted and by a few rockets. Iran--Drop a nuke on 'em. If it kills 6M of them, you have barely scratched the surface of what they endured in WWII. If a complex system of ovens and gas chambers could not wipe the Jews off the map, me thinks that a country whose military might consists of 18 year olds with bombs made into vests is not going to do what Germany and its war machine and technical knowhow could not.

Least bold prediction of all--Israel will NOT BE WIPED OFF THE MAP by the Syrians or Iranians. I wish Iran or Syria would push this just one step further and let Israel attack their infrastructure. Israel has battle plans for everything that has happened and already knew every single target to attack. These terrorists can stage a little ambush here or there and abduct a kid or two. You are fighting what amounts to the second best military power in the world. A kidnapping is not going to intimidate them.

The Host's Last Word: What I'd like to see happen - I'd like to see Hezboallah erased from the map, such that even the memory of them is lost to history. It is an absolute abomination that the potential of a democratic, pluralistic and modern Lebanon is held hostage by well-armed Islamofascist terrorists bent on returning the entire region to the seventh century, and waging permanent war upon Israel.

I'd like to see Bashar Assad's regime toppled by the Syrian people themselves, as they wake from their slumber and try to pull themselves into the 21st century.

I'd like the Palestinian people to finally realize that they are beaten, and that their own leadership is a far worse enemy to them than Israel could ever be.

Bold Predictions: Hezboallah will go into hiding, avoid direct confrontation with the Israelis, and manage to survive on as a cancer in the region. The Lebanese army will not be successful in rooting them out. Israel will run out of targets to hit, will not get their soldier hostages back, and Israel will withdraw from Lebanon and Gaza, and the status quo ante will continue. Israel will not attack Syria at the behest of the United States, in order to prevent a wider conflict with Iran that will lead to stepped-up Iranian attacks on Iraq.

In short, the conflict will achieve nothing.

I hope I am wrong.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 16 July 2006 02:40 PM


Missed this powwow...

Couple links:


Posted by: Eric at July 16, 2006 11:38 PM

Yay! Justin B. is awesome. Does that mean he will be a regular?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at July 17, 2006 02:27 PM

Will asked me to work as a semi-regular while he does secret work. He won't even tell us what it is, but I saw his name listed in Heidi's entry in Who's Who under owner and when Heidi wrote the op-ed piece in the NYT recently about her secret ball fetching mission, she may have outed him. I already received a call from Novak.

Posted by: Justin B at July 17, 2006 10:29 PM

That Heidi is such a tattle tail...I may get to keep her soon! She is real funny.

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at July 18, 2006 05:57 PM

Will needs to post about his baby again.

Posted by: Justin B at July 19, 2006 12:11 PM