The Second Lebanese war. Lessons learned that the U.S. Needs to Understand

Hassan Nasrallah Cleric terrorist

In July 2006, Hezbollah militants attacked an Israeli patrol along the northern border with Lebanon destroying two vehicles, killing 5 soldiers and capturing three which they took with them back into Lebanon,  ( the second Lebanon War)starting a war which began as an Israeli retaliatory response and ended up in a full 46 day war. There have been a profusion of studies on the why’s and wherefores with many  lessons learned, some  seemingly contradictory. There is no doubt that the  last majority of the Israeli military professionals viewed it as a lost war..a “bungle” a “resounding failure,” although 15 years later some have come up with a success result…i.e. the fact that the Hezbollah have not ventured to initiate another full scale war…not even when their Gazan brothers were being pounded in the recent Gazan dustup.

Hezbollah send off to the Islamic Valhalla

 

Actually the Israelis have invaded Lebanon three times, first in 1978, then in the 1982 Lebanese civil war, and finally the 2006 war. Of course during the whole period from 1948 to the present, Lebanon has been at a pseudo state of war with Israel….a war most Lebanese would love to avoid.

I will stick to those aspects of the Israeli misadventure which should be absorbed by the U.S. military—- as it has a slow building crisis of effectiveness and  burgeoning doubt as to its capabilities.There were many points that the Israelis  found to criticize their military but I chose to single out a few that I see as most relevant to the US army. I used many sources..all good ones by people I know  who stick to the facts without the usual ideological and academic  sophistry.  Relating  these lessons to those of Vietnam are from my study over the years and my own observations.

The Lessons

  1. Edward Luttwak  has used the term post-heroic phase of warfare to depict a casualty adverse society. As Americans our enemies have often used the “body bag” rationale to launch wars they cannot possible win ( example Iraq in desert Storm) but inflict ( in their minds) an unacceptable number of casualties, in a mini war of attrition. The idea among many western journalists, who nowadays who often define the parameters of war, is that despite their  leftie- third wordism outlook they assume  that the “brown people” are oblivious to  casualties. This was disproved by the butcher Khomenei’s accepting a truce with Iraq despite their overwhelming advantage in numbers. Public outcry from Iranian  moms and wives was instrumental in this. The massive loss of life from human wave attacks on fortified Iraqi positions was the pivotal point. Examples of how this works abound.   An Israeli attack on the Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil cost the Israelis 8  soldiers killed. This was perceived around the world and in Israel as a catastrophe. The Israelis did not use attack helicopters for fear of losing pilots. Similarly the IAF bombed from high altitudes, every IDF casualty was reported to the Chief of Staff. In one case the an operation was stopped because of one casualty. Sensitivity to casualties on the other side are also critical. 28 Lebanese civilians were killed by an Israeli airstrike on Qana and the IAF immediately suspended air operations for 48 hours during a critical phase of their adnate in to Lebanon. On the other hand the Palestinians were seemingly not susceptible to  casualties,  with the usual Arab bravado making a psychological impact on the journalists….for example during one of the earlier Lebanese wars, a Lebanese woman shouted to a correspondent,” I have lost a son but I have nine more to give.” This makes a newsman’s day.

Lebanese people paid a severe price for allowing the Palestinian and the Hezbollah movement to become domineering powerful state within a state in their nation

 

2.The cult of technology. This has been a sore thumb since the  Vietnam war in which we fought third world low intensity conflict with  conventional weapons and more importantly, a conventional war outlook in the minds of our military and political leaders. The Israelis pride themselves on their technical capabilities, and rightfully so, but as so many have pointed out, apparently futilely,  the war against the unconventional foes can only be won by occupying the land on which they live with overwhelming force. One of the major mistakes of Vietnam and Iraq…the” graduated response”   and trying to do the impossible on the cheap. Many old military guys will tell you that  especially susceptible to degradation of military readiness by this “cult of gadgets” is intelligence and close combat proficiency. Perhaps more importantly  with all the informational gadgetry and communication  means, IDF commanders in the Lebanese  war were further and further away from the critical points of combat.  Moreover maneuver was replaced by firepower as the final arbiter of victory…another aspect of the body bag syndrome.

James William Gibson wrote an excellent book  entitled The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam.   His premise was that we did not lose the war because of tactical and strategic mistakes or poor military and political leadership ( although there was plenty of that) but rather we were “unrestrained in our faith in technology.” So it is today. The recent war between Azerbaijan and Armenia has the techno gurus all aflutter over drone  warfare.

Combat driven by machines.

 

3.Firepower vs maneuver. The Israelis once masters of maneuver warfare resorted to reliance on firepower to reduce casualties but the major problem was that the Israelis relied on AirPower ” flying artillery” to do the job and they failed. Secondly the Israelis have never invested heavily in a competent artillery component. During the years of occupation duty the armor and artillery units were used as police units in the West Bank– similarly as American artillery, which the Germans in WWII saw as the most effective arm of the American ground forces, were used as convoy protection in Iraq. Most did not even bring their howitzers to Iraq. The IDF artillery fired a massive amount of artillery but it was generally inaccurate and ineffective.  The IDF used more artillery ammunition in 2006 than in the 1973 war against two large conventional armies. Shelling the stone buildings of Lebanese villages created rubble and more excellent defensive positions for the Hezbollah  fighters to use. A prime  historical example of this  being the Battle of Casino in the Italian campaign. The Israelis also bought into the American doctrine  (perhaps unstated) that  you can bomb people into submission. It did not work in WWII and did not work in Vietnam. Nor did it work in Iraq.The pain threshold  of Western nations today is far below that of the third world…in which people have much less to lose.

IAF f-16

4.The Elite Force concept.  Also borrowed from American “defense intellectuals”  was the idea that a small elite force can win wars , it’s an attractive idea because it means reduced conventional forces, it’s economical, and reduces the stress on a society in which males are not eager to  It also is a chimera. The” small smart” units did great things but they failed to win the war. This idea of defused warfare came from -again- American “military intellectuals” as an outgrowth of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), and “effects based operations. ” These widely published theories  like “getting inside the enemies thinking loop,”sound great- and may be-  but to the combat commanders on the ground they mean little. An American example  was publication of the much heralded  FM 3-24 Counterinsurgency. An excellent piece of work- a high quality PHD thesis, but as one division commander told me, combat tactical leaders had no time to read and digest the lessons.  The huge impact of social engineering and  extraneous training and education was a burden most unit commanders could not carry. This was particularly true in the Israeli army of 2006 as I will discuss in the  next section.

 

5. The “intellectualization” and politicization of the IDF officer corps.   A number of analysts of the 2006 war concluded the professionalism of the IDF officer corps had declined considerably, to the point that many were disgruntled, and the high praise usually given to officers by the public  has drastically declined to the point some called them “hedonists” because their alleged, (untrue)  higher lifestyle. In many cases intense realistic training has given way to discussions of new idea imported from the US. One writer  called it “superficial intellectualization.” According to this writer this clouded the traditional defense doctrine – battlefield decision- making. Israelis were famed in their conventional wars for their mission type conduct of operations called auftragstaktik .  The adoption of American thinking were termed as “pretentious post modern approach to war.”  It reminds me of a number of American officers, usually junior or field grade who have become well known for their PHD writing rather than their military service.  Many of the senior Israeli military leaders had political aspirations and were followers of specific ideological or political parties. Being political rivals they were often loath to work together. With the number of American general officers lining up on one side or the other of the political spectrum, and many on active duty are merely swimming with  the new political tide emanating from Washington, this trend has become real danger to the American republic.  Moreover the decline in effectiveness of the Israeli officer corps is a reminder of American deficiencies in producing  mediocrities to lead ill trained troops into  battle. It makes painful reading but one should read Command Culture by Jorg Muth, Wherein the Israeli combat leaders  were habitually upfront with the troops,   in the 2006 war they were often far behind the troops using sophisticated communication means to stay clued in– but unfortunately they proved inadequate. Jorg Muth in his book pointed out the  studies that indicated most American soldiers  of WWII in the European theatre never saw their commanders and were usually derogatory in their views of them.  In the early years of the Vietnam war in which I served ed , this was not true, but as the war dragged on,  distrust between officers and their men became common. According to the analysts of the Lebanese war, orders were not carried out, and mistrust was pervasive.

General Franz Haider was asked by American military historians to review our FM 100-5. he made several cogent points. The American system is opposite the German mission type orders. It tried to present every possible scenario rather than expect the commander to react as ingrained by his military education. It discouraged improvisation. It underestimated the worth of the warrior spirit and psychological conditioning. It did not stress the importance of will. Finally he wrote,”the qualities of character are more important than those of an intellect.

 

6.Training the troops and officers.  The vaunted proficiency  of the IDF became severely questioned after the war by the Winograd Commission which examined the issues that hampered the IDF operations. The commission and analysts have found that the training of the regular Israeli soldiers  had been severely  reduced  as well as that of the reserves.  Many training operations had been cancelled and large scale exercises postponed. The fact of the matter was that the Israeli soldier had gone soft after 1973, which to some Israeli leadership meant the end of conventional wars with the Low Intensity Conflict being the wave of the future. Most were involved in policing and  occupation duties in the West Bank. The 2006 war was not a Low intensity conflict.( LIC)war. It was a conventional war being fought primarily in a built up area  against well trained irregular soldiers – and was not winnable by just elite units.   It is a fact that the LIC model has been the subject of US army focus for many years to the detriment of the conventional arms. It has been well established that American training for junior officers and enlisted men in the conventional arms has never been truly first class- especially compared to that of pre-WWII German junior and senior officers. Sometimes it has been shameful.  As related in so many studies of WWII, American eighteen year olds were fed into the German killing machine and dying before their platoon sergeants even knew their names. The corrupt draft system in place during the Vietnam war, and wholly inadequate combat training given the troops resulted  in the same scenario. One Viet Cong document stated that American soldiers were caught in an ambush ambling across a rice paddy like “ducks.”  I could verify this state of training from my own observations. We were not trained adequately for close in combat.  The Chuck Norris’s do not win wars. It is Pvt Smedlap, who would prefer not to be there at all.   Also of mention are the  bloated various headquarters and with too  few out carrying a rifle. The after action reports of the Israelis also noted the rapid growth of headquarters units but without any any appreciable improvement in coordination of the combined arms. In fact it seemed to detract from coordination. Our “green zones”in Iraq  complete with PXs and gyms have been a subject of ridicule for  many outside observers. The inability of the American generals to figure out a way to secure the airport road to Baghdad brought many smirks of contempt from the journalists being told how great things were going.

Uday’s “love Palace ” in the green zone Baghdad

 

 

 Hubris .This is not specifically mentioned in the reports I read but it is very apparent. The Israelis had become to believe their own press notices and were dismissive of their Lebanese enemy- mostly based on the less than stalwart example of the Palestinians  and Egyptians in earlier wars. As Moshe  Dayan was said to have exclaimed after the 1973 war-” We taught the Arabs how to fight and they taught  us how to lie.” So it is that the Israeli political and  military leaders  invented all sorts of victory statements after the war to cover their tracks. Today we hear repeated– ad Nauseam– that we ( Americans) have the best trained and equipped army in the world. Our senior leaders tell us that constantly. They say our mission in Afghanistan was accomplished , which only brings the prestige of our military to lower repute and creates  wide-spread  cynicism. The vainglorious statements of well being are not  supported by facts. Analyses and books by people like Martin Van Creveld, Colonel  TN Dupuy, Chester Wilmot give another side to the story. The American soldier has the human attributes to be the best soldier in the  world. No doubt about it… but they have only rarely gotten the leadership -all all levels – that they need. So it is that both the Israeli soldier of 2006, and the American soldier for decades, has gone to war inadequately trained. Perhaps an example and crux of the problem is the recent inane US Army recruiting slogan..”Let the Army join you.” In order to save this democracy our army must be totally counter-cultural, and while fair, just, and compassionate, its must be hard and demanding.

 

“Kind hearted people might think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat an enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds, it is a fallacy that must be exposed; war is such a dangerous business that the mistakes that come from kindness are the very worst……it would be futile -even wrong- to try to shut one’e eyes to what war really is from sheer distress at its brutality.” A quote from Clausewitz.  As the Israeli, Ari Shavit, a columnist wrote, for the Israeli leadership, “caution is a recipe for disaster.”

 

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Middle Eastern Urban warfare

Thought I would put up a class I did for some years at JFKSWCS. Middle Eastern urban or MOUT has particular problems due to a number of factors as explained in this slider show. The Israelis know this which is why at least for one re4son they choose not to go into Gaza City. It also explains the time it took for the Iraqis to recapture Mosul from the ISIS. From observing the Jordanians rooting out PLO fighters from Amman in 1970  first alerted me to the special tactics and techniques required. The refugee problem is a very large equation to the issue

 

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Lebanon. Once a wonder land. Now just another Arab Disaster

Before 1967 it was the Bridge between the West and the Arab world. A shangra-la that was an. oasis midst the chaos and violence that wracked the Middle East

Today we hear constantly of an imminent Lebanese economic collapse, something we have heard before. The wealthy show up nightly for entertainment at the clubs and as always Lebanese women outdo  the rest of the most sophisticated Western women in dress and makeup. But the poor are trying to survive using paper  money that has little value, and  no prospects for any upturn in the foreseeable future.  Lebanon imports almost all their food, and for centuries have lived on their business acumen and quick wit. Today that seems to have failed them. Most of the poor cannot afford to pay for the  food to keep their families  going.In the massively corrupt Lebanese society , made much worse by the pervasive corruption of the ruling Hezbollah mafia like organization that controls all the major institutions of Lebanon, including the military. Some would go so far as to state that the Lebanese Army is a wing of the Hezbollah organization. It certainly cannot act without Hezbollah blessing.

The slide of Lebanon to disaster and chaos began when the Lebanese corrupt and weak leadership were pushed and pulled into the morass of Middle Eastern politics. When I was there from 1967 to 1970 it was an oasis of tranquility and sophistication drawing tourists from all over the world including Arabs seeking relief from the continuing carnage in their own lands. The students of the American University in Beirut (AUB) who were in class with me were from all over the Middle East and the U.S. It had a faculty far more open -minded than what you find on American  campuses today… despite periodic Palestinian  strikes to close down the school.

American University of Beirut

For instance, one textbook (From Golden River to Golden Road) we used was written by the famous Ethographist Raphael Patai. Now, the writer is seen among elitist Arabs and Islamists as one of the most hated writers on Arab culture, not because he was wrong or denigrated Arabs but basically because he was Jewish. They particularly hate his book (The Arab Mind), the best book ever written on Arab culture in English.

Nasser . the Hero of the Arab world was instrumental in the destruction of  Lebanon

If you can pick a specific date when the Lebanese dream ended, it would be when Abdul Nasser (1968) bullied the weak Lebanese leaders into reaching an agreement with Yasir Arafat to use Lebanon as a launching pad for attacks in Israel. The Egyptian Ambassador, whose name I cannot remember – was known as the pro consul of Lebanon. The Lebanese government always adhered to his demands. It was typical of the Lebanese society that the Egyptian Ambassador was carrying on a not so discrete affair withe wife of the Lebanese Army chief of staff

Nasser, hell bent to erase the igminious 1967 defeat at the  hands of the Israelis saw the Palestinians living ( poorly)  in  Lebanon as a valuable resource to avenge the Egyptian humiliation in the  1967 war. He backed Arafat’s demands on the Lebanese government and  the Lebanese, who always think they can depend on their subtle, sophisticated  skills to  avoid the inevitable, gave way at every demand.

Late Yasir Arafat leader of the PLO and its most powerful group, Fatah

 

 

According to the agreement, the Palestinians were allowed to use the “Arafat Trail” along the tops of Lebanese mountains to attack Israel. In return it was supposed to keep the armed Palestinians off the streets. But of course, they did not, and soon the streets of Beirut were swarmed by swaggering armed Palestinian thugs/freedom fighters in Tiger suits. The Lebanese, as always, acquiesced. Most ironically, prior to the agreement, in 1968,  the Lebanese Army had bested the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in a series of clashes in the mountains.But the usual  malevolent Arab leadership with the assistance of a Western Press, which viewed the Maronite struggle to maintain independence from the creeping malignancy of Arab  nationalism and “Arab Socialism” as their efforts to maintain Christian supremacy. A good  book with an  impartial viewpoint is A.J. Abraham’s,The Lebanese War.

As we know, Lebanon descended into a 15 years bloody brutal war ( 1975-1980)  that belied the Lebanese reputation for a kindler, gentler people. a v last array of nations and different terrorist militia groups became involved and some changed sides as the a war continued. One needed a scorecard to keep up with the multitude of militia groups, mostly formed on tribal and sectarian lines.The surrounding nations all became involved. Syria entered  Lebanon in …….. and remained until………. At first they went against the Palestinian organizations that imperiled Assad’s objective to control Lebanon and after subduing the Palestinians, they turned against the Maronite Christians. To illustrate the bewildering aspect off this war one m needed to read the history of the Lebanese general Michel Aoun. At first he was the hero of the Maronite Christians, leading the remaining elements of the Lebanese Army against the Muslim Palestinians ( most of the army had disintegrated into sectarian militias). Later he split with the main Maronite militia, the Lebanese Forces, and his artillery shelled civilian Christian areas of Beirut indiscriminately. Later as the government split into two entities, East Beirut under  General Aoun control and West Beirut under Sunni Muslim control, the Syrian army intervened to eject  Aoun from the presidential palace in Baabda. He flied to the French embassy and lived in France until he was brought back to live in the same palace  this time as the tool of the same Syrians and Iranian controlled powers that ejected him before.

General, now president Michel Aoun

While the Neo-Arabists of that era tried to paint the war as an ideological struggle, it was sectarian-religious at the core. But it was not strictly Muslim versus Christian. Some Christians, including the Armenians, and Greek orthodox stayed out of it, and the Shi’a turned against the Palestinian Sunni Muslims with a deadly vengeance, in a particularly bloody phase known as the “War of the Camps.” Ultimately the Israelis were pulled in advancing all the way to Beirut, cheered on the Shi’a inhabitants of the Suth, who have suffered under Palestinian. occupation of their territory. Ultimately however, the Israelis made the same mistake we seem to make continually…they outstayed their welcome and the Amal Shi’a organization, the fore runner of Hezbollah began a long war of  attrition against occupying Israeli troops. The Americans, remembering the near  bloodless occupation of the beaches of Beirut in 1958 to save Lebanon from the specter of Russian imperialism seen imperiling the Middle East, re-introduced troops into Lebanon in 1982 along with the French. The marine troops became embroiled in an intra-sectarian war far too bewildering for U.S.  intelligence to make sense of. It ended in the disastrous marine barracks bombing of October 1983.

Aftermath of the Marine barracks bombing

 

One nation with imperial pretentious did profit however….the Iranians who took over the support of the Shi’a militias trained and equipped the Hezbollah into a first class terrorist-hybrid military force with clever and subtle Iranian political support.

 

The majority of the population of Lebanon did not want to be part of the Arab world. Certainly not the Maronite Christians and most of the Shi’a who view “Arab unity” as a term for Sunni Arab domination. As an Iraqi scholar once famously said, “nothing divides the Arabs as much as the question of unity.”

Since then, all the Lebanese, until it was overtaken by an even more malevolent force – the Iranians, have had to genuflect, at least publicly, at the altar of the Arab unity. The Iranians were quick to take advantage of the Shi’a reawakening in Lebanon, a reawakening hastened by the “return of Islam” in effect the radical Sunni movements who view the Shi’a as infidels .The Shi’a of Lebanon were always the underclass of the country, providing the maids and laborers for the rich Christians and Sunnis. This was aggravated by the presence of Palestinian refugees fleeing the 1948 and 1968 wars who took control of the Shi’a region of Lebanon and treated the Shi’a like indentured servants. This ultimately resulted in the “War of the Camps” in which Shi’a fighters roamed through Palestinian refugee camps killing everyone in sight (April 1985).

Qassem Soleimani The Che Guevara of the Middle East. Do not rest in peace

 

Now with Iran’s support, the Shia of Hezbollah control Lebanon and their clerics have enriched themselves at the expense of the people. The “Israeli threat” like most everywhere in the Arab world has become the diversion by which the rulers continue to use as the bread and circuses to keep the people in somnolence.

 

On 4 August 2020, a monstrous explosion rocked the Beirut harbor, the origins of which, in typical Lebanese fashion we still do not know whole story. It is also typical of the mafia type cost eruption which plagues Lebanon and for which there is no antidote.

Rescue workers and security officers work at the scene of an explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. Prime Minister Hassan Diab, in a short televised speech, has appealed to all countries and friends of Lebanon to extend help to the small nation, saying: “We are witnessing a real catastrophe.” (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

 

 

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut’s harbor-side blast zone where he got a first-hand glimpse of the public fury toward the Lebanese leadership. A woman who hugged him, later begged him not to send financial aid to Hezbollah government or the political elite “because they will steal the money,” she said. Others called on France to govern Lebanon as a protectorate like it once did. The Christians, Sunni Arabs and other segments of the population, including a fairly significant number of Shi’a despise the Hezbollah and their sometime cleric and full time terrorist leader, Hassan  Nasrallah, but with the support of Syria and Iran, and a large proportion of Shi’a in the ranks of the Lebanese army, it is not likely to be ousted from power.

Today, as usual, the amateurs who comprise the foreign policy-, making  body of the U.S. government are trying to figure out how to convey aid to the Lebanese while denying it to the Hezbollah. My advice  and the only way- based on  history and experience- cut off the tentacles of the Iranian  octopus.

SOME FACTs About the People

When I was in Lebanon, a Palestinian could acquire Lebanese citizenship for a measly 50,000 US…..or through the usual connections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Arab Way of War : Gaza Variation

Some years ago I presented to a number of classes at the Special Warfare School one of the subjects that has interested me greatly for half a century…the cultural aspect of war, specifically the Arab way of war. From my studies and observations on the ground for  many years, the impact of culture on warfare is of primary importance, and one which is all too often forgotten or drowned in a morass of stereotypes and wishful thinking.  A basic  and excellent source of the fateful error of stereotyping our enemies and overestimating ourselves is found in the book Knowing Ones Enemies by  Earnest R. May. Certainly the Americans  have been prime offenders in this regard.  Example:  Read Andrei Martyanov, LosingMilitary Supremacy. The recent pollyanna  statements  by Sec Def Lloyd Austin to a reporter is the most recent example of the heads in the sand  ( or elsewhere)of our military leadership. Endless repeating that we have the best army in the world does not make  it so. We remain unprepared for what is known as the Eastern way of War.

As Lawrence wrote the best war is one won without battles.  Using propaganda, seeding distrust among the enemy are part of this way of war.

To be clear the cultural impact on the martial capabilities of a nation or ethnic group have nothing do, with intelligence, courage, or genetics.

But to quote John Keegan, a foremost expert on this issue, ” culture is a prime determinant of the nature of warfare, as the history of its developments in Asia clearly demonstrates.”  The Arab way of war  is coincidental to the “eastern way of a way,  which is fundamental in studying the  tenets of warfare as presented by Sun Tsu, (The Art of War) and Miyamoto Musashi, The Books of Five Rings.

The Arab way of war can be summarized as greatly controlled by the political context, the employment  of evasion, indirection,  delaying tactics,, attrition, the use of standoff weapons, deception, the preference of defense over offense, and most of all  –  psychological warfare.

As seen in the recent Gaza war the non violent part of the Gaza war was the sparking of world-wide latent antisemitism,. Always present waiting for a a spark. Like so many totalitarian hate  movements it draws support from the radical right and, especially these days, the radical left.

The strengths of Arab militaries can be summarized as the low soldier maintenance required, the tolerance for austere living conditions, obedience to authority, the impact of Islam and  the spoken word to galvanize and motivate, their history of dug in dogged defense, and a history of ‘rising from the ashes.’

“War is a continuation of politics by other means,” thus wrote Carl Von Clausewitz. To the Arabs this is instinctive. They did not read that in a book. As Raphael Patai wrote, the Arabs are “conflict proneness,” the closer the neighbor the more prone the Arabs are to fight them. From the beginning of Arab history, with the absence of foreign enemies to fight,  internecine warfare was always present. As it was put by a Yemeni noble,” They (Arabs) fight first and ask later about the cause of the fight. We fight our own relatives, the brother would fight his own brother, the son his own father…” ( Raphael Patai  The Arab Mind.

the will of the nation is paramount say the Oriental strategists. It is more important than numbers or the weapons.

to a certain extent with the help of a clueless media, or one anti semitic in political orientation the picture of Israeli citizens cowering in bomb shelters created the narrative r desired by the Hamas leadership.

The Arabs, as I have written,  are far better at unconventional or irregular warfare. See https://americandiplomacy.web.unc.edu/2009/09/the-arab-as-insurgent/  and integral to that method of warfare is evasion and indirection.  Gazan terrorists had  limited territory from which to evade  Israeli attacks but made up for it with indirect warfare, using not strategic attacks to cripple the Israeli infrastructure and defeat the military in the field, but to instill fear in the civilian population population. The lack of lateral depth was compensated for by building a military infrastructure underground – which they did very well.

Focus on the will of the people.  Target the enemy  civilian population.

While delay is applicable to the Arab conventional way of war, the irregular is not except in the sense that the Gaza officials have always worked on their internal time schedules and inevitably find reasons to step back, delay or obfuscate the process from making decisions when they are in a negative political position.  As any sensible  Middle East historian will tell you the Hamas/ Muslim Brotherhood in an existential war with the Jewish state and simply delay any attempts to bring any lasting peace to this war-stricken region.  Hassan Al Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the primary ideology of Hamas, wrote that, “there is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad.” Altruistic (or many not so ) Western  diplomats often spend inordinate amount of time  and effort trying to effect some eternal peace settlement to the Palestinian Issue. It is insolvable at present but  does provides a process  of interminable peace negotiations and Nobel Peace prize considerations.

Basically just an Islamic military cantonment area in which many people, would like to simply live their lives in some sort of peace but unlike to make their will known by a despotic government.

 

 

The factor of attrition is paramount to Gaza strategy…. the recent rocket war was then fourth Israeli Gaza war.  The Gaza Arabs in the true Eastern fashion employ the fight, peace, fight, peace strategy. Within Eastern warfare there is no place a permanent peace, only a lull. Moreover in the nature of Islamic warfare as depicted by Pakistani general S.K Malik in his famous piece, The Quranic Concept of War,  correctly states that between “infidels” and Muslims, there may be armistices but no permanent peace.So the current lull is simply a period of resupply and reconstitute.

Arabs have also always preferred the standoff method of war, using arrow, javelins,  and today missiles and rockets.  Victor David Hanson, a preeminent scholar compares the Western “Face to Face” warfare as exemplified by the Greeks, charging into the enemy with short swords to the Eastern way of war of deception, propaganda and often mass terrorist attacks  The Arab insurgency in Iraq was largely a war fought with improvised  explosive   devices and mines combined with long range sniping. The primary point is to wear down the enemy and induce war fatigue.

Deception is integral to the Arab way of war. The Gaza terror leadership  has  employed it very well. While Israeli forces claimed extensive damage to the underground infrastructure, other sources say that equally extensive system of tunnels were  created for the main purpose of drawing Israeli air attacks. Certainly the Israelis did not know the extent of the rocket weaponry and their ability to get above ground , fire the rockets, and return to their burrows. ( Quickness being a main principle of Oriental warfare.) Using apartment buildings as rocket launching sites were part of the deception program…and also of course very useful for prime propaganda, depicting Israeli “war crimes,” with the assistance of  the press,  which is an inordinate number of cases were very favorably disposed toward  Hamas.

Arab defense, usually fixed as was the Gaza defense structure, has historically been more effective than their offensive measures. Partly as a result  of the lack of individual initiative,  and  necessary dependance on higher  authority, fighting from fixed portions  is culturally more adaptable to Arab culture, as opposed  to fast moving offensive movements in which delegation of authority and individual initiative are prerequisites.

Arab Soldier Strengths

The Gaza fighters evidenced the strengths usually found in Arab warfare. Low soldier maintenance is a primacy one. No gyms,  craft beer establishments,  PX’s, cozy lodging or problems of hot meals. Particularly  in warfare waged from their homes and neighborhoods., in which they launch rockets and retire for a meal at home. They, like most Arab peasants and low income people, live close to the ground. They expect very little from their  government  and receive even less. In fact among  many Arabs the ultimate strategy is to remain  anonymous and unknown by the rulers. Unlike the Arabs rocket attacks on  Israel, where the dense urban and highly sophisticated infrastructure, is very vulnerable to relatively unsophisticated Arab terror attacks,  The Gaza urban is distinctly third  world and public utilities low grade. Also Israeli fear of world wide condemnation of their attacks  on a distinctly third world infrastructure. In short, unlike the Israelis , the Gaza people have much less to lose than the Israelis.

Soldiers for Allah

One other aspect of Arab culture works to their  benefit their in those war of attrition and that is then clan, tribal c societal structure. It would appear that the Hamas bosses are not overly concerned about the civilian casualties…… and basically  they are not….unless the casualties are members of their clan.

With a totally authoritarian, close to totalitarian government,  the upper class clans have little to fear from civilian insurrection.  The martyrs are glorified , always important feature of the Arab mentality, and become part of the propaganda effort,

The Arab conquest of the Middle East was met by many reverses but they returned even after calamitous defeats .

Finally as David Holden  of the Sunday  Times, observed  some years ago, the Arabs have an uncanny ability to rise from the ashes, just when one thinks they are vanquishes they arise again. Of course, as he also observed, when the Arabs are on the pinnacle of success, they tend to fall apart.

 

 

 

 

 

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Gaza War Winds Down…For Now. Initial Take Aways

It is a a couple of days  the rocketing stopped and of course the gurus will begin  presenting their opinions on who won.  I have no idea because in this kind of war “winning” is not a clear cut term. There are some fairly clear preliminaries;

Hamas won the propaganda war– as is always the case in any Arab vs. Israeli war since 1973.  The Woke generation, in which anti-semitism has once again become fashionable, generated   protests and mob vandalism,  an activity to fill empty days made available by the streams of western  government money flowing into the pockets of idle youth: A youth poorly educated but arrogant in their abysmal ignorance.

 

As I have written before Israel and the Jewish community, in general, failed to counter this onslaught of informational zeitgeist.  They were still riding on a belief that the notion of a small state surrounded by implacable enemies would continue to evoke  international sympathy. It no long does. Moreover a number of Western Jews in their quest to be on the leading edge of every leftish movement, however destructive to their own people, joined in. In an older day they were called self-hating Jews- a term many of them hate, but not sure what else to call them. Other younger Jews seem to have retreated into the “Tikkun Olam” -repairing the world- a utopian religious world  view that crashes against  the harsh realities of the world we live in. It was not that Palestinian  and Arab propaganda was that effective…they simply hitched on a current  emotional current of the amygdala function of the brain …an imprinted instinctive anti-semitic feeling devoid of reason.

British Historian Paul Johnson on anti semitism: It is so peculiar that it deserves to be in a quite a different category. I would call it an intellectual disease, a disease of the mind, extremely infectious and deatructive

 

Israeli technical intelligence was, as usual, top notch, and giving some allowance for hyperbole, the Israelis knew where the arms were stored, the breadth  and extensiveness of “Underground Metro,” characteristics of their rockets, leadership, etc.But what they failed to assess correctly was then “cultural or sensing intelligence.”  The ability of the Hamas to carry on the war, their inroads into the Israeli Arab population, methods of attacking the all-important Gaza will to continue the fight. We made the same mistake in Vietnam assuming we could bomb North Vietnam into submission. Nor could we close down the Ho Chi Minh trail. Going back even further The British “terror ” bombing in WWII did not break the will of the German population to carry on the war. In summation air power alone has not and will not win wars. Its was somewhat surprising that Hamas did not offer any air defense whatsoever….that is somewhat of a mystery. Did they allow undefended air attacks as a propaganda weapon? they are capable off that in that the leadership is imperious to the suffering of their people, beyond  that of their families and clans, presumably well protected from air attacks.

A Palestinian man runs for cover during an Israeli air strike near the site of a tower building which was destroyed in earlier strikes, amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City May 13,

It is a reaffirmation of the problems of a civilized society warring against an undeveloped-in some ways -primitive society.The intricate infrastructsure of advanced society  in which the people are accustomed to efficient and consistently available public services at war against a society or culture in which families or clans are expected to fare pretty much for themselves. Expectations of the public  for public services are low at best. Therefore attacks on the infrastructure  of the Gaza Strip have much less effect, psychologically than the rocket attacks on Israel. If you have little you have less to lose in a war of attrition.

Hamas

It is obvious also that the Israeli leadership had not psychologically conditioned  the people to then duration and intensity of the Hamas rockets attacks. In some areas there were no shelters available, and fear, despite the ” Iron Dome,” permeated within the Israeli society….. which is an entirely urban population. The  Gaza population is more likely to voice  boastful shouts  of victory, but  the real feeling of the Gaza people are not readily apparent, because it is a closed society in which the people have as much to fear from the authorities as the Israeli attacks. The carefully managed media reports form Gaza cannot be seen as reliable or honest in depicting the feelings of the people; another advantage of the authoritarian rule of that of a liberal democratic one.

Israeli bomb shelter

In summation, the HAMAS held most of the cards and played them well. However their future is likely be bleak as they must depend on outside support for almost everything, and as I wrote previously, Arab support was nil and being isolated, their life lines to Iran and Turkey are dependent on many factors none of which they control.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Gaza War 2021 part2

Its been 8 days since the Hamas began  launching streams of rocket toward Israel  and the outcome  and how the warring parties will see the result is not clear yet, but there are lessons that are beginning to appear.

The myth of Arab unity  has never been more obvious. It would seem that with riots spreading  over Israel and Hamas firing over 3000 rockets , terrifying many Israeli citizens, and absorbing severe punishment doing  so, that Arab masses would push the regimes into becoming involved. But they have not, other than pro forma usual protests, and gibberish in the media. But even Hezbollah, also allies (and stooges) of the Iranians, have stayed out of it.  Even The West bank Palestinian leaders  have limited their support of the Gazan Hamas attacks.  What factors drive this reticence on the part of the other Arab nations? There are religious and political factors involved.

Hamas is an organization affiliated with the Muslim brotherhood, A radical Islamist  organization with followers throughout the Islamic  world. To be more specific they are Sunni and have deep seated antipathy toward the Shia. The population of Gaza is totally Sunni Arab and a small Shi’a organization was eradicated sometime ago by the security apparatus of  Gaza . Hamas support by Iran  is an an anomaly based  on Iranian imperial ambitions ( and the fact that no one else does except Turkey which is minimal)  but the Shi’a Hezbollah leadership in Lebanon, through constant bloodshed, have acquired power and ascendancy over the other sects of Lebanon  and are loath to see that imperiled by an injudicious adventure in Israel.

Once the most downtrodden community in Lebanon,  the Hezbollah leadership – by virtue of Justice coming from the barrel of a gun – have acquired  a preeminent position in Lebanon and subsequently wealth and power. They own hotels, resorts, department stores and fingers in every enterprise. Giving that up for the fantasy of  supporting Hamas, which probably  began the war with Israel without any notice given to Hezbollah, is hardly likely.  The last war between Hezbollah and Israel,  in 2006 made the Hezbollah the heroes of the Arab world, but Lebanese infrastructure was destroyed…. and in Lebanon the Hezbollah are not popular among other sects, Christians, Sunni Muslims, and Druze.

The Muslim Brotherhood is an anathema in Shi’a Iraq, as their continued  support of Saddam Hussein as a symbol of Arabism. The Muslim Brotherhood is the adamant enemy of the Syrian Alawi regime from 1976 until 1982. Egypt under General Al Sisi expelled the Muslim Brotherhood from his domain when he came to power. In Fact, excepting Turkey, and  Qatar ( as long as they are kept carefully monitored and controlled) the Muslim Brotherhood  is not welcome  anywhere in the Middle East.

The second factor which has come to my mind was brought about by the book I am reading,  The Watchman Fell Asleep by Uri Ban Joseph.It details the total failure of the  Israeli intelligence apparatus in the 73 war and I was struck how many factors involved seem to be present in the present war now. There was an intelligence failure. No doubt about that. Both the Israeli and American systems failed. Everyone knew that the Hamas had the rockets and were capable of firing them into Israel.But they deeply underestimated the ability to take severe punishment and keep firing. The idea that they would run out of rockets has not been accepted by many Israeli military sources. The Underground  world created by  HAMAS and its sophistication  was known but not its extent and how  the HAMAS insurgents capability to get to the top, fire rockets, and return to their underground burrows. Going on experience from the WWII German bombing survey, and from Vietnam, the air attacks will  never destroy Hamas capability.  The main point in the book is that the primary problem of the Israeli intelligence was the “conception,” imbedded IDF intelligence that  Egypt would never attack  without air superiority. The “conception” was implanted by a great deal of Israeli hubris as well…as is the present situation . As one Israeli writer dubbed it, the “dream world” of the Israelis elite opined  that all was well. The analysis  of the  CIA failed as well. Why is a mystery to me unless the current disarray within our intelligence community chasing chimeras of “White domestic terrorism,” or perhaps  more conspiratorial , the CIA knew and did not divulge to the Israelis to teach them a lesson ……and make them  more amenable to the obsessive Biden quest for another Iranian Nuclear agreement. Obviously if so it got out of control.

Thirdly,  despite some elements of the following,  This is not a war of nationalism, economics, land etc, as so many many of the gurus that infest our media would tell you. It is a religious war…a continuation of the war launched by the Prophet Mohammed and continued by the Islamists today.  The call of the HAMAS for Jihad is only one aspect of this more later……. InshAllah

Fourthly, main instigator of this war is Iran. They supplied the Hamas and have given critical support morally, spiritually, militarily, economically, and used their well funded propaganda outlets and sources in the West, especially the US, using the media such as The Washington Post, New York Times and many of the top media sources as basically propaganda conduits for Iran.

 

4.

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Why the Sudden Resurgence of HAMAS Attacks on Israel

As I write this Iranian built rockets are being fired in huge quantities from the Gaza Strip into Israel and has not abated despite Israeli retaliation which is capable of leveling Gaza. Why is the Hamas leadership offering up their people for sacrifice for the greater good of Iran? To cut to the chase an obsession of the Biden regime is to secure some sort of Nuclear  deal II with the Iranian Military/imperialist  regime. Why they want this remains  a mystery to anyone who understands Middle Eastern power politics. No one even tries to make a case for it anymore. More about that in a later post.

In order to obtain that agreement the Biden regime must get at least Israeli acquiescence. Iran cannot accept an Israeli opting out of the agreement. So Iran has given the green light to the Gazan Iranian puppets to harass Israel until the leadership caves in. Who gave the Iranians the tacit green light to begin this terroristic campaign? No one who understands the intricacies of Iranian power projection thinks they would instigate this without big power approval.

A Kurdish philosopher wrote; You have never had any dealing with them ( Persians). Therefore you allow yourselves to  be lulled into a false sense of security by their flattering expressions and winning and amiable manners. but I have lived among them and have learned the value of what they say. Their weapons are such as you have never  been accustomed to meet in battle. Instead theirs are treachery, deceit, falsehood. Lying is there national vice.

In summary there is no doubt in my mind based on about 50 years of experience in Middle Eastern political -military affairs that the Bidden foreign policy amateurs  has given the the Iranian  tacit approval to create tremendous pressure on Israel to cave in.

The Iranian arc

Will they? If they do one can mark this date as the beginning of the Israeli slide to oblivion. This has been and will remain an existentialist war.

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How the “Woke” Ideology Subverts National Security

Recently two  extraordinarily news items have surfaced to illustrate how our national security is being undermined by a leftist Elite Establishment  that controls the levers of power through their control of the media, the deep state,  particularly the power of taxation and intelligence, academia and the education system.

The first one is an Al Qaeda  Islamist exhortation to use domestic disturbances in the West to infiltrate  create havoc and target law enforcement officers. It approach eared on the server telegram, often used by terror groups. It was captured, translated from Arabic and put out by the MEMRI  organization. One excerpt from the article is below: It is from an Al-Qaeda  on line magazine called the “Wolves of Manhattan.”

https://www.memri.org/jttm/pro-al-qaeda-wolves-manhattan-magazine-offers-bitcoin-anyone-killing-police-officers-western

“The article provides tips on which kinds of protests are easier and more effective to infiltrate, saying that a lone wolf should choose a “massive chaotic protest” that take places daily and lasts for a long time, like post-election protests in the U.S. or protests by France’s yellow vests.

The article also recommends that lone wolves choose a protest taking place at night so that it will be easier for them to escape or hide their identity.

Discussing how lone wolves can exploit protests, the article suggests that they disguise themselves as protesters and pretend to have similar views in order to infiltrate the protesters and steer them to violent actions, such as car ramming.

The article warns the lone wolf against stabbing protesters, since this could alert others to his motive and make it easier for them to capture or beat him. Instead, it recommends that the lone wolf hire a “militiaman,” or “mercenary” to do the car ramming.

“This way, you will kill a large number of Crusaders because they are all gathered. Besides, this act will have other implications, as you can incite the protesters against the police, whom you will claim to be the ones who sent this man to ram them. You will be able to enrage the protesters to steer them to fight with the police,” said the article.

It also encourages lone wolves to take advantage of the civil unrest in some countries to attack police officers. Elaborating on this, the article argues that this is easy, as the lone wolf can exploit the angry protesters, whom it describes as “Crusaders,” and steer them towards attacking the police.

my inserts

In France in the past week an Islamist terrorist followed a female police officer into the police station and killed her with a knife. No doubt another mentally unbalanced person. Strange how Islamist killers are always “mentally disturbed.” In a way anyone who is an Islamist is mentally disturbed. But he is still responsible for his actions.

Biden in his speech to congress  made it clear that something called “white supremacy” is a greater threat than Islamism. He, like every one else, is unable to define “white supremacy” as a threat.  Is it an attitude, a feeling, a thought? If a person  does not act on it how do you counter it? An article in the latest issue of Perspectives on Terrorism,  entitled “QAnon: Radical Opinion Vs Radical Action”  makes the excellent  point that trying to eradicate radicalism using “thought police” as in censoring free speech only increases and nutures the growth of radicalism.   But the elite Establishment oligarchs that control our society are poorly educated in history.

The article continues

In addition, the article asks the lone wolf to take advantage of the protests to destroy and vandalize private property if he cannot gain access to public property. “If you cannot reach public property, target private property, vandalize cars, shops, and stands. Remember that all of the Crusaders are jointly with their government in war against Islam,” it said.

It also highlights another advantage in this kind of protest, saying that lone wolves can bring knives and Molotov cocktail without raising suspicions. Additionally, laws concerning rioters are not harsh and often do not impose penalties on violent protesters such as those imposed on lone wolves, said the article. “Everyone [during a protest] is violating the law so if you got arrested – Allah forbid – your sentence will be different from that of a lone wolf.”

The article further explains that “timing” is the most important factor when it comes to attacking the police. It adds that lone wolves should wait for an opportunity to present itself, such as when there is a fight between a protester and a police officer, and states that it is better in such cases to use Molotov cocktails than knives. “Particularly when the police officer is the one who started the fight. In such a case, it is the right opportunity for you to kill him and become a hero in the eyes of the protesters and even to encourage them to commit acts similar to yours,” said the article.”

It goes on to urge followers to attack police officers offering 60$ for a verified kill of a police officer in Bitcoin. Only non Muslims are eligible however. Apparently Muslims kill for the nobility it confers.

So how many people have seen the very critical information? Very few. In fact I have found it referred to in only one small on line periodical. The question is why? I would say because it is not part of the “woke” leftist elite Establishment  narratives.e., that the riots and vandalism are part of a fight for “social Justice” and anything which detracts from that ideological theme, however disquieting and important, must be silenced.

Maj Hassan– a real terrorist. No one wanted to report him because of being labeled an Islamophobe.

In fact in the West Point Combatting Terrorism Center (CTC) their most recent article is another tilting at windmills article gravely warning of the “extremist right wing terrorism.” It has become the the terrorism story de jour, spinning left wing opinion pieces as fact. One has to look hard to find right-wing extremist events, unless the now famous 6 Jan-  A sort of conservative social justice protest-  is counted….in which the only person killed was an unarmed woman protestor. Don’t like my wording?  I guess the shoe is on the other foot.

The really dangerous aspect of these type stories is that the Establishment Elite, trying  to destroy dissenting thought, are in fact  creating the “monster” that aim to liquidate.

 

Bosom buddies or so Kerry thought> The betrayer gets betrayed

The second news event is that of the John Kerry betrayal of our ally, Israeli’s military secrets, spilling the beans to his buddy, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javid Zarif, on Israeli  targeting of Iranian military sites. Of course, the Elite Establishment Press and Media immediately tried to create another version and concentrate on the supposed division within the Iranian government. That may be but one thing for sure; Dealing with Iran without force is imbecilic. The lengths the media is going through to  spin it toward a favorable reason for negotiating with the Iranian regime is quite humorous actually. I keep wondering …what do the Iranians have on the Obama- Biden oligarchs that keep them begging at the Iranian table?

 

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Israel’s Greatest Blunder

Lyn Julius is the daughter of Iraqi-Jewish parents and has written  a most remarkable book, entitled Uprooted: How 3000 years of Jewish Civilization in the Arab World Vanished Overnight. In one small portion of the book she uses the headline above.

Then crux of the argument as  she explained it is as follows,”Given the centrality  of the refugee issue to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the journalist and writer Ari Schwartz has labeled Israel’s  prolonged silence ‘incomprehensible’. Tommy Lapid ,who served as justice minister, recognized the long term damage from Israel’s failure to make an issue of Jewish refugees; it has helped perpetuate the myth that the Jews were the aggressors and dispossessors, and not the other way around, with all that implies for Israel’s legitimacy. He has described the failure to play the refugee card  as one of the greatest blunders in the state’s history.”

The facts are these: more than 99% of the Arab World’s Jews have fled to other parts of the world. 650,000 to Israel and 200, 000 to the West. at one time- about 60years ago, 10% of the world’s Jews lived in the Arab World. One of the largest Jewish populated cities in the world was Baghdad. They were evicted or fled from fear of further pogroms.

This subject was brought to mind by the evacuation of the remaining handful of Jews of Yemen this past month.- a place that Jews had lived in for 3000 years.

Jews of Yemen

Why did the usually quick thinking Israelis miss this vital information/propaganda issue ?

Miss Julius gives three main treasons. First  the Israelis tend to  be a more pragmatic people in opposition to the more animated and romantic heroic narrative of the Arabs.  Raphael Patai ( The Arab Mind)  explains  this part of Arab person personality  with extreme emotions and proclivity for fantasy as well as the lure of exaggeration in the language.  This has been reinforced the Arabs by constant repetition  and help from anti-semitic, anti zionist  radical left and  right wing journalists, academics  and useful fools who have kept the Palestinian refugee issue in the spotlight, overshadowing the fact that Jews, Kurds, Greeks, and especially the Armenians have also been expelled under horrible conditions from Islamic countries. But this rarely makes the Middle East guru’s writings. Nor does it obviate the fact that Christianity, once the main Abrahamic  religion of the Middle East, has been virtually extinguished as well.

Jews of Morocco

Secondly the Israeli foreign office has been reticent in bringing up the Palestinian refugee problems.——- a non starter in that that the Palestinian refugee issue bubbles up everywhere, especially among the dominant left wing academics, who control the narrative,  regardless whether the Israelis exodus from Muslim Lands is exposed or not.

Thirdly the Israelis basically solved their problem by accepting the Arab World Jewish refugees…not always happily… but they did. The Arabs on the other hand have resisted integrating Palestinians into their countries, often using the excuse that if they did so the Palestinians would forget their homeland. The Palestinians have reciprocated in kind, fomenting civil war in Lebanon and Jordan and colluding with invading Iraqis in Kuwait. No where in the Arab World are the Palestinians trusted as a community. Ironically it is the West , especially the United States, that provides the majority of aid to Palestinian refugees. For which they get little if any credit.

I would give another reason. When I use to visit my wife-to-be in Brooklyn NY in the early sixties, Zionist activism was everywhere evident with banners across the Streets urging the purchase of Israeli war bonds. The Jewish presence was overwhelming, with many subway riders reading Yiddish language newspapers.  The  Jews  apparently believed this attitude would last forever- the small state struggling valiantly against a monolithic Islamic world bent on their destruction. They were wrong.

Jews of Baghdad at one time the most populous Jewish cities in the world

Then came the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. It was a humiliation for the Arabs and from not came the concept of the “Super Jew”- a small state defeating the huge, oil rich, populous Arab World. With this came a great deal of Israeli hubris leading to the” near thing” of the Israeli victory in 1973

Today the small state of Israel surrounded by a hostile population, with about 15% of the  general  population, mostly Arab,   generally hostile  as well,  has become the bete noire  of the “woke generation, ”  a  Western generation of spoiled forever adolescents, indoctrinated by uneducated academics, that evidences an embedded theme that the hated Western Civilization includes Israel as a prime example of a colonizing state. One finds a surprising number of young Western Jews who have adopted this view as well.

jews of Egypt

Today as I write this there are riots and fights between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem, with liberal Jewish voices  plaintively asking on TV what can be done to change this pervasive attitude of ethnic  hatred.  In the short run very little, which is one reason  I see the current establishment of relationships with Arab states  by Israel with some skepticism.

 

It has been a common myth perpetuated by Western islamic academicians that the Jews indigenous to the Middle East lived a relatively peaceful life tolerated by their Muslim neighbors.. As Bernard Lewis has written , in relation to the murderous policies toward Jews in the Western world which culminated in the holocaust, that is true, but it was only a small part of the overall picture. Jews and Christians have never been first class citizens in the Arab World. At best they were tolerated, and under the Islamic rule acquired the submissive attitude necessary for survival  that Ibn Khaldun so well captured.

Egyptisn Jewish actress Naja Ibrahim

Reading the books by Bat Ye’or,  the most detailed historian on the Jews of the Arab World, the lot of Jews and Christians was always fraught with uncertainty as any disturbance was liable to set off a pogrom.

Jewish Egyptian actress Leila Murad

However the real systematic expulsion and persecution of the Jews began with the advent of Arab Nationalism, an ideology based on an inchoate socialistic and racist doctrine. Regrettably it was partially fanned by the West, especially the British to counteract the Communist inroads into the Middle East.

Haj Husseini with his mentor Herr Hitler. My friend and great Middle East writer, Barry Rubin, wrote that Haj Husseini urged Hitler to to carry out the most extreme measures against the Jews.

Not so strangely, the Middle Eastern Jews often referred to as “Mizrahi”, as opposed to the “Ashkenazi”  Jews Europe, have a distinctly Oriental culture and have not always had an easy time conforming to the Western culture of the Ashkenazi ,which has defined Israel.One can find many  Jewish web sites nostalgically lamenting their lost paradise of their lives in Iraq or Egypt.

Jewish Egyptian singer Najwa Salem

But also not surprising, despite a lot of Academic nonsense abut the commonality of the Mizrahi Jews to the Arabs, the hatred of the Mizrahi toward the Arabs, is often the most intense. This is not at all surprising considering their treatment.

When we were in Egypt, the US embassy personnel use to do short weekends  at the Faroun house in Alexandria. It formerly belonged  to a wealthy Jewish family that had lived in Egypt for hundreds of years. Even the silverware was still there as the Jews were expelled with generally one suitcase and the clothes on their back. In places like Iraq and Syria they were lucky to escape with their lives.

The Israelis have missed a huge opportunity to harp on this to counter the unceasing Palestinian tales of exile.

 

 

 

‘or

 

 

 

 

 

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The Intrigue in the Harem

 

The is is pure conjecture on my part but based on 1400 years of Islamic history and the influence of women, beginning with the story of Aisha( read After the Prophet by Lesley Hazelton) and her influence on the Prophet Mohammed continuing through the Ommayad and Abbasid empires, to the Ottoman Empire and beyond. The intrigues in the Harem were real and often bloody in consequence. The desire of women to live through the success of their sons- ensuring he became the Sultan or Caliph  was monumental and ever present. So as the gurus of Middle East reporting concentrate on foreign contacts, the era ribal and ideological aspects of the attempted coup, I think my view is the correct one.

Queen Noor. Mother of x-crown prince, prince Hamzeh.

Women in King Hussein’s Life. Intrigue in the Palace

 

Queen Rania mother of new Crown Prince Hussein

 

Recently it has been disclosed that the intrigue in the palace has taken on a dangerous phase. Apparently over 20 people, including a former minister close to the  King Abdullah government, have been arrested to head off an imminent coup. It seems, despite royal refutations,  that the former crown prince, Prince  Hamzeh bin Hussein  was in someway involved. Read my previous blog post above for a rundown on the Royal family and the mostly very ambitious women who have….in my opinion at least….brought about this crisis. Hamzeh, the son of King Hussein and the lovely, and very ambitious Queen Noor, was demoted from Crown Prince after being in that position for 4 years. King Abdullah , the son of King Hussein and his second wife, Princess Muna ( she being British was not considered genetically qualified to be designated queen, however,  Queen Noor despite being an American,  was the daughter of a Syrian American and therefore had the right bloodlines.) These things get complicated!!!

King Abdullah and his Palestinian wife, Rania, ( who has acquired a reputation as somewhat of a spendthrift) have gone through number of crises, particularly economic, and with half the population ( the Palestinians) considered 0f doubtful loyalty, and with dissension  even among his core supporters within the tribes, king Abdullah has done better than many thought.  He also has had to contend with a robust Muslim Brotherhood especially among the Muslim Brotherhood and he  is not then smartest guy around.  But he has had the support of the West and worked amicably with Israeli leaders.

The son of King Abdullah and Rania,  Crown Prince  Hussein bin Abdullah bin Hussein bin Talal, was designated the Crown Prince in 2009, replacing Hamzeh.  The crown prince is not married. According to his instagram, he enjoys reading playing football, cooking, motorcycling and playing the Guitar.

It should be remembered that in a shocker, the late King Hussein replaced his brother, Prince Hassan, who had been the crown Prince for years, just days before he died with the present  King Abdullah. Prince Hassan gracefully exited stage left although his Pakistani wife was reported as being  very upset. I have to wonder how much Queen Noor had  to do with that last minute decision. I would say quite a bit.

Always look for the influence of wives and especially mothers in the turmoil in the Middle East

additional info. Very good article on the coup attempt in Jordan by the analytical firm MEMRI. This is is the overt explanation and mine is what propelled it.

https://www.memri.org/reports/jordans-prince-hamzah-bin-hussein-caught-between-accusations-he-was-planning-coup-and

 

 

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