Thursday, August 31, 2006

Securing the Middle East with a Nuclear Iran?

First the introduction:
Even as the United States, the EU and others work to stop it, Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons seems inevitable. But is this such a bad outcome? In "Blueprint for Action," Thomas P.M. Barnett explores the security implications involved from a U.S. point of view of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and why it may be the best thing for the United States and the wider Middle East.

There was a discussion on CSPAN from an author (don't remember the name) that his theory was that the world is safer because of Nuclear Proliferation and not less. He basically said that we should encourage nations to get nuclear weapons and not discourage.
Iran is not a source for, or a supporter of, the jihadist movement embodied by al Qaeda. As a Shiite state, its definition of “revolution” differs from that track altogether.

Yes we can say that Iran's Shiite state has different philosophies than al Qaeda but does that mean that they have different goals? Are they willing to join forces for a common desire? And do they always use different tactics? But have we not seen that Iran is willing to use the same tactics through Hezbollah and Hamas as well as the Shiites in Iraq?
Iran is a nation-state first and foremost, not some transnational religious-inspired movement.

So I must be fooling myself that the Mullahs have no power in Iran. They may not want to do the dirty work but this does not mean that they will not use proxies or recruits to spread their ideology. Iran has for decades wanted hegemony over the Arab countries. That is why Saddam actually had some support from other Arab nations in his fight with Iran.
Iran is not interested in overthrowing the West’s political and economic order, it just wants to receive its due place in those corridors of power.

Yes it wants respect. But respect does not come from acting like a child and secondly respect is earned not granted.
Often from what I see, it is authoritarian regimes want/desire respect. North Korea is much the same way. Lastly there is no "due place" for any nation. They just like members of a team must find their own place and this is hopefully with respect to others.
Quest for the bomb:
But even in its quest for the bomb, Tehran displays a calculated cynicism throughout, demonstrating all too well that it understands that nukes are for having, not for using.
Iran will get the bomb, no matter how the United States or its allies seek to prevent that outcome. Tehran was the regional power most pleased by seeing both the Taliban and Saddam deposed.

Yes that is a rational understanding but there has been enough indications that Israel may be a target even if it is not with use of the nuclear bomb. It may just send over a missile as an act of terrorism-even if it is just dude.
So if Tehran is going to get the bomb no matter what, the question shifts from “What can the United States do to prevent it?” to “What does the United States get out of it?”

That is a logical question. But what did we get from China, Pakistan or North Korea? This still has not convinced me that prevention from them making a bomb is not worth it.
Iran is the one country in the region where it’s the rulers who hate the United States and the public that loves us

I can agree with this statement, from my reading and from people I have met.
Why? Because a huge hang-up in the Palestinian-Israeli struggle has been the Muslim world’s sense of military inferiority, which was first proven in a series of wars across the latter half of the twentieth century and which remains codified in the popular imagination by Israel’s possession of both the bomb and a nuclear superpower sponsor willing to wage war on its behalf — two things the Middle East’s Muslim states have always lacked.

Some how they managed to not feel inferior when the wars broke out in 1948 and 1967. With five armies and Israel's back to the sea, they could not "win". So whose fault is that? Saddam effectively destroyed his and Iran's war making ability for some time. It also seems that Barnett has little memory of history. Many of the Arab states had the backing of Russia and presently China is getting into the picture. So yes they had the backing of a superpower with the bomb. And from an editorial from Kuwait: Arabs Must 'Accept Defeat' in Lebanon
. Which is basically saying just get over it. Spend your energy on something more productive than hate.
Security through nuclear equality?
Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons levels that playing field in a proximate sense, by finally allowing the Muslim Middle East to sit one player at the negotiating table as Israel’s nuclear equal. This is not just opportune, it is crucial.

But as I mentioned earlier not too many people in Arab States would like that idea. This then would quickly result in Saudi Arabia aquiring the Bomb. Which is rumoured to take around 6 months if they wanted it. Turkey which has already had nuclear weapons on its soil before Cuba did. Would we want a dozen countries having the Bomb? If one went off (accidentally or on purpose), can you imagine what the world would go through?
Would Iran give terrorists the bomb? Only if terrorists could get Iran something that it could not otherwise achieve directly with the West.

So we are going to trust the Mullahs? We are also to assume that terrorists will never have something to offer. Iran can already achieve anything it wants from the West. It does not need to blackmail the world.
In which scenario do you think Tehran might risk it all by sponsoring a terrorist WMD strike against Israel or the West — when it has something to lose or nothing to lose? If America wants Iran to act responsibly in the region, it needs to give Iran some responsibility for regional security.

But why should we risk those scenarios to start with? That's it maybe others (including Arabs, Israelis, etc) do not want Iran to have hegemony over the Arab States. I don't see Iran being responsible on many levels so no why give them more responsibility?
Everybody wins:
Meanwhile, offering Tehran’s government-reform elements economic carrots in exchange for denying the hard-line mullahs their self-perceived nuclear security blanket remains an unworkable approach.
In sum, this scenario pathway presents wins for all sides. The United States finally gets a Muslim security partner in the region worth having (as opposed to, say, the “sick man of the Arab world,” Egypt, or even the let-them-eat-cake royal mafia in Saudi Arabia).
Israel finally gets enough buy-in from the Islamic world for the two-state solution to proceed. Iran gets to return to its rightful place as regional-power-of-note and its public experiences growing economic connectivity with the outside world, which in turn, will inevitably restart a political reform process that rapidly marginalizes the mullahs’ religious-based political rule.

No, not everyone wins. Israel and most of the gulf states as well as much of Europe would be within range of WMD from Iran. I wonder what economic carrots we could possibly offer that has not been given or can not be obtained by Iran. Oil prices are high, Iran is able to sell as much as it wants, what more could they want?

In conclusion, yes maybe nuclear proliferation can make the world safer but I would want it under the direction of "Liberal Democracies". When free people get to decide their government in Iran and not under an Islamic Regime then I would accept Iran as a nuclear partner if that is what the people of Iran want.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Love Notes from Miles

Re: Premise four
« Reply #33 on: April 24, 2007, 02:45:15 PM »

Hey, another unsub? Great!

On the topic of premise 4:

Andger is gay, so he is lower on the hierarchy than I am. However, I have a chronic and potentially fatal disease, so he is higher on the hierarchy than me.
I would like a discussion in which we establish a formal description (a preference rule system perhaps) that weighs the different disadvantages that people have against each other and outputs a hierarchical tree.

This is important, because apparently around here whoever gets to claim 'lower on the hierarchy' has a clear advantage on his adversaries (perceived or real).

Might come in handy, is all I'm saying.

Now, initially when I wrote the above, I meant for it to sound ironic. Later, I wanted it so be a cynical comment. Now, however, I'm being DEAD serious. Apparently, THIS is how things work around here. I'm relatively new here, so it took me some time to figure it out, but I've got it; sorry for being slow.

In order to get away with anything, anything, one will only need to be established as the most victimized victim. That's what matters. Not the arguments (stinky or not), not the tone, not the tactics, not the ends. Not even the topics have any meaning. Victimhood puts you on top of the foodchain with the anarchists, baby! So much so that the use of the word 'she' will earn one a reprimand when lower on the hierarchy (the hierarchy of being the most victimized victim, you see), while all the while the Ultimate Victim (henceforth referred to as UV) gets to say stuff like "The world is full of callous, unfeeling, femicidal monsters [..] And that, Garrett, is a personal attack directed at you [...] motherfucker", Netiquette or not.

So hierarchy turning out to be all that this is about, I would like to explore this issue now, please. And FTR, I hope that we all notice the relevance to the subject matter.

PS> I got LOTS more to say, but it's fucking late, I'm fucking exhausted, this shit makes me fucking sick, and Civilization is having a BALL, so why the Hell bother?


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Analysis: Government and IDF racked by unprecedented leadership crisis

I have been following the Israel/Hezbollah war very intently since the first day. Since that time I have wondered why an advanced and well trained military did not use tactics that would have lead to a decisive victory on the battlefield. After someone commenting that Israel was using a blitzkrieg strategy, I explained that Israelis slow and methodical military advancement could not be called a blitzkrieg. But this got me to thinking that a blitzkrieg tactic would have been the best way to take the upper hand and dictact the tempo of the war. This of course assumes that once you decide to wage war, that nothing is to stop the military from achieving victory.

The way I saw to use the blitzkrieg tactic would have been to invade Lebanon at the closest point to the Litani River. Then to make as direct as possible defensive supplies line to the river avoiding towns as much as possible. As the IDF reaches the river they would build a bridge and cross the river to the north side of the river. Napalm and defoliate the south bank of the river. Then the IDF would continue the line until the coast. This would completely cut off South Lebanon with the Hezbollah fighters and missiles locked in. The next step would tell all those in the box to leave and those that stay would be assumed to be supporters of Hezbollah.

Well, I finally found the military tactic that was drawn out at Analysis: Government and IDF racked by unprecedented leadership crisis. First the timeframe:
Senior IDF officers have been saying that the PM bears sole responsibility for the current unfavorable military situation, with Hezbollah still holding out after almost a month of fighting. According to these officers, Olmert was presented with an assiduously prepared and detailed operational plan for the defeat and destruction of Hezbollah within 10-14 days, which the IDF has been formulating for the past 2-3 years.

And the Plan:
This plan was supposed to have begun with a surprise air onslaught against the Hezbollah high command in Beirut, before they would have had time to relocate to their underground bunkers. This was to have been followed immediately by large-scale airborne and sea borne landing operations, in order to get several divisions on the Litani River line, enabling them to outflank Hezbollah's "Maginot line" in southern Lebanon. This would have surprised Hezbollah, which would have had to come out of its fortifications and confront the IDF in the open, in order to avoid being isolated, hunted down and eventually starved into a humiliating submission.

I had not specifically thought about the air campaign at the headquarters, because it is always a tricky situation to bomb inside a major city. They could end up killing some non-Hezbollah government officials. But I think that airborne and seaborne landing operations sound like a good plan also. It could be easily coupled with the tank blitzkrieg plan I mentioned earlier.
The implementation of the this plan was:
This was exactly what the IDF senior command wanted, as Israeli military doctrine, based on the Wehrmacht's blitzkrieg doctrine, has traditionally been one of rapid mobile warfare, designed to surprise and outflank an enemy.

According to senior military sources, who have been extensively quoted in both the Hebrew media and online publications with close ties to the country's defense establishment, Olmert nixed the second half of the plan, and authorized only air strikes on southern Lebanon, not initially on Beirut.

And what were the consequences of these decisions?
Whatever his reasons, the bottom line, according to these military sources, is that he castrated the campaign during the crucial first days. The decision to not bomb Beirut immediately enabled Nasrallah to escape, first to his bunker, subsequently to the Iranian embassy in Beirut.

The decision to cancel the landings on the Litani River and authorize a very limited call up of reserves forced the ground forces to fight under very adverse conditions. Instead of outflanking a heavily fortified area with overwhelming forcers, they had to attack from the direction most expected, with insufficient forces. The result, high casualties and modest achievements.

And now for the kicker:
Olmert's responsibility for inaction goes much further. The US administration had given Israel the green light to attack Syria. A senior military source has confirmed to Israel Insider that Israel did indeed receive a green light from Washington in this regard, but Olmert nixed it.

The scenario was that Syria, no military match for Israel, would face a rapid defeat, forcing it to run to Iran, with which it has a defense pact, to come to aid.

So if this is correct about the US support for an expanded war, then that may show some interest in Washington to expand the conflict. The article goes on to explain some issues relating to honor of the Israelis and other Arab countries as well as Iran.

Much of the debate about the Middle East/Israel seems to always center around natural resources especially oil. And if they can't prove that it involves oil then they say conflicts are over water. But these two countries rely most notably on tourism and in a way maybe that is what we should be thinking about. Israel felt that it could no longer be under the gun of Hezbollah's missiles. And it could force Lebanon to do something about Hezbollah by just threatening their tourist business. As noted:
Israel would undoubtedly suffer both civilian casualties and economic damage, but these would not be that much more than what we are already experiencing. We have already irreversibly lost an entire tourist season.

Update 8-13-2006
Israeli appears to be trying to trap Hezbollah fighters between forces landed near the Litani and the larger force moving in on the ground from the border. Israel has said its warplanes are attacking guerrilla targets and roads in an effort to choke off Hezbollah's supply lines. Israeli jets pummel Beirut; 5 soldiers killed; Hezbollah drones downed

It is also worth noting the use of drones by Hezbollah:
The IDF said it thwarted a major Hezbollah attack on Sunday when it shot down two Iranian-made drones laden with explosives heading toward Israel. One of the drones was shot down over Kibbutz Cabri, in the Western Galilee. The other drone was downed over the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre.