Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Trying to keep track

The Daily Star - Opinion Articles - Is Israel now the lesser enemy between some Muslims?

The war in southern Lebanon is a little far from our Table, unless some of you folks see significant biblical underpinnings that I've missed. Mostly looks like a re-run of Joshua to me, one that's been run many times.

However, this article is interesting enough to post, because it describes the tension and conflict between the Muslim factions, and how they are increasing. Could be good news, or bad. How do you see it?

15 comments:

  1. I wish I took better notes or had a better memory, but our pastor has referred to 2006 as a year of transition for Israel. This is based on an interpretation of Psalms 106, and something to do with 40 years since something they've done to anger God.

    I realize that sound pretty lame. In one context, it's just news. The same stuff we've heard all our lives, not good or bad. But in God's context, this may be significant. I'm listening and praying for Israel.

    sir don.....
    Knight of the Golden Horseshoe

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  2. Don, I assume the focus of the sermon was on the ending verses of the chapter...

    40 Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance.

    41 He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them.

    42 Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power.

    43 Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin.

    44 But he took note of their distress when he heard their cry;

    45 for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented.

    46 He caused them to be pitied by all who held them captive.

    47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.


    Which has been pretty much the history of Israel since that time. The 40 years thing must be a reference to the 6-day war in 1967, but I'm not sure what sin he might have seen in that, unless he saw that as Israel performing unnecessary agression instead of relying on God. I'm not really well-informed here, but I recall that Israel made a probably unwarranted raid into Jordan in late 1966, even though King Hussein had been privately accomodating to the Jewish state. This raid is usually cited as the event that triggered the escalation into the 1967 war, and I guess, if correct, was not a good idea (perhaps the first modern-day "pre-emptive strike"?)

    A few months later, Egypt was poised to roll tanks, but international politics stayed the invasion...but Israel rolled tanks a few days later. Maybe that could be seen as not being satisfied with divine intervention.

    Anyway, it is now forty years later. Interesting...

    See if your pastor has a transcript of that sermon!

    Sir C

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  3. But, Sir Don, what about the Shiite/Sunni split? Seems to me before we deposed Saddam, they were pretty well united against Israel and the West. Now, as the article (in an Arab newspaper) demonstrates, they're more worried about the power and influence of each other.

    Which makes a little more sense, really, than bombing western targets. We've never really done anything to them except make them rich.

    Yeah, that would do it...

    Sir C

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  4. I'm not sure what to say.

    In recent history, the Sunni Arabs have had the upper hand. They had the strength of oil currency to out spend anyone and win.

    The Shiite Persians/Irani now project a potential power of the nuclear electron.

    Yes, the state of Israel "may" have nuclear weapons, but the Islamic nations depended on the UN and other moderating forces to collar Israel.

    Based on my very limited understanding of the Middle East, there is a power shift happening from Islam against Israel to Israel versus "others." These "others" are not rational nor friendly to one another. All the others will be content with the destruction of Israel, but all want domination afterward. That obviously cannot happen.

    Maybe the only thing that saves us is nuclear Islam can decide who to attack with their limited resources: Israel, USA or other Islamic nations that want control. Irrational people don't make rational choices, and apparently can make clear ones either.

    It all seems like some pretty frighten times ahead. But.....

    Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

    sir don.....
    Knight of the Golden Horseshoe

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  5. Hey, that says it all, great scripture. Have a blessed (and worry-free) weekend. And may God grant the same to the Israelis and the (anti-Hezbollahnian) Lebanese.

    Sir C, the half-Lebanese Christian knight

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  6. And may God grant the same to the Israelis and the (anti-Hezbollahnian) Lebanese.


    Apparently, there aren't too many of the latter...

    poll conducted this week among a national sample of Lebanese citizens, by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, to assess attitudes toward Hizbullah, the US and the Lebanese government. Stressful conditions no doubt generate skewed and dramatic results. Some of the poll's findings - e.g., that 80 percent of Christians support Hizbullah's ongoing resistance against Israel,

    From today's Lebanon Star. Oh well, may God open their eyes and pierce their hearts...

    Sir C, the one-fourth (and shrinking) Lebanese Christian knight

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  7. Israel has always been the lesser enemy compared to other muslims-that is one of the reasons they talk so much about Israel; it gives an outside enemy to unite against.
    Muslims are tribalistic the way they have always been. Shia vs. Sunni is a vague generalization. Really they are not to different in some ways from Balkan's or Sicillians.
    In many parts of the world their is a catch 22. You can't trust the state so you must trust your kin but if everybody does this then the state becomes simply the bigest thief.
    That may not have been as harmful when states were weaker. Paradoxically Arab states can be both too efficient to be harmless and not efficient enough to be helpful. It comes of an incomplete adjustment.
    Bedouin wars in the turn of the century were usually somewhere between camel rustling contests and mob feuds. Not nice but not as nasty. Arab chiefs could be tyranical but they could not have police states. Modern Arab states seemed to have learned the worst from the West without learning the best. To be fair they are usually no worse then an eighteenth century European monarchy.
    It would be nice to see the anti-hezzie Lebonese take over. It would take a bit of doing.
    Sir Chuck is conversant with Church history I believe? He might remember what a shock the Thirty-years War was to the Germans? The Lebonese War was suspiciously like it-by the time it was over civilization had pretty much collapsed and the warlords were ruling. There had been complete anarchy and states around were manipulating local turmoil. The Lebonese don't want to go through that again. Of course they also don't want a foreign invasion. I suspect in fact that the Lebonese army unit sent to fight the Israelis was a "sacrificial lamb"-ghoulish but not unknown in the region: even King Hussein used that technique once or twice and he was more honorable then most.
    The Lebonese are scared and war-weary.
    I suspect the Israelis have a back-up plan. If the Lebonese government does not prove reliable they will find local tribes who are willing to act as vassals for any combination of money, fear, or common interest.
    This whole thing is taking longer then I expected. I still don't think it will take long-big mideast campaigns don't for they take lots of fuel and ammunition(Iran-Iraq was an aberation, and the Lebonese Civil War-Time of Troubles is more acurate was done mostly with cheap small arms.
    Another reason Mideast campaigns are short is that it
    always becomes diplomatically counterproductive for awhile. Usually the Mideast is raid and counterraid-not unlike the ninteenth century in fact. This campaign fits into that model well-it is a "punitive expedition" to disrupt unruly elements who are becoming dangerous. As I said I hope it doesn't stop to soon-before sufficient damage is done.
    By the way as to the "recruiting for terrorists" objection that is partly true-it is also partly true that a considerable number of possible terrorists are either intimidated or deprived of a means to become terrorists when Hezbollah is disrupted. More important not all terrorists are equal. A terrorist group is like my old Bible quiz team(well we were terrifying to the other teams)in one important matter-it depends on it's stars. Just as we could not have gone to regional if Joel Rubicam had been sick, no terrorist group can function if it's chieftains are neutralized.
    There is one more complexity-Hezbollah is more then just a terrorist group. It is what Chairman Mao would call a stage four insurgency.* But long before it is ready. It has the resources to hold part of Lebonon but not to take on the Israelis if they are willing to take the losses and political fallout.

    Sir Jason the Longwinded

    Mao tse Tung wrote on the strategy of insurgency and identifyed four formal stages

    1. recruitment-conspiracy forming
    2. terrorism
    3. classic guerrila
    4. evolve into conventional force to strike final blow

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  8. Which has been pretty much the history of Israel since that time. The 40 years thing must be a reference to the 6-day war in 1967, but I'm not sure what sin he might have seen in that, unless he saw that as Israel performing unnecessary agression instead of relying on God. I'm not really well-informed here, but I recall that Israel made a probably unwarranted raid into Jordan in late 1966, even though King Hussein had been privately accomodating to the Jewish state. This raid is usually cited as the event that triggered the escalation into the 1967 war, and I guess, if correct, was not a good idea (perhaps the first modern-day "pre-emptive strike"?)
    ----------------------------------
    The six-day war came about because the Arabs were gathering large numbers of troops on Israel's border and closeing of the Gulf of Aquaba. Israel had to small a population and to bad a geographic arrangement to keep enough under arms to simply glare at the Arabs. Nassar had said specifically he intended to destroy Israel. He even sent out a decree ordering UN peacekeepers out of the way-they were annoyingly accomidating in that regard. He at least had none to blame but himself.
    Keeping a large army mobilized at the border of a rival state is an inherantly provocative act: the effort it takes to maintain a modern army means doing such a thing implies something very serious. The Arabs were in effect like someone pointing a pistol at another persons head and telling them they were going to fire in ten seconds-like doing that to someone who had been robbed five times last month. It can hardly be regarded as unnecessary aggression.
    I don't remember much about the raid spoken of-it was probably more border tit-for-tat. What may have happend is that the Israelis decided they had to hit someone and Jordan was convenient. Or maybe there was some belief that raiders had been sheltering there. A number of Palestinian refugees did live in Jordan and conduct plots from there for a long time-until they became so obnoxious that Hussein threw them out himself.

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  9. I'm not sure what to say.

    In recent history, the Sunni Arabs have had the upper hand. They had the strength of oil currency to out spend anyone and win.

    The Shiite Persians/Irani now project a potential power of the nuclear electron.

    Yes, the state of Israel "may" have nuclear weapons, but the Islamic nations depended on the UN and other moderating forces to collar Israel.

    Based on my very limited understanding of the Middle East, there is a power shift happening from Islam against Israel to Israel versus "others." These "others" are not rational nor friendly to one another. All the others will be content with the destruction of Israel, but all want domination afterward. That obviously cannot happen.

    Maybe the only thing that saves us is nuclear Islam can decide who to attack with their limited resources: Israel, USA or other Islamic nations that want control. Irrational people don't make rational choices, and apparently can make clear ones either.

    It all seems like some pretty frighten times ahead. But.....
    _____________________________
    Sir Don brings some interesting points. Fortunatly there is some hope.
    Not all the "irrational people" are as irrational as they sound. Many are just hypocritical people. That kind of talk carries well among Arabs-for that matter different forms of it can carry well over here. The squeeky wheel gets the greese. Which brings up the question of how do you tell-guessing wrong is disastrous(if you remember they guessed Hitler was a hypocrite rather then a madman-we know how that turned out). In any case there are degrees of irrationality.
    To be honest, from Iran's point of view, bluster aside, they have good reason to want the bomb. Besides bringing status, it is really the only way of setting themselves up as a rival to the US without risking their survival: once they have it they will be safer and they may hope that a good bluff can prevent us from objecting forcefully.

    Sir Jason the Longwinded

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  10. Israel has always been the lesser enemy compared to other muslims-that is one of the reasons they talk so much about Israel; it gives an outside enemy to unite against.

    From Lawrance of Arabia:

    Sheik Abu Tawi: Who are the Arabs?

    Lawrance: The Arabs are a contemptable race who live as slaves to the Turks

    Abu Tawi: I know not this tribe

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  11. A terrorist group is like my old Bible quiz team

    Always one for a great simile, Sir Jason...

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  12. To be honest, from Iran's point of view, bluster aside, they have good reason to want the bomb...once they have it they will be safer...

    Ah, the paradoxical irony of it all...

    Sir C

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  13. Sir Chuck is conversant with Church history I believe? He might remember what a shock the Thirty-years War was to the Germans?

    Ah, come on, Sir J, give me a break. The stack of books on my bedstand is already a foot high... :-)

    Sir C, the sleep-deprived

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  14. Ah, come on, Sir J, give me a break. The stack of books on my bedstand is already a foot high... :-)

    Sir C, the sleep-deprived

    4:43 PM
    __________________________
    It happens to the best of us Sir Chuck, we all get caught out sometimes.
    So...
    At the height of the Wars of Religion Germany erupted into a vast conflict. States around exploited it for their own interest by sponsering mercenaries. Unfortunatly they sponsored more then they could pay for and the mercenaries, without pay or supplies started to set up on their own in Germany. The result was a dreadful state of anarchy, that caused such overreactions as absolute pacifism and conversely exagerration of the rights of the state.
    Finnally at the Treaty of Westphalia it was decided in effect that Christian unity was impossible but civilization might still be saved. Among the many provisions was that each ruler would decide his state's denomination. By a convoluted course this lead to the theory of Freedom of Religion in some cases. In others it lead to a totally state-sponsored church.
    The Thirty Years War was one of the most dreadful events in the history of Christiandom and the anology to Lebonon is suspiciously close.

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  15. I recall that Israel made a probably unwarranted raid into Jordan in late 1966, even though King Hussein had been privately accomodating to the Jewish state. This raid is usually cited as the event that triggered the escalation into the 1967 war, and I guess, if correct, was not a good idea (perhaps the first modern-day "pre-emptive strike"?)
    __________________________
    "Misgoverned by transient regimes of officer cliques, Syria had lost all credibility as a military power. In February 1966 the seventeeth coup since independance brought to power a stridently militant left-wing junta that soon established very close ties with Moscow. The new leadership stepped up war propaganda but continued to keep border incidents and Fatah activities at a low threshold of violence. For the same reason, Fatah guerrillas operated mainly from Jordanian and Lebonese soil though trained, paid, and controlled from Damascus. Their attacks were only pinpricks but Israeli civilians were being killed and public opinion demanded a response. Reluctant to inflame the conflict and deterred by loud Soviet support for the new men in Damascus, the Eshkol government hesitated to retaliate against Syria. On 13 November 1966, the Israeli army finnally went into action but, instead of punishing Syria, the reprisal was inflicted on Jordan , on whose territory Fatah guerrillas operated against the will of the Jordanian government.
    Israeli troops riding in half-track carriers and supported by a detachment of light tanks crossed the armistice line in broad daylight, entered the township of Samua and demolished fifty houses. Very different from the parachute night attacks in the fifties, the Samua raid was marked by the detached planning and precise execution that Chief of Staff Rabin had striven to perfect. The soldiers were calm and deliberative, they identified the houses marked for destruction, carefully cleared out each building and set the demolition charges. In the meantime, Arab speaking soldiers with loudspeakers led the inhabitants to a safe assembly area without using violence. Everything was going according to plan when a battalion of Jordanian infantry riding on trucks drove straight into the fire of a group of Israeli AMX light tanks guarding the approaches to Samua. The tanks opened fire, their shells tore into the crowded trucks and fifteen Jordanian soldiers were killed before the convoy retreated. The Israelis made no attempt to pursue or destroy the Jordanian force but the damage was done: the raid was to have been bloodless. More important, by failing to attack the real culpirts, the Israelis encouraged the Syrians to believe that solong as they had the might of Russia behind them they could attack Israel with impunity."-The Israeli Army(Edward Luttwak and Dan Horowitz).
    _____________________________
    Basically the author is saying that the Jordanians to some degree asked for it and the Israelis goofed but the real villian was the Syrians.
    It wasn't the first "pre-emptive strike" for the concept is as old as war. In point of fact it was a "punitive action", not a "pre-emptive strike".
    The difference is this. A pre-emptive strike is designed to render a presumed future opponent helpless and take away the danger right away. It is for almost purely military goals.
    A punitive action is different. It is intended to insure that an enemy is properly afraid of you. It is therefore more subtle.
    Pre-emptive strikes are very seldom seen between Great Powers because the risks are enormous. One must cripple the target at one blow or it will simply make him angry("day of infamy"). It takes a lot to cripple a Great Power(which is why they are "great"), and it is very difficult to assemble the necessary force without getting caught(remember how angry the President's aide was in "Hunt for Red October"). The Six-Day War is one of the few examples of a successful preemtion on that scale-it only worked because there was no reason to explain why all those forces were mobilized already and because Israel could field the rest of them very quickly in any case. Most pre-emptions are low key. A typical case would be one great power knocking off a minor power that looked like it was about to join an enemy. The opening of the Meditteranean theater in World War II(brilliantly done by the British and it's importance was underestimated) contained several operations of that kind.
    A punitive action is by contrast more common. They are fammiliar to every power with a disorderly border. The British in India used to make them into an art form alternating them with bribery to keep restless tribes at bay.

    Sir Jason

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