Israel has decided to rattle sabers after losing one of its senior officers in the tree-trimming incident on the Lebanese border. In a story that was removed from the IDF website, it published an article about the maneuvers, reporting that the army is engaged in a major exercise all the way from the central Beit Shean region to the far north, with troops and armor rolling down Highway 71.
Haaretz is also reporting a related escalation by Israel regarding armored vehicles sent to Shebaa Farms, one of the most highly disputed pieces of territory outside Jerusalem. The Lebanese army was placed on high alert as a result.
A word of explanation before I cite Debka, a source I view as having no credibility whatsoever. Since I don’t have access yet to the original Maariv story and Debka seems to be recapitulating it, I’m going to quote Debka. It will likely be the only time I will ever do so here:
Monday night, the Israeli military unusually warned citizens and motorists they would have to put up with heavy military traffic on the northern highways leading from the center of the country to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Upper Galilee and the Golan – in particular Route 71 linking Afulah and Bet Shean, and Routes 90 and 92 which circle the lake and reach the Galilee Panhandle. They were advised to avoid the roads leading up to the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese borders.
Nana has video of a TV news report showing the armor being ferried north. The video makes clear that one of the tactical presumptions of the exercise is that Israel’s Arab population will rise up in opposition. It is typical of the assumptions of Israeli Jews that their fellow Palestinian citizens will exhibit more hostility than they ever do. And this plays nicely into the current level of paranoia within Israel toward the Arab minority as ginned up by the Shin Bet and other state organs.
The IDF exercise is certainly related to the border incident, and the follow-up threat by the U.S. Congress that it would cut federal funding of the Lebanese military. Today, Iran followed up on the U.S. threat by committing to fill any financial gap caused by our pull-out.
In my post about the tree-trimming incident, I warned that this could impact Israel-Iran relations, which themselves are a tinder-box. If you add Syria to the mix and the possibility of regional war, this is a place to which neither Israel nor the U.S. can want to go. The fact that the Israel lobby sycophants in Congress decided they had to rattle their sabers indicates that they are near-sighted eedjuts who can’t see beyond a millimeter in front of their faces as far as the policy implications of their braggadocio.
If this were the Knesset or the Israeli government, I would say such provocation might be deliberate since many in Israel WANT a war with Iran. But I don’t believe most of Congress (with the exception of the Ledeenites & other neocons there) want to provoke such a war. So they are merely ignorant fools, but not deliberate war provocateurs. But if there is an attack none of this will matter. Wars can just as easily be started inadvertently as deliberately.
According to an Israeli source who claims to have inside information about this operation (and which I could not independently verify), we should watch to see whether all this equipment returns to its home base or is maintained in border staging areas. If it remains on the border, then we should begin to wonder to what possible use such equipment could be put in the event of an Israeli attack on a neighboring country.
To Obama and everyone else who has half a brain in their head (including a few in Israel I hope), I say: “Stand down.” Get the troops back in the barracks. Send the tanks home. Stop rattling sabers. If not, I will point out that most specialists in the subject believe that Nasser never intended to provoke the 1967 War. Yet his bellicose rhetoric played a role in bringing on hostilities (though of course the Israelis attacked first). There must not be military hostilities now under these circumstances.
Chances are Israel wishes to threaten the Lebanese. Haaretz reports that the IDF has already threatened to assassinate the Lebanese commander who ordered the sniper fire which killed the Israeli officer on the border. These manuevers are a follow-up to that. They also serve to remind the Syrians that Israel can do plenty of damage to them. And there can never be a downside in Israeli domestic politics from issuing menacing threats aimed at Iran. So the Highway 71 military exercise is a sort of Israeli Trifecta. Mass the troops and hopefully throw the fear of God into your three most potent neighbor/enemies.