Wednesday, November 21, 2012

RIP Pillar of Cloud

It was four days ago when I first began tweeting that there would be no Israeli ground invasion of Gaza, and that not a single Israeli ground soldier would be put in harm's way by PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Before we go on to the more fanciful part of my analysis, let's just get that one fact straight - many of us simply KNEW with a certitude equal to that shown election night by the Call Desk at FoxNews how this would all end.
Let's also stipulate another simple truth not easily digested by the pundits: this was a fabricated military incident designed, created & completely instigated by Israel. Israel was the entity that heated up the Gaza-Israel border to an intolerable boil, Israel was the perpetrator of a targeted killing at a moment and place of its choosing. The question of why Israel did this thing at this time breaks into two schools of thought, both wrong.
The first school has a micro analysis: Israel wanted to flush out the Fajr missile arsenal sooner rather than later, so it initiated an irresistible string of events in order to "mow the lawn" at minimal cost to Israeli soldiers. By every measure, Operation Pillar of Cloud (or if you like - "Defense") was a far less lethal engagement to both sides as compared to Cast Lead 4 years ago. Most of the long-range missiles were either destroyed in storage or fired with little impact. So in this way of thinking Israel started a near-war to achieve (variously) a dressing down of HAMAS; or to engage the new Egypt in regional diplomacy and have it take greater ownership of Gaza; or to cajole the Obama administration to come to Israel's aid; or similar drivel. All wrong.
The second school is more cynical, and seemingly more knowing and wise as to the intricacies of Israeli domestic politics. This school contends that Netanyahu started this particular fight in order to enhance and solidify his electoral standing in anticipation of January 22, 2013 elections. They call this an "Elections War" and would have you believe that a perpetually risk averse Netanyahu would engage in warmongering in order to do just a bit better in an election he was destined to win in any event. Also wrong.
So what just happened? Why go through this noisy exercise of calling up first 16,000 soldiers so brazenly, and then announce with greater fanfare the authorization of 31,000, and finally 75,000 troops? To make the threat of war a likely alternative to failed diplomacy, even as HAMAS spokesmen were daring the future Gilad Shalits to come on in?
No, there is another answer. I laid it out in my previous blog entry. So far, nothing in my earlier prediction has been contravened by the unfolding ceasefire. See below...

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