| Is war with Syria inevitable? It certainly seems that way. Half the reports are saying that Syria is building up its military because it is convinced that Israel is going to attack. The other half says that it is building up its military because it wants to attack Israel. Either way tensions are continuing to rise on a daily basis and Iran and Russia continue to feed Basara with additional weapons.
The question is how will Israel respond to the threat? Can she defend herself with a President whose mantra is Peace without Security, a defense minister who got us into many of these “jams” with his failed Policies when he was Prime Minister, and a Prime Minister who only cares about staying in office. It is a sad and scary state of affairs.
War Clouds over the Golan
By P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com | 8/15/2007 Ehud Barak, Israel’s seemingly discredited former prime minister and current defense minister, seems ready to steer Israel toward yet another destructive fad. First it was making peace with terrorists—an idea still popular in the Israeli government though less so among the public. Then it was the separation fence that would hermetically seal Israel from the violent Middle East. Now—with missiles’ ability to surmount a fence constantly and graphically on display in the Gaza arena—it’s missile defense, another supposed cure-all that Barak is already pushing. Barak is described in the Israeli press as now believing Israel can withdraw from the West Bank in three to five years. By that time it can “develop and deploy an effective anti-missile system . . . capable of intercepting anything from Iran’s long-range Shihab-3 missile to the short-range, relatively primitive Palestinian Qassams.” For one thing, Barak has not explained why, seven years ago at Camp David, he offered Yasser Arafat an almost total withdrawal from the West Bank without a missile-defense system. Surely missiles already existed then and Barak, a former chief of staff and much-decorated soldier, must have known about them. Already almost two decades earlier, constant missile attacks on northern Israel by Arafat’s PLO had forced Israel to invade Lebanon to uproot the danger. But even more disturbing is Barak’s apparent willingness to adopt missile defense as a failsafe solution that would enable Israel to retreat to borders that are indefensible against land attack. Although missile defense can certainly contribute to security, nothing short of suicidal insanity would lead a tiny pariah state to bet everything on a technology susceptible, like any human technology, to error, failure, and imperfection. Faced with a salvo of missiles bearing nonconventional warheads, a single noninterception would suffice to spell catastrophe for Israel. And Barak, seemingly, should also know that conventional ground warfare is not something that has by any means disappeared from the world. He could, for example, cast his gaze a bit eastward toward Iraq and see intense ground combat being waged among armies, militias, and terrorists with little role for missile attacks. He could know—but, alas, he seemingly does not—that apart from missiles, an Israel shrunk back to its ludicrously vulnerable 1967 borders would again (as in 1948 and 1967) be invitingly open to ground assaults from the east against which missile-defense systems would offer no help at all. It also is not difficult to reason that the situation to Israel’s east is increasingly unstable and unpredictable. But since the Oslo era ushered in by Barak’s Labor Party in 1992, Israel has kept projecting this sort of weakness, gullibility, and hunger for quick fixes, and it keeps paying a price in badly damaged deterrence that is threatening to become prohibitive. Along with ongoing, untrammeled force buildups by the Hamas terror organization in Gaza and the Hezbollah terror organization in Lebanon, reports continue of an ominous, Iranian- and Russian-backed buildup by the state of Syria. Ron Ben Yishai, one of the military analysts for Israel’s largest daily Yediot Aharonot, notes that Syria is: * Completing the deployment of a large rocket arsenal on the Syrian part of the Golan Heights, aimed at Israel. These are not relatively modest Katyushas but “rockets that can carry hundreds of kilograms of explosives—up to 500—and reach Tel Aviv.” * “Quickly equipping itself with hundreds of advanced anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets made by Russia and funded by Iran with the aim of thwarting an [Israeli] ground or air assault.” Another article by another Yediot military analyst, Alex Fishman, describes Syria’s Russian-supplied anti-aircraft arrays as the densest and most sophisticated in the world. * “Accelerating the training sessions of all its formations, both regular and reserve,” which Syria already views as “fit for confrontation.” Ben Yishai also notes that according to the official Israeli intelligence assessment, Syria is not taking these measures to attack Israel but to protect itself from a feared Israeli attack. This, of course, stretches credibility; it does not seem that Syria could read the map of peace-famished Israel so badly as to think its current docile leadership of Barak, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni, and recently appointed president Shimon Peres would actually be itching to start a war. And Ben Yishai points out that despite the official assessment, “there is no certainty within Israel’s intelligence community that Syria is not planning to initiate a military confrontation with Israel. Quite a few researchers in the IDF intelligence branch and Mossad suspect that Syria is waiting for a convenient point in time—which is not necessarily in the distant future.” It makes much more sense that, rather than hallucinating a belligerent mood in today’s Israel, the Syrians with their Iranian and Russian allies are encouraged in their own belligerence by such spectacles as Israel’s ongoing nonresponse to Hamas rocket attacks, problematic military performance in Lebanon last summer, and yen to divest itself of further crucial territory in a headlong rush to a delusory “peace” supposedly guaranteed by the latest hi-tech panacea. That is why there is a need for friends of Israel, who do not live with the daily Israeli pressures and have more objectivity, to try and impress upon its leaders—while there is still time—that continuing the path of appeasement and retreat is not wise and has become unacceptably dangerous. For such realistic, helpful friends, do not look to the Bush administration, which with its Abbas-, Fatah-, and peace-obsession only abets the worst Israeli tendencies, not seeming to realize that this only achieves the destabilization of the region and the ruining of Israel’s value as an ally. But they exist to a significant extent in Congress, the commentariat, the Evangelical community, and the Jewish community, and they need to understand that Barak, Olmert, Livni, and Peres are weak-kneed, shallow, susceptible people who represent the most worn-out strain of the Israeli population. But it is on these leaders that Israel’s ability, in the near future, to deter or defeat aggression depends.