Hezbollah’s efforts to improve the accuracy of its missile arsenal will end the immunity from Israeli attack it had won in 2006
Some wars are for everything, for the whole enchilada. These wars are often won by those who realize that fact and lost by those who fail to grasp it. When both sides grasp it equally, well, then the war becomes one of the total variety.
In its naval war against France and Spain for the control of the Atlantic and against Holland (and to some degree Spain) for the control of the Pacific, England knew that its struggle was existential. Had it failed to obtain a complete victory, it would forever remain a small and insignificant island, devoid of natural resources and hence dependent on the mercy of others for everything from corn to iron ore and timber. England’s adversaries, having readily available overland supply routes, saw the war for naval dominance as a matter of nice to have; Britain had to rule the waves or be forever relegated to the dustbin of history.
The failure of the Spanish Armada in Elizabethan times had more to do with weather than the derring-do of Sir Francis Drake. The next armada could very well succeed and expose Britain to an invasion the likes of which it had not seen since the times of the Vikings and the Normans. So Britain invested heavily, all it had, really, in the creation of the world’s largest and finest blue-water navy. Naval service was by far the most rewarding, new designs for ships and canon the most readily accepted. England put its best people on the high seas and in a series of battles like Trafalgar obtained and secured complete dominance in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, a dominance that is the only reason English is spoken today from North America to New Zealand.
Had the English not been well on the way to achieving their victory in the battle over the Atlantic by the time of the American Revolution, Quebec would have now encompassed Michigan, Missouri, and Louisiana and Florida would have been a Spanish-speaking country. The inability of the French and the Spanish to transport troops across the Atlantic and return home with the spoils of he new world without harassment by the British sealed the fate of these European powers and made the world into that which we live in today.
Allahu Akbar, the faith affirmation of the Muslims, the one they have been using as a battle cry ever since Islam came about in the seventh century AD, simply means “Allah is greater” in Arabic. Not great, greater. The question then becomes: “greater than whom or than what?” The implicit answer is: “greater than your god, whoever he may be.” Greater than Jesus, greater than Krishna, greater than Yahweh, greater than… And because Allah is greater than the god under whose banner you are fighting, you will lose and we will win. You will be assimilated into the Ummah, the Muslim collective. Resistance is futile because Allahu Akbar.
The problem with fighting under a banner that says that your god is greater, especially for armies and warriors whose very sense of tribal belonging and political organization stems from that banner’s message is that it makes every war into a total war. Defeats, even tactical ones, disprove the premise that Allah is greater and, in a very literal fashion, blow to smithereens the very foundation of Islam. Every call to prayer by every muezzin in every mosque around the globe starts with the cry Allahu Akbar, but how can Allah be greater when Islam has been losing on the battlefields of ideas, of technological progress, and most importantly on the very literal battlefields of every continent but Antarctica ever since the reconquest of Spain from the Moores by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492 and the defeat of Suleiman the Magnificent’s armies under the walls of Vienna only 37 years later.
The collective nervous breakdown that we have been witnessing across the lands of Islam since their attempts at modernization and secularization in the post-colonial period of the 20th century have drowned in rivers of Muslim blood shed by other Muslims and their petrodollar riches were stolen by their kleptomaniac rulers derives from a crisis of faith of hitherto unknown proportions. Ever since the middle of the 16th century, for 500 years, history is proof positive that ALLAH IS NOT GREATER. The culmination of this proof, the Quod Erat Demonstrandum, the Q.E.D. that we put at the end of every mathematical proof quite literally saying: “what was to be shown”, in other words, “proof is complete” is the existence of the State of Israel.
The creation of Israel and its victories over the combined armies of Islam prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Allah is not superior. In fact, he is quite inferior. Far from being “greater”, he is smaller, weaker, less significant, and more impotent than any other god, but more specifically than the God of the Jews.
The cognitive dissonance that is created when over a billion people indoctrinated in the idea that their god is greater and therefore he and by extension they will always be victorious meet modern-day reality cannot be overstated. This reality, after all, shows that the lands of Islam are by far the least developed, the most corrupt, and the least militarily powerful of any on our planet. Islamic terror, Islamo-fascism, the Iranian theocracy, Arab and Muslim hostility towards Israel, all are manifestations of a freak-out caused by this massive cognitive dissonance.
One way to deal with this dissonance is to begin the hard work of redefining Allahu Akbar from a battle cry to a religious affirmation, from a promise of victory temporal to a promise of victory spiritual. The other is a re-commitment to the destruction of the West, starting with its outpost in the Middle East: Israel.
It now appears that the former course of action is being adopted by the Sunna led by the Arab monarchies in the Gulf, while the latter is the course of action adopted by the Shia and its headquarters in Tehran. The Sunni Turks, with their recent hostility towards Israel and openness to an alliance with Allawite (Shia branch) led Syria and Iran should not be confused with Iranian policies of theological warfare. Erdogan is playing the geopolitical games of the erstwhile Ottoman rulers. Like them, he is using Islam cautiously, only as a means to an end, not as the end in and of itself. Erdogan does not want to destroy Israel, he simply wants it to punch in its own weight category and to that end he is willing to form ad hoc alliances across the Sunni-Shia divide.
Iran is different. For the Mullahs, the failure to demonstrate that Allah is indeed greater is death. Death to their regime and because of the atrocities that they have perpetrated against their own people, death to themselves as individuals.
In Israel, the most important trend of the last two decades is also the least reported and the least understood. Everyone knows how the deregulation and the lowering of the tax burden in the early 1990’s combined with the influx of well-educated ex-Soviet Jewry to make Israel into the “startup nation”, the wunderkind of the technology era. What nobody knows, not the least because this is a development that the official Israel is not keen to advertise and because in the West the subject of religion is met with derision, ridicule, and unfathomable ignorance, is that Israel has been becoming more and more religious over the same time period that it was leading the world in technological innovation.
Furthermore, Israeli technological prowess is not the exclusive bailiwick of secular Israelis. Far from it. Many religious and even ultra-religious Israeli Jews work in high-tech and punch above their weight in the creation of some of the world’s most advanced weaponry, medical devices, surgical techniques, life-saving drugs, and advanced agriculture.
The secular-religious divide in the Israeli society is what this coming election is all about, as we, alone among all English language sources, have been reporting in depth. But beyond the internal ramifications of Israel’s increased religiosity, there are external ones. The battle royal between Iran and Israel, a battle that is taking place in Iraq, in Syria, and now in Lebanon, is taking the shape of a religious war. At stake is everything. For Iran, the mere existence of a prosperous Israel, an Israel that is not just a collection of random people, but home for Jews and even more importantly their God, is an utter and permanent defeat. Just like England could not coexist with France and Spain possessed of blue water navies, so Iran, as an Islamic Republic, cannot coexist with a Jewish Israel.
The only possible definition of victory for Tehran, the only possible outcome of this war, is the annihilation of Israel as a Jewish state, which of course makes this into a war for survival as far as Israel is concerned. In a very pragmatic, completely practical sense, without a shred of hyperbole, the world cannot contain both an Islamic Iran and a Jewish Israel.
The recent panicky appearance by Hezbollah leader Nasrallah in the aftermath of two small gliders loaded with explosives being flown by someone at this headquarters, makes this point as well as anything or anyone could. Hezbollah has been busy recently with a project to vastly improve the accuracy of its enormous rocketry arsenal. It is their belief and the belief of their Iranian overlords, that massed ACCURATE rocket fire directed at strategic installations or at population centers in Israel would overwhelm Israeli anti-missile defenses and give them a strategic edge. Israel seems to concur, which is why it has been relentless in attacking the installations in which this project was taking place in Syria and in Iraq.
In response, these installations were moved to Lebanon, where in the aftermath of the unsuccessful (from Israel’s perspective) 2006 Second Lebanon War, Israel has been reluctant to act. Israel has not taken responsibility for the two booby trapped gliders, one of which did indeed explode demolishing a Hezbollah communications center, leaving the Hezbollah with the option to abstain from retaliation without losing face, an option it now seems to have declined.
The gliders, each armed with ten pounds of high explosives do not in and of themselves pose a danger to Hezbollah’s improved accuracy project. They do, however, carry a clear message: should Hezbollah persist with its activities, its immunity from Israeli strikes, an immunity hard won in 2006 will be a thing of the past. Israel will hit and it will know exactly where to hit to make it hurt.
Both Israel and Iran know that their upcoming war will start with a preemptive Israeli strike, similar to the preemptive strike it landed against Egypt in the 1967 Six Day War. The only question is will Iran and its proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Gaza be able to withstand that first strike and counterattack, drawing Israel into a prolonged and bloody conflict, a conflict in which it will take unacceptable civilian casualties and, having exhausted its bank of high value military targets, have to resort to indiscriminate bombing of civilians, resulting in a public relations fiasco.
So far, there are two major warning lights as far as the Mullahs are concerned: Israel, through its thwarting of the glider attacks against it last week first on the Golan Heights and subsequently deep in Iraq, has shown that its intelligence capabilities are formidable indeed. Second, the Trump administration is likely to give Israel an unprecedented leeway to finish the job, with an eye to inflicting a mortal wound on the Iranian theocracy.
In most cases, these warning lights would suffice to provide sufficient deterrence to all rational players, but, alas, the Mullahs are not among them. As Israel is getting more populous, as it is getting more prosperous, more powerful, and, perhaps surprisingly, more Jewish in the religious sense of the word, it is proving every day Allah’s utter impotence to stop it. This is not an outcome that Iran can live with no matter what and its time is running out in any case due to President Trump’s brutal economic sanctions.
There will be some head-fakes from Iran’s side using its European flunkies the like of Emanuel Macron, there will be talk about Trump – Rouhani summits and other similar attempts at propaganda, but the end game is not likely to change: we will soon find out who, indeed, is greater.
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