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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Vicarious War

Another transmission from das Heimchen, who writes:
Note that the author lives in Washington. Though it is not clear from his name whether he is American, it is possible that the original text was in English. This would mean that you are looking at a translation of a translation and would explain the somewhat disjointed narrative.
Heimchen didn't provide a URL for the original, but I think this is it.
The following appeared in the online edition of the German DIE WELT on August 9.


A Cease-Fire Will Bring No Peace.

By Walter Laqueur

At some time there will be a cease-fire and the war between Hesbollah and Israel will come to an end. But one must not forget that this is a vicarious war. In interviews by Arabic newspapers, Iranian officers have explained how important their role was in preparations of the assault, not only as suppliers of weapons but also as trainers and advisors in almost every aspect.

Tehran was under pressure to quit enrichment of Uranium by the end of August. The distraction from their own aims by the Lebanon war was therefore most welcome.

Today hardly anyone doubts that Tehran will continue with its enrichment program. To stall for time, there will be more negotiations. But already, the Iranian government leaves no doubt as to where the preparations will lead: Iran wants to be the leading power in the Middle East. The Arabian countries will be those chiefly affected by this because Tehran does not only want to control its own oil fields but also those of it’s neighbors. Neither Egypt nor Turkey produce significant amounts of oil but they are not going to enjoy taking orders from Shiite fanatics. Most likely they will aim at obtaining their own nuclear devices.

There are no territorial– or other conflicts between Israel and Iran, besides the odium theologicum of the Iranian rulers. However, Tehran reiterates, time and again, that Israel must be rubbed out.

What this would mean, should Iran succeed in building a nuclear weapon, one can only imagine. On the other hand one has to assume that Israel also has nuclear capabilities and the means for a counter strike. In such a scenario, what would be left of Iranian Cities and oil fields? Possibly, the Iranian leadership would again be implementing a vicarious war, in hopes that this would blur the evidence of it’s own culpability. But the Israelis would hardly be fooled by such a maneuver.

How would a man react who is threatened with death by a neighbor? If he could, he might move or he would weigh the possibility that his neighbor is nothing but a posturing bigmouth. But when the evidence mounts that the danger is getting closer and more serious, he may decide on preemptory action. He might conclude that he owes such action to his family, especially if, already, a large part of his family has recently been killed. His defense might start in the form of negotiations involving third persons or with counter threats but if this doesn’t help he will resort to force. Of course, the latter might be a dangerous step because a historical world court might decide that there was no certainty that the danger was clear and present enough to warrant emergency measures. But, in any case, the survival of the threatened party would, for the time being, be secured.

These thoughts are no more than horror scenarios. But they are by no means absurd. They illustrate that, even after a cease fire, the clouds of conflict will not disappear from the Middle Eastern sky.

The author is known as the father of terrorism research. He resides in Washington, DC.
The ceasefire will be a hopeless failure. Mainly because Hizballah can't keep themselves from lobbing missles and digging tunnels, and the hapless UN peace-delayers sure won't stop them.


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