My apologies to loyal JWN readers that I haven’t posted much recently… Indeed, for most of the past three or four months I have been seriously AWOL as a blogger. It happens. I got really busy with Just World Books– and also, over both Thanksgiving and Christmas, with family things. (I’m writing this from San Francisco airport at the end of a fabulous family get-together in the Bay Area and Northern California. Fun to share Christmas festivities with so many Jewish in-laws… )
Anyway, talking of great blogging comebacks, did you see that bernhard of Moon of Alabama has taken up his keyboard again! That, after an 18-month hiatus. Hurrah!
When I’m not blogging, I miss it. This time, I even got to feeling that I almost lost my voice.
No time to lament that, however. This week is the start of the 22-day-long second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead– a.k.a. # 11 in the long, sad caravan of wars of forced regime change that Israel has launched against its neighbors since 1948. I used to describe Cast Lead as #5 in Israel’s wars of forced regime change… Then I realized I should also count a bunch of Israel’s earlier wars, nearly all of which had amongst their key geostrategic goals a forced change in the political regime of one or more neighboring countries.
So here’s my list:
- #1: Israel’s instigation and participation in the Tripartite (Israeli-British-French) assault against Egypt and Gaza in 1956, which had the goal of overthrowing Nasser. It failed in that goal.
#2: The “Six-Day” war of 1967, which had the goals of seizing the West Bank from Jordan and hopefully also overthrowing the regimes in either Egypt or Syria. The first goal was achieved, the other two not.
#3: Israel’s involvement in backing Jordan’s King Hussein in his anti-PLO assault of September 1970, which brought into place a very different kind of regime in Jordan– though still one headed, as before, by Hussein.
#4: The military aid Israel gave to the campaign that the Lebanese Falangists and their Chamounist allies mounted against the PLO in Lebanon in 1976. This one was, essentially a standoff.
#5: The direct Israeli military assault against Lebanon in 1978. This one aimed at putting pressure on the Lebanese to expel the PLO. It failed at that– but Israel did establish the Insecurity Zone deep inside south Lebanon in which it was to remain for a further 22 years.
#6: The even bigger Israeli military assault against Lebanon in 1982. This one aimed both at direct elimination of the PLO’s self-defense capabilities in Lebanon and at pressuring the Lebanese to expel what remained of the PLO. It also aimed at installing a dependent, pro-Israeli government in Beirut. It achieved the first two of those goals but its attainment of the third of them was much more fragile and short-lived– lasting only until Pres. Amin Gemayyel made his peace with Syria in February 1984. Meanwhile, of course, Israel’s occupation presence in a huge chunk of south Lebanon fomented the birth of Hizbullah….
#7: The large Israeli assault against Lebanon in 1993– this time, with the aim of pressuring the Lebanese to repudiate Hizbullah. Didn’t work.
#8: The large Israeli assault against Lebanon in 1996– once again, with the aim of pressuring the Lebanese to repudiate Hizbullah. Didn’t work.
#9: The large Israeli assault against all PA institutions in the West Bank and Gaza in 2002. This one aimed at directly destroying the PA’s ability to deliver any services to Palestinians and resulted in the dismantlement of just about all the infrastrcture the PA had built up since Oslo. It left a state of anarchy and hopelessness from which Hamas was to emerge much stronger than before…
#10: The truly massive Israeli assault against Lebanon in 2006– once again, with the aim of pressuring the Lebanese to repudiate Hizbullah. Didn’t work.
#11: The truly massive Israeli assault against Gaza in late 2008– with the aim of pressuring the Palestinians to repudiate/overthrow Hamas. Didn’t work.
… Well, I plan to write a bunch more about these wars– and the very evident trend they reveal, wherein Israel’s attainment of ever greater, more capable, and more lethal military capabilities has been matched by a decreasing ability to realize the geostrategic goals it seeks through its wars. Simultaneously, of course, we have seen Israel’s big superpower protector also launching a couple of large wars of forced regime change in the Greater Middle East over the past decade, and neither of those resulted in a geostrategic victory, either.
That’s the good news. The bad news is the continued suffering of Gaza’s people and the rest of the Palestinians both inside and outside the homeland.