Strategic Strip

Redrawing regional power, Little Satan's Strip blitz is just starting

Superfly smart guy Michael Oren (Oh! He got game!) and fellow brainiac Yossi Halevi from Natan Sharansky's Think tank in Little Satan have hooked up and presented probably the best piece about Little Satan's wicked Strip blitz that has actually cut the Strip into smaller, easier to shape the battle, bite sized pieces.

Tactically, cutting off and surrounding rowdy HAMAS rocketeers and their newly enchanced home grown army in Gaza City from illicit underground supply lines in is a significant development.

Despite conflicting signals about what the heck Little Satan's actual goal is, Strategically it may help to zoom out of the Strip and take in the big pic.

"Until now, the Iranian revolution has appeared unstoppable. The
Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s ended with Iranian troops occupying Iraqi territory. Iranian influence then spread to Saudi Arabia's heavily Shiite and oil-rich Eastern province, and to Lebanon through Hezbollah. Since the fall of their long-standing enemy, Saddam Hussein, Iranians have deeply infiltrated Iraq.

Syria has been drawn into Iran's sphere, and even the Sunni sheikdoms
of the gulf now defer to Iran, dispatching foreign ministers to Tehran and defying international sanctions against it. Iran has co-opted Hamas, a Sunni organization closely linked to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, transforming the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a jihad against the Jewish state.

But Iran's boldest achievement has been to thwart world pressure and
approach the nuclear threshold. Once fortified with nuclear weapons, Iranian hegemony in the Middle East would be complete."

"All of which helps explain the public statements from moderate Arab
leaders, such as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, who have blamed the end of the tenuous Israel-Hamas cease-fire on Hamas. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit has even called on the Arab world to stop using the U.N. as a forum for blaming Israel alone for the fighting, surely a first.

Those leaders understand what many in the West have yet to grasp: The Middle East conflict is no longer just about creating a magical makebelieve NakBah free Palestinian state but about preventing the region's takeover by radical mohammedism. Indeed, Palestinian statehood is impossible without neutralizing (or annihilating ) the creepy time traveling intolerants who oppose any negotiated solution.

Essentially - if Little Satan is successful in her Strip blitz, Persian prestige will have been given a severe check.

"It would strengthen anti-Iranian forces throughout the Mideast and signal the region that Iranian momentum can be reversed. The Israeli military operation could begin the process that topples a terrorist regime that seized power in the Gaza Stripin 2007 and has fired thousands of rockets and mortar shells into Israeli neighborhoods.

And whether or not Hamas is ultimately overthrown, Israel can achieve
substantial goals. The first is an absolute cease-fire. Previous cease-fires allowed Hamas to launch two or three rockets a week into Israel and to smuggle weapons into Gaza through tunnels. To obtain a cease-fire now, the international community should recognize Israel's right to respond to any aggression over its international border and monitor the closure of Hamas' weapons-smuggling tunnels."

Above all, the goal is to ensure that HAMAS is unable to cry victory and enhance Iranian prestige in the Arab world in other words - avoid a repeat of the PR war during the Rocket War of '06 betwixt Little Satan and Hiz'B'Allah.

Though the Israeli army killed a quarter of Hezbollah's troops and destroyed its headquarters, Israel was widely perceived as the loser. The winner was Iran.

The PR war is a big part of this and it is spilling over to the web. Little Satan and HAMAS' sites are being attacked and knocked off line for short periods of time - Ynet and Gloir's "Worst Case Scenerio Site" (debkafile) as well as HAMAS' Voice of Palestine and the Strip's homegrown militia the infamous Izze Deen al K'Ssam's site have all been hit.

"Hamas is attempting to portray the Israeli invasion as a war against
the Palestinian people. Television viewers are being presented with
heartbreaking images of dead and injured children and supposedly indiscriminate devastation. Palestinian doctors claim that Israel has blocked the supply of vital medicines, and humanitarian organizations warn of imminent starvation. In fact, many of those claims are exaggerated."

Yes, yes. Innocent civilians have, tragically, been injured and killed, hold up though - about three-quarters (75% for statistically challenged) of the 400 Palestinians killed (so far) have been armed enemies of a democratic member of the UN.

Pretty dang impressive and a testament to the fact that democracies value life and those values xfer to their militaries with intelligent weaponry, night vision gear and battlefield meds.

Especially impressive since HAMAS routinely fires off missiles and mortors from innocent civilian rich environs like apartments, mosques and schools, uses hospitals as hide-outs and enjoys innocent, intelligent human shielding.

"It is in Israel's urgent interest to minimize civilian suffering and
forestall international criticism. For that same reason, Hamas welcomes the suffering of Palestinian civilians. According to a BBC report on Dec. 30, dozens of ambulances were dispatched by Egypt to its border with Gaza, only to remain empty because, according to Egyptian authorities, Hamas wasn't allowing wounded Palestinians to leave."

"The international community must not be duped again. If Hamas is
successful in manipulating world opinion into the imposition of a premature cease-fire, it will proclaim victory and continue to stockpile long-range missiles for the next round of fighting. "

That would mean another triumph for Iran.

If, ideally, Great Satan is to engage and confront Iran on some sunny day with diplomacy, that trek would prob best be served in the sweet sexyful afterglow of the total defeat and marginalization of Iranian minions and their fully crunk missile base in the Strip.

"If Israel is allowed to achieve its goals in Gaza, the Obama administration will be better poised to achieve its goals in Iran. "

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