The War in the Middle East

It has been 50 years since the last general war in the Middle East, the Yom Kippur War, which had been preceded by serious conflicts between Israel (backed by the US) and the Palestinians, Egyptians, and Russians.  Since 1973 there has been a series of serious conflicts, but usually restricted to Israel and the Palestinians.   Hamas' sneak attack has changed all that.

I am not going to discuss the broader conflict in this short piece, but I'll be taking it up in a podcast this week.  In general, though, it is obvious that Israeli nationalists and Palestinian extremists long ago entered into what looks like a suicide pact.  One side commits atrocities against the other, and this provokes a counter-attack, and the net result is always the same:  Lots of dead civilians but--and this is, after all the point--the strength of the Israeli nationalists AND of the Palestinian fanatics is strengthened.

Hamas's surprise attack was an embarrassment to Israeli's vaunted security forces, but surely even terrorist fanatics know what to expect: a massive counter-attack that will take ten Arab lives at least for every dead Israeli.  They why do it?  If my guess is right, Hamas is playing the same game as French and Italian Communists in WW II, who would deliberately kill German soldiers--often while they were eating or bathing--and then watch as the Germans killed in retribution one out of ten of the local men.  The result, of course, was stiffening of hostility to the Germans and lots of new recruits for the Communists.

For Hamas, the goal surely must be a general war in the Middle East.  Israeli attacks on Gaza, for example, are strongly resented by Egypt, and Hamas has been generously supported by Iran.  This is the perfect moment for such a ploy, since a corrupt and feeble-minded US President, assisted by an entirely incompetent cabinet and senior military staff, has bogged the US down in a futile war against Russia.

I don't know if Hamas will succeed in the aims I have attributed to them.  The ball--or rather the landmine--is in our court.

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

6 Responses

  1. Roger McGrath says:

    Other than what Tom has suggested here, what could possibly be Hamas strategy. Hamas knows the incursion will be followed by Israeli planes and tanks with lethality exponentially greater than what Hamas can muster. Watching footage of Hamas fighters doing their best to do their worst, reminds me of American blacks rioting. One would expect the fighters to be cold, deadly, and silent–and absolutely focused on executing their mission. Instead the Hamas fighters after some easy kills against soft targets turn to a celebratory demonstration. They dance about, cheer themselves, and fire their guns into the air.

  2. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Yes, Roger, the fighters themselves seem like depraved children who have raped and murdered their teacher and, instead of running for cover, they are having a pot party in the classroom.

  3. Frederick Regan says:

    That Hamas hopes to incite a wider war is most likely correct. But I suspect it also wants to incite an Israeli land invasion of 100,000 or more troops who will be forced to fight street by street, door by door in a densely urban environment in which there are few if any clear- cut military targets and where the Israelis will face not only well-entrenched Hamas fighters but, increasingly, civilian guerrillas who together will attempt to create a Somalia- or Iraq-style

  4. Frederick Regan says:

    Continuing…Somalia- or Iraq-style war scape for which the Israelis are poorly trained. This not only ensures very high numbers of Israeli casualties (something that the Israeli public may no longer have the stomach for) but all but guarantees civilian atrocities which the global media, if not the Western media (though I would not be so sure) will promote feverishly and without respite.

    Also Keep in mind that Hamas has been constructing tunnels and underground weapons caches all across Gaza for decades. Israeli invaders will not find their adversaries waiting in nice neat clusters but hiding in residences, atop buildings and under their very feet in an urban environment of near-featureless monotony and density. It is quite possible that they wil have no more success than the US had in Iraq or Mogadishu.

  5. Michael Strenk says:

    The day before this started I viewed a compilation that someone had put up of Jews in Israel spitting at nuns, spitting at Christian pilgrims, encouraging their children to strike and throw things at a pair of young Christian women on the street, etc. I have no dog in this fight. I pray for the protection of the Christian Arabs and others caught in the middle. I am very sorry to see the murder and mutilation of those beautiful young people dancing in the desert and the young Israeli military people killed and maimed and captured, but I suspect that they were intentionally sacrificed by their government, who must have had an inkling of what was coming, in order to galvanize support for a failing and hopelessly corrupt regime.

    What are the chances that many, if not most, of the estimated 70% of weapons that have been sent to Ukraine and gone “missing” have wound up in the hands of both Israel (Ukraine is effectively ruled by Israeli duel citizens) and its enemies? Is it true that Mossad created Hamas to use against the PLO the way the U.S. created the Mujeheddin to fight against the Soviets? The U.S. has apparently continued to use and have some influence with their creation, Al Qaeda, in Chechnya, Syria and elsewhere. Why couldn’t the Israeli elites be creating a nice little (or big) war to hide their crimes and reconfirm/reclaim victim status for Jews? Are we to believe that those who rule the Jewish state have any more regard for their people than other Western elites have proven to not have?

  6. Michael Strenk says:

    Many of the desert dancers were not, in fact, Jews and those who were belonged to some sort of “peace party” so why should Israel care? They were the perfect sacrifice to get what they wanted. What matters is the images now implanted in the nearly comatose minds of the Western populace. They are already screaming, “Anything for Israel!” Pass the chips while they last.