Mr. Arafat: Better check six
In his 1948 classic, The Other Side of the Hill, Captain Sir Basil Liddell-Hart expounded the need for military strategists to try to place themselves in the shoes of their opponents, to try to think the way the other side is thinking. Letís do some of that with regard to the Middle East and the war against terrorism:
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat need not worry that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is going to kill him on purpose. More likely to kill Mr. Arafat are his own colleagues.
Hereís why: As a leader, Arafat no longer has value or credibility in either the Arab or the non-Arab world. A leader who cannot control his own people and stop the suicide bombings is no leader. A leader who says he is trying to stop the violence while actively supporting it has no credibility.
Israeli Prime Minister Sharon knows that Arafat actively supports the various terrorist groups that have sent wave after wave of suicide bombers to kill innocent Jewish women and children because Israeli intelligence has tapped Arafatís telephone, fax machines and his emails. Only the exact place and timing of the attacks have eluded the Mossad thus far. By blaming the death of Arafat on the IDF, Arafat becomes a martyr, further inflaming those who seek the destruction of the State of Israel. As our fighter pilots would say: ďMr. Arafat, you better check your six oíclock position.Ē
But let us assume that Mr. Arafat is merely a puppet whose strings are pulled by an overarching consortium of Arab nations who havenít had a lot of success against the IDF so far. They tried to destroy Israel by Wars of Annihilation with their failed of invasions of 1948, 1967 and 1973.
Then, when it appeared that the static and even declining population of Israel would be swamped by the burgeoning Arab birthrate, they launched a War of Attrition now called the First Intifadeh, characterized by young boys throwing stones at the IDF and police. That was designed to discourage further immigration of Jews into Israel. But, with the end of the Cold War, when the Jews of the Soviet Union and its satellites were freed to immigrate to Israel, they poured into Israel by the thousands, and thus, the War of Attrition failed as well.
So, enter Osama bin Laden who argued that Israel cannot be destroyed as long as Israel has the support of the United States. Moreover, bin Laden claimed the ability to hurt the United States so badly that the U.S. would carry out at least one of three scenarios and, hopefully, all three:
The U.S. would turn inward to lick its wounds and secure its own shores and have no time for Israel. Or, America would secure its own shores and then deplete its military resources in a worldwide manhunt to bring bin Ladenís terrorists to justice and have no time for Israel. Or, the U.S. would attack one or more of the oil-producing Arab states that sponsor terrorism and, thereby, provoke another OPEC oil embargo leading to a worldwide oil famine and have no time for Israel.
But neither Iraq nor Iran are really keen about the last part of the bin Laden Plan. Cruise missiles and air strikes do a lot of damage to vital infrastructure. Moreover, the Arab states like to keep that oil income rolling in. So, thatís the reason for the Second Intifadeh. Given the current turmoil and bloodshed in Israel, the Bush Administration cannot move against either Iraq or Iran right now.
So, what is Arafat thinking as the IDF roams his compound and arrests dozens of terrorists that Arafat claimed he arrested along ago? According to Mossad intercepts, Arafat is scared to death and is revealing a shocking lack of belief in a life after death that will land him in Paradise with Allah and in bed with seven virgins.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and commentator for USA Today, is co-author of The Grand Conspiracy by William Penn Ė a novel about a terrorist attack in the Colorado high country.>
©2002. William Hamilton.