THE FUSE TO A HOLY WAR
By Emanuel A. Winston
Middle East Analyst & Commentator
Yassir Arafat, in linkage with numerous Islamic interests, wishes to act as the trigger to the main charge of the Islamic fundamentalists' "Jihad" (Holy War). The main explosive charge are the Muslims, particularly those who act as Islamic radicals. Arafat desperately needs the cooperation of Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to respond to his ramping up of terror attacks. While the exact sequence of events cannot be specifically predictable, it would go something like this:
Stage 1: Massive atrocity against Israelis by Arafat's Arabs. (Israeli public demands major response.)
Stage 2: Sharon can no longer restrain response and hits many PA/PLO targets, possibly including Hezb'Allah in Lebanon.
Stage 3: Arab nations call an alert.
*Egypt pulls its troops to the Suez Canal.
*Syria brings its forces to edge of the Golan and the Lebanese border with Israel.
*Iraq brings its troops, tanks, missiles to the Jordanian border, with cooperation from Syria.
*Iran - an unpredictable element - except for a pre-preparation to fire long-range missiles.
Stage 4: Israel calls for full alert.
*Israeli troops move to three borders, namely, North to Lebanon; East to Jordan and South to face Egypt near Gaza.
Stage 5: Arafat gives another of his infamous "Green Lights"
*For various terror groups to conduct suicide bombings, blow road intersections, try to impede mobilization of IDF.
*Signal local Israeli Arabs to cause havoc and panic within Israeli population centers. Here again, main arteries are to be cut by explosives, wherever possible.
*Signal local population of Arabs in the Palestinian Authority to attack and overrun settlements, take hostages. The Settlements remain under-armed, under-supplied with ammunition, anti-tank missiles, mortars, etc.)
*Most of Israel's regular soldier mobilized and at the border/ Settlers must go it alone!
Arafat and the Arab nations will do everything possible to bring the Europeans into the conflict at all levels. This would include denying landing rights to U.S. aircraft with re-supply to Israel. Possibly, sending armed forces as forceful "peace-keepers" as was done in Kosovo. The E.U. (European Union) may already be prepared to do this. (This could be considered a forth front, facing the Mediterranean.)
Arabists in the State Department will work diligently to restrict the sending to Israel of munitions, spare parts, materials already on order and even paid for prior to the outbreak of this next real war. After it begins, they, no doubt, will re-double their efforts to stall re-supply. They will lobby the President and Congress, using diplomatic double talk - calling it a "review" while they stall the shipments. President Bush will rely upon his father's old cronies, Eg., James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, John Sununu and other State Department Arabists who will recommend stalling. (Sharon is coming to Washington to confer with President Bush, requesting fulfillment of past promises of material assistance. The response will be an early indicator of Bush support.
Egypt, Syria, Iraq may move forward in a coordinated attack if they see that the Israeli military is fumbling their efforts in bringing troops to the front. Recall that former Prime Minister, General Ehud Barak and past Leftist Prime Ministers had infused the military at the officers' level with Leftist officers who were "politically correct" and were generally pacifists. Regrettably, Sharon has not bothered to clean out the officer's corps which had been weakened by the Labor Party who were using the Army as an incubator for future Labor politicians. (Ehud Barak was merely one example of the sleeper' soldier, being prepared for political office.)
If I were Ariel Sharon, I would assign trustworthy fighters to each of the key officers to act as liaison. Should the commanding officer start to show signs of adopting a pacifistic stance in the field - detrimental to winning wars and, according to Labor policies of appeasement and retreat - that commanding officer would be immediately recalled to a desk job.
Arik Sharon, has adopted a policy of restraint in the face of Jews being murdered daily all over Israel but, particularly in the territories. Sharon has some good reasons to do so and some unsupportable reasons linked to political pressures. Arafat's program is designed to force Sharon to respond to protect the people. Soon he will have no choice even if it means being baited into a regional war with the surrounding nations. (Some problems have no good solutions.)
Once again, if I were Sharon, I would let Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Bashar Assad of Syria, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, President Khatami of Iran and King Hussein of Jordan know that if Israel is attacked as planned, each of their capital cities will be simply vaporized - regardless of world opinion. That would, of course, include their military and industrial strongholds.
Part of Arafat's program would be to enlist the liberal world Media to show Israeli soldiers or police attempting to deal with what will be nothing less than a full scale uprising by the loyal' Arab population, inside of Israel - otherwise known as a subversive fifth column'. This would be designed to enrage the people of other nations against Israel particularly when the footage is manipulated by CNN-BBC-NBC-NPR-NYT, among others.
"THE AMERICAN MEDIA PLAN"
This would be the time for Israel to employ the American policy for the Media as was done for the Gulf War and Grenada. For their own protection and to keep Israeli military positions and strategy from premature exposure, I would use the American plan. That is, I would establish a Central Briefing location where journalists and TV film crews would be provided with reports on the action and film footage for transmission back to their main stations.
Any journalists and/or film crews who were found in dangerous areas would be escorted back to Central Briefing. A Hotel, like the Commodore in Beirut, Lebanon would provide rooms, food, bars and meeting rooms. Any journalist who refused to accept the rules pertinent to combat safety would be politely put on a plane back to their own country. Israeli journalists and film crews would be politely bedded down in the Hotel of Central Briefing. The "American Media Plan" provided a great deal of safety for both journalists and soldiers.
The ultimate goal of Yassir Arafat is to cast his conflict as an Islamic Holy War, in Arabic a "Jihad".
The ultimate goal of Israel would be to quickly subdue Arafat's well-armed army of insurgents - some 85,000 Para-Military with many illegal heavy weapons, stockpiled in deep bunkers after having been smuggled in from Egypt and by sea. Israel would use the maximum force possible. Here, too, this was General Colin L. Powell's plan to minimize casualties on both sides. Extended wars, according to Powell, generated more casualties for soldiers (both sides) and civilians (both sides).
Therefore, his military philosophy was to employ overwhelming force in the shortest possible time frame. Recall at the time of Saddam Hussein's takeover of Kuwait, then General Colin Powell urged tighter sanctions against Saddam and no military rescue. When forced to go to war by popular demand of the nation - which in turn forced Bush/Baker to reluctantly give the order to prepare for war, Powell only then began to assemble a force.
It was lucky for America that they had Israel's intelligence and air umbrellas to protect them while they took six months to mobilize. This was denied by then President Bush (Sr.) who fired a top general for giving an interview where he gave credit to Israel for her invaluable assistance.
Powell managed to extend Kuwait's captivity by six months while mobilizing for war at a snail's pace. Saddam could have easily taken over the Saudi oil fields in weeks. Of course, they only had the "Green Light" to attack Kuwait by then Secretary of State James Baker who fervently denied giving this "Green Light" to Saddam through his American Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie. Saddam needed Kuwait's ready cash and the gold in her banks to continue the Iraqi war against Iran and his supporters thought this was the fastest way to keep him funded.
In any case, the choreographed war was fought; the U.S. and allies won a fake victory on CNN. But, Saddam's elite army, the Republican Guard was preserved - as was the rule of Saddam Hussein - courtesy of President George Bush (Sr.) and Secretary of State James Baker.
For Israel the lesson was: Know your enemy!! Suspect your friends! And Fight like Hell to win if you want the Jewish State to survive!!!
Emanuel A. Winston is a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.