Everyone’s got their theories on exactly what is happening around Israel right now, many of them pointing the finger at Iran. While I don’t find this at all difficult to believe, there’s something else that should be considered:
Maybe this isn’t Iran’s Machiavellian scheme, but ours.
Prior to 9/11, we had all sorts of road maps and such to resolve the Israel/Arab conflicts peacefully. They, um, didn’t work.
Since 9/11, we’ve been busy with our own fights in the Long Global War On Terror (which I call World War 4) and we’ve not really wanted Israel to make things more difficult than they already are by stirring up the hornet nest needlessly. Publicly we’ve called for negotiation and peaceful resolution, and I don’t doubt that there’s been a fair amount of behind-the-scenes cautioning against Israel to do anything to make our work in Afghanistan and especially Iraq any harder. What if what we said was something like this:
“Keep your cool for the time being. When we’ve got a handle on Iraq, you can have your turn to clean up your block. And by then we’ll have our army and a new democratic Iraqi army between the mullahs and Syria.”
While the situation in Iraq is still a tough one, akin to a “critical but stable” patient in the ICU, with the new government in power and the new army growing in capability by leaps and bounds (and probably cleared of most of the worst trouble-makers), things are not threatening to fall apart suddenly any more.
Maybe the situation has passed some preset milestone and Israel is free to let loose the dogs, with our assurances that we’ve got their back. Maybe we’ve agreed that Israel has the responsibility to clean up their neighborhood and now is the time to do it. Without overt interference from Iran. MSNBC News thinks the Bush administration is to at least partly to blame for the war because they haven’t paid close enough attention to Israel lately:
Today, U.S. diplomat David Welch arrived in Israel, but critics say too late — 17 days after the first Israeli soldier was captured.
And Rice has not been to Israel or the Palestinian territories since last November.
“I think it’s really inexplicable,” says James Steinberg, dean of the LBJ School of Public Policy at the University of Texas. “There’s been some sense that if they get involved and fail, that somehow it will lessen American credibility. But I think the opposite is true. That American credibility has been damaged by our willingness to get involved.”
But what if no meetings and summits have been required because the arrangements had been made. When given a reason, Israel could go to it with our blessing. Better today when we have 125,000 troops in Iraq than next year when we have 75,000.
President Bush has been portrayed as a guy who must be pulling his hair out with worry and frustration over this. Perhaps this is what he’s been waiting for.
Incidentally, this theory supports the idea that we didn’t pick Iraq on a whim. Location, location, location.
My second theory isn’t quite so far out there, and it has to do with the relatively lame protest against Israel’s actions put up so far by Europe. Yeah, they called for a UN condemnation and all, but they haven’t been nearly as outspoken as I would have expected.
Maybe the reason is that they see a way to address the threat Iran poses to the Continent. There’s no way that Europe will step up and actually DO something about the Mullahs and their apparent quest for nuclear weapons and the means to use them against Europe, so maybe Europe hopes that Israel will take care of the problem for them. Like when they destroyed Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981.
Don’t get too uppity about Israel’s pro-activeness and maybe they’ll decide they have to bomb Iran. Or (even better) get their American allies to do it for them.
Then, after the threat is reduced and Europe has a little breathing room, they can get back to condemning with their hearts in it and rail on and on about the Israel’s propensity for violence blah blah blah.
It’s win, win as far as Europe is concerned. They don’t have to lift a finger to bomb Iran, which won’t irritate all the Muslims on their soil. And they get to blame the Jews when it’s all done, which will flatter all the Muslims on their soil.
Just a thought.
PLUS: Op-For has a good round-up of news and opinions.
Big list at Pajamas Media.
California Yankee doesn’t think three veteran UN officials are going to be able to solve the problem. Murdoc agrees.
Robert Kagan has a theory that maybe Bush isn’t pulling out his hair, either.
Glen Reynolds has some thoughts.
Donald Sensing: Israel loses the initiative to Hezbollah as well as Hamas.
Expat Yank: “Israel has chosen to raise the stakes substantially“.
ACE: Who supplies Hezbollah’s rockets?. (Hint: You won’t be terribly shocked…)
Gateway Pundit: Israel Warns Beirut to Evacuate!
Allahpundit on Hot Air: Report: Israel says Haifa attack was staged … by Iran
Jay Tea rejects the “Don’t rock the boat” plea.
James Rummel has a post up on all this at Chicago Boyz.
Crisis allows Israel to pursue strategic goals
Analysis: Kidnappings give Israel excuse to neutralize Hamas, Hezbollah