Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Dr.Daniel Pipes: " Israel's Unnecessary War"
Dr.Daniel Pipes: " Israel's Unnecessary War"
July 18, 2006
Israel's Unnecessary War
by Daniel Pipes
The blame for the current fighting falls entirely on Israel's enemies, who deploy inhuman methods in the service of barbaric goals. While I wish the armed forces of Israel every success against the terrorists in Gaza and Lebanon and hope they inflict a maximum defeat on Hamas and Hezbollah while taking a minimum of casualties, erroneous Israeli decisions in the last 13 years have led to an unnecessary war.
For 45 years, 1948-93, Israel's strategic vision, tactical brilliance, technological innovation, and logistical cleverness won it a deterrence capability. A deep understanding of the country's predicament, complemented by money, will power, and dedication, enabled the Israeli state systematically to burnish its reputation for toughness.
The leadership focused on the enemy's mind and mood, adopting policies designed to degrade his morale, with the goal of inducing a sense of defeat, a realization that the Jewish state is permanent and cannot be undone. As a result, whoever attacked the State of Israel paid for that mistake with captured terrorists, dead soldiers, stalled economies, and toppled regimes.
By 1993, this record of success imbued Israelis with a sense of overconfidence. They concluded they had won, and ignored the inconvenient fact that Palestinian Arabs and other enemies had not given up their goal of eliminating Israel. Two emotions long held in check, fatigue and hubris, came flooding out. Deciding that they had had enough of war and could end the war on their own terms, Israelis experimented with such exotica as "the peace process" and "disengagement." They permitted their enemies to create a quasi-governmental structure (the "Palestinian Authority") and to amass hoards of armaments (Hezbollah's nearly 12,000 Katyusha rockets in southern Lebanon, according to the Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat). They shamelessly traded captured terrorists for hostages.
In this mishmash of appeasement and retreat, Israel's enemies rapidly lost their fears and came to see Israel as a paper tiger. Or, in the pungent phrasing of Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, in 2000: "Israel, which has both nuclear power and the strongest air force in the region, is weaker than a spider's web." As I wrote in 2000, "their earlier fear of Israel has been replaced with a disdain that borders on contempt." As Israelis ignored the effect of their actions on enemies, they perversely seemed to confirm this disdain. As a result, Palestinian Arabs and others rediscovered their earlier enthusiasm to eliminate Israel.
To undo this damage of 13 years requires that Israel return to the slow, hard, expensive, frustrating, and boring work of deterrence. That means renouncing the foolish plans of compromise, the dreamy hopes for good will, the irresponsibility of releasing terrorists, the self-indulgence of weariness, and the idiocy of unilateral withdrawal.
Decades of hard work before 1993 won Israel the wary respect of its enemies. By contrast, episodic displays of muscle have no utility. Should Israel resume the business-as-usual of appeasement and retreat, the present fighting will turn out to be a summer squall, a futile lashing-out. By now, Israel's enemies know they need only hunker down for some days or weeks and things will go back to normal, with the Israeli left in obstructionist mode and the government soon proffering gifts, trucking with terrorists, and yet again in territorial retreat.
Deterrence cannot be reinstated in a week, through a raid, a blockade, or a round of war. It demands unwavering resolve, expressed over decades. For the current operations to achieve anything for Israel beyond emotional palliation, they must presage a profound change in orientation. They must prompt a major rethinking of Israeli foreign policy, a junking of the Oslo and disengagement paradigms in favor of a policy of deterrence leading to victory.
The pattern since 1993 has been consistent: Each disillusionment inspires an orgy of Israeli remorse and reconsideration, followed by a quiet return to appeasement and retreat. I fear that the Gaza and Lebanon operations are focused not on defeating the enemy but on winning the release of one or two soldiers – a strange war goal, one perhaps unprecedented in the history of warfare – suggesting that matters will soon enough revert to form.
In other words, the import of hostilities under way is not what has been destroyed in Lebanon nor what the U.N. Security Council resolves; it is what the Israeli public learns, or fails to learn.
From www.danielpipes.org | Original article available at: www.danielpipes.org/article/3763
MIM: Dr. Daniel Pipes article shows that 13 years of appeasement and defeatism have lead to 'Israel's unnecessary war'.
Ehud Olmert's speech below shows that his party Kadima (Forward) has lead Israel to the abyss. Before becoming PM
Olmert declared "We are tired of fighting we are tired of being courageous- we are tired of defeating our enemies".
Olmert's bombastic and maudlin speech ending with his absurd proclamation that he was 'never more proud
to be a citizen of the State of Israel', epitomises the continuation of a warped mindset of a government which has
emboldened Israel's enemies to carry out acts of war against them.
MIM: In 2004 Dr.Daniel Pipes warned that giving in to Hezbollah with a prisoner exchange would lead to more kidnappings and violence.
Hezbollah's Victory, Israel's Decline
by Daniel Pipes
When asked in 1787, as the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia came to an end, whether it had created a monarchy or a republic, Benjamin Franklin replied. "A republic, if you can keep it."
His pessimism comes to mind whenever a republic makes a terrible mistake, from the French policy of appeasement toward Germany in the 1930s to the American policy of incrementalism in Vietnam to the South Korean "sunshine policy" now under way.
And Franklin's worry felt newly relevant on Thursday last week, as the state of Israel effected a most extraordinary swap with Hezbollah, one of the world's leading terrorist groups.
In exchange for one rogue Israeli civilian, captured while possibly engaging in dubious transactions, plus the remains of three soldiers, Israel released 429 living terrorists and criminals, including 400 Palestinians, 23 Lebanese, five other Arabs, and one German, as well as 59 corpses.
It comes as little surprise to learn, in the description of the New York Times, that this exchange prompted "a day of national celebration" in Lebanon and a "somber" mood in Israel. Nor is it astonishing to hear the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, describe the present as "not a time of happiness."
Mr. Sharon went on to explain his motives in carrying out the exchange by referring to the relatives of the dead Israeli soldiers: "Three dear families, whose souls knew no rest for the past 40 months, will now be able to unite with their sorrow over a modest grave, and composure as a promise was kept, and a right and moral decision was made despite its heavy price."
In other words, a major decision of state was taken for the sake of bringing small solace to three families. But what are the strategic consequences for Israel of this act of seeming morality?
The Sharon government also failed its allies in the global war on terror.
These many negative consequences raise questions about the morality of this Israeli government action.
In its early decades, Israel's strategic prowess was legendary, transforming a weak country into a regional powerhouse. The past decade has seen the opposite process, whereby that powerhouse reduces itself to a tempting target. That this change is entirely self-induced and achieved through the democratic process makes Benjamin Franklin's prophetic concern all too real.
When will the descent stop? By then, how much damage will have been done
Charlotte's Web and] The Hezbollah in America: An Alarming Network
by Daniel Pipes
Mohamad Youssef Hammoud, an 18-year-old Shiite Muslim from Lebanon, arrived at New York's Kennedy Airport on June 6, 1992. He had come, accompanied by two close male relatives, from Caracas, Venezuela, where each of them had plunked down $200 for a counterfeit U.S. visa. American border guards caught the fraud, and the trio did not exactly begin their American careers with distinction; but they did begin them in character-with a crime. The U.S. government also responded in character, just as it would many times over the next eight years: It allowed them into the country.
Then followed a fairly typical sequence of events for illegal immigrants. In November 1992, Hammoud claimed political asylum on the (dubious) grounds that Israel's Lebanese allies were out to get him, making this fear his justification for buying a fake U.S. visa. A year later, in December 1993, an immigration judge turned down this transparent ploy and ordered Hammoud deported. To no avail: Hammoud promptly filed an appeal, which permitted him to stay longer. In December 1994, while still awaiting a verdict, he married an American named Sabina Edwards, and this gave him legal standing to apply for permanent residency. The Immigration and Naturalization Service did some sleuthing and found both the marriage certificate and the woman's birth certificate fraudulent, so in August 1996 Hammoud was again ordered deported, this time within the month.
The resourceful Hammoud then went underground. In May 1997, he married a second American, Jessica Wedel. In September 1997, while still married to Wedel, he took a third wife, Angela Tsioumas. (That she was already married to another man perhaps evened the score.) The INS, not too adept at record-keeping, mislaid its file on Hammoud's earlier marriage fraud and never noticed that both of the nuptial pair were married to others; so, on the basis of Hammoud's marriage to Tsioumas, the agency granted him conditional residency in July 1998. Only in October 1998 did Hammoud get around to divorcing Wedel.
To make matters even more interesting, the Hammoud-Tsioumas bond turns out to have been a complete fiction, just a way for him to acquire citizenship and for her to earn a few thousand dollars. Hammoud appears to have (truly) married a woman in Lebanon in 1999; Tsioumas has bragged that, as soon as Hammoud no longer needs her, she will marry other would-be Americans "for the right price."
One might imagine that Hammoud's desperate efforts to remain in the U.S. signaled his deep affection for the land of the free; or, at any rate, his longing to walk our streets paved with gold. But one would be wrong. Like so many other Shiites from the shantytowns south of Beirut, this young man has adopted the Ayatollah Khomeini's brand of extremist Islam and virulent anti-Ameri canism. As a member of Hezbollah, the main Islamist terrorist and political organization of Lebanon, Hammoud came here not as an immigrant, to become American-but as a missionary, to bring Hezbollah's message into enemy territory.
Information about Hammoud is available in a powerful and detailed 85-page federal affidavit filed in late July in the U.S. District Court in Charlotte, North Carolina, based on the reports of six cooperating witnesses and five secret informants, physical surveillance, financial records, and much else. Hammoud, it seems, received military training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon and boasts of being "well-connected" to Hezbollah leaders. One informant calls Hammoud "100 percent Hezbollah." Another thinks him dangerous because he "would likely assist in carrying out any action against United States interests" if Hezbollah asked him to. A third says Hammoud "would not hesitate" to commit a terrorist act in the United States for Hezbollah.
He's hardly the first of this type, nor the most famous (that distinction probably belongs to New York's blind sheikh). In a bitter and ironic development little noted by Americans, many recent immigrants arrive, as Martin Peretz puts it, "not with the immigrant's psychological one-way ticket, not with the immigrant's love for America, but with a peculiar immigrant's hatred of America." Islamists like Hammoud are perhaps the most significant of this breed, intensely hating the U.S. and all it represents, but also savoring the country's freedom of expression and of movement, its rule of law, its open institutions, its fine communications and transportation, and its superpower status. They also appreciate its affluence. As Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and the other once-rich Middle East states curtail spending, Islamist groups like Hezbollah increasingly seek funding from coreligionists in the West.
Hammoud settled in Charlotte, and was busy on behalf of Hezbollah from the moment he arrived there. He organized his two brothers and three cousins, plus other Shiites from his old neighborhood in Lebanon, into what one informant terms "an active group" of Hezbollah members. They arranged nocturnal meetings in one another's houses several times a week and engaged in morale-boosting activities. They sang rousing Hezbollah songs (downloaded by Hammoud from the Internet), heard inspiring speeches of Khomeini and Hezbollah's leader, watched videotapes of Hezbollah victories over Israel, and discussed Hezbollah "activities and operations." One person who attended these meetings-the most recent of which took place on July 13, 2000-calls their atmosphere "extremely anti-United States."
Having heated their emotions, Hammoud solicited donations for Hezbollah from his group and worked with them on a simple but audacious fundraising scheme for Hezbollah. It happened that these Muslims lived in North Carolina, home to the American tobacco industry and a state whose government adds a tax of just five cents per cigarette pack. Many of their Lebanese Shiite buddies live in the Detroit area, where the State of Michigan charges 75 cents per pack. All they had to do was drive a van the 680 miles from Charlotte to Detroit, a 13-hour trip, carrying 800 to 1,500 cartons of cigarettes, and they would net upwards of $3,000. The scam required no special skills, and it made good use of existing pro-Hezbollah networks.
By early 1995, the smuggling operation was in place. The Hezbollah is bought tens of thousands of cigarette cartons at North Carolina's many tobacco outlets, loaded these into rental vans, made a quick round trip to Detroit, and returned the van. In the period 1996-99, Hammoud alone bought nearly $300,000 worth of cigarettes on ten credit cards. The smugglers spent some of the earnings on themselves; Hammoud lived in a middle-class neighborhood, another suspect bought himself two luxury cars, and still others started what the affidavit terms "semi-legitimate" businesses: a tobacco shop to acquire cigarettes in bulk and a Lebanese restaurant to launder the resulting funds.
Starting in 1996, they also sent large sums to Hezbollah. No estimate is available for the total amount transferred, but the affidavit charges Hammoud and four others with smuggling currency and indicates that just one suspect, Ali Hussein Darwiche, sent over $1 million. In addition, several of those arrested stand accused of sending technical materials such as digital photo equipment, computers, global positioning systems, and night-vision goggles to Lebanon. Not surprisingly, one informant states that Hezbollah "sanctioned" the Charlotte group's criminal activities.
But the cigarette scam was too obvious, especially as the smugglers kept getting arrested for driving offenses, and having large numbers of cigarettes (121,500, 436,500, 1,412,400) and dollars ($17,000, $45,922) confiscated. By 1996, the authorities figured out what was going on. A slew of local, state, and federal agents investigated, and made further discoveries.
First, cigarette-running turned out to be just a part of a larger pattern of criminal activity. Nearly all of the Lebanese suspects reached the U.S. through deception, either visa forgery or bribing a State Department official. This bunch lied about everything-claiming to speak English when they could not, creating children out of thin air, denying the existence of close relatives living in the U.S. They nearly all contracted fake marriages, with one man arranging for himself, his brother, his sister, and her husband each to marry Americans. (Curiously, the Lebanese men paid around $3,500 each to the American women, but a Lebanese woman paid just $1,500 to an American man.)
Once settled, the Lebanese suspects began a minor crime wave. They relied on fraudulent Social Security numbers, passed bad checks, used stolen credit cards, passed stolen goods via mail drops, and engaged in forgery. One gang member, known for his ability to take on multiple identities, used so many false names that he had to pull a book out of a friend's safe and study it before going to the bank. He also became a specialist in "busting out" of credit cards-making half a million dollars since 1995 by getting a high credit limit, charging on it to the maximum, then disappearing without paying it off. Tax returns from gang members were virtuoso exercises in creative accounting: Hammoud and his fake wife Tsioumas made bank deposits in 1997 totaling $737,318, but reported total wages of just $24,693. The next year, another conspirator deposited $90,903, but listed no income at all. Hammoud's cousin owned a house-painting company; naturally, he employed illegal aliens to staff it, paid them under the table, and skipped on taxes. These are not just crooks, but a whole subculture steeped in criminality.
Also, law enforcement observed a preparation for violence. Associates of the suspects built up an arsenal, including a fully automatic AK-47-style assault rifle, with which they, along with Hammoud, regularly practiced-in what a witness described as "paramilitary-style training" in a remote shooting range east of Charlotte.
Finally, on July 21 of this year, about 250 law-enforcement officers swooped down on the group, arresting 17 in the Charlotte area and one in Michigan. Eleven are Lebanese Muslims, seven are the American citizens who took money for phony marriages. Charges include conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes, immigration-law violations, and attempted bribery. Pending the results of a search now under way of businesses, cars, computers, and the like, other expected charges include RICO fraud and providing material support to Hezbollah, a designated foreign-terrorist organization. These are serious charges: Cigarette smuggling carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison per charge and a $250,000 fine. Money-laundering carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison per charge and a $500,000 fine.
The arrests were top news in Lebanon, where Hezbollah predictably dismissed the charges: "Hezbollah does not have any organized group" in the U.S., declared Na'im Qasim, its deputy leader. He attributed the arrests to American officials' "need to create an imaginary victory" to make up for their defeats.
This case opens an important window on the small but worrisome subculture of Islamist immigrants who despise America even while living in it, who flout its laws and actively aid its enemies. The information from Charlotte prompts several reflections:
First, it confirms the inaccuracy of Islamist whining about American bias against Muslims. (One friend of the suspects told reporters, "The FBI took the Koran from my home. It just shows the real reason they are doing this"; the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee warned that their treatment "could lead to discrimination and hate crimes.") Immigration and law-enforcement authorities were excessively lenient; note how Hammoud kept beating the system.
Second, the Charlotte case again confirms that Islamist money is flowing from North America to the Middle East, not the other way around. Besides Hezbollah, other organizations funded from here include Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Algerian radicals. Middle Eastern governments note this pattern with alarm (Tunisia's president protests that the U.S. has become "the rearguard headquarters for fundamentalist terrorists"), but it has yet to be taken seriously by American leaders. How many more Charlotte-like webs are out there?
Third, the Lebanese suspects showed a contempt toward the U.S. that bordered on the bizarre. Though acting on behalf of a devoutly Muslim organization, they felt entitled to break American laws at whim, without taking even elementary precautions. One defendant charged $45,677 to one credit card for cigarette purchases in a single calendar year; on trips to Detroit, the alleged smugglers paid for gasoline along the way with charge cards, not even trying to hide their movements. Even after arrest, they remained arrogantly unconcerned; according to the Charlotte Observer, at their court hearing, the defendants "smiled, laughed and made jokes. They asked which of their homes, cars and bank accounts had been seized by the government." This nihilism, quite common among uneducated Islamist immigrants, portends trouble.
Fourth, in this case, as in so many other instances of would-be terrorist violence, the authorities bungled matters; if not for alert local officers piecing suspicious activities into a pattern, the scam would still be going on. The INS showed itself to be hapless, not seeing through one fake marriage after another, losing records, and allowing deportees to disappear without a trace. The State Department proved susceptible to bribery. The FBI knew nothing until late in the game. This is frequently the pattern: In at least five cases over the past 15 years, the local cop with eyes open was the key to stopping a major terrorist action. And while lucky breaks are very welcome, it is dismaying to see national institutions caught off guard.
It is even more dismaying to look at this bunch of criminal aliens and political extremists, many of whom have been expelled more than once from the U.S., and find them still here. Given this history, it's a pretty safe bet that most of them will still be here another eight years from now, probably joined by an even larger number of their like.
June 21, 2002 update: A jury in Charlotte convicted Mohamad Hammoud, 28, and his brother Chawki, 37. Mohamad faces up to 155 years in prison and Chawki faces up to 70 years.
July 5, 2006 update: Mohamad Hammoud has spent nearly six years behind bars, serving a sentence that runs through 2135. But he hopes to leave prison in a few months. That's because his case is among hundreds the U.S. Supreme Court sent back to courts following its decision in 2005 to abandon federal sentencing practices. The Supreme Court said federal judges no longer have to follow the guidelines that Congress designed in the 1980s to make prison terms tougher and more uniform. The guidelines are now merely advisory—not mandatory, as before.
U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen in February 2003 sentenced Hammoud to 155 years in prison but must review his sentence, likely within a few months. "I imposed the sentence that was called for at the time by the guidelines," Mullen told the Charlotte Observer. "I don't know what I'm going to do this next time."
'MIM: Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert's weak speech full of false sentimentality, bombast, and phony piety is strikingly similiar to that of former Israeli PM Ehud Barak on his departure for Camp David in 2000 when he announced that Israel would have to take chances for peace, mentioned Israelis killed in terrorist attacks, and ended with a hebrew prayer.
PM Olmert: Enough! Israel Will Eliminate Hizbullah and Hamas
PM Olmert: Enough! Israel Will Eliminate Hizbullah and Hamas