Reasons for the Current Round in Gaza
January 17, 2009
The only goal of this post is to explain the common-sense behind the timing and the shape of the current mini-war in Gaza.
I’m not going to get into the fundamentals of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or to the justifications of this mini-war, or to the right strategies to prevent the violence at the first place.
If you are familiar with the circumstances you can skip directly to the “rational of the war” section below. If not than:
There are two relevant events:
- The coming Israeli elections in three weeks.
- The next Israeli elections four years after (and probably much sooner).
There are three big (or potentially big) parties in the Israeli politic:
Kadima: the current ruling party. Somewhere between the Right and the Conservative Centre, depends on the rating mainly.
The Likud: the Nationalist Right party which is now small but supposes to win the coming elections.
And the Labour: traditionally a large party but not very big now, and suppose to lose a lot of the leftover of its power in the coming elections.
There are three relevant players in the Israeli side:
Ehud Barack: the Defense minister; an ex-general; an ex-unsuccessful-Prime-Minister; and the leader of the sinking Labour. His main skills are in the areas of military tactics, narrow analytic thinking, and making himself politically unpopular. He is probably the brain behind the current war.
Ehud Olmert: The current Prime Minister and the head of Kadima. A lawyer that is specializing in maneuvering in the grey areas. He took it a little bit too far recently, and now have to quit because of too many juridical investigations against him (the quitting gave him few more months as the temporary Prime Minister without a public pressure). He was in charge on the previous mini-war in Lebanon two years ago, that considered as a total failure. He is fully support Ehud Barack in this war.
Benjamin Netanyahu: The leader of the Likud and the Right opposition; an ex-Prime-Minister; the worst Israel ever had, according to many people; opportunist and good on cheap tribal propaganda. Suppose to be the next Prime Minister (again). The two Ehud’s don’t let him play with them in this war, so he sits in the corner and tries to look important.
Another relevant player:
Barack Obama: should get his World-Domination try in several days.
The war is very well organized in the tactic and the logistic scales. The Israeli bombarded civilians are taken care well. The evil Hamas who bombarded Israel seems to be losing (whatever that means). At least that’s the impression at the moment.
On the diplomatic aspect: The Egyptians are terrified that the world will start see them as the entity that responsible to Gaza, so they are making any possible effort to stabilize the situation, and on the way, label themselves as the responsible adult in the area. Syria is probably going to get Lebanon as bribery in a very near future American-Israeli-Syrian peace process, so it keeps the Hizbullah quiet in the Israel northern border.
So the rational of the war is:
If I understood how those people think then:
Ehud Barack will increase the Labour popularity in the coming elections, as the skilled manager de-facto of the war.
Ehud Olmert will gain the option to make a comeback in the next elections as an experienced leader who knows how to learn from past mistakes (comparing the farce of Lebanon to the professional conducting in Gaza).
Barack Obama will be pushed to deal intensively with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will promise a clash between him and Netanyahu (who expected to win the coming elections). As a result of the clash Netanyahu will probably lose power for the favor of (Ehud) Barack and Olmert, or at least will avoid spoiling everything too much.
[Update: a ceasefire achieved two days before Obama's Inauguration]
[Update: Obama dedicated some time in his first day as a president, to talk to the key leaders in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict]
[Update: Five days after Obama's Inauguration, Tzipi Livni (who have similar interests to those of Olmert, except that she is worry for the coming elections and he is worry for the next ones) is leaking to the media that Netanyahu-led Israel would clash with Obama]
[Update: next to the end of the war (12.01.09) Ehud Olmert is making sure that Netanyahu will never be able to even dream about making the impression that he can manipulate Obama (it took me some time to understand that)]