Ariel Center for Policy Research


NATIV  ■ Volume Nineteen  ■ No. 4-5 (111-112)  ■ Sept.  2006 ■ Elul  5766 ■ Ariel Center for Policy Research


Moshe Sharon

Clean Out the Stables and Prepare for War

The War of Perfidy

Aharon Levran

A Change of Direction?!

David Bukay

Israel’s War with Hizbullah


The War of Perfidy

Dany Shoham

An Antithesis on the Fate of Iraq’s Chemical and Biological Weapons

Norwell B. De Atkine

Why Arabs are Routed in Wars

Mordechai Nisan

Nationalism and Politics in Lebanon

Joseph Farah, James Woolsey, Jeff Jacoby, Arlene Peck

Four Frustrated Friends of Israel...

Disappointing Love

Shmuel Tzabag

Yuval Ne’eman, z”l – In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Ofira Seliktar

“Tenured Radicals” in Israel: From New Zionism to Political Activism (2)


The New York Times, from May 10, 1943


Eli Shai

Executive Summary, The Lebanese Bride, The Main Character, The Vanished one and the Third Party

Book Review

Yosef Oren

The Pigeon and the Boy

Literature and Art Supplement - Dror Eydar, Editor

Hillel Weiss

“As the Brightness of the Firmament” – on the Passing of S. Yizhar, z"l


Rivka Kadosh

Rabbi Yosef Chaim’s Tales: Socio-History Test

Moshe Ophir

The River’s Saga


Yosef Avraham

Jon Luka Karadjale: “Torch for Easter”

 Smadar Falk-Peretz Tsipi Sharoor Gital Simkovic Miri Gilad


Naomi Meisles


Prof. Edward Alexander ■ Dr. Yoram Beck ■ Dr. Aharon Ben-Ami ■ Ephraim Ben-Haim ■ Prof. Yosef Ben-Shlomo ■ Prof. Louis René Beres ■ Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover ■ Dr. David Bukay ■ Dr. Netta Kohn Dor-Shav ■ Prof. Paul Eidelberg ■ Dr. Raya Epstein ■ Naomi Frenkl ■ Dr. Giora Goldberg ■ Prof. Raphael Israeli ■ Shmuel Katz ■ Dr. Mordechai Nisan ■ Aron Pappo ■ Prof. Shlomo Sharan ■ Dr. Martin Sherman ■ Prof. Eliav Shochetman ■ Prof. Ezra Sohar ■ Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto ■ Dr. Laurence Weinbaum ■ Prof. Hillel Weiss

Editorial Board

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Clean Out the Stables and Prepare for War

Moshe Sharon



O you who believe! What (excuse) have you that when it is said to you: “Go forth in Allah’s way, you should incline heavily to earth; are you contented with this world’s life instead of the hereafter? But the provision of this world’s life compared with the hereafter is but little.”

Koran Sura 9 Verse 3

Go forth light and heavy, and strive hard in Allah’s way with your property and your persons; this is better for you, if you know.

Koran Sura 9 Verse 41

From a New Middle East to the Second Lebanon War

The second Lebanon War (the “Three Weeks of Mourning War”) of the summer of 2006 is not yet over. As I write, just one round of the war has concluded in an interlude. It was merely an introduction to the preface to the prologue. Our enemies are preparing for another war and for yet another after that one and that is the long term prognosis. For over a decade and a half, the nation’s determination, its strength and its faith in the justice of its path have been eroded by the crazy idea of “peace” and the “new Middle East”. Orientalists swept under the carpet the truths crying out to them from every document that they studied, from every Arab newspaper that they read. They all knew that the “occupation” was only a pretext whose objective is to separate Israel from every strategic asset still in its possession and to turn it into a hostage in the hands of the Hamas’ Qasams and the Hizbullah’s Katyushas.

It is clear to the overwhelming majority of Israeli society who posess a will to live, that the brief time remaining must be utilized in order to prepare immediately and effectively for the next war: To prepare the front and the rear and to rearrange the national priorities – to elevate security from fifth place to first; because, the war will surely come – and faster than people think.


The UN Resolution – A Worthless Piece of Paper

Hizbullah is the immediate enemy. It has no intention to disarm and there is no one who can force it to do so. For many years, it was the Shiites in Lebanon who were the most wretched, backward and destitute among the ethnic groups in their country; now they have become the masters who do whatever they please in Lebanon and are supported by two countries which are arming it to the teeth. It is also now clear that Hizbullah will not emerge weakened from this round of war. This interval will enable it to learn the lessons of this battle and its Iranian and Syrian patrons have already begun supplying it with anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank missiles and more accurate long-and medium-range missiles.


A War That Accomplished Nothing

The Hizbullah army will not abandon even one position in the south. You will yet see how they will upgrade their positions and dig bunkers before the IDF eyes and cameras and with the knowledge of the Israeli Government. Absolutely nothing has been achieved in this war other than a ludicrous UN document and an interlude during which the enemy will have the opportunity to better entrench 700 meters from the border. If the organization lost some soldiers (not many more than the IDF losses), that does not weaken it even a little, as it will be able to recruit thousands of readily available Shiites seeking martyrdom. The pool of Shiites in Lebanon is great, and several hundred Shiites are already undergoing guerilla warfare training in Iran.


There Is No Peace

It is time to rid ourselves of the delusions that guided Israeli policy over the last generation. There is no peace. There is no new Middle East. On the contrary, the old, medieval Middle East still lives; a Middle East inundated by fanatical Islam, zealous, combative, messianic, apocalyptic, led in the spirit of clerics filled with hatred for anything not Moslem, by political minions, whose declared aim is the restoration of the Caliphates and world domination.

This Islamic zealotry envelops large populations and speaks to the masses in a language that they enjoy hearing. There is no point in engaging in armchair psychological analysis of the reasons for this. There are facts that speak for themselves. It is Islam that has placed shedding blood, especially Jewish blood, as a supreme value and terrorism as a mode of operation. “Slaughter the Jews” is their oldest slogan.

Terrorism appeared as a very effective tool among the first Moslems and it has accompanied their history with various degrees of intensity. Sometimes it is the terrorism of a small group or the initiative of individuals and sometimes it is organized terrorism, but it always rests on education and indoctrination.

The Shiite Hasision from the 11th to the 13th centuries gave their name to the European languages in the term “assassin” in order to describe one who murders from an ambush; a hired killer. The modern day Moslem assassins, like the medieval Hasision, undergo an extended process of indoctrination and rejoice in being martyrs and reaching paradise quickly. In medieval times, it was only the suicide martyrs themselves who underwent indoctrination; today the entire public undergoes indoctrination. It is accomplished by every possible means: By preachers in the mosques, electronic and print media, teachers, authors and artists, playwrights, actors and singers as well as in school books. The thrust of the Moslem propaganda is directed against the Jews. The martyrdom is first and foremost a jihad weapon against them.


Israel’s Destruction is Islamic Peace

That is why all spokesmen for this deep-rooted Islam say that there is not nor will there be peace in the Middle East as long as an independent Jewish state in which Jews have rights equal to the rights of the Moslems exists. There is not nor will there be peace in the Middle East until the demolition of the Jewish state, destruction of most of its Jewish residents and transformation of Palestine into an integral part of the Moslem world – Pax Islamica – Islamic peace.

The concept of peace in the vision of the prophets of Israel, about which the various “now” groups in Israel, including the country’s leaders, have fantasized for three generations and more, does not exist in the Islamic perception. Peace exists only in a World of Islam ruled by Moslems. (Civil wars in Islam are internal matters, misunderstandings that happen in every good family.) Everything located outside of the World of Islam is characterized as “House of War”, meaning the area against which Islam is obligated to wage war until its annexation to the world of Islam. Every territory that ever was Moslem is sacred, waqf, to Islam and no one has the right to relinquish it. And even if it is conquered by enemies of Islam it does not lose its Islamic status and it is incumbent upon the Moslems – an obligation that will never cease – to restore it to Islamic rule. The State of Israel exists on Islamic waqf land. It is an unnatural situation, which cannot and must not persist.


End of the Era of Peace

We have arrived at the end of the era of bogus “peace”. All that remains is the era of war in the past, present and future and it is that alone for which preparations must be made. The Jewish population does not go to war gladly; it prefers even a flicker of calm over war; it prefers to go to bed with “A Star is Born” and fall asleep to the cooing of the dove of peace. That is why it is surprised to awaken to the sound of exploding missiles.

In positioning war as the only existing alternative in this part of the world, the public justifiably asks, how long? And the answer is: Until the Moslems lose all hope to liquidate the Jewish state, which means forever. The Arabs and Islam in general can never come to terms with the fact that a billion and a half Moslems, who control huge resources, cannot eliminate six million Jews crowded into a 50-kilometer wide death trap. This reality offends the Moslems’ honor, angers them and continually ignites in them feelings of revenge. This is the true reality with which we must live and anyone unwilling to deal with it does not belong in the Middle East – the old, cruel Middle East.


To the Classics of War

Therefore, we must return to the classics of war. Not a “small, smart army”, like the one suggested by he who brought the party of God down on our heads, but a big, strong army. We need all the power: A large regular army, emergency warehouses filled to capacity and beyond, a reserve force trained and skilled to the utmost capability. An end to all the various exemptions, an end to draft-dodging for reasons of conscience or any other reason. Every healthy lad to the army, to the combat alignment! A fundamental change of values, a reordering of national priorities: Everything for an offensive force, not a defensive one; a well-trained military force standing ready to attack with maximum power with maximum force. No longer the Israel Defense Force but the Israel Offense Force: A Jewish jihad in our time of need. That need is already standing on our doorstep.


The War’s Objective: Syria Must Be Destroyed

Ceterum censeo Syrianem esse delendam

Hizbullah and Lebanon should not have been the objectives in the last war, and Hizbullah will not be the target in the next war but rather it will be Syria; therefore Syria must be destroyed, to paraphrase the statement with which Cato the Elder ended each speech that he delivered in the Roman Senate: “I believe that Carthage must be destroyed.”

We were not far from a stinging defeat in the last war; the enemy does not require any more in order to portray its achievements as a victory. As I am writing this, I heard the Syrian president announce our defeat. And it could be that he is correct as he is still alive and has the ability to speak.

It is not against Lebanon that we should have fought this war, but rather against Syria, Hizbullah’s patron: The link between Iran and Hizbullah. Syria should have been totally destroyed. No infrastructure, economic or otherwise should exist today – the airports, the fuel storage facilities, the dams on the Euphrates, the army headquarters, the missile systems and the presidential palaces all should have become heaps of ruins and the Israeli army should have been on the outskirts of Damascus. That was the result of the war that the entire enlightened world anticipated. Instead, it was astounded to see the lack of decisiveness, the vacillation over “a limited action” and “a little here a little there” while Hizbullah fire blanketed the country, reaching its center. This fire would have ended on its own and all of the war’s objective would have been achieved the moment that Syria was reduced to rubble. That could have been accomplished if Israel had bold leadership, which understands precisely the significance of the comprehensive battle for survival against which Israel is standing. Iran, too, would certainly have begun thinking differently.


Strategic Depth

And another classic of war – strategic depth. This is a commodity that Israel requires above all else with its back to the sea. Before 1967, Israel lacked strategic depth and it literally fought from within its capital city. The Six Day War provided it with limited strategic depth, and the Oslo fools came along and relinquished it to our worst enemies, Arafat’s gangs, whose declared aim is the destruction of Israel. However, the army retains control of the killing fields of the Jordan Valley and under the auspices of the Jewish settlements can take action in the mountain region. The withdrawal fools relinquished first rate strategic territories in Gaza and exposed the country to missile terrorism, and other withdrawal fools seek to cede the last remaining strategic depth in Judea and Samaria. If that, God forbid, were to happen, Israel would become a narrow coastal country, like the post-1187 Crusader state, which will eternally tempt its enemies to destroy it. Woe unto it at that time if the Palestinian holy warriors become even one fourth of the Hizbullah. The residents of the north fled to the center of the country. Where will the residents of the Tel Aviv bubble flee when not Katyushas, but merely primitive Qasams and mortars are fired upon it from Samaria? Into the sea like the Arabs’ great dream.

A substitute for the strategic depth that we lost in Lebanon has not and will not be found. The result of that loss is the destruction of the Galilee and the helpless stance in the face of the barrage of missiles. When the IDF fled Lebanon in 2000 under orders from the blind Israeli government, the adherents of flight said that there would be no more fatalities in Lebanon. The price, they said, was steep: 25 dead per year. In the present war, we are mourning our dead – we are paying exorbitant interest in dead, wounded, disabled and destruction for each of those six years.


The Palestinians

Regarding the Palestinians: Here we must sharply and decisively do away with that nonsense called the Palestinian state. Not because of “messianic” vision as the opponents of Jewish settlement in the mountains say, but rather because a Palestinian state, a member of the Arab League which would control the coastal plain from the mountains, is a surefire recipe for destruction. And therefore, in the framework of reordering the national priorities, the settlement in the mountains should be established as a fundamental component in the new order, right after rehabilitation of the military force. This is also an excellent way to combat terrorism. For every casualty of terrorism, Israel will announce the establishment of a new settlement. There is no doubt that the enemy will quickly understand the implication. Had we acted this way in the past, there would be dense Jewish population in the mountains providing support for the army (just as it did in Gush Katif before it was destroyed) and the assorted terrorists would have to think hard whether it is worthwhile to kill Jews. The Jewish state needs every centimeter in the east in order to defend the residents of the bubble and the heart of the nation. This is an existential need, not ambitions of occupation, as there is no occupation here. A nation cannot “occupy” its own country.

Therefore, the nonsense of building a “security fence” should be halted and the billions saved should be earmarked first for the army and for investment in other vital needs. A nation that knows only offense does not hide behind a joke of a cement and barbed wire fence. Even the Great Wall of China did not halt invaders.

Is there leadership in the State of Israel capable of looking at this truth without fear; a far-sighted leadership, a leadership that will develop Israeli might to an extent that its enemies will be forced to postpone the jihad against it indefinitely?

Is there leadership that will begin to bequeath the state fundamental values based on truth and not on empty fantasies that have humiliated it and placed its very existence in danger?

Perhaps such leadership can be found after the stables are cleaned.


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A Change of Direction?!

Aharon Levran

The program to establish and shape the permanent boundaries of the country stands at the heart of the present policy. The extreme folly of the “realignment” comes in its wake and despite the resounding and stinging failure of the “disengagement”.

Contrary to the arguments supporting the “disengagement”, the security situation did not improve. On the contrary; terrorism intensified and it is manifest in the Qasams raining down on Sderot, the Negev settlements, which have even reached Ashqelon. The prognosis is that this threat and others will only exacerbate. Israel’s reaction, despite the severe impact on our lives, is extremely feeble and stands in outrageous, diametric opposition to the (hollow) declarations that the Palestinians will pay a heavy price indeed if they continue engaging in terrorism and violence after the (lamentable) withdrawal from Gaza. Terrorism emerged victorious and was awarded the Gaza Strip as a prize. The Palestinians are conscious of this as evidenced by the Hamas’ rise to power and the flourishing of the jihad.

It has also become clear that the “demographic necessity” for the withdrawal from Gaza was also exaggerated, what is more, is that the remedy for the problem lies not in withdrawal from territories of our homeland but rather in the resettlement of the Palestinians in the Rafah-El-Arish expanse (as well as in Jordan whose territory is expansive). With the increasing aggressiveness from Gaza, the Palestinians have proven that it is not territory that they are lacking.

Rampant negligence and its manifestation in the festival of the “realignment” whose rationales are pathetic: That it is the “life-saver of Zionism”; that the demarcation of permanent boundaries is “Israel’s primary problem”; that we have “tired of waging war and winning”. However, the realization of the “realignment” will render our security and strategic situation many times more severe in every sense (concessions only encourage terrorism and the threat of rocket attacks and constitute a reward for terrorism), not to mention that it will again be a withdrawal without purpose and for all intents and purposes the capitulation of Zionism. Even the Left is attacking the “realignment”, but for the wrong reason: its unilateralism. However, the tragedy on the Left is that it is fixated on the existence of a partner and disregards the fact that there is no value to a Palestinian commitment as they have never fulfilled the letter and the spirit of any agreement and it is not worth the paper on which it is written.

An answer to why Olmert and his followers support the folly of realignment is apparently due to Alterman’s immortal words: “I will not rob them of their power nor will I afflict them with cowardice, I will do only this: I will smite his brain and he will forget that justice is on his side.”


*    It should be emphasized that the article was written in June before the attack on the Kerem Shalom outpost on June 25, 2006 and the Abduction of Private Shalit.


The Essence of the Addendum**

Ostensibly, Hizbullah’s belligerent provocation that was carried out in the Palestinian context (a Gordian Knot, easing the pressure and the like) and the resolute reaction to it could indicate a change of direction in the Israeli strategy, however it is unclear. Despite its 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon, terrorism continues to pursue Israel. Furthermore, in Lebanon, Israel was attacked across a recognized border, which makes a mockery of Olmert’s aspiration to demarcate permanent borders. In Olmert’s unfortunate statement about the connection between the results of the war and the “realignment” one can conclude that this program is fixed in his mind despite the bitter reality that proves him wrong.

There is an almost total consensus regarding the necessity of a clear victory over Hizbullah (“us or them”), however the Left, which ridiculed the proper calls to “let the IDF win” in the Palestinian context, do not admit their egregious error, and these calls are perhaps enjoying a renaissance as in this case they are especially appropriate. In addition, the prattle in the course of the war concerning a political solution, including concessions regarding the Shabaa Farms and the need to speak with Syria (which means one thing – relinquishing the Golan Heights) indicate that the “strategic depths” that has epitomized Israel has undergone no substantial change.


**  This addendum was written at the conclusion of the third week of the war in the north.


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Israel's War with Hizbullah

David Bukay

This article presents several important conclusions regarding the current situation and its implications:

  1. Israel is fighting in precisely those areas from which it completely withdrew to the international border. It is precisely there that it is fighting for its life. Despite this very clear conclusion, the Left will learn nothing. It will never understand that it is not about the 1967 occupation, nor that of 1947 or that of 1917. The occupation is the most irrelevant matter in relations with the Palestinians, but rather it serves as another pathetic excuse on the path to destroying Israel.

  2. The Geneva rules of combat have nothing at all to do with terrorism, and therefore one may and one must combat terrorism until its total destruction. That is what led to success against nihilistic terrorism (in Europe); ideological terrorism (in South America); nationalist terrorism (in Turkey); and fanatical Islamic terrorism (in the Arab countries).

  3. As far as terrorism and guerilla warfare are concerned, appeasement is a disaster and restraint is nothing but trouble for the country and its citizens. Israel’s restraint became paralysis and its forbearance led to destruction and exacted a high price in terms of casualties.

  4. Despite all of the experts’ and commentators’ mockery of the slogan “Let the IDF win” in the Palestinian context, it turned out that that is precisely what the IDF must do and seeks to do in Lebanon. To win, deter and create a balance of power.

  5. The slogans “negotiations are the solution” and “it is specifically with enemies that one must engage in dialogue” are nonsense, and totally lacking insight, as there must be some common ground in any negotiation as well as common attainable objectives.

  6. Israel is actually fighting against Iran, against the Iranian military doctrine, Iranian means of combat and even command and control. Hizbullah members are not the great heroes, as they are portrayed in the media. They hide in caves and attack with anti-tank missiles. This is not courageous warfare. Anywhere that a confrontation takes place between a soldier and a guerilla, there is no doubt that the Israeli will win.

Perhaps this time Israel will learn to plan and act with a long-term strategy, with political acumen. We must not restore the status-quo ante; we must not do half the job only to again have to deal with this problem in a few years:

  1. Southern Lebanon must revert to its status in the 1949 ceasefire agreements. It must decide what it wants: Neutral and peace-loving or isolated and in ruins;

  2. Hizbullah must be weakened militarily and neutralized, without missiles or other weapons of destruction. Its combat, like that of the Palestinians, is cowardly: Rocket and missile terrorism implemented from within the civilian population. Everything is legitimate – hospitals, schools, kindergartens – in order to get civilian protection. According to international law, that is a war crime. The harsh reactions of world opinion against Israel is not only hypocrisy, it is anti-Semitism. The question that Israel should pose as a challenge is: how would you and your country react to a situation in which there is intentional fire from a populated area against your population?

  3. Iran must be kept out of the Lebanon game, unless you want a Shiite-Khomeinist state in Lebanon and a prelude to a Shiite victory in Iraq and the entrenchment of Hamas among the Palestinians. The result: A fanatical Shiite axis of Iran-Iraq-Lebanon-Palestine, which would threaten Israel, the moderate Arab countries, Western interests in the Middle East and will open the historic struggle between the Shi’a and Sunna.

  4. Syria must influence the political arrangement – until Lebanon ceases to be the “sick woman of the Middle East”, a “stateless state”, which allows the other players to manage its affairs.

  5. Establishing a “modus operandi” policy vis-à-vis the rules of the game and a clear and binding operative definition of Israel’s “red lines” and “causus belli” is a necessity. Appeasement and restraint do not do away with aggression but only raise its price.


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An Antithesis on the Fate of Iraq’s
Chemical and Biological Weapons

Dany Shoham

Since the occupation of Iraq in 2003, appreciable efforts have been aimed at uncovering the chemical and biological arsenal which it earlier produced, or at the very least, parts of that stash. As for the original manufacturing of those weapons by Iraq – on an industrial scale, using all means – there were no doubts, whatsoever. Nor could it be doubted that most of the arsenal remained intact following the consumption of chemical weapons employed throughout the Iraq-Iran War, as well as the partial destruction of that arsenal during the First Gulf War, resulting from bombardments conducted by the allies. The issues still regarded as open to uncertainty, however, were:

  • What was the fate of the arsenal possessed by Iraq at the end of the First Gulf War?

  • Did Iraq continue to produce chemical and biological weapons throughout the 1990s, and what was the fate of those weapons?

These two open issues suffice – even irrespectively of the level of the de facto fitness of that arsenal and the degree of likelihood it was intended to be used by Iraq – to readily arouse heavy floundering about by the relevant authorities, and sharp controversies among them, concerning the operational moves derived from both the need to defend against them, as well as the need to eliminate them.

These issues have been particularly pronounced in the USA, Britain and Israel, and, secondarily, in states such as Germany, France, Russia and the Arab countries, and ultimately constituted a justified reason, conceptually at the least – yet certainly not a sole reason – for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Naturally, the disputes increased since Iraq did not use chemical or biological weapons at all, and because it became evident that no evidence was found (ostensibly) indicating the existence of such weapons in Iraq on the eve of the attack. So earnest was the case, that various teams were formed in order to uncover the truth, and in Washington the administration was blamed for improperly relying on intelligence assessments, in themselves being inadequate in quality and breadth. The implications of this whole affair have been far-reaching, in many senses, and they still prevail.

In contrast with the conclusion reached in retrospect in the US, postulating that Iraq destroyed its chemical-biological arsenal – in part under the UN supervision, and, complementarily, in a unilateral, undisclosed manner – the present study suggests that Iraq held under her possession a chemical-biological arsenal until at least 2001; and, from this year onwards, up to the onset of the war (if not during and subsequent to the war, as well) conducted one or more of the following three modes (whether in a certain point of time, or continuingly), in descending order of likelihood:

  • Smuggling of the arsenal out of Iraq, principally to Syria;

  • Hiding it in Iraq;

  • Unilaterally destroying the arsenal.

This analysis relies on the following arguments:

  • No adequate evidential basis can be furnished to support unilateral destruction throughout the 1990s;

  • The antagonism and conduct of Iraq towards the UN inspection teams would be entirely different, should Iraq not in fact possess the arsenal in question;

  • At any rate, distinct insoluble gaps remain within the reports and explanations provided by Iraq, as to the fate of the huge arsenal earlier produced and accumulated by it;

  • A wealth of various types of information indicates that large portions – if not the entirety – of the Iraqi arsenal were transferred to Syria.

The validity of that information considerably strengthened particularly during 2004-2005 and until recently, carrying profound implications with respect to lessons to be learned from the past, the consequent non-conventional capabilities of Syria in the present, and the resulting postures of Syria, in case of a future confrontation. Connected to this, one should assume and hope that reconstructive, thorough rethinking will take place within the US administration, with respect to the full sequence of events from 2002 to the present.


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Why Arabs are Routed in Wars

Norwell B. De Atkine

In general, it can be said that Arab armies in the modern era suffer from inefficiency. In the 1960s, the regular Egyptian army functioned miserably in Yemen in a confrontation with irregular Yemenite forces. Syria successfully gained control of Lebanon in the 1970s due only to its decisive numerical superiority and massive superiority in firepower. In the 1980s, the Iraqis exhibited weakness against an Iranian army that was in tatters due to the unrest accompanying the revolution and were unsuccessful in gaining victory in 30 years of war against the Kurds. Arab armies have functioned pitifully in almost all military confrontations with Israel. What is the reason for these failed performances? There are numerous factors contributing to the answer to that question – economic, ideological and technical – perhaps the most significant factor relates to culture and to the social characteristics preventing the Arabs from establishing an effective military force.


The Role of Culture

John Keegan, a well-known military historian, claims that culture is a decisive factor in determining the nature of the war. An examination of the Arab wars over the last 100 years leads to the conclusion that the Arabs are more successful in uprisings, or political combat, which Lawrence of Arabia called “victory in wars without battles”. The Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal in 1973, involved primarily a sophisticated ruse. One may conclude that these fixed characteristics are an outgrowth of a culture that breeds deviousness, dishonesty and hypocrisy in interpersonal relations. These characteristics include over-centralization, repression of personal initiative, inflexibility, disinformation and repression of manifestations of leadership among the cadre of junior officers.


Information is Strength

In every society, information is a means to make a living or to gain power, however the Arabs hoard information and stockpile it in an exaggerated manner. American instructors have been surprised again and again that the information that they provided to key people remained with them and was not disseminated. In military terms the implication is that there is almost no all-purpose training and therefore, in a tank crew, each of the occupants, driver, gunner and loader, may be skilled at his role but is incapable of filling in for one of his crewmates in case one of them is wounded. When one does not understand the responsibility of his crewmate, there are deficiencies in the joint function of the crew. In the higher ranks, technical skills are superficial.


Failures in Education

Training tends to be routine, unchallenging and unimaginative. As the Arab educational system is based on the routine of rote and learning by heart, the officers have an uncommon ability to learn by rote and remember enormous amounts of information.

Reliance on rote learning has its price, which manifests itself in a diminished ability to employ logic or analyze on the basis of general principles. They repress thinking that deviates from accepted patterns and if such thinking is expressed publicly it can have negative career implications. Instructors and students alike are not challenged.


Officers against Soldiers

Junior Arab officers are well-trained in the technical aspects of their weapons and they have tactical skills, but lack leadership skills. The primary weak point of the Arab training alignment is leadership ability. The problem stems from two sources: The first – a social stratification system bordering on a closed caste system and the second – lack of a program to train NCOs (non-commissioned officers).


Decision-Making and Responsibility

Decisions are dictated from above without communication with the relevant parties. The result is a highly centralized system, with no delegation of authority. Orders and information flow from above down and they may not be questioned, interpreted, corrected or altered in any way. The Arab officer lacks the authority to make a decision. Frustration grows because of the understandable reluctance of the Arab officer to admit that he has no authority. The political nature of the Arab armies grants significant weight to political considerations, which frequently take precedence over military considerations. Officers with initiative and a tendency to make independent decisions constitute a threat to the regime. Rarely is responsibility ever taken for policies, actions, situations or training programs. Arab officers place the blame for the failure of an operation or training exercise on the equipment or on some external element.


Joint Military Operations

The absence of cooperation is the most conspicuous factor in the failure of all of the Arab armies in joint military operations. The coordination necessary for joint operations, with air support, artillery and supply, is simply nonexistent. The higher the rank the greater the quality gap. This problem stems from three factors. The first, the Arab lack of trust of anyone not a member of his family influences the failure of offensive operations. A second factor is the complicated mosaic of ethnic groups and factions that create difficult problems in training forces, as the rulers in the Middle East tend to use tribal and ethnic allegiances in order to maintain their rule. The same is true in the military system. It is unthinkable to appoint a powerful person to the position of Chief of the Joint Services, for fear of a revolt.

The rulers relate to the joint command, joint exercises, joint armies and joint services with extreme caution, as all of the Arab armies are a double-edged sword. One edge points towards the external enemy and the second points in the direction of the capital.


Security and Paranoia

Arab regimes classify everything that has anything with even a trace of the military. Although it creates difficulty for the enemy to understand the battle plan, it exacerbates the division and compartmentalization of the military forces.



It appears that no change will take place in this situation until a change takes place in the Arab political culture in general. Until an extremely fundamental change takes place in Arab politics, the Arab armies – despite the personal courage and the ability of the individual soldier and officer – will be unable to acquire the assortment of characteristics necessary for modern armies to succeed on the battlefield. These characteristics, based on inculcating respect, trust and openness among the soldiers at all ranks, are the marching songs of the modern war, which the Arab armies, even if they mimic the appropriate steps, do not want to hear.


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Nationalism and Politics in Lebanon

Without a Change in Regime and Leadership,
Lebanon’s Future is Not Assured

Mordechai Nisan

The 1943 National Covenant consecrated the connection between religion and state in Lebanon by tying office-holding to confessional attachment: the President would be a Christian Maronite, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the Parliament a Shiite Muslim. Other positions and offices would according to section 95 of the Lebanese constitution be distributed to all the religious communities in a pre-defined fashion. Parliamentary seats are divided equally between Christians and Muslims, each side granted 64 members, and the cabinet is composed of representatives from all religious communities.

It is conventional to consider the intertwining of religion and politics as the primary cause of governmental paralysis, with the lack of a national consensus on major public issues. As a result, the army has been unable to assume its national responsibilities in securing the country from foreign enemies and domestic unrest. The absence of effective governmental and military performance created a vacuum that the PLO and later Hizbullah filled.  

We nonetheless contend that at the heart of internal political crisis and instability are political and not religious factors. Lebanese nationalism as such transcends sectarian division, marginalizing religious identity while elevating the role of politics and its intriguing and complex manifestations at the center of the national arena. In this regard we note the following points: there is a history of Muslim-Christian cooperation, that conflict within communities has often been more severe than between communities, that patriotism is not the sole preserve of the Maronite Christians, that even the war that erupted in 1975 was not in its essence a Civil War but primarily between the Lebanese and Syrian and Palestinian foreigners, that the electoral system and its accompanying political mechanics foster inter-communal cooperation, and finally that the notion of a Maronite president is in fact the optimal choice of the various Lebanese communities. Lebanese nationalism as an inclusive framework for coexistence among all native Lebanese groups is far more resilient than generally believed.

The aftermath of the Hariri assassination on February 14, 2005 catalyzed changes that included the (so-called) March 14th Cedars Revolution with one million Lebanese demonstrating for freedom and independence in Beirut. Even though the Syrian army withdrew from the country and a new government was formed, virtually the same personalities continued to rule, with the addition of Hizbullah ministers in government. No towering patriotic national leader emerged to consummate the revolutionary momentum.

Abu-Arz, the nom de guerre of Etienne Sakr who founded the Guardians of the Cedars Party in 1975, gave voice to the popular Lebanese sentiment repulsed by the acrimony, mendacity, and egoism still polluting national politics. In proposing a secular republic and vilifying Arabism and fanatical Islam, he rejected the notion that ethnic politics was the root problem. Lebanon under strong and devoted leadership may yet prove that its special destiny and revolution manquée can be fulfilled under the leadership of a great personality. 


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Executive Summary, The Lebanese Bride,
The Main Character, The Vanished One and
The Third Party

Eli Shai

Dr. Yossi Beilin, a prominent speaker of the Israeli left, was also a popular guest and commentator on recent TV news broadcasts regarding the last war in Lebanon.

One major question that failed to be asked in those programs, was his own direct and personal responsibility for the present tragic state of affairs in Southern Lebanon. Beilin was one of the main campaigners for the evacuation of Lebanon six years ago. This evacuation started a chain of events, beginning with the second intifada, encouraging in its turn, the Hitnatkut (“disengagement”) plan, and in due time inspiring the escalation of Hizbullah’s terror activity. As a most talented public relations person and part of the lobby to retreat from Lebanon, Beilin published his own guidebook of the evacuation, which was presented in 1998, as a great political manifest for peace.

Rereading the book from the current gloomy perspective, shows a constant manipulation of the reader, who is led to believe that a mere one-sided retreat of the Israeli forces is almost sure to cause a general improvement in the tense situation along the Northern border.

The book, which recommended a total quick retreat of the IDF, shows a severe negligence in evaluating the dangers of Hizbullah, who was so keen to fill the military vacuum created by the evacuation of the Israeli forces. The book spreads the mere illusion of a “third force” which, in the future will take command over the southern territories of Lebanon.

The long awaited appearance of this mysterious third party never manifested itself, as neither the Lebanese army nor any international or UN forces were able, or even ready and willing, to take over the evacuated area. In the circumstances that developed following the Israeli evacuation, it was totally clear that the only meaningful force to rapidly fill this disturbing vacuum was that of Hizbullah. Therefore the situation after the evacuation worsened considerably as the disarmament of the terrorist organization is almost an impossible goal for any external party. Beilin’s guidebook proved itself as a sure recipe for failure once the Israeli retreat was seen as a victory for Hizbullah. However the very mistaken concept presented in this guidebook is not much different from the present policy of the Israeli government, which tends to repeat the same grave mistake in an infinite series of one-sided (or almost one-sided) future regressions, both in the areas of the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria.


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