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Israeli Think Tank: Don’t Destroy Islamic State

Published: August 26, 2016
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According to the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Israel it would be a mistake to destroy the Islamic State.

“The continuing existence of IS serves a strategic purpose,” writes Efraim Inbar, professor emeritus of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, a fellow at the Middle East Forum, and the director of the center.

In addition to grinding away at Bashar al-Assad, the Islamic State is going up against Hezbollah and taxing the resources of Iran, according to Inbar.

The Western distaste for IS brutality and immorality should not obfuscate strategic clarity. IS are truly bad guys, but few of their opponents are much better. Allowing bad guys to kill bad guys sounds very cynical, but it is useful and even moral to do so if it keeps the bad guys busy and less able to harm the good guys. The Hobbesian reality of the Middle East does not always present a neat moral choice.

Indeed, it sounds very cynical, especially for Syrians, nearly a half million who have died thanks to this “Hobbesian reality” of playing one side off against the other.

The threat is Iran, Inbar insists, never mind the country has not invaded anybody in over 200 years. This cannot be said for Israel. It invaded neighboring Lebanon in 1978, 1982, and 2006, killing thousands of innocent civilians. It has pounded Gaza mercilessly for years.

Hezbollah was responsible for ending 22 years of Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon.

The Washington Post admitted the Israeli occupation led to the creation of Hezbollah.

The 1978 Operation Litani provided a clear lesson in the rules of unintended consequences. It was a swift success militarily; Israeli forces pushed across the border and moved about 20 miles north to the Litani River without serious opposition from primarily ragtag Palestinian defenders. They weren’t native to the area or fully familiar with it — they’d moved to it in the early 1970s to escape a crackdown in Jordan.

Under U.S. and other international pressure, the Israeli forces soon withdrew. But the Israeli defense minister at the time, Ezer Weizman, who later became president, ordered relentless bombing of the Lebanese border hills to drive out the civilian population. U.S. officials complained of civilian casualties, but the attacks continued.

The idea, Israeli officials explained, was to create a free-fire zone where it could be assumed that anybody moving around was a Palestinian guerrilla and a fair target for Israeli warplanes or artillery fire. The result over the next year, however, was a long list of civilian deaths — farmers carrying tobacco crops to market, families picnicking on jagged hillsides and villagers caught in their homes when stray bombs landed.

Eventually, increasing numbers gave up and fled to Beirut. These families, most of them Shiite Muslims, took up residence in what was then undeveloped land between southern Beirut and the international airport — and now is the teeming Shiite suburb known as the Dahiya.

Its exploding young population, sons of those chased from southern homes, became the base of a new radical organization born several years later. Inspired by the 1979 Iranian revolution, it eventually took the name Hezbollah, or Party of God.

Mr. Iban and his fellows at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies are naturally indifferent to the fact Israeli policies created not only Hezbollah, but Hamas and the PLO before it.

The Islamic State is merely another pawn on the chessboard. It can be used to continue the strife and misery in the Arab Middle East, a situation beneficial for the Zionist state, at least for now.

The Israelis adopted the British colonial plan to divide the Middle East. It was spelled out by the Yinon plan, a “strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states,” writes Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya.

The neocons refurbished and extended this plan with their “Clean Break” document submitted to Benjamin Netanyahu by a group of neocons led by Richard Perle.

Nazemroaya explains:

The 1996 Israeli document calls for “rolling back Syria” sometime around the year 2000 or afterward by pushing the Syrians out of Lebanon and destabilizing the Syrian Arab Republic with the help of Jordan and Turkey. This has respectively taken place in 2005 and 2011. The 1996 document states: “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”

Much of this ambitious plan has been accomplished, although Syria stubbornly refuses to fall, in large part due to the intervention of Russia and Iran.

Israel and the neocons need the Islamic State, not for some ill-defined “Hobbesian reality” but for the purpose of destroying secular Arab states, namely Iraq (mission accomplished) and Syria and also the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Islamic State was created during the Iraqi resistance to occupation by the Pentagon, at the time under the leadership of the neocons, and its current purpose is to destroy Syria and provide a pretext to keep the war on terror moving along indefinitely.

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