Friday, May 10, 2024

Is the US really this stupid?

The New York Times describes why the US is against Israel going into Rafah.

 To Biden — and many leaders of other countries — the destruction of Hamas is simply not a realistic goal. The group’s fighters are in deep, fortified tunnels that could take months if not years to eliminate, U.S. intelligence officials say. 
This is ridiculous. Israel already effectively destroyed most of the Hamas battalions in Gaza. They were in the same, deep, fortified tunnels in Gaza City and Khan Younis. 

If Israel gets cuts Hamas off from incoming aid - probably one for the goals of seizing the border with Egypt -  Hamas will be starved out from the tunnels. 
Even if Israel killed most remaining fighters, new ones would emerge.
Some might but if Hamas is defeated, and recognized as having lost, it would not attract new recruits. There would be other terror groups but they take time to build. It took Hamas 15 years to build its tunnel infrastructure. Those days of impunity are over.
Not only might the benefits of trying to wipe out Hamas be small, but the costs seem large, U.S. officials believe. The hostages Hamas still holds — who are likely being kept alongside the group’s leaders — could die. And the humanitarian toll in Rafah, where many Gazan refugees have fled, could be horrific. “Smashing into Rafah,” a Biden aide said yesterday, “will not get to that sustainable and enduring defeat of Hamas.”
Besides being wrong, the implication is that Israel must live with a terror group next door that has shown the will and capacity to murder thousands of Israelis. The US would never tolerate another Al Qaeda or ISIS across a land border, and within two hours drive of major American cities, no matter what the cost. Demanding Israel do that is simply hypocritical.
Already, Israel’s initial operation in Rafah has had costs. After Israeli forces took over one side of a border crossing with Egypt, Egyptian officials temporarily closed the crossing, preventing aid from entering, U.S. officials say. Egypt — which has long blocked Gazans from entering, partly out of fear of Hamas — worries that a battle for Rafah could lead to an unstoppable flow of refugees.
So pressure Egypt! The US gives it billions a year. If the US is eager to use aid to Israel as leverage, why won't it do the same to Egypt to force it to provide aid and to accept Gazans who wish to take refuge there? If the US cares about the lives of Gazans in Rafah, then isn't that the logical response?

But blaming Israel for Egypt's treating Gazans like dirt is....well, it is what antisemites do to Jews.

An invasion could cause rifts beyond Egypt, too. Saudi Arabia has previously signaled an interest in a diplomatic deal with Israel, which could solidify Israel’s position as part of an anti-Iran alliance alongside Arab countries and the U.S. But a surge in civilian deaths in Gaza could make it hard for Saudi Arabia to justify any deal. (Thomas Friedman, the Times Opinion columnist, has argued that Israel must choose between Rafah and Riyadh, the Saudi capital.)
Look at all those "could"s. Saudi Arabia is not exactly subject to pressure - they do what is best for them, and they won't hurt their Saudi Vision 2030 initiative because Hamas has made Gazans into human shields. 

And Friedman has never predicted anything accurately, as far as I can tell. Unless he accidentally quoted a smart taxi driver.

Seriously, none of the things mentioned here adds up to anything real. I hope that the people making this inane analysis are not the same people that make decisions on US defense matters. 

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