web analytics
July 29, 2015 / 13 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Changing the Battlefield

September's outburst of violence is the next phase of a transnational war based on religious ideology, and it includes wars waged not only by organizations, but also by Iran.
1209

The war in Libya facilitated the movement of al Qaeda into Mali, and the Syrian war may be doing the same. Although Iraqi nationalists in the Awakening Councils prevented the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iraq in Anbar, the al Qaeda in Iraq did not acknowledge defeat; it simply melted away from that particular battlefield. It remains a presence and continues to raise its head when it finds an opportune moment.

Al Qaeda presents its adversaries with a sort of “whack a mole” problem – hit it here, it goes underground and pops up somewhere else. Killing its leadership, which has become an American pastime, does reduce its effectiveness, but leadership can regenerate if it has space and time. There is no one to acknowledge defeat and no one to surrender.

Conflicts over Time as well as Space

Al Qaeda’s interests are played out across a region that also has religious, tribal and ethnic conflicts that do, indeed, have a territorial base, and are also conflicts over time. The U.S. generally operates on the principle that when a war is over, it is over. WWI was supposed to be “the war to end all wars,” and Americans were mightily irritated to find out they had to go back again; Europeans much less so. Churchill wanted to punish Germany but considered Roosevelt’s demand for “unconditional surrender” unreasonable. Roosevelt won the argument — and the war — but war returned to Europe before the close of the 20th century, albeit on a smaller scale.

The devolution of Syria in fact resembles the breakup of Yugoslavia, which was founded as a kingdom in 1918 and died in 1992 amid horrific wars. Yugoslavia itself is an example of the maxim that losing is only a temporary setback. Serbs arrived in Kosovo in the 6th Century, pushing the native Albanians to the east. By the 12th Century, Kosovo was the center of the Serbian state. The Serbs lost it to the Ottomans in 1389 – a date that still rankles – and Albanians moved back in greater numbers under Ottoman Turkish rule. The Turks declared sovereignty there in 1489. The Serbs got it back in 1912. The last round of fighting resulted in 140,000 deaths and borders that are still not fully accepted; NATO remains in Kosovo.

Looked at that way, Arab losses to Israel since 1948 happened yesterday, and reversing the establishment of Israel remains a realistic option for them – if not for the Israelis. Kurds constitute large minorities in Turkey (established in 1922), Iraq (independent in 1932) and Syria (independent in 1946). There is an active Kurdish independence movement (terrorist and non-terrorist in different places) that believes the borders should, can and will be changed to accommodate an independent Kurdish State. The American war in Afghanistan is only the latest war in that space, and America’s war in Iraq was only a blip in the larger patchwork of wars and occupations over the centuries.

Iraq and Afghanistan

In 2008, then-Senator Obama called Iraq a drag. “This war distracts us from every threat that we face and so many opportunities we could seize… By any measure, our single-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy for keeping America safe.” Again, as president, he called it a “distraction” from Afghanistan and pledged, “Our overarching goal remains… to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.” [This and quotes below are from the President’s West Point address.]

The war was not an effort to “conquer” Afghanistan; the U.S. was sitting in the capital, but declined to “occupy” it. The President left the door open to the Taliban and, speaking of a “civilian surge,” to a broad relationship with the Afghan people; and he placed the burden of Western-style governance on the Afghans:

We will support Afghan Ministries, Governors, and local leaders that combat corruption and deliver for the people. We expect those who are ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable. And we will also focus our assistance in areas – such as agriculture – that can make an immediate impact in the lives of the Afghan people.

I want the Afghan people to understand – America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering. We have no interest in occupying your country. We will support efforts by the Afghan government to open the door to those Taliban who abandon violence and respect the human rights of their fellow citizens. And we will seek a partnership with Afghanistan grounded in mutual respect – to isolate those who destroy; to strengthen those who build; to hasten the day when our troops will leave; and to forge a lasting friendship in which America is your partner, and never your patron.

About the Author: Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center. She was previously Senior Director of JINSA and author of JINSA Reports form 1995-2011.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Changing the Battlefield”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
An F-16 fighter jet takes off from Ramat David air force base.
Update: Child Killer Samir Kuntar Dead in Alleged Israeli Air Strike
Latest Indepth Stories
Pres. Rivlin and PM Netanyahu with the justices of the Supreme Court

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

Roy S. Neuberger

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

Harvey Rachlin

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

huckabee oven message

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through} Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. […]

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

J Street is the vanguard (Jewish face)in support of Obama’s Vienna Accords Nuclear Deal with Iran

“I hold the woman’s place over that of men in every fundamental aspect of public and private life.”

The US-UNRWA accord is another example of this White House, hostile to Israel, disregarding truth.

On the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, Tisha B’av, a reflection on the dangerous deal with Iran

The Kotel gained significance around 1550. Previously, many Jews prayed on the Temple Mount itself.

All Jews MUST stand together to oppose boycotts against Israel. So why does NIF & JCF support BDS?

More Articles from Shoshana Bryen
Gaza

Proportionality Doctrine:The greater the military gain the greater the justifiable collateral damage

International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. John R. Allen.

It appears not to have occurred to Condoleezza Rice that Palestinian statehood was incompatible with Israeli security.

The 686 men who expressed their desire to run in Iran’s presidential election were whittled down to 8.

Does Kerry think it would be better for Israel to approach negotiations from a position of precarious poverty?

Neither Secretary of State Kerry nor the president he serves seem to understand Russia’s goals in the Middle East.

The fourth Great War is less ‘Islam against the West’ than it is Sunni expansionists vs. Shiite expansionists.

This is the functional equivalent of agreeing not to swing the wrecking ball after you’ve set the house on fire.

President Obama, perhaps inadvertently, made the case for U.S.-Israel relations grounded in the most fundamental shared values.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/changing-the-battlefield/2012/10/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: