Vol. 22, No. 5,514 - The American Reporter - September 7, 2016

by Joe Shea
AR Correspondent
Bradenton, Fla.
October 17, 2015
The Willies
The U.S. and ISRAEL vs. ISIS?

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BRADENTON, Fla., Oct. 17, 2015 -- Ultimately, Israel is the target of ISIS, which hates Israel with an all-consuming, unimaginably ugly fervor that yearns to kill every Jew on Earth, obliterating Israel forever.

So why is it, as Republicans develop a consensus to send in American soldiers, that only American soldiers would have to die, and none of the 160,000-man Israeli Army - one of the very best in the world, backed up by 630,000 active reservists, a dominant Air Force and at least 160 nuclear weapons - would join the fight? And why do we never hear candidates of either party, or the media, ask that question?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the look of a man who might be willing to fight ISIS outside the borders of Israel, Joe Shea says.  AR Photo: By English: Cherie Cullen

It's a perfect Donald Trump complaint: If we are - and we definitely are - committed to defending Israel if it is attacked, why are they not morally obligated to help us fight their harshest enemies in their own region of the world? Surely they are not afraid of making enemies.

And Israel does get $3 billion in military aid from the United States every year, in addition to other gifts from us, like its Iron Dome anti-missile defenses. It could be said - at your peril - that by joining us they would be earning their pay, or their way, as you prefer. So, why no help?

The easy answer, I'd surmise, is that nations not now in the fight against ISIS might jump in just for the chance to kill Israelis, and so would a host of unemployed Palestinians. In addition, they could expect another onslaught, the third, from Lebanon. What about Bahrain, Dakar, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and the like? They have nothing to gain by provoking Israel.

Although my father, an Air Force logistics expert, might have known all the numbers and strategies, and I don't, I suspect that if the U.S. prevailed on the Saudis to stay out, or at least not attack Israeli forces in the field, and Egypt and Jordan maintained their peaceful relations with Israel, Israel would again prevail against all enemies.

If Pakistan signed up with Iran, India would take advantage and take more of Jammu and Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan states between it and Pakistan, and so occupy the attention of almost all the Pakistani Army. And the Pakistanis would find it hard enough to fight on either front, without going to war in Himalayan and desert conditions at the same time.

The more difficult question is whether the Israelis are prepared militarily to fight an amorphous, non-state army of fanatical terrorists who are now succesfully resisting, if not without losses, the combined efforts of Syria, Iran, Russia and the United States? It would be a lot like fighting the Viet Cong, with their extensive tunnels and wide civilian support. Would the presence of the Israelis, now accustomed to fighting urban battles on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, make a critical difference? Almost certainly.

Quite a few Israeli generals would savor any engagement with the Palestinians on an open battlefield. In the June 1967 Six-Day War, they took out Egypt, Syria and Jordan in four or five days. In the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, it took Israel 19 days to defeat two of those foes, Egypt and Syria. It took them 52 minutes to rescue Israeli hostages at Entebbe from Idi Amin of Uganda. With their help, how long would it take us to conquer ISIS?

Israeli losses would probably not exceed those in 1982, in its first war against Lebanon, when 675 Israeli soldiers were lost. The U.S. has lost more men in Iraq and Afghanistan than Israel has lost in six of its major wars since the Sinai War in October 1956. Since that war - recalled in the history books as the Suez Crisis - the Israelis have lost 5,208 fighting men and womrn..

Would the Taliban forget Kunduz and Kabul and cross the intervening borders to take on Israel? Hopefully, our own forces would insulate the Israeli forces so that they would usually be watching our back while we took on the strongest troops of our mutual enemies. And our remaing troops might root the Taliban out of Afghanistan if most of those terrorist were occupied elsewhere.

Another obstacle is the presence of Iran's Revolutionary Guards and the Russian troops, aircraft, tanks and other heavy weapons Vladimir Putin has brought to bear on Syrian rebels and elements of ISIS. Particularly if a reputed conservative such as Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or Lindsey Graham were elected President, we would likely be willing to engage the Russians, Iranians, Syrians and Pakistani forces (if any) no matter their arms.

For our part, we believe the U.S. would quickly prevail - if our hands were not again tied behind our backs as they were in Vietnam under President Lyndon Johnson, who feared that China would enter the war if we appeared to be on the verge of defeating the North Vietnamese Army. And it would certainly help to have Turkey's army and air force come in on our side, forgoing their war with the Kurds long enough to defeat a much more powerful threat.

The political prospects of an Israeli effort against ISIS are not that remote. It would not meet with approval, at least initially, from the Israeli Army, but Binyamin Netanyahu has been making sounds on other topics that suggest he might decide to go to war against ISIS, welcoming the rospect of engaging Iranian troops outside of the more predictable venues, i.e., the territories of those two states. Imagine the dilemma of Iran, trying to fight ISIS on behalf of Syria with the Israelis at their back!

The real obstacle to would be on our side: No President or Congress has ever been willing to ask Israel to go to war with us. Which of the present Republican candidates, if elected, would do so?

And could we restrain Israel if it felt its forces were about to be destroyed? Perhaps not. In an earlier time, that would not have been a question, but in the face of an epic military catastrophe, Israel might independently decide to use nuclear weapons against Iran or Syria. The Iranians would be essentially defenseless, as would Syria, of course. But Pakistan would retaliate if they didn't feel it would empower India to destroy Pakistani cities.

Israel is an immensely resourceful country. It can solve almost any military conundrum it might face. But the Israeli people would not be willing to risk the lives of their sons and daughters in a war that was not directly focused and fought on Israeli territory. They would of course wholeheartedly support any military action to secure their own borders.

Israel has engaged in pre-emptive strikes before, such as in the Six Day War strike on June 5, 1967, that devastated the Egyptian Air Force, still on the ground, before the war had even started. In September 2007, Israel suddenly destroyed an apparent Syrian nuclear weapons development facility, osternsibly without timely notice to us.

So is it inconceivable that it might abruptly come to the aid of its best friend, in a war outside of Israel, against ISIS?

According to the Daily Beast, as ISIS begins to threaten our mutual friend, Jordan, "...behind the scenes, Israeli diplomats have told their American counterparts that Israel would be prepared to take military action to save the Hashemite Kingdom.

"The concern was that Jordan could not repel a full assault from ISIS on its own at this point. They will ask Israel and the United States for as much help as they can get."

"Thomas Sanderson, the co-director for transnational threats at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Israel and the United States view the survival of the Jordanian monarchy as a paramount national security objective," the Daily Beast said.

"I think Israel and the United States would identify a substantial threat to Jordan as a threat to themselves and would offer all appropriate assets to the Jordanians," [Sanderson] said.

What is a certainty, where little is certain, is that sooner or later if ISIS is not destroyed, it will directly threaten Israel. But if they are not destroyed it it is also likely they will be more powerful than ever, and Israel will have to fight them - when ISIS is ready.

Will Israel join the fight? Probably not; they never have. And if the Russians and Iranians are successful against ISIS, we might never have to worry about it. But it now appears they will not be successful - not without the U.S. and Israel pulling their weight.

Joe Shea is Editor-in-Chief of The American Reporter, and has been a journalist for 45 years. He was a Village Voice foreign correspondent in Teheran, and met with past, then-present and future heads of state in Pakistan and India. Write him at amreporter@aol.com.

Copyright 2016 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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