Sunday, 18 January 2009

Declaring Victory from a rathole in the rubble

Why is it that terrorist leaders like Ismail Haniyeh and Hassan Nasrallah find it perfectly normal to declare victory when they can't show their face above ground for fear of it being blown off? Let's look at the Hamas example as a case in point. Hamas has lost some 600 operatives killed and thousands wounded. It has lost more than half of its rocket stockpiles, more than half of its mortar shells, every single visible government institution; It has less than half of the smuggling tunnels it started out with in Rafah, with the prospect that these will be more closely watched on both sides of the border and that the PA will return to supervise the Rafah crossing. It's best crews are dead, as are its spiritual leader and its Interior minister, usually described as being in the top five leaders. It has been shown to run away from abttle, a cardinal sin in the Arab world. It's tactics on the ground proved singularly ineffective, and its rockets, though of longer range, no better aimed than before. It has served to unite the Israeli populace, give its soldiers back some of the esprit de corps they lost in the Lebanon War two years ago, and demonstrate the effectiveness of new doctrines and tactics for the IDF. The most that can be said for Hamas is that it was successful in hiding many of its fighters, that it managed to bring about the usual European condemnation of Israel's excessive force, and that Iran didn't decide to cut off their blood money yet. If this is what the Palestinian people construe as a victory, what does a defeat look like?