According to an analyst, the attack on Gaza will fail militarily and in fact has already been politically defeated with Benjamin Netanyahu’s career on the line.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is up for an election on January 22, is believed to have attacked the Gaza Strip to help boost his chances for his reelection. However, unlike the 2006 war on Gaza this time the resistance is better prepared.
Press TV has interviewed Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, author and historian, Washington, to further discuss Netanyahu, his relationship with the United States and his Gaza strategies. The following is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: As you heard, there seems to be a total blackout of media taking place there and it seems Israel wants to keep the world in the dark as well to hide its own acts against Gaza. How do you see the situation?
Tarpley: The Israeli actions of course are barbaric and they are an insult to civilized humanity and they deserve condemnation from all as well as concrete measures to make this kind of adventure less likely.
It seems clear to me that we are dealing with a desperate demagogue in the shape of Netanyahu and his government – someone who feels that he’s got to face an election on the 22nd of January and he takes into this a pretty sorry record.
His economic policies are an absolute disaster and a lot of that goes back to the time when he was finance minister. He is responsible for the rising poverty, sense of homelessness in Israel, the privations and so forth.
And then his adventurous foreign policy he bet on Mitt Romney, he thought that he could interfere in the US elections and that has exploded in his face and it’s not just that he didn’t get his friend of 35 years Mitt Romney into the White House, but he’s lost some of his key friends for example the infamous neo-con General David Petraeus has gone down.
And other people who were profiled as war mongers and neo-cons in the US military establishment are also now being ousted, they’re being purged. So he is weakened in that sense and I think he’s engaged in a kind of hysterical flight forward into this invasion of Gaza.
So let’s look at that for a minute…
It is futile as well as being barbaric and a war crime in the following sense: he starts with bombing he starts with assassination that leads to rockets being fired in retaliation; then he goes for his air bombing campaign – that does not succeed, the missiles still come, the iron dome is not enough and now he is on the verge of launching a ground invasion.
The ground invasion, if it starts needs an engagement of two or three or four weeks; extravagant casualties for the Israelis, lot so of tanks blown up I’m sure, lots of losses; and then eventually it will have to end. How does this end?
Netanyahu doesn’t seem to be considering those things so this is a blind alley. Any Israeli should be able to see that this leads to no good for them, quite apart from the war crimes that they’ve been committing.
It seems to me that the immediate need right now would be the United States, Russia, European Union and the regional powers – certainly Turkey, Iran, Egypt and others if they’re interested, maybe Iraq maybe Jordan, any country of good will could get involved in calling for an immediate ceasefire and putting some force behind that… not ceasefire if you want it, but demand an immediate ceasefire otherwise we’ll consider that an unfriendly act.
Put a stop to this and then get back on the track to some sort of negotiation. I would expect that as a result of this Netanyahu could very well fall and he might perhaps be replaced by somebody more reasonable, that’s always an open question.
But somehow this immediate killing would have to be stopped and ultimately you’re going to have to have a political solution and you’re going to have to have a marshal plan for the entire region.
We’re told that Egypt is in a terrible economic condition, they’re turning to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – that will not solve anything for Egypt, they need a marshal plan; Lebanon needs a marshal plan; Iraq, a war torn country needs it; Palestine needs it and even the Israelis are in very, very bad shape so…
There’s got to be some attempt to create a positive interest.
Press TV: Let’s talk about the timing of this whole war on Gaza. Just how significant is the timing? Some say it’s an excuse to cover the events taking place in Syria.
Tarpley: I would put it more in connection to Netanyahu’s desperate situation politically inside Israel. He is widely criticized for seriously damaging relations with the main patron of the Israelis, the Israelis are a client of the United States and that requires good relations.
Netanyahu went out of his way to deliver personal affronts to Obama, interfere in US internal policies… Lots of people who can’t stand Obama, and I’m one of them, found that this was an extremely rude and shocking method that Netanyahu chose. A lot of people who would normally be sympathetic to Netanyahu are not. So he has lost a lot of the credit he might have had in the United States.
Obama owes Netanyahu nothing and it would be interesting to see whether there might be some signs of life from the State Department although you can’t expect anything.
So I think it’s got to do with that. The economy is terrible; the foreign policy situation is bad, right, they are in complete isolation, Israel is execrated and reviled around the world and then there’s this other dimension that this other group, this network inside the US military that was sympathetic to wars in the Middle East like Petraeus, Allen sort of neo-con general’s cabal or clique of neo-con generals – they’re on their way out.
So, that leaves Netanyahu weakened in regard to his main plan, which is the war with Iran. Netanyahu wanted his signature issue to be the confrontation with Iran. And now he seems to feel that he can’t have that so he’s got to fall back on this other situation.
But again it’s going to be just as hard for him here because once a ground invasion starts he will find that some of those same anti-tank rockets that the Israelis found in Lebanon in 2006 are going to be found in Gaza and this will not be a successful act.
So, wouldn’t it be smarter to back off now. I think that would be the advice that somebody ought to be giving to Netanyahu.
Press TV: How much did Israel coordinate the attack on Gaza with the United States do you think?
Tarpley: That is very hard to say. If you look at the State Department spokesperson Mark Toner, he says well we want a ceasefire, but we always stress that the Israelis have a right to defend themselves. This is ridiculous.
We are told… it used to be the Octet in Israel – the group that decides on peace and war in Israel is an oligarchy. It used to be known as the Octet and now apparently they have got that up to a group of nine. So now we’ve got not the council of eight, but the council of nine that decide on peace and war and the United States is now simply a valet for this groups of nine and that is not tenable.
I think the private messages from Washington to Netanyahu are probably somewhat different than the public ones and might well be more on the lines of, back off you fool and stop lying.
Press TV: Let’s talk about the Arab League. The Arab League convened today and discussed this situation. How effective a role can it play in solving the crisis?
Tarpley: The Arab League is in bad shape, the Arab League has come upon sorry times because of their role above all vis-a-vis Libya last year and vis-a-vis Syria this year, so I think they’re pretty thoroughly discredited. It’s good that they have come out and condemned the attack on Gaza, but I’m afraid their moral authority is severely undermined.
The one country that could make a difference of course is Egypt and the weakness of Egypt as everybody says is that Morsi is blackmailed by the International Monetary Fund and some of us saw very early on that the problem for the new government in Egypt – the make it or break it test – would be once you start with the International Monetary Fund, you have lost your sovereignty.
And in this case they are finding that out.
So, there has got to be some other way. Not that anyone wants a big wider war because this wouldn’t help anybody, but what would be possible is a much more vigorous position by Egypt in this question, maybe taking the initiative as they’ve done on the ceasefire, but more now on this idea of an international ceasefire and indeed an international conference after that.
Press TV: There is an alarming report coming out of Israel. A news report said dozens of Israelis packed a picnic basket and drove to areas near Gaza to watch the bombardment of the coastal strip with their own eyes. And they’ve said that they wanted to see a live war. Just how do Israeli citizens view their own government and view the whole situation taking place there?
Tarpley: You are dealing with a moral degeneracy, which we’ve observed also in the United States. When you get into a series of what are in effect colonial wars attacking developing countries and really attacking them because they want to develop and they want to have a normal life, there’s a kind of moral degeneracy that sets in to your military.
That’s what happens if you have a colonial army, right, we’re seeing that here when you look at the sleazy underside of the US military establishment after all these years of colonial wars. The Israelis have fallen prey to that even earlier.
In the specific incident you mentioned there’s a moral depravity that sets into people and ultimately sometimes the cure for it is some tremendous shock – that they’re shocked out of it by some national catastrophe and that cannot be excluded.
If we want to make that less likely the best thing is to have an immediate ceasefire and then negotiate in good faith, which Netanyahu has never done. He has never been willing to negotiate in good faith in any way, shape or form.
Press TV: What is the final end game of this whole scenario?
Tarpley: Netanyahu does not have one, that is the main point. The exit strategy is non-existent. You start by assassinating the military head of Hamas, then the rockets come, then you send your air force – that doesn’t work; then you send your army – that still doesn’t work.
And even with these attempts to blind the international press and to keep all of this in secret, that will never work in today’s world. This will be plastered all over the world, there will be a huge backlash of opprobrium and revulsion against Netanyahu, his government and inevitably Israel as a whole.
So, there is no exit strategy, there is no end game, it just falls apart at the end and if the casualties are heavy enough Netanyahu will fall and there’ll be a new government that may be will have learned something.
Underline all of this is that the Israeli method of waging war is finished. What they were able to do in the 1950s, 1960s and into the 1970s the tanks and the air supremacy… none of that works anymore because the tanks are vulnerable to small missiles. The airfields of Israel are now subject to attack by these missiles coming from all different directions and at that point the entire strategy collapses.
Take it one step further… Suppose they escalate it to the nuclear level using their many nuclear weapons; suppose they go all the way to putting an atomic bomb in Gaza. Even that won’t help them because all the radioactive debris and radioactive fallout will come down on the Israelis and eventually kill more Israelis than Palestinians were killed.
So it leads to nothing. It leads into the abyss. So once again, rather than go down this road, stop now, pull back, or better, let the international community impose a ceasefire – not whether Netanyahu wants to accept it or not – the one country that could do it is of course the US – a simple word, either you back off or your foreign aid is going to be cut, it is going to be non-existent.
That would put a reality principle into the picture of this mysterious council of nine that decides on peace and war.
Press TV: Doctor, correct me if I’m wrong… Do you predict a defeat for Israel this time round?
Tarpley: Yes inevitably. All of their recent exercises be it 2006 in southern Lebanon; in 2008 in Gaza it was a massacre it was horrendous it was a war crime it shocked the world, but in terms of what the goal was at that time under Olmert was supposed to suppress these rockets and it didn’t work – we’re seeing it now that the rockets are still coming and there are more of them.
So, that was a failure, this will be a failure and it may be that because the world is evolving and military technology is becoming slightly more equally distributed it could be an even bigger failure.
So, yes, it’s a guaranteed failure. It’s already politically defeated before it starts; militarily it will be defeated, too. And then the political backlash on Netanyahu I hope will end his career if nothing else.