News out of the Middle East

A few stories caught my eye regarding the Middle East:

The Palestinians say that they won’t negotiate with Israel until Israel agrees in advance to their demands.  (That’s an interesting negotiating tactic and definitely one to try during my next Court-ordered settlement conference.)

Egypt has discovered a smuggling tunnel into Gaza, a squiblet that tells lots about how neighboring Arab states feel about the Palestinians (useful tools, but dangerous), the risks Israel took when she left Gaza and stopped being able to police it, and the reason why Gaza should be viewed and treated as an enemy nation.

Syria is celebrating the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War — which it lost.  Again, you can read into that fact a whole lot about the Arab and Muslim psyche.  Local papers in Syria are issuing a call to war saying that this time they’ll be victorious (so last time should be celebrated as a trial run).  Sadly, one of these days, they’re going to be right.


7 Responses

  1. The Palestinians won’t negotiate until Israel agrees in advance to their demands? And what demands are these? Why they are a declaration of principles that Israel recognize the right to a sovereign Palestinian state with some sovereign territory.

    This sure sounds a lot like Israel’s demand that Hamas recognize Israel’s right to exist both as Jewish state and within borders of Israel’s own choosing before any negotiation can begin.

    Where do these nutjobs get such crazy ideas? Next thing you know the US will be demanding that Iran cease enrichment of uranium before any negotiation with Iran is allowed to begin.

    Oh. Wait. That’s already happened.

  2. The Palestinians say that they won’t negotiate with Israel until Israel agrees in advance to their demands.

    How about Israel say that Israel won’t negotiate until the Palestinians can stop Israeli executions of the buddies of Fatah and Hamas in Israeli jails?

  3. Proper diplomatic negotiations are handled in such a way that you can break your counter-part’s thumb and have him smile and be glad that it was just his thumb.

    There’s the other kind of diplomacy, called bartering diplomacy, in which both sides think they cheated the other guy. Translated into MAD, it ain’t that hot.

  4. How about the Israelis saying, “fine, we won’t negotiate…we’ll keep you in your walled compound and lob missiles in whenever you misbehave. Call us if you change your mind.” Yawn!

  5. Missiles aren’t scary unless they are nuclear, since people are psychologically trained to tolerate and withstand missile attacks.

    There was actually a very good piece from Maxwell concerning psychological warfare using airpower, done through studies of WWII bombings of Dresden, Germany, London, Japan, etc.

    They discovered or simply described how the very predictability of bombing runs desensithized people to the fear of being bombed. So long as they had an active survival plan, such as going into shelters, people could withstand daily bombings. Also any belief that they are fighting back or that bombings are going to be restricted by certain things, bolsters the human psyche.

    The reason why people go mad in full sensory deprivation tanks is because the human mind requires a set number and type of stimuli and triggers in order to function well. Without those triggers the brain essentially self-destructs or goes catatonic to prevent self-destruction.

    A bombing run does the same thing as a sensory deprivation tank, except that while human brains can adapt to new and shocking stimuli, the human brain cannot adapt to no stimuli at all. The first time a bombing or fire bombing is used, the psychological shock is immense. However, as time goes by, people get used to it. This is how it is concerning 21st century bombing. People already know what they can expect from conventional and smart bombs. They know that accidents are rare and if it ever does happen, they can retaliate with the media. It’s an instantaneous feedback loop in which people know they can fight back and know that the damage they will take will be low. They feel safe.

    Nuclear weapons have never been used on Ayrabs, thus the psychological shock to their use will be greatly disproportional to what you might expect from conventional weapons. Even biological and chemical are only of local worth in terms of psychological shock. Nuclear weapons not only engender international attention, but it damages international psychology as well. Continual use of such to punish international resistance would damage the international group of busy bodies even further. Much as hacking off a finger for each attempt at resistance trains people to not resist.

  6. One thing that doesn’t change is shellshock. Even United States Marines have become dazzed from experiencing close hits from mortars and other high explosives. This is temporary and only of worth tactically, not strategically or of worth to psychological warfare operations against civilians and enemy leaders.

  7. “Local papers in Syria are issuing a call to war saying that this time they’ll be victorious (so last time should be celebrated as a trial run). Sadly, one of these days, they’re going to be right.”

    This is what happens when you go to war, and only sort-of win. This is what happens when you play nice against the political class that started the war and lost. You don’t have to crush all the people, but you DO have to crush – utterly crush – the movement that started the war and all of its surpporters. Brutally, heartlessly, remorselessly – crush them.

    There may have been unrepentant Nazis after WW II, but they didn’t dare call themselves Nazis. Likewise the supporters of the military dictatorship in Japan’s Imperial Empire. The supporters must NEVER be allowed one free breath. The best they can hope for is life in prison with no hope for release; the most important of them must receive death, and QUICKLY. We need to relearn these lessons about war.

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