Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Indirect Approach

"In strategy, the longest way round is often the shortest way there; a direct approach to the object exhausts the attacker and hardens the resistance by compression, whereas an indirect approach loosens the defender's hold by upsetting his balance."

Consider Captain Liddelhart's maxim maximus in recent diplopolititary events betwixt Syria, Hiz'B'Allah, Little Satan and SCUD missiles:

"Given the negligible strategic benefit the Scud constitutes for Hizballah – as well as the logistical headaches involved with establishing an infrastructure for the nearly 12-meter-tall weapon and its challenging liquid fuel rocket – and the minimal additional detrimental impact for Israel, the real question is: Why have the reports emerged now?

"Some analysts (including senior officials in Hiz'b'allah), suggest that the government of Israel invented the issue to distract from its current bilateral problems with the Obama administration.

"Based on Washington’s sympathetic response to Israeli claims, however, this explanation isn’t particularly convincing.

"More likely, Damascus and Tehran engineered the Scud crisis to divert US-led efforts to build an international coalition to sanction Iran for its nuclear endeavors. Indeed, the timing of the reports is eerily reminiscent of Hizballah’s cross-border operation on July 12, 2006, which occurred the same day the meeting in Paris of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany was slated to refer the Iranian nuclear issue to the UN Security Council.

"The abduction and killing of Israeli soldiers sparked a war that effectively won Tehran nearly another year of unfettered enrichment activity. (While it’s impossible to know with any certainty, the new diversion initiative might have been what was discussed at the February 2010 meeting in Damascus between Assad, Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad).

"Today, though tensions remain high, both Israel and Hizballah do not appear interested in an escalation. And until the next war, it will likely not be known whether Hizballah in fact obtained Scuds from Syria.

"Nevertheless, for Washington the crisis is a useful reminder that Damascus, whether innocent or guilty of this transfer, continues to provide the Shiite militia with increasingly advanced capabilities that will make the next war even costlier for Lebanon and Israel.

"For Washington, the Scud issue should prompt more than just a temporary refocusing on the well-intentioned but poorly implemented UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which calls for Syria to end weapons transfers to its Iranian-backed Lebanese allies.

"That the Assad regime is upping the ante with Israel via Hizballah at the very moment Washington is working to deepen its diplomatic engagement with Damascus should give the Obama administration pause.

"If this Syrian behavior continues, the Obama administration will likely arrive at the same conclusion the Bush administration reached in 2004: that Damascus actually is – as it so vociferously claims to be – a regime dedicated to supporting “the resistance.”

It doesn't appear too early in 44's tenure to openly diss the sad, ancient boring asseted "Syria Track" as a big fat failure and laugh off overt overtures that overly suck.


"... the administration’s decision earlier this month to renew sanctions against Damascus just might suggest a growing appreciation in the White House as to the nature of the Syrian regime and perhaps for the limits of diplomatic engagement with a self-defined resistance state.

Pic -
"If all our problems were as easy as Syria, the War On Terror would have been won long ago."


Starbuck said...

Allusions to Liddell-Hart's "indirect approach" feature heavily in Robert Greene's sexiful "The Art of Seduction".

J. said...

"Nevertheless, for Washington the crisis is a useful reminder that Damascus, whether innocent or guilty of this transfer, continues to provide the Shiite militia with increasingly advanced capabilities that will make the next war even costlier for Lebanon and Israel."

Would love to know where your source is for this overall post, since it is in quotes. But I will only note that the desired endstate was accomplished through this ridiculous idea that Hezbollah was getting Scuds from Syria, although no one in the Lebanese government or military seems to see any being moved around.

J. said...

Never mind, see it now, the Daily Star. Rebuttal en route. Thanks for the link.

Render said...


Isn't HizbAllah now part of the Lebanese government post-Doha Agreement?

Regardless, does the Lebanese regular army even operate in HizbAllah controlled regions? Had it ever seen, or reported, on the rockets that HizbAllah had already fired?

The UN has spent decades pretending that HizbAllah does not exist, steadfastly ignoring the bunkers and fighting positions being built around their observation posts. Why would the Lebanese government be any different?

All that being mentioned, the takeaway remains. So what? HizbAllah already had better rockets of similar range in their arsenal and they've already proven that themselves.


Starbuck said...

The Lebanese Army is usually the second or third most potent fighting force in Lebanon (depending on whether or not the IDF is in Lebanese territory at the time).

Render said...

Granted, and long understood.

There are also those many times that the Syrian Army has been in residence.


Peter said...

In the Marine Corps, back in the early to mid '60s we practiced a drill called "hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle". It was, quite frequently, the quickest way out of a firefight.

I don't say this is the only way but it is sometimes the only way. Bad guys won't bother you any more if they're laying dead in their fighting holes, full of grenade frags and bullets.