Losing "friends" through weakness
One recent miscalculation is particularly helpful in demonstrating that many on the left are incapable of grasping the enemy that we face in the war on terror. In the early days of the Israeli-Lebanese front of the war on terror many people were surprised to find that other Arab states were supporting Israel. As the war progressed this support waned. Liberals pointed to the change in the Arab’s attitude as a sign that the Israeli’s were using disproportionate force. This belief is 180 degrees out of line with the truth. The reason why Israeli’s neighbors turned their back on the Israeli effort is not because they were showing too much strength. It was because they were showing too much weakness. The Arab states abandoned Israel because they started to see the handwriting on the wall; Israel was not going to destroy Hizbolah and hand Iran and Syria a stinging defeat. Arab feared the backlash they would face from both their own people and an emboldened Hizbolah if they faced the losing side. Contrary to the mythology Israel alienated its newfound "friends" not because it was too aggressive, but because it was not aggressive enough.
On the "Arab street" it is very dangerous to show any sign of weakness. Saudi Arabia was one country that turned from supporting Israel to condemning it. The Saudi royal family, Honsi Mubarak and King Abdullah did initially not support Israel because they cared about the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, or because they feared for the residents of Northern Israel. They supported Israel because they wanted to see Hizbolah destroyed. Iran and its proxy Hizbolah are sworn enemies of those regimes just as much as they the enemies Israel. It is Iran’s ultimate goal to establish one Shiite Islamic state (caliphate) that spreads across the entire Middle East. In order to achieve that ultimate goal they will have to conquer any state ruled by a secular regime (Egypt) or another sect of Islam (Saudi Arabia). In the recent years we have seen an unprecedented amount of cooperation between the different sects of Islam in order to fight against the West, but that does nothing to lessen the undercurrents of hatred between the groups. The governments of those states understand that if Iran is able to dominate the Middle East, that cooperation will immediately come to an end. Iran wants to wage a war against the world. They are willing to do so with the cooperation of other Islamic states but they would much rather do so as the head of an empire that includes the territories and people’s of all of those former countries. That is why it is so vitally important to the leaders of countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan that they not show any sign of weakness that Iran can capitalize on. That is why it is vitally important to them that they do not throw in their lot with a loser.
Arab dictators need to fear showing weakness not only to Iran, but to their own people as well. The first goal of a dictator is to safeguard his own power, and thereby his own life. It is very easy Hosni Mubarak to publicly criticize Hizbolah for their imprudent actions toward Israel if they are being slaughtered. He can tell his people that it is good to distance himself from the actions of groups like Hizbolah as long as their actions end in disaster. He loses that luxury as soon as it seems like Hizbolah might actually win. There are sizable portions of the citizens in Egypt (and every other Arab country) who are eager to see Israel destroyed. These people pose a serious threat to Arab dictators and have assassinated or attempted to assassinate many in the past. Oasma Ben Laden expressed this view by saying that "when the people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they naturally gravitate toward the strong horse". As soon is became apparent that Israel was not going to take the steps necessary to annihilate Hizbolah is became political suicide, if not actual suicide, for an Arab leader to show support for the Israelis.
The media also pointed out that the Lebanese people originally supported Israel but moved toward supporting Hizbolah as the war progressed. The media claimed that this too was because of Israeli overreaction. This is the most laughable assumption of all. The reason that the Lebanese people originally supported Israel was because they felt that they were about to be liberated from a foreign occupier. They were celebrating because they thought that the tyrants that had ruled from for over twenty years were about to get their comeuppance. They only stopped once they realized that there would be no liberation, no comeuppance. They stopped speaking out against Hizbolah because they feared the retaliation they would face after Israel pulled out and left them at the mercy of Hizbolah. They feared that being on record as supporting Israel would be as good as a death sentence if Israel left Hizbolah intact. The Lebanese people have a figurative, and in some cases a literal, gun to their foreheads and they are telling us how much they adore the gunmen and hate the police officers who tried to rescue them.
Liberals and their allies in the media simply cannot understand the situation on the ground in the Middle East. They have shown time and time again that they are incapable of understanding the abject fear that people and leaders have of showing weakness. The idea that the Arab world was turned off by Israeli strength is nonsensical to the point of being silly. If the Israeli’s had shown enough strength to convince the Arabs world that they were going to get the job done they would have had their support all the way through to the obliteration of Hizbolah.