Winning the Terror War
Meryl Yourish believes Israel is doing just that. The crux of her argument:
1. In spite of media sensationalizing, the death of Yassin has not led to “earthquakes” of revenge, thanks to the IDF and security services of Israel, as well as the checkpoints, closures, and security fence. Israelis are busy getting ready for Passover (the holiday, by the way, in which we celebrate our freedom from slavery in an Arab nation).
2. The Arab League summit, in which the 22 Arab nations were supposed to get together and agree upon their own plan to advance democracy in the Middle East, collapses into arguing over who’s going to hold the rescheduled summit.
3. OPEC may not cut production/raise prices again.
Positive signs to be sure. Still, we’ve had hope and long lulls in the carnage before. Long enough for Yasser Arafat to get part of a Nobel Peace prize, in fact.
I’m afraid there’s no “winning” this war in the short term. The supply of fanatics seems inexhaustable. Still, at least Israel is fighting back. As Harold Brown noted in the context of the US-Soviet arms race, “When we build, they build; when we stop, they keep building.” Negotiation is seen as weakness and a cause for continued killing to achieve further concessions. Fighting violence with violence is seen as provocation and cause for more violence.
This problem seems as intractable as the “war on crime.” On the other hand, it’s much more worth fighting than the “war on drugs.” This is a quandry of such magnitude that even Richard Clarke likely doesn’t have an answer.