Hamas Is Broken
Numerous media articles have made the point that Israel's war aims are "ambiguous", but there is nothing ambiguous about the effect the Israel action is having on Hamas in Gaza.
A senior IDF officer estimated Saturday that roughly 300 Hamas men have been killed since the army launched its ground incursion in the Gaza Strip. The military official said IDF troops were able to wipe out whole battalions belonging to the Gaza terror group.
"Hundreds of people were killed in the various combat sectors," the officer said. "Some Hamas companies and battalions were simply wiped out. We also see cases of desertions and unauthorized leaves, while some terror activists are scared to undertake moves that would jeopardize them vis-à-vis IDF troops."
Earlier Saturday, the IDF killed Hamas' rocket chief in the Gaza City area, Amir Mansi. The senior officer said that shortly before his death Mansi clashed with his subordinates, who refused to come out of their hideouts. The rocket chief was left with no choice but to launch mortar shells himself, and was killed after being identified by the army.
No doubt some will cast doubt on the report, but I don't. When you have an organization like Hamas (or the PLO for that matter), built on a foundation of Chicago politics, profit, not sacrifice is the operative motivation. The rocket chief's death is an ironic symbol of how Hamas has been revealed to be nothing more than a street gang with an Iranian sugar daddy. If Israel accomplishes nothing else but discrediting Hamas, then this has been well-worth the effort.
I've mentioned Tom Friedman's book "From Beirut to Jerusalem" before--the most valuable book I've ever read on the culture and politics of the modern day Levant (an area encompassing the eastern Mediterranean). In it he has one chapter on Hama Rules, which is an insightful account into the Arab mindset. Hafez al Assad, the previous king of Syria, was having a terrorist problem of his own--the Muslim Brotherhood started challenging his rule by intimidating government officials and the population at large. Notably al Assad didn't take advice from the U.N. or any other western milquetoasts about ceasefires and negotiations, concessions of land, etc... al Assad just killed them all--anywhere from 8-25 thousand people in the Syrian city of Hama. He didn't attempt to hide the massacre, in fact he invited journalists to come and see what he had done, and inflated the numbers killed like lefties exaggerating about the number of protesters they had at a peace march. He had actually bulldozed the city flat to improve the perception of total destruction.
al Assad never had another terrorist problem.
This is what works in the middleeast--power and the willingness to use it--the "strong horse" as bin laden referred to it. Its why, contrary to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi's assertion, that we've clearly won in Iraq--we had the power and we demonstrated our willingness to use it to achieve final victory. Stop whining about how long it took.
The inverse of this rule (which some have said actually means no rules at all...) is that losers get no respect, and Hamas is definitely the loser in Gaza tonight. They've lost credibility with the Palestinian people, with Iran, with the rest of the Arab world--everyone. They are effectively finished as a political and military force in the region.
Jimmy Carter must be pissed.