Hands off Beirut!

Israel releases 1973 war papers to warn Syria, Hizballah:

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 6, 2010,

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided to release the minutes of the deliberations on an air blitz against Damascus – held in Jerusalem before and during the Yom Kippur War 37 years ago – as a strong warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources reveal. Then, a decision to take out Damascus to halt the Syrian offensive was overruled. This time could be different: Bashar Assad regime’s own centers of power could be at risk if Syria and Hizballah go through with their plan to overpower Beirut and topple Saad Hariri’s sovereign government.

That is the message relayed by the October 1973 war papers released this week, which go beyond uncovering secret operational and intelligence decision-making and are unusually wide-ranging.

In the hours leading up to the fateful moment on Oct. 6 1973, when the combined forces of Egypt and Syria caught Israel napping by a joint offensive (designed by their Russian sponsor), Israel’s chief of staff, the late Lt. Gen. David Elazar, said to Prime Minister Golda Meir: In operational terms, we can wipe out the entire Syrian air force by 12:00 noon today. We need another 30 hours to destroy its missiles. Then, if they go on the offensive at 5 pm., our air force will be free to strike the Syrian army. To me, this is operational option is attractive.

Three days later, on Oct. 9, catastrophe stared Israel in the face: The IDF was in a bad way and taking casualties in the realm of hundreds dead and thousands injured; their defense lines in Sinai and the Golan had fallen and there was nothing in the way of the Syrian army going all the way to the Sea of Galilee and Tiberias.
In a closed meeting with Golda Meir, the iconic defense minister Moshe Dayan asked for permission to bomb Damascus. “Inside the city?” she asked. “Inside the city and its environs,” he replied. “We have to break the Syrians,” Dayan explained that he proposed to strike the Syrian General Command and infrastructure in Damascus. “We’ve done enough going around the fields (a reference to targets outside the Syrian capital). There are no more key targets left. Damascus is the only one. We can’t promise the population won’t be hurt.”

Golda’s permission was withheld.

debkafile’s sources report that the decision to release these documents and the section relating to Syria was taken in Jerusalem after the Obama administration failed to prevent the two-day state visit to Lebanon by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad taking place on Oct. 13.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may not have been tough enough on this issue when she met Syrian foreign minister Walid Muallem in New York Monday, Sept. 27. Damascus also inferred from the tenor of that converstion that Washington would not interfere with a Syrian-Iranian-backed Hizballah attack on Lebanon’s centers of power.

The 1973 war papers released in Jerusalem, revealing that Israel then was just hours away from an air blitz against Damascus, was a message to Assad that Jerusalem was not aligned with the Americans in this.

The suspense ahead of the Ahmadinejad visit and its fallout continued to rise this week.

Tuesday, Oct. 5, U.S. sources told Kuwait’s Al-Rai newspaper: There are international and Arab concerns over a potential assassination attempt against PM Saad Hariri.

That night, Damascus pressed ahead with its campaign to prepare Beirut for a Hizballah takeover by chipping away at Lebanese sovereignty and the authority of the Hariri government. Syria’s chief military prosecutor issued summonses for four former Lebanese security officials to present themselves in Damascus and testify against three former officers, two Syrian and one Lebanese, who bore witness against Syria and Hizballah as complicit in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005.

This step followed the publication on Monday of a list of 33 Lebanese and international figures accused of conspiring in a plot to inculpate Syria for the murder.

October 6, 2010 | 10 Comments »

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  1. bobbyjo,

    There are no quick simple solutions…

    Actually there are, as Bill points out. The initial move is to assure those supporting the enemy, with great sincerity and clarity, that you mean nasty business – very nasty business – should the terrorism continue. Once those living in a country that gives material and psychological support to said terrorists, understand what the game plan will most certainly be, these same people will – if they are in any way sane – make an effort to put an end to it within that country… If they don’t want to, they will suffer the same fate as the terrorists – in bulk.

    It’s amazing how raw fear can alter the Zeitgeist…

  2. Bill Levinson: Will rogers was a satirist.

    Will Rogers was asked what he might do to deal with the German U-boat threat in World War I. He said he would boil away the Atlantic, revealing the location of the U-boats that could then be destroyed. Asked how he would do this, he answered that that was a technical question and he was a policymaker

    Bill, when you suggest that we should kill millions of Muslims, you are DEAD serious.

    My recommendation is for you to “curb your enthusiasm” and that you are a classic case of “arrested development”.

  3. The defeat of jihadist terror cells cannot be accomplished defensively.

    It doesn’t sound like Bill Levinson was advocating Israel to act defensively. Quite the contrary.

  4. I’m sorry to hear that you suffered in that war Yamit.

    It is a cruel fact that Israel wages its wars with one hand tied behind its back, something no other country has ever done. Russia’s invasion of Georgia and the terrorising of its populace is in sharp contrast to Israel.

    Dayan was not alone amongst the general staff in underestimating the arabs and in thinking in terms of its previous wars. The ‘concept’ that the arabs could not fight and would not be able to get the upper hand over Israel was endemic in the military. Sharon was one of the few top commanders who did not underestimate the arabs.

    Dayan lost his nerve, that is true, like Rabin before him. At that level of command and responsibility the pressures are surely great, and especially after such a great shock. But Dayan recovered his nerve after a few days, as did Golda.

    The problem did not just lie in a pre-emptive attack but also in Israel’s military having misunderstood arab preparations for that war. They had misunderstood the implications of all the anti-tank teams employed by the Egyptians. They had no defence against the SAM’s.
    A major problem was the Bar-Lev line where Israelis had turned themselves into sitting ducks. Dayan along with Sharon had warned against advancing up to the canal where they became sitting ducks. The ridge lines a few miles from the canal were the natural defence lines, but their warnings were not heeded. Israel lost 1,000 lives in the war of attrition.

    And in the first days the southern front was commanded by an inexperienced General Gonen. His insisting on sending small groups of tanks into battle as they became available meant that Israel lost the ability to concentrate its forces. He also sent Sharon’s division away from its commanding positions into the rear. When he changed his mind and they returned they had to fight to retake their previoius positions. That the general mostly sat in the rear of the lines meant they did not know what was happening at the front, and a supposedly flank attack that turned into a full frontal attack on the Egyptians resulted, with a defeat for the Israelis.

    Even had a pre-emptive strike happened it’s not certain that it would have made all that difference, especially in the south, considering the SAM defences. It was only when Sharon knocked out the SAM’s that the Israelis were able to get to grips with the 2nd and 3rd armies.

    The source of the problem had occurred years beforehand when Israel did not react to the Egyptians moving the SAMs forward into the canal zone. As now with Hezbollah Israel did not react, but accepted what was happening. History is important for the lessons it can give us. When Israel draws red lines it must know that the arabs will test them. If Israel is found wanting in its response, it will pay dearly further on, and further test will come along. Another example of such a test can be found with Israel allowing itself to be evicted by the Syrians from Hamat Gader after a patrol was ambushed. This led to the attempted diversion of the headwaters of the Galilee, which indirectly led to the 6 day war. Another test was the closing of the straits of Tiran before the 6 day war. The international community failed on this one. America had promised after 1956 that it and its allies would force open the straits should this happen. It didn’t though, and Israel was left to fend for itself.

    What’s the moral, that arab provocations must not be allowed to pass unanswered. Recently Hamas started up the rocketing again and Netanyahu’s answer was to kill a senior Hamas commander in YS. Hamas understood the message that the status quo ante the Gaza War is not on the cards.

    Peace for Israel is a relative concept. It is the period that the arabs are preparing for the next round. Who knows? One day they might like Germany tire of the bloodshed, but that won’t happen soon, and will certainly never happen whilst Israel responds ‘proportionately’ to provocations. This concept of ‘disproportionality’ is tailor made to shackle Israel’s response to attacks on it and should be avoided by Israel’s army. Only massive death and destruction persuaded Germany against the teutons within. Arabs are no different. After the ‘Naqba’ Israel’s arabs became peacable, and even until the 1980’s did not dare to lift their hand to internal acts of terror. In the immediate wake of the Gaza War Hamas was similarly in shock.

    Our enemies must realise that waging war against Israel means an uncertain response, that there is a risk involved that is possibly greater than they wish to pay.

    It is ironic that the same Olmert who was happy to give up anything and everything in the cause of peace, who ran the Lebanon war disastrously, and the Gaza one a little bit better, was also the one who strengthened Israel’s deterrence against the arabs, simply because he broke the established rules of response. Israel at long last became unpredictable, the meshuganer on the block who people have to be a little wary of provoking.

  5. Lion, did you notice your forum name isn’t in capital letters? Tsk. Tsk.

    BTW, your statement’s last point is crap.

  6. Dayan instead of using low yield tactical nukes on the Egyptians and Syrians was ready to surrender? Unbelievable Cowardice and stupidity.

    Uncle the same problem we faced in Vietnam. When you are strong you go with your big stick and beat the hell out of the enemy until they say uncle. It not about a level playing field. You don’t give the enemy a chance at anything.

    The only problem the IDF has is it’s leadership.

  7. Because of our leaders fears of what the goyim vill zay, we took over 10,000 casualties, I still got shrapnel in my leg to show for it. Mistakes are made and they can be called human mistakes but what Golda and Dayan did out of fear of what the goyim would say was criminal…Dayan the great hero of 56 was ready to surrender the state but for the heroism of the reservists of the IDF and the regulars who held out and mostly died in the first hours and days of that war. I lost many good friends in that war needlessly because of vat vill dem goyim zay.

    Our leaders are still following in the footsteps of Golda and Dayan. That pisses me off. They always get our kids killed and maimed needlesly and never take responsibility. Maybe the left has the right idea in keeping their kids safe and out of the IDF? Our kids should die so that we will look better on CNN? There is something morally bankrupt & corrupt in such thinking!

    Dayan instead of using low yield tactical nukes on the Egyptians and Syrians was ready to surrender? Unbelievable Cowardice and stupidity.