Friday, August 11, 2006
By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters: Olmert faces backlash over Lebanon war.

I have argued from the beginning that it was unclear what Israel was trying to accomplish in its invasion of Lebanon. Yes, it was clear that they wanted to substantially damage Hezbollah and make Israel more secure, but those are fairly vague goals ultimately. If one is going to launch this type of assault, one had better have some idea about what one specifically wants to accomplish. “Striking a blow” at the enemy doesn’t qualify.

As such, Olmert is facing some trouble at home, and one suspect that it will grow. He is facing attack from the left:

“Olmert must go,” read a front page headline in Israel’s left-leaning Haaretz newspaper.

And also from the right:

“We will work to bring down the government,” said Likud’s Silvan Shalom. Yuval Steinitz, also of Likud, said the Israeli government should resign and call new elections.

And this isn’t the kind of public opinion numbers a leader wants to see:

Twenty percent of those surveyed by Haaretz believed Israel was winning the war.

Although the polling is mixed, but even the favorable one shows a drop:

A poll published in Haaretz on Friday showed only 48 percent of Israelis were satisfied with Olmert’s performance compared with more than 75 percent early in the fighting.

A poll in the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth showed 66 percent were satisfied with Olmert, down from 73 percent.

And then there’s grousing from some in the military:

Some Israeli military commanders said an expanded ground offensive, authorized by Olmert and his security cabinet on Wednesday, should not have been put on hold.

They accused Olmert of denying the army a chance to gain more ground militarily to secure a ceasefire that would be more favorable to Israel and less so to Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

A clearly developing situation.

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5 Responses to “As Well he Should…”

  1. Matthew Shugart (guestblogger) Says:

    I would say it has been clear all along what the Israeli goverment wants to accomplish. But the reliance on “shock and awe” rather than being willing to put its own soldiers at risk in what will be intense and bloody close combat with the enemy, was a doomed strategy.

    They are now doing what they should have been doing all along. And, apparently, Peretz has been saying so from the beginning, but Olmert and others at the coalition table insisted they could win the war mostly from the air and then get the UN to come to the rescue. Amazing.

    When will the air-war fantasy die its well deserved death? Or, to put it bluntly, how many more civilians have to die from “collateral damage” before governments with military dominance recognize that there is still, in most cases, no substitue for the old boots on the ground?

    Yes, I agree that Olmert should go; he is an accidental prime minister and Lebanese and Israelis are suffering from the accident that gave him the position. But I am not convinced that there is a better, viable alternative right now.

  2. Fruits and Votes Says:

    Crossing the Litani? Israeli domestic politics, Olmert’s failings, and the war

    Earlier I noted the disagreements between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz over the scope of ground operations. On 9 August, as an expanded ground operation seemed to be drawing close, the Jerusalem Post noted:

    So …

  3. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    Aside from the obvious fact that they wanted to punish and degrade Hezbollah, it was never clear, in my opinion, what the exact goal was.

  4. Outside The Beltway | OTB Says:

    U.N. Security Council Passes Lebanon Ceasefire Resolution

    A joint U.S.-French effort to pass a resolution calling for an end of hostilities in Lebanon was unanimously approved Friday by the U.N. Security Council:
    The Security Council agreed unanimously on Friday on a measure calling for a full cessation of ho…

  5. U.N. Security Council Passes Lebanon Ceasefire Resolution » OTB News Says:

    [...] rom countries unlikely to collaborate with Hezbollah to launch further attacks. Given the precarious position of the Israeli government, and the general ineffectiveness of the current campaign in und [...]

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