I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading over the last year on Syrian and Israeli strategies in Lebanon between 1978 and 1982, so I was surprised to read this Ha’aretz account of Barak’s recent speech at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies:
Only when speaking of the first Lebanon war did Barak lower his voice. He glossed over his own command failings on the eastern front and focused on criticizing the war’s strategic goal (as he defined it: the war’s architects, prime minister Menachem Begin and defense minister Ariel Sharon, never defined it in this way to either the cabinet or the Israel Defense Forces). This goal, he said, was effecting geopolitical change by banishing Fatah to Jordan, where it would unseat the Hashemite regime and create a Palestinian state. In that way, he continued (echoing a widespread but unfounded conspiracy theory ), Sharon hoped to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.
The war’s secondary aim (again, as Barak defined it ) also served the defense minister as a basis for his military doctrine: We must not intervene in a neighboring country’s internal affairs. Fact: We failed in our attempt to put our Christian allies into power in Lebanon.
When I read these sorts of things, or the modern day repacking of the “Jordanian option,” I’m just struck by how delusional these strategies are.