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Sunday, July 16, 2006

 

Middle East Shooting War

There comes a time when you have to take the gloves off. Clearly, Israel has reached that point. With the Intifada in Palestine formally confirmed by the election of a Hamas Government, and with the inability of the elected Lebanese government to reign in Hezbollah, there is no point in further putting off confrontation with those two terrorist groups and their sponsors, Syria and Iran. Look for more escalation this week. The point is that time can only work against Israel and the US. Better to take them on now, before Iran goes nuclear. So don't be surprised to see would - be mediators brushed aside. Also don't be surprised to see the US take part in some way, particularly if the Israeli's are not able to establish dominance quickly. The Russians will make like they are not happy, but they won't be sorry to see Iran and Syria set back about 20 years.

One interesting thing to watch will be the machinations of our own State Department. If Rice can reign in State's bureaucracy, State might play a useful role at some point. If not, look for them to become completely ignored by the Administration, and for the Pentagon to become our only real foreign policy arm.

As evidence becomes clearer that Hezbollah's more effective new rockets are being provided by Iran, look for Israel to face a difficult quandry - should they bomb Syria or Iran first? After all Lebanon is small potatoes, really just a warm-up for the real thing. Syria is in the mix simply because it is so miserable - the country you just love to bomb. It reminds me of the line from Patton where he admits that if faced with the Germans on one side and the Russians on the other, he would attack in both directions.

This is not to minimize the sadness and tragedy of the situation and the fact that there will be significant casualties on both sides. The terrorist groups are actually more dangerous than the feckless national armies that Israel faced in the 1950's, 60's and 70's. However, they are also intractable devils, and force is the only thing they respect. Unfortunately, this is the world of the forseeable future, where our grandchildren and Bin Laden's are still likely to be at war.

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Last Wednesday, I added 500 shares of SIRI to my IRA at 4.30, not such great timing considering what happened the rest of the week. Anyone still doubt that the trend is bearish?

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