Can MAD bring a modicum of sanity?

4 Nov

Those with even the slightest grasp of realpolitik saw in an instant the potential of the chain of events catalysed by the Hamas attacks of October 7 to go regional, and by that fact global.

Provided we remember that it cannot entirely be trusted on matters – Syria for instance – in which its Qatari patron has an axe to grind, Al-Jazeera 1 is a useful source on the Middle East and beyond. Yesterday it posted in its eighty-one minute entirety the first public statement by Hezbollah chief, Hassan Nasrallah, on the Gaza crisis:

I haven’t yet listened in full – just serendipitous bites – but do know a chap who has. That would be Andrew Korybko, of whom I’ll be writing much more when I get the time and headspace to pen Part 2 of A way forward for Palestine?

His post today bears the title, Nasrallah’s Speech Confirms That “MAD” Has Been Reached Between Israel-US & The Resistance Axis. Its kicker notes that:

Some observers have been surprised by the self-restraint exercised by the Israeli-US duopoly and the Resistance Axis, which has averted an all-out regional war at least for now and thus contradicted their expectations of the other’s approach to this conflict. Neither side has proven themselves to be the “rabid psychotic warmongers” that their opponents’ public took for granted that they were, and this should prompt a rethinking from both about the true state of military-strategic affairs between them.

Mr Korybko (here lightly edited) continues:

… the speech is a tacit acknowledgement of “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) between Israel-US and the Resistance Axis. The following points gleaned from the preceding hyperlinked reviews form the basis of this assessment:

  • Hezbollah defied US threats not to join the fray and has been fighting Israel since 8 October
  • These operations diverted some of Israel’s military focus away from Gaza
  • Hezbollah’s Iraqi and Yemeni allies have contributed to this strategy.
  • US bases in Iraq and Syria have also been targeted to punish the US for orchestrating this conflict.
  • The US has so far not carried out airstrikes on Hezbollah, as it had threatened.
  • Hezbollah has plans to counter US naval assets in that event.
  •  All options remain on the table should the Gaza War worsen, or Israel attack Lebanon.
  • Hezbollah’s formidable missile stockpile, has likely deterred that so far.
  • A rapid ceasefire in Gaza is needed, in order to avoid a larger war. 2
  • There should be  an Arab energy embargo on Israel, and severing of diplomatic ties.
  • Arabs should pressure Egypt to open the Rafah crossing for civilians. 3

Andrew Korybko is well to the right of me on this as on other matters. He nevertheless has my ear, as do other “political realists” like John Mearsheimer, as a voice of sober reason. Given its subject matter, this latest piece, no gargantuan read, merits a wide airing.

* * *

  1. Youtube’s obligatory reminder, on any Al-Jazeera post, of that organ being “funded in whole or in part by the Qatari government” – while issuing no such reminder of ABC, BBC or PBS funding – is a small but telling example of how unwittingly propagandised the West truly is.
  2. An Economist Leader piece, dissected in my second post yesterday, draws the opposite conclusion: “a ceasefire is the enemy of peace …
  3. Egypt should open Rafah? Beyond invoking “Cairo’s political-security calculations”, Mr Korybko does not identify those calculations but I summarised them in my first post yesterday: “Accommodating 2.3 million refugees would come with a raft of headaches, including domestic opposition and jihadist infiltration, crowned by the certainty of Israel never allowing their return.

6 Replies to “Can MAD bring a modicum of sanity?

  1. Ah! This chap…..

    …..who castigates Egypt and by extension the rest of the Arab world for not accepting the only two options he seems willing to consider in the absence of going down the road to WW3 (ie an oil embargo which will force a desperate West facing energy resource shortages* to up the ante/escalate). Which is quote:

    “facilitating ethnic cleansing or allowing genocide.”


    Followed by this gem…..

    “Palestinian supporters at the civil society and state levels all across the world should defer to those people to see whether they prefer being genocided to make a political point or ethnically cleansed to save their lives.”

    ….which could only come out of the mouth/pen/keyboard of someone with zero practical life experience – which in my book disqualifies him from being anywhere near having the right to comment on anything until he’s spent at least a decade of trying to catch up with practical reality.

    How, pray, in any practical sense does Andrew Korybko propose such an exercise be carried out?

    Does he propose a time out for Gallup to go in and conduct an opinion poll on this Hobson’s choice among what is left of the Palestinians in Gaza?

    Will the Palestinians in the West Bank – who will surely be next – be included or excluded? Or Palestinians exiled in other countries? (but not for long in the US given the proposed SAFE Act) Korybko is silent on this practical point.

    On what planet does he see Israel and the gangsters in the US and the rest of the US vassal States in the Collective West – currently rushing legislation through its Parliaments outlawing any criticism of Israel with punitive jail sentences and fines on its own citizens (France) or banning Palestinians from their country (USA)– allowing such a time out?

    Not when there’s $trillions in on and off shore gas and oil up for grabs. Not when you have not insignificant sections of Israeli and Western society baying for and carrying out the genocide option anyway.

    Sorry, I can’t take such straw man and totally impractical rhetorical ravings – nor those who utter them – with any degree of seriousness.

    * Fred Hoyle’s Energy or Extinction sums up that aspect of the practical reality.

    • Two questions arise from this piece. One, is the Leader of Hezbollah a voice to be heard? Two, has Andrew Korybko given a fair representation of what he said?

      The answer to the first question was always going to be yes.

      I’ve now listened to the entirety of Hassan Nasrallah’s speech. Secular westerners should go straight to 09:30 to dodge a lot – not all – of the God stuff but it’s a riveting listen for the diamond-hard bullet points the man delivers. Has AK fairly represented them? Yes.

      The wider points you make are a separate matter. I’m not ready to respond, beyond saying that on some I agree with you – like the reality that economic pressure, if it actually worked, would soon produce a violent response.

      I find you harsh in your condemnation of AK’s take on Rafah closure:

      Palestinian supporters at the civil society and state levels all across the world should defer to those people to see whether they prefer being genocided to make a political point or ethnically cleansed to save their lives.

      Like you I back Cairo’s stance, but this is a harrowing moral dilemma. I can’t condemn those who take a different view.

  2. Hamas would get more out of Israel if they targeted the gas rigs of Gaza with their rockets. That’s a hostage the Isaelli government would care about.

  3. Meanwhile, on the Western Front, the ‘west’ has now officially lost the Ukrainian War – the on-line Guardian has eliminated its usual 4-cell Ukraine War Good News Spread. No more imaginary Ever-Victorious army, just a slow slide into bad memory, like General Gordon.

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