There’s a concept in combat theory called the OODA loop – Observe, Orient, Decide, Act – that accounts for every decision made during a battle. One observes a situation, orients oneself to the circumstances, decides what to do, and acts accordingly. This presents a new situation and the cycle begins anew, thus forming the “loop.”
The great Chinese general Sun Tzu – whose book The Art of War is required reading in military theory, politics, and business – argued that disruption of the enemy was among the best ways to win a battle without even needing to fight or to make victory easier if combat became necessary. There is no better way to disrupt the enemy than to be “inside” his OODA loop; to impact his decision-making by creating confusion or false impressions.
There may be no greater example of being inside someone else’s OODA loop than the way the Arab and Muslim world reacts to the Mossad, Israel’s secret intelligence agency.
With the news this week that the Palestinian Authority has permitted the exhumation of Yasser Arafat’s body to see if he was actually poisoned – presumably the conspiracy would lead back to the Israelis – we have a new example of the propensity in the Arab and Muslim world to blame Israel for everything; even the death of a chronically ill 75 year-old man who, through his own choices, had lived a fairly difficult life. The specifics of how the Israelis killed him are both remarkably boneheaded and utterly unimportant. For conspiracy enthusiasts, the more outlandish theories only prove their own truth.
At first glance, you might think it’s a bad thing that Israel is blamed throughout the Arab and Muslim world every time an Iranian nuclear scientist is killed, a terrorist has an “accident,” or virtually anything suspicious happens. You might think it merely hilarious that the Saudi’s arrested a vulture tagged by an Israeli university for espionage merely because it had Hebrew writing on the tag. Think about it: they arrested a bird. For spying. You might think it’s just idiotic that an Egyptian cabinet minister theorized that a spate of shark attacks in the Red Sea were the work of Mossad agents trying to ruin Egypt’s tourism industry. Again, think about it: the Mossad trained sharks to attack non-Israeli tourists in Egyptian waters.
In the Arab and Muslim world, the Mossad gets blamed for everything. Electricity goes out? We can’t rule out the Mossad. Building collapses in the center of town? The Mossad is trying to kill us. “Dancing with the Stars” is a repeat? Curses! It’s the Mossad! It goes on and on.
On the negative side, of course, is that it’s pretty unlikely that you could ever achieve peaceful coexistence with an entity you believe to be so nefarious and omnipresent. It also says some unpleasant things about the cultures and basic intelligence of a lot of Israel’s enemies. But since none of Israel’s enemies cares about achieving peace or about developing a well-educated citizenry, those concerns are entirely Western.
For Israel, it makes it easier to win a war without having to fight it. If you believe the Israelis capable of training sharks to attack tourists – and to distinguish Israeli tourists from non-Israeli ones – what aren’t they capable of? How could you ever win a fight with such evil supergeniuses? Makes for a pretty strong deterrent, right?
Especially when those super-geniuses use a typical promotional balloon launch to poison Lebanese children. Sheesh. They can do anything.