Middle East Crisis

MaenZ

New Member
It's funny to call this a crisis because we have always been at war.

Anyway, Does you have any strategic insight to share about the growing ISIL threat in the region?

I'm particularly interested with Jordanian defense capability against the group. As voices inside Jordan claim that ISIL cannot possibly break into Jordanian defenses. However outside neutral sources claim that Jordan cannot handle ISIL on it's own.

Jordan is claimed to be the best trained Arab fighting force on the Asian side, how would they fair against ISIL? Can a rag tag group without air force beat a disciplined and prepared regular army?
 

BDRebel

New Member
Speaking out of experience from the Syrian revolution, a regular army, when confronted with guerrilla warfare, can never win. Especially when the guerrillas are embraced by the populace, which I doubt ISIL will find if they enter Jordan. Anyway, no matter how trained your army is, casualties will be sustained. Check US forces against Taliban, or UK forces against IRA.

As for stopping ISIL from entering Jordan in the first place, my opinion is with minimal need for security forces and military within Jordan, border permeability should be primary method of defense. Stop any sort of weapons influx from Iraqi border and any sleeper cells already inside will find it difficult to operate effectively. That is unless ISIL finds support from within Jordan.

Just my two cents here, but I'm no real analyst.

Not to start an argument, but Syrian army before the revolution was more prepared and better equipped than Jordanian force today, and that is unfortunate for us Syrians since all weapons were used against people, not some external enemy. Point is, Syria was still penetrated, and the army is arguably now reduced to the same level as the FSA even though the rebels still don't have air support or a steady supply of heavy weaponry, especially anti-air capabilities. On the other hand, the rebels were as I previously mentioned, embraced by the locals, since they were Syrians, not extreme foreigners.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Jordan is claimed to be the best trained Arab fighting force on the Asian side, how would they fair against ISIL?
Kenneth's Pollack's 'Arabs At War' has an excellent chapter on the Jordanian military and its performance in 1948, 1967 and 1970. He argues that the army actually performed better in 1948 than in 1967; largely because of the dismissal of Glub Pasha and other British officers on loan. He also writes about the army's performance against the Syrians in 1970; saying that it was slightly better than the Syrians but that it's overall performance wasn't very impressive.

This video has footage of special forces training facility in Jordan.

[nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL_3Qg-SADY"]The Business of War: SOFEX - YouTube[/nomedia]
 

surpreme

Member
It's funny to call this a crisis because we have always been at war.

Anyway, Does you have any strategic insight to share about the growing ISIL threat in the region?

I'm particularly interested with Jordanian defense capability against the group. As voices inside Jordan claim that ISIL cannot possibly break into Jordanian defenses. However outside neutral sources claim that Jordan cannot handle ISIL on it's own.

Jordan is claimed to be the best trained Arab fighting force on the Asian side, how would they fair against ISIL? Can a rag tag group without air force beat a disciplined and prepared regular army?
First off it not a war yet so its good to call it a crisis now. I'm tell you like this if more trained ex-military join the ISIS ranks it will spread. The ISIS still need more trained units especially techs and equipment operators. There is a lot of weapons on the black market after Libya and Syria went up in smoke. Jordan has benefit from U.S. assistance especially its special forces but overall it needs more work on the rest of the armed forces. You must look at its defense spending there hasn't been a heavy increase in spending. The Jordan Armed Forces hasn't created a counter/terrorism insurgent capability yet, this is what will hurt Jordan forces if ISIS go into Jordan. The ISIS is calling for the whole area to be under Islamic State. Let's pray that other sunni insurgents don't join there ranks especially ex Iraq, Syrian military.
 
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STURM

Well-Known Member
The Jordan Armed Forces hasn't created a counter/terrorism insurgent capability yet,
Not true at all ..... Where did you get that idea? The Jordanian army has had a counter-terrorism capability [the units are now organised into the Special Operations Command] for several decades and takes counter terrorism training extremely seriously. King Abdullah was previously the head of the army's special forces unit. You'll also no doubt be aware that the Jodanian army fought a vicious campaign against Palestinian fedayeen in 1970 in what became known as 'Black September'.

If you watch the video I posted in a previous link, you'll see that they have gone to greats efforts to create a realistic training facility.

Jordanian Facility to Train Regional and International Forces

This is a video showing a Jordanian special forcses anti-terrorism demonstration.

[nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqqKBOKMJGs"]SOFEX 2014 Special Forces Demonstration in Amman Jordan Army Recognition - YouTube[/nomedia]
 

BDRebel

New Member
Let's pray that other sunni insurgents don't join there ranks especially ex Iraq, Syrian military.
Iraqi rebels and tribes are already fighting alongside ISIS against government. More detail on this on the Iraqi crisis thread. Syrian rebels however have for a while now been in a state of war against ISIS. Even other Islamist rebels (more moderate than ISIS) are in full fledged war against ISIS, especially after the latter assassinated/arrested Syrian rebel commanders.
 

surpreme

Member
Not true at all ..... Where did you get that idea? The Jordanian army has had a counter-terrorism capability [the units are now organised into the Special Operations Command] for several decades and takes counter terrorism training extremely seriously. King Abdullah was previously the head of the army's special forces unit. You'll also no doubt be aware that the Jodanian army fought a vicious campaign against Palestinian fedayeen in 1970 in what became known as 'Black September'.

If you watch the video I posted in a previous link, you'll see that they have gone to greats efforts to create a realistic training facility.

Jordanian Facility to Train Regional and International Forces

This is a video showing a Jordanian special forcses anti-terrorism demonstration.

SOFEX 2014 Special Forces Demonstration in Amman Jordan Army Recognition - YouTube
I knew they had U.S. Special Forces personnel in Jordan, after seeing that video they look nice. Yes I knew about Black September in 1970. Really surprise about Jordan Special Forces didn't know it had that much capability. It still go back to defense spending to really get the Jordan Armed Forces up to speed.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
It still go back to defense spending to really get the Jordan Armed Forces up to speed.
The main priority of Jordan for many years now has been internal security, not external. And that's precisely why they have devoted some much funding and focus towards their special forces units.
 

Ranger25

Active Member
Staff member
In a move as first for an American President, the US President Trump has officially endorsed a “two state” solution for the Palestinian issue.

Has the support of both Israel and Egypt with growing support throughout other governments in the ME

Granting a State to the Palestinians may have potential game changing repercussions for the ME and peace process. Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E have endorsed it to start.

At a minimum this represents a significant shift and ideally at a minimum a new starting place to begin a process for a solution that has endured since 1949.



Thoughts?

Arab Leaders’ Support for Mideast Peace Plan Marks a Regional Shift
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
A) Backgrounder — the 2 state solution & its issues

1. In the time following Clinton’s July 2000 peace summit (that had a more balanced in approach), that the Palestinians rejected, Arab states (like Saudi Arabia and the UAE) have grown closer to Israel at the expense of Palestinian interests. And the Trump administration been effective as a broker between Israel and the major Arab powers — leading to a strange situation where the Arabs and Israel want ‘peace’, in the West Bank, more than the Palestinians; and the Arabs and Israel are willing to throw the Palestinians under a bus with a deal.

2. Trump’s proposal in 2020 is being presented as an opportunity for the Palestinians to "achieve an independent state of their very own;" but at a political price they cannot accept. This American plan is intentionally developed without input from the Palestinians, that places emphasis on Israel’s security rather than Palestinian self-determination. The document released by the White House appears to be tilted toward Israeli needs without the benefit of the due diligence required to produce a sustainable basis for negotiations on which both Israelis and Palestinians could engage. One of the biggest surprises of the Trump proposal is the proposal that Israel freezes settlement construction for four years, while increasing the amount of territory under direct Palestinian control. See: Trump’s Middle East peace plan isn’t meant to be fair.

(i) Currently, Israeli occupied settlements are not technically part of Israel and some background on the failed Oslo Accords, as the beginnings of a two-state solution, is necessary. In summary, the 1990 Oslo agreement set up an expected quid pro quo that could be stated as “land and economics in exchange for security.” The unraveling of the Oslo process began with the sense that the quid pro quo was not being implemented as planned. As a result, the West Bank was divided in a complicated arrangement into three zones, labeled Areas A, B, and C, with complete Palestinian Authority control in Area A, complete Israeli control over area C, and “joint responsibilities” in area B, which was intended to provide civilian Palestinian rule alongside Israeli security control. The Palestinian Authority was thus confined to about 50 per cent of the West Bank, far less than the 95 per cent or more that the Palestinians had originally expected.
But Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he wants to change that by annexing the settlements (aka Area A) outright. Trump's proposal paves the way for Israel to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank and to link them with special corridors, leaving the remaining territory for a future Palestinian state. Because some of the outlying settlements would be enclaves of Israel within Palestinian territory, a territorially contiguous Palestinian state is difficult or down right impossible. It is important to note that Palestinians see the Israeli settlements as an illegal development of land under military occupation, and many in the international community agree with the Palestinians.

(ii) The “concept” map in the White House plan shows the occupied Jordan valley under Israeli control — although Trump suggests that could be eased in the future — and a West Bank split north and south around Jerusalem, heavily eaten into by Israeli settlements which the plan proposes to recognise under Israeli sovereignty. There are other reasons beyond the Israeli settlements (that make the deal unacceptable), that is NOT easy explain, including the fact that this deal does not allow the core of east Jerusalem to become the capital of a Palestinian state — it instead relegates a Palestinian capital to the outskirts. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has responded saying “Jerusalem was not for sale”.​

(iii) More importantly, it does not allow a Palestinian state to offer a "right of return" for Palestinians living outside the borders of any new Palestinian state. Further, Palestinians in Gaza, currently ruled by Hamas, would be offered land swaps in Israel close to the Egyptian border but remain largely excluded from planning until a ceasefire and the removal of Hamas. Israel would retain sovereignty over Gaza’s territorial waters. Not surprisingly, Hamas, a Palestinian militant Islamist group, called Trump's proposal a "hostile deal."​

3. The Palestinians have boycotted the Trump administration ever since it unilaterally moved its embassy to Jerusalem. In this proposal, they have essentially been presented with an ultimatum — accept the Trump’s proposals or else, and they have been given 4 years (to come around), in return for a promised US$50 billion in infrastructure investment.

4. Unfortunately, this is not the first land for peace deal that left both Israelis and the Palestinians disappointed. Israel's unilateral withdrawal of around 8,500 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, the legacy of that August 2005 "disengagement" still provokes angry debate — where Palestinian control means a free hand to conduct thousands of rocket attacks, attempts to tunnel out to kill Israeli citizens and a peace deal with the Palestinians that is further out of reach. Within Gaza itself, there is nothing to debate: the past 15 years were an unmitigated catastrophe. In that time, the 1.8 million Gaza residents have endured a civil war between Palestinian factions and 5 wars with Israel that killed thousands of Gazans and destroyed tens of thousands of homes. Beyond the above points, why it cannot be accepted by the Palestinians, also cannot be explained in an additional paragraph or 2.
 
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Ranger25

Active Member
Staff member
Understood, I feel at least its a move in a positive direction for an American President, for the first time, to openly endorse a two state solution for Palestine. Perhaps this can be a starting place and not necessarily an ultimatum.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Mod Team Guidance: As I survey news sources, this topic seems to dwell on international and domestic politics, of the US and Israel. Under forum rules, discussion of politics is prohibited apart from that which is directly involved with or impacts defense matters, like procurement and budgetary decisions.

If contributing DT members are unable to establish a link to weapons, military tactics or other defence matters in each new post (in the next 24 hours to 48 hours) — and if any further discussions in this thread are only related to politics — this thread might have to be paused. Whether it remains open or closed thereafter will be pending a fuller Mod Team discussion.


B) Conduct of conflict — updates & a prior military operation

1. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of the West Bank rejected the plan as "nonsense'' and promised to "resist the deal in all its forms... This conspiracy deal will not pass. Our people will take it to the dustbin of history.” Hundreds of Palestinians protested in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas. On 29 Jan 2019, the Israeli army announced an increased presence in the West Bank and near Gaza, as US President Donald Trump's controversial plan sparked outrage among Palestinians. One rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip. In response, the army said, Israeli fighters struck a number of Hamas terror targets in the southern Gaza Strip. Sources also said that an Israeli reconnaissance drone fired at least one missile at a group of Palestinian activists were trying to release dozens of arson balloons from northern Gaza Strip into southern Israel.

2. IIRC, in the conflict between Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during Operation Protective Edge, there some significant evolution of the tactics used. Beyond the use of combat swimmers by Hamas, which were eliminated by the IDF, we also see fighting over Hamas' extensive tunnel network — with Hamas adopting more of Hizbullah's methods. As the Gaza Strip faces the sea, Hamas is also interested in replicating other aspects of the Second Lebanon War in 2006 — where three anti-ship missiles where fired from a shore battery outside of Beirut. The target was the INS Hanit, which was hit by a single Iranian built Noor C-802 anti-ship missile fired at a range of about 16 km. The other missile sank the small Egyptian/Kampuchean freighter MV Moonlight, while a third missile apparently exploded upon or shortly after launch. The missile that hit was the second of the salvo, with the first said to have overflown the INS Hanit (before locking onto the unfortunate MV Moonlight, which sank within minutes of being hit). The missiles were launched in sequence, with different flight profiles and seeker settings to maximise the probability of scoring a hit. It seems the missile that hit actually hit a robust steel crane situated on the flight deck, which saved the vessel from far worse damage. The Noor C-802 is a Chinese designed radar-seeking anti-ship missile, locally made by the Iranians, the first of which where developed by the China with some help from France in the mid-80’s. Production has since switched away from foreign components, including the original French TRI-60 engine (the same one used by e.g. Saab’s RBS-15/MTO-85), and to Iranian/Chinese equivalents. If members participating in this thread, were to focus on the shifts in the tactics of both parties, this discussion can steer clear of politics.

3. Israel is fighting a religiously motivated enemy, who are determined not to live in peace with Israel. And you can't understand Hamas until you take into account the religious motivation or zeal behind their attacks to further their ultimate goal of the destruction of the Jewish state. Therefore, there shall be no attempt to draw an equivalence of Hamas' actions with any western style military organisation that has a set of written rules or Rules of Engagement (ROEs), with chain of command and judicial oversight of the enforcement of these ROEs. IDF's 2014 ground incursion into Gaza, during Operation Protective Edge, serves three objectives:-

(i) to weaken Hamas and its capabilities, in particular, to significantly reduce its rocket arsenal to a more manageable level;​

(ii) to protect Israeli citizens from rocket and missile attacks (so that the Iron Dome retains its core strategic function - to provide Israel with the option to selectively respond to Hamas' rocket attacks); and​

(iii) to dismantle a network of terror tunnels which extend from the Gaza Strip into Israel (providing security from attack at the short to medium term).​

4. But Hamas in the Gaza Strip is not the only threat to Israel. As a highly disciplined Islamist group that operates as an asymmetric terror and guerrilla force, a political party, and a mini-state in southern Lebanon, Hizbollah has of course been a serious threat to Israel for decades. As expressed in its 1985 “Open Letter,” Hizbollah believes that an open-ended holy war—a jihad—is the “cure to the ills and oppression afflicted on Lebanon and the region by Israel.” Put simply, Hizbollah has always seen Israel as an existential enemy that must be destroyed for both political and religious reasons. Yet while the group’s mission hasn’t changed, its strategic significance has. Because of its location on Israel’s northern border, Hizbollah terrorism has been a serious headache for the IDF since Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. Israeli military officials are now beginning to view the Hizbollah threat as strategic rather than tactical; that is, they are preparing for a confrontation with a foreign army, rather than a terrorist group. But this army is not like others, because while it has the size and capacity of an army, it still fights like a terrorist organization. The tactics it has adopted would pose a growing challenge to any military, even one as experienced in asymmetric operations as the IDF.
  • Hizbollah‘s style of fighting is based on three principles: Absorption, deterrence, and attrition.
  • Absorption refers to the organization’s ability to withstand attack or retaliation. Hizbollah has sought to maximize its absorption capacities by building intricate systems of underground tunnels and bunkers across southern Lebanon, which it uses to store and transfer weapons and fighters from one combat zone to another, and as shelter from IDF retaliation.
  • In regard to deterrence and attrition, both refer to Hizbollah’s ability to keep up its fight against Israel without suffering total destruction, thus drawing out the conflict to such an extent that it becomes difficult to bear the cost of sustaining it. Hizbollah’s massive arsenal ensures that Israeli towns and civilians will suffer a constant barrage of rockets and missiles. In order to destroy this arsenal and the infrastructure used to deploy it, Israel needs a combined air, ground, and sea attack. To be successful, however, Israel will need to overcome Hezbollah’s advanced anti-air and anti-ship weapons, countless booby traps and ambushes, abduction attempts, advanced anti-tank missiles, and many other challenges.
Understood, I feel at least its a move in a positive direction for an American President, for the first time, to openly endorse a two state solution for Palestine. Perhaps this can be a starting place and not necessarily an ultimatum.
5. The Jordan Valley forms the border between Jordan, and Israel and the West Bank. The details are regulated by the Israel–Jordan peace treaty of 1994, which establishes an "administrative boundary" between Jordan and the West Bank, occupied by Israel in 1967, without prejudice to the status of that territory. If Israel does formally annex Area A of the Jordan Valley (instead of just acting as administrator), it will entrench Israel’s control in Area A (and possibly Area B). This control will fundamentally change the equation for any future negotiations on the West Bank. A lot of pitfalls ahead, including the slim possibility of a period of tension or even armed conflict with Jordan. Hope the White House can navigate this without it exploding in everyone’s face. For details, see:
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Understood, I feel at least its a move in a positive direction for an American President, for the first time, to openly endorse a two state solution for Palestine.
Strange that, considering President Clintons' plan, The Clinton Parameters, was a two state plan. IIRC he was reasonably vocal about it.

Personnally, I don't see this new plan succeeding because there is nothing in it for the Palestinians and its being presented to them as a fait accompli. Neither Trump nor Netanyahu will resile from their negotiating positions, and the Palestinians basically have nothing to lose by rejecting it outright. The mutual loathing and hostilities between both parties will continue, with more lives being lost and more people maimed and wounded. The Iranians will continue to support and arm the Palestinians, with the US doing the same for the Israelis.

The Jordanians will not take very kindly to the Israelis crossing the Jordan River and that could lead to a serious break down to relations between the two countries. The IDF will find the Jordanian military a far tougher opponent than those that they have faced so far.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Personnally, I don't see this new plan succeeding because there is nothing in it for the Palestinians and its being presented to them as a fait accompli. Neither Trump nor Netanyahu will resile from their negotiating positions, and the Palestinians basically have nothing to lose by rejecting it outright.
C) Failure to agree will renew fighting — the only question is on scale of fighting

1. Agreed. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has said the Palestinian leadership is "sticking to the aspirations of our people" by rejecting US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan. Mr Shtayyeh told the BBC's Orla Guerin the Palestinian leadership has warned Israel that if it annexes any part of the occupied West Bank all agreements between the two sides would be terminated.

2. Khaled Elgindy writing in Foreign Policy has argued that: Trump’s peace plan is little more than a piece of political malware masquerading as a credible diplomatic initiative. He explains that:
  • The goal is not to bring about peace but to normalize the status quo, including Israel’s military rule over millions of Palestinians, and render it permanent. Despite its talk of “compromises” on “both sides,” the plan satisfies a long list of right-wing Israeli demands on virtually all core issues in the conflict—from an undivided Jerusalem to annexing occupied territory to liquidating the rights of Palestinian refugees.
  • The centerpiece of the plan is the creation of a so-called Palestinian state in roughly 70 percent of the West Bank but one that is shorn of any meaningful sovereignty. The roughly 120 or so Israeli settlements, along with the 650,000 Israeli settlers now living throughout the Israeli-occupied West Bank, would remain under permanent Israeli control, as would the entirety of the Jordan Valley—thus completely encircling the putative Palestinian state with annexed Israeli land.
  • The plan also takes the issue of Palestinian refugees, including those who fled or were driven from their homes during Israel’s creation in 1948 and their descendants, off the table. While previous peace negotiations—including the Clinton Parameters of 2000 and the Annapolis negotiations of 2007-2008—provided for at least a symbolic return of some refugees, the Trump plan states rather explicitly that there would be “no right of return by, or absorption of, any Palestinian refugee into the State of Israel.”
  • The chances that Palestinians would agree to negotiate on the basis of the Trump vision are nil. The plan may well have been designed to elicit a Palestinian “no,” which could then be used as pretext for Israeli annexation. Indeed, within hours of the plan’s unveiling, Netanyahu announced that the process of extending Israeli sovereignty to areas not allocated to the Palestinian entity would be taken up by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, within a matter of days.
3. If what Khaled Elgindy argues is true or seen to be true, then the drums of war have increased their tempo. The question I ask if serious fighting breaks out in Gaza is:

Will these latest protests by the Palestinians lead to a repeat of a short 8-day Operation Pillar of Defense (Nov 2012) type of campaign or a longer and more intense 50-day Operation Protective Edge (Jul 2014 to Aug 2014) type of campaign?​

4. Broadly speaking, there are some similarities in how professional armies go about establishing target lists to attack a terrorist organisation. A quick review of the Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit, Analyze, and Disseminate (F3EAD) process, may be useful for a layman reading about it for the first time. This version of the targeting methodology utilized by the US Special Operations Forces responsible for some of the most highly-publicized missions in support of overseas contingency operations (likewise the IDF would have a very similar process). F3EAD is a system that allows the Commander of these forces to anticipate and predict enemy operations, identify, locate, and target enemy forces, and to perform intelligence exploitation and analysis of captured enemy personnel and materiel. Central to the F3EAD process is the functional fusion of operations and intelligence functions throughout the military organization. In F3EAD, commanders establish targeting priorities, the intelligence system provides the direction to the target, and the operations system performs the decisive operations necessary to accomplish the mission.

5. The essence of deterrence is to instill in the potential adversary the belief that an attack will result in unbearable costs, that it will fail to reach its intended goals, or both. Israel’s contemporary approach to deterrence follows the twin imperatives of:

(i) periodically inflicting the greatest possible damage on its opponents’ military organization and on the infrastructure that supports them, and​

(ii) minimizing the costs to its own armed forces and society.​

6. Unfortunately, it is up to the adversary to determine what kind of cost is unbearable and at what point his preferred strategy turns into an unredeemable failure. Will the destruction of 50 percent of its military capability, and of parts of Gaza’s government and civilian infrastructure, be sufficient to deter Hamas? Certainly, Hamas as an organization will not be keen to repeat the experience in Operation Protective Edge. But for how long will deterrence based on the threat of another attritional standoff campaign with limited ground maneuvers hold?

7. However, what has not changed is that any Israeli ground incursion into Gaza is an urban battle. As usual, man-portable anti-tank weapons are playing a major role in Hamas counterattacks against Israel's ground incursion into Gaza, and have accounted for around 40% of the fatalities experienced by Israel. A further 5 soldiers were killed on 29 Jul 2014 when attackers who had emerged from a tunnel near Nahal Oz fired an anti-tank missile at the base of a watch tower. The difference in Operation Protective Edge is the degree of effort invested in searching and destroying Hamas' tunnel infrastructure, storage sites and staging grounds — the IDF located and destroyed 32 cross-border assault tunnels (14 that actually penetrated Israeli territory, mostly with openings in the territory of Israeli residential communities, and 81 that were unfinished but approached the border with Israel), IDF ground troops withdrew from the Gaza Strip. The tunnel threat from the Gaza Strip has revealed the limitations of air strikes. Much of the ground forces’ efforts in Gaza are concentrated underground, as the tunnels have shown that there is still a need for “low-tech” tactics. The tunnels do not require “sophisticated and unmanned equipment,” as in many cases low-tech bulldozers get the job done.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
D) Fighting Hamas — an adaptive enemy

1. A key element of Hamas's performance during the 50 day, Operation Protective Edge, appears to be its emulation of the tactics of Lebanese Islamist group Hizbullah. A senior official in Hamas's armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, speaking to IHS Jane's on condition of anonymity on 22 July 2014, stated, "We have benefited from all the Iranian, Syrian, [and] Hizbullah tactical combat schools, and finally formulated [a] Qassam independent one that matches our situation and [leaves us] capable to respond to our enemy's challenge." Indeed, on 21 July 2014, Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah telephoned the head of Hamas's Political Bureau, Khaled Mashal, and the leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, offering Hizbullah's support and expressing his admiration of the two groups' performance and tactics during the ongoing conflict.
  • Hamas is a para-military organisation (and considered a terrorist organisation by a number of states), whose leaders truly believe that if they kill enough Israeli civilians or otherwise, Israel will just give up and quit the region forever. It’s a delusion, but it’s what they believe. Palestinians in Gaza are encouraged by the Hamas leadership from the top down to kill themselves in attacks that also kill Israeli civilians. Children in Gaza are indoctrinated at school and summer camps with Hamas’ ideology of hate. They are taught that there is no higher value than martyrdom — no higher honor than dying while murdering Israelis. Of course, suicide attacks are not the only way that Hamas tries to kill Israelis. Hamas has strapped explosives to animals, not just people. Rocket fire, kidnappings, shootings, arson balloons, firebombs and bus bombs are just some of the other methods used by Hamas.
  • Hamas's tactics and high morale have also attracted recognition from Fatah and Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) officials in Ramallah, in the West Bank, who fought the IDF in southern Lebanon in 1982. A major-general in the Palestinian Authority (PA) security apparatus told IHS Jane's on condition of anonymity on 21 July, "The casualties that the [Izz al-Din al-] Qassam fighters caused since the eruption of this operation… are more than what we caused in all [the] PLO wars in southern Lebanon."
  • Hamas has further replicated other aspects of Hizbullah's operational methods, such as the attempted use of naval commandos to infiltrate Israel by sea, the launching of two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into Israel - which were shot down with Patriot missiles on 14 and 17 July - and the use of mobile or concealed rocket launch sites. Hamas has also shown that its rocket capabilities are approaching those of Hizbullah, with rockets reaching almost 120 kilometres from Gaza. Furthermore, the targeting of Tel Aviv airport with rockets - with a rocket landing one mile from the airport's runway on 22 July, leading the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to temporarily ban flights to Israel - underlines Hamas's ability to inflict economic damage on Israel.
  • Iranian TV channel Al-Alam (31 Aug 2014), Ali Akbar Velayati, Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Supreme Leader of Iran, confirms that most of Hamas' weapons entered Gaza with Iran's assistance, and that Iran also helped Hamas to manufacture some of the weapons used by Hamas' terrorists. The heads of the resistance and jihad organizations, whether Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, admitted this. Emad al-Alami, for example, admitted this and said that "we received the rockets and the Fajrs from Iran." Or Ziad Al-Nehala, deputy to Dr. Ramadan Abdaullah Shalah [Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad] who also declared that they received the weapons from Iran.
  • Hamas has diverted massive amounts of aid and imported goods for use in its terrorist infrastructure. For instance, building materials worth tens of millions of dollars were diverted for the construction of Hamas’ cross-border assault tunnels, which were used to attack Israeli communities. For example, Turkish İHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation helped to directly fund the activities of the Hamas military wing. İHH was designated in 2008 by Israel as a terrorist organization because of its support for Hamas. The investigation uncovered that Mehmet Kaya, the coordinator of IHH's Gaza office, gave Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Raad Saad cash from Turkey that was earmarked for the Hamas military wing. The money transferred by the IHH to the Hamas military wing was used, inter alia, to build a facility to train Hamas marine forces, as well as to purchase equipment and weapons. It was further discovered during the investigation that, beginning in 2012, Muhammad Murtaja, who was arrested by the Israeli Security Agency, served as the Gaza Strip coordinator of TİKA. TİKA works on behalf of the Turkish government to advance humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip. The investigation showed that Murtaja deceived TİKA by misusing the organization’s resources and funds, which were intended for substantial humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip, by diverting them to Hamas’s military wing.
  • The IDF suffered 67 fatalities and another 463 soldiers were wounded during the operation. The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on 5 Aug 2014 that at least 1,312 of the 1,814 Palestinians killed in the Israeli operation were civilians. This leaves open the possibility that around 500 militants were killed, but Israel has disputed UN casualty figures in the past. According to Washington Post's William Booth, by 3 Sep 2014, IDF has determined with “100 percent certainty” that Israeli forces killed 616 combatants and “terrorist operatives.” The intelligence officer said the Israeli tally includes 341 from Hamas, 182 from Islamic Jihad and 93 from smaller factions. In the end, the Israelis believe that 44 percent of the dead will be combatants or “terror operatives,” and 56 percent civilians. Of the 4,500 rockets fired by Hamas and allies, 875 fell inside Gaza. Many were lobbed at Israeli soldiers during the ground offensive, but others were duds or misfires that landed short, meaning Hamas dropped explosives on its own people.
2. Robert H. Scales and Douglas Ollivant have observed that 'Terrorist armies fight smarter and deadlier than ever'. This frightening new age is emerging due to several factors that neither the United States nor Israeli forces fully anticipated and I would recommend reading the article for the four reasons they gave. Beyond the four reasons, at a broad level, the traditional comparative advantage of a professional army, like the IDF, has diminished, relative to terrorist groups like Hamas. These terrorist groups are increasingly able to turn their para-military organisations into effective fighting forces, often pairing their fanatical dedication with newly acquired small unit tactical skills. Over the years, Hamas has evolved in its tactical proficiency, and in:-

(i) Operation Protective Edge in Jul 2014 to Aug 2014;

(ii) Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012;​

(iii) Operation Returning Echo in March 2012;​

(iv) Operation Cast Lead in February 2009; and​

(v) Operation Hot Winter in March 2008.​

In 2014, Israeli troops had to stop short of attacking Hamas leadership who were sometimes camped underneath al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City - a reporter from Finnish TV (Helsingin Sanomat) confirmed that a rocket was launched “right in the back the parking lot” of the Al-Shifa Hospital at 2 a.m. on Friday morning, 1 Aug 2014.

3. There is another war waiting to happen in Gaza. The last one in 2014 changed nothing. Another rocket will soon be fired. Another Palestinian farmer will soon be shot near the border. Tensions will continue to simmer. White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, an American Jew, Trump’s son-in-law and author of the Middle East peace plan, said that Palestinians have long played "the victimhood card," and that for the first time a "practical, rational plan" is on the table for them.
Alternatively, Khaled Elgindy argues that Trump’s peace plan amounts to an elaborate sideshow for a land grab. The real matter of diplomatic urgency for the Palestinian people is a plan that will bring economic growth and development; not more wars of attrition.
 
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Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
D) Fighting Hamas — an adaptive enemy

1. A key element of Hamas's performance during Operation Protective Edge appears to be its emulation of the tactics of Lebanese Islamist group Hizbullah. A senior official in Hamas's armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, speaking to IHS Jane's on condition of anonymity on 22 July 2014, stated, "We have benefited from all the Iranian, Syrian, [and] Hizbullah tactical combat schools, and finally formulated [a] Qassam independent one that matches our situation and [leaves us] capable to respond to our enemy's challenge." Indeed, on 21 July 2014, Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah telephoned the head of Hamas's Political Bureau, Khaled Mashal, and the leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, offering Hizbullah's support and expressing his admiration of the two groups' performance and tactics during the ongoing conflict.
If they really do follow the path of Hezbollah, then they likely will end up as a uniformed military, with regular chain of command, and RoEs. If you look at Hezbollah forces during the '06 war, and you look at them since, the direction is clear; uniformed personnel operating in the manner of a conventional military. And perhaps that's a good thing for everyone involved.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
If they really do follow the path of Hezbollah, then they likely will end up as a uniformed military, with regular chain of command, and RoEs. If you look at Hezbollah forces during the '06 war, and you look at them since, the direction is clear; uniformed personnel operating in the manner of a conventional military. And perhaps that's a good thing for everyone involved.
E) Evolving IDF’s strategy — a military capable of the full spectrum of operations

1. The more Hamas adopts Hizbullah's TTPs, the more deadly and predictable the fight becomes for the IDF.

2. Israel’s successful use of drones in the First Lebanon War in 1982, showed that UAVs developments should be taken seriously. In 2018, 78% of the IAF’s operational flight hours were performed by UAVs. In 2019, the number jumped to 80%. UAV usage reduced risk to personnel and supports the IDF chief of staff, Lt. General Aviv Kohavi’s 5-year “Tanova” Plan (i.e impulsive force), to improve the readiness of the IDF (that follows on from the prior Gideon plan). The prior Gideon plan enabled IDF investments (in airpower, intelligence, and cyber warfare), by reducing 11% of senior officers (including 2 generals, 24 colonels and 80 lieutenant colonels who were removed). The Gideon plan for multi-year IDF investments in capability and fiscal discipline (via the relocation of resources to the Israeli Air Force and the Intelligence Corps) also unintentionally resulted in significant shortfalls that included: (1) delays in upgrading c2 systems of reserve regiments; (2) delays in procuring advanced tanks and infantry carriers; (3) shortages in important munitions, supply trucks and other logistics; and (4) the lack of realism in training.
  • As part of Lt. General Kohavi’s Tanova plan (supported by the findings of a commission led by Gen. Ilan Harari (res.) and Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi), the IDF addresses the above problems of delays and shortages to enable the IDF complete its preparations for the next major military operation with a recommended increase of about US$2 billion a year to buy back readiness and to regain its capability for ground maneuver deep into hostile territory.

  • The priorities of the military plans have been changed from a focus on the Iranian position in Syria and exposing Hezbollah and Hamas tunnels to preparing for a military confrontation in the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli officials, the battle with the Gaza Strip is imminent. Lt. General Kohavi’s Tanova plan will also include the creation of a unit within the IDF Planning Directorate — known as “Fighting methods and modernity” and also new target-picking task force that will expand the use of artificial intelligence and big data — in identifying potential targets for military strikes. Fire Weaver was demonstrated in 2018 at a battalion level exercise and is scheduled to become operational in 2022 — it provides the tactical forces with a GPS-independent geo-pixel-based tactical common language among all the sensors and shooters — it calculates the optimal shooter for each target, while minimizing collateral damage.

Israel has been able to produce or export advanced UAVs like the Hermes, the Eitan or the Heron to 20 operators. The use of UAVs has become integral to IDF operations and is highly effective. UAV operational practices have been vetted by Israel’s supreme court and its broader legal system and are widely accepted by the Israeli public. Some IDF manned squadrons are already replaced with new unmanned aero squadrons (to perform the same missions). Reflecting this shift, the number of Herons has grown by 50 percent. Its flight hours have soared by more than 25 percent since the beginning of 2018.

3. Credit must be given to Hizbullah in forcing change onto the IDF — the Second Lebanon War began on 12 July 2006, with Hizbullah initiating an ambush on IDF troops — this led to large-scale Israeli military retaliation over 34 days. What began as an Israeli air campaign rapidly evolved into an extensive ground war of bloody house-to-house battles that the Israelis were ill prepared to wage. Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the Israel military has implemented a series of reforms designed to remedy the problems it experienced in the war. To counter Hizbullah’s rocket threat, the Israeli military developed the Magic Wand and Iron Dome missile defense systems. Hizbullah, although unprepared for the scale of the Israeli response in 2006, fought tenaciously, suffering high causalities against a technologically superior foe that had control of the sky. But despite their heavy causalities, Hizbullah managed to use the war to improve its political power and influence in Lebanon—the opposite outcome Israelis had hoped for when they went to war. For a history of the Second Lebanon War (which began as an Israeli air campaign, evolved into an extensive ground war of bloody house-to-house battles that the Israelis were ill prepared to wage), see:


4. In Operation Protective Edge, Israel appears to have learned from their costly experience in Lebanon by deploying new technologies and enhancing the readiness and training for both regular and reserve units. These locally developed new technologies include the Trophy and Iron Fist active protection systems and a wide range of loitering munitions. In August 2015, the IDF published its first formal defense doctrine. The 5 chapter "IDF Strategy” document defines a continuum which differentiates between three situations: Routine, Emergency, and War (REW) and presents the changes the IDF needs to undergo in the three REW situations, including the strategy for the use of the force.

A. In a Routine situation - defensive and offensive activities, creating legitimacy and nonmilitary actions aimed at reducing the enemy's freedom of action and increasing Israel's freedom of action.​
B. In an Emergency situation - using limited military force (compared to a War situation). The purpose of the use of force is to show the futility of using force against Israel and returning to a situation of quiet and calm without aspiring to an immediate strategic change. Disruption to daily life on the home front will be as limited as possible. In addition, the campaign will focus on a limited/circumscribed achievement.​
C. In a War situation - use of the force in war is characterized by a significant mobilization of military and state resources for action together with a readiness to take high risks, and using force at a continuous high level in order to achieve victory.​

This document places a focus on the common foundations in REW of the various operational arenas in which the conflict is fought against a substate enemy (such as Hizbollah and Hamas). The unique context of the area of operation needs to be developed in a parallel process, the main point being to impose the general principles in various situations to the unique operative challenge in a particular theater.

5. Through combined arms and fire power over match, Israel seeks to persuade Hizbollah or Hamas not to attack it by credibly threatening to retaliate. If an aggressor attacks Israel, the thinking goes, Israel will respond in ways that will impose pain that exceeds any gain the aggressor can hope to achieve. To be effective, deterrence requires three Cs: clarity, capability and credibility. Specifically, this means clarity about the red line that cannot be crossed, communicated in language that Hizbollah or Hamas understands; capability to impose costs that greatly exceed the benefits; and credibility about the willingness to do so. Failures occur when the deterrer falls short on any one of the three Cs.
 
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Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
5. Through combined arms and fire power over match, Israel seeks to persuade Hizbollah or Hamas not to attack it by credibly threatening to retaliate. If an aggressor attacks Israel, the thinking goes, Israel will respond in ways that will impose pain that exceeds any gain the aggressor can hope to achieve. To be effective, deterrence requires three Cs: clarity, capability and credibility. Specifically, this means clarity about the red line that cannot be crossed, communicated in language that Hizbollah or Hamas understands; capability to impose costs that greatly exceed the benefits; and credibility about the willingness to do so. Failures occur when the deterrer falls short on any one of the three Cs.
There's a Russian word "договороспособность". It means someone with whom it is possible to negotiate, or rather the quality of being such a someone. The significance is that it goes in both directions. On the one hand Hezbollah had to have gained the political power in Lebanon, and thus tighter control over its own branches and spin-off groups, to prevent them from causing incidents with Israel against the wishes or instructions of their own central leadership. In other words, Hezbollah has to be a group with whom negotiation is possible. On the other hand Israel had to see and believe that Hezbollah can deliver. I.e. Israel has to see Hezbollah as a group with whom negotiation is possible. I think this principle applies to deterrence as well. In my opinion, one of the reasons why Hezbollah and Israel have had a wary semi-truce since the '06 war (with incidents here and there to be sure, but nothing on the scale of '06) while Hamas has failed to establish any similar detente is because Hamas lacks договороспособность in both directions. They both have insufficient control on their end, and are perceived as not being capable of consistently maintaining their side of the bargain even if the people on top would prefer to.
 
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OPSSG

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F) Fighting For Peace — the regional context

1. With Jared Kushner’s idiotic backing, Israel is planning to move forward on controversial plans to annex a broad swath of the West Bank, particularly the Jordan Valley, as early as this summer — according to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Trump’s flawed Middle East Peace plan, labelled as the ‘one-state solution’ (to confuse Jared Kushner), has been rejected by at least the Arab League and the Germans.

2. Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned that the Israeli government’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank could lead to "massive conflict" and said his kingdom is "considering all options", including freezing or cancelling its 1994 peace treaty with Israel. See: Jordan's King Abdullah warns of 'massive conflict' if Israel annexes West Bank

3. This latest development comes days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel for talks with Israeli leaders and ahead of the swearing in of the new Israeli government. Jordan has been lobbying the US and EU member states for the last several weeks to discourage the new Israeli government from moving forward on annexation of the West Bank. The foreign ministers of the 27 member states of the EU met via video conference to discuss the issue.

4. An extract of what King Abdullah II told the German magazine Der Spiegel is set out below:

DER SPIEGEL: Politicians like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu want to take advantage of the opportunity presented by Trump and annex large parts of the Palestinian territories.​

King Abdullah II: Leaders who advocate a one-state solution do not understand what that would mean. What would happen if the Palestinian National Authority collapsed? There would be more chaos and extremism in the region. If Israel really annexes the West Bank in July, it would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.​
DER SPIEGEL: You would suspend the peace treaty with Israel?​
King Abdullah II: I don't want to make threats and create a loggerheads atmosphere, but we are considering all options. We agree with many countries in Europe and the international community that the law of the strongest should not apply in the Middle East.​
DER SPIEGEL: For the rulers in the Gulf, the fight against Iran now seems more important than the Israel-Palestine conflict. Do you feel betrayed?​
King Abdullah II: Jordan has faced challenging times before. But let me be very fair to my dear friend Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and others: At meetings of the Arab League, the proposal for a one-state solution is still vehemently rejected. When the one-state solution plan was addressed six or seven months ago, His Majesty the King of Saudi Arabia said that no, we are with the Palestinian state.​
DER SPIEGEL: Germany is your country's second-largest supporter after the U.S. What do you expect from Berlin?​

King Abdullah II: I have known Chancellor Merkel for a very long time. The Jordanian-German relationship is at an all-time high. We have an excellent working relationship, including in our military and security services. Germany understands what the right decision is on the Israeli-Palestinian question. We will be allies and friends, I believe, on this issue going forward.​

4. An Israeli soldier was killed in the northern West Bank in the predawn hours on 12 May 2020. Following from that 3 Palestinians attempt an attack due to the flawed peace plan.

5. Due to the proliferation of Iranian and Hizbollah missiles in the Middle East, in 2007, Israel was forced to developed its own counter. According to IAI, the 1,600 kg solid-fuel LORA can hit targets nearly 250 miles away within 10 minutes thanks to an unspecified “supersonic velocity." The missile has a 600kg penetrating warhead and relies on GPS and inertial navigation to get it to the target area. A notional complete containerized LORA battery would include a command and fire control container and four launchers, each with four missiles, plus four reload vehicles. On land, trucks would carry these components, giving them additional mobility and the ability to escape a first strike. At sea, the self-contained nature of the system means a customer could easily load it onto any vessel with the appropriate space, quickly turning it into a stand-off weapon platform. Since the command section has all the equipment necessary to launch the missiles, no other modifications to the ship are necessary. In a maritime environment, the obvious benefits of these systems are relatively low cost launchers and the lack of need for a dedicated missile-armed vessel.

6. With regards to the coming war in the Gaza Strip, Operation Northern Shield (from 4 Dec 2018 until 13 Jan 2019) is illustrative and an example of good use of the general principles of deterrence to the unique operative challenge. The operation located and destroyed 6 Hizbollah tunnels that cross the Blue Line from Lebanon into northern Israel — these tunnels were a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. In late 2014, the first hints of a secret Qods Force/Hezbollah project came to light—a flagship plan for developing a massive system of underground attack tunnels due to the IDF’s control of the sky. As part of a wider potential offensive, this network could have allowed thousands of troops to rise up from tunnels that stretched from inside Lebanon into Israeli communities. This display of IDF intelligence and operational capabilities strengthens Israeli deterrence — the Qods Force and Hezbollah were clearly shocked — a reaction manifested in their attempts to minimize the importance of a program. See also:

(ii) Operation Northern Shield: Interim Assessment
(iii) IDF’s microsite on Operation Northern Shield
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
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Post 1 of 2:
1. When Israel announced the annexation of West Bank, I expressed my concern that this could lead to war — a war where loitering munitions like the Firefly with its two coaxial rotors (carrying a sensor payload and a warhead) could be employed. The IDF has procured the Firefly for urban warfare and this loitering munition has an operating range of 500 meters in an urban setting and a kilometer in the open.

2. What I see in this deal is UAE stepping forward to find a solution by agreeing to normalise diplomatic relations with Israel. Creating this incentive for Israel to step back from its Trump backed annexation plans requires both courage and transparency by UAE. This is not a Trump-Netanyahu deal. It’s a UAE — Israel deal that should be understood as the best chance for peace and UAE, with the most capable Arab Air Force, should be thanked for choosing peace.

3. Those whining in Iran only fear losing street credibility in Palestine. Palestinian Rights Activists do not seem to know that this peace agreement has suspended /stopped the annexation of West Bank. Now the Arabs can work on achieving peace locally. Unfortunately, those that benefit most from this deal, the citizens of the West Bank and its PLO government cannot even seem to understand reality. No Arab government is going to risk war with Israel over a Palestinian cause. This deal will eventually lead to an increase of trade and prosperity for the region.

4. The logic for suspending the annexation of West Bank indefinitely is sound. If the parties back-track from this peace deal, the annexation of West Bank is back on the table. It takes time to build trust in this peace for peace deal.
 
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