Developing a New Israeli Way of War

Jan. 24 2022

From the Yom Kippur War through the last spring’s Gaza conflict, Israel’s enemies have deployed missiles as decisive strategic weapons, often in unprecedented ways. It is likely that a future conflict with Hizballah will involve massive volleys of advanced missiles from Lebanon, Gaza, and perhaps elsewhere as well. Brigadier General Eran Ortal, who heads the IDF’s internal think tank, argues that the Jewish state has not yet implemented an appropriate set of doctrines for confronting this new kind of warfare. To do so, he encourages the use of sensors and other high-tech tools, including what has been dubbed “the battlefield Internet of things,” combined with the old-fashioned deployment of ground forces:

Two elements make it difficult to fight a missile-based force. First, the missile allows its operator to remain hidden, at least most of the time. The second challenge is lethality: Hamas and Hizballah missiles are increasingly accurate and lethal. A missile-based adversary deprives Israeli forces of effective targets, while at the same time turning Israeli soldiers into targets. The solution lies in two simple principles. “Turn on the light”—expose the enemy as the result of his need to reveal himself, helped by more sophisticated detection capabilities. Then “extinguish the fire”—attack the missile launchers (and intercept missiles already launched) in the short periods during which they are exposed.

The enemy’s weakness is, in fact, that its whole purpose on the battlefield is to launch and fire. During most of the battle, enemy forces will be in hiding. . . . While Israeli forces have invested tremendous effort locating hideouts and attempting to hunt down enemies moving covertly between positions, they have not effectively taken advantage of the fact that an individual becomes visible at the moment of firing or launching. This missed opportunity is exacerbated when one considers that radar location and optical launch detection are simple and cheap solutions that cover large areas.

A “turn on the light and extinguish the fire” maneuver would be able to attack deep into enemy territory to conquer main nerve centers and inflict a decisive defeat, while suppressing enemy rockets and missiles launched nearby toward Israeli forces and toward the home front. The force would protect itself and the home front from missiles and rockets. It would also avoid more traditional, complex, and risky seek-and-destroy missions by striking only selected targets, thereby shortening the battle. If necessary, fire suppression assets could also be deployed outside the main force’s path of advance, supported by dedicated assault and security forces.

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Read more at War on the Rocks

More about: Hamas, Hizballah, IDF, Israeli Security, Israeli technology, Strategy

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism