How Israel Beat the Terror Wave

June 24 2022

From March to May, a series of small-scale terrorist attacks claimed the lives of some twenty Israelis, and raised fears that jihadist murder would again become a fact of everyday life in the Jewish state. Hillel Frisch details how a swift campaign waged by the IDF and Shin Bet, employing deliberate and discriminate force, succeeded in restoring the peace:

The response, dubbed the “Wave Breaker” campaign, was not qualitatively different from ordinary IDF operations in Judea and Samaria conducted since the spring of 2002, when the IDF entered major towns in territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA). . . . Israeli forces, [in response to the attacks], consistently entered these towns and their environs almost daily to make arrests, which led to a 90-percent decrease in terrorism.

Israel’s heightened use of force was reflected in the increasing number of arrests. During January and February preceding the beginning of the wave, 456 and 448 arrests were made, respectively. This increased dramatically to 1,128 arrests in April after the Wave Breaker campaign began.

The effectiveness of this increased use of force is plain to see. . . . However, one cannot disregard the importance of other more defensive measures. For example, soldiers were sent to fill in the gaps in the security fence.

Three important lessons should be learned from confronting the recent wave. First, the security forces should quicken their response after a terrorist attack or when signs appear that attacks could be forthcoming. . . . Second, the security establishment must be forever wary of relying on the PA to do the work for them. Third, refraining from using force rather than exercising it encourages terrorism.

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Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank

 

Iran, America, and the Future of Democracy in the Middle East

Nov. 23 2022

Sixty-two days after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic Republic’s police, the regime has failed to quash the protest movement. But it is impossible to know if the tide will turn, and what the outcome of the government’s collapse might be. Reuel Marc Gerecht considers the very real possibility that a democratic Iran will emerge, and considers the aftershocks that might follow. (Free registration required.)

American political and intellectual elites remain uneasy with democracy promotion everywhere primarily because it has failed so far in the Middle East, the epicenter of our attention the last twenty years. (Iraq’s democracy isn’t dead, but it didn’t meet American expectations.) Might our dictatorial exception for Middle Eastern Muslims change if Iran were to set in motion insurrections elsewhere in the Islamic world, in much the same way that America’s response to 9/11 probably helped to produce the rebellions against dictatorship that started in Tunisia in 2010? The failure of the so-called Arab Spring to establish one functioning democracy, the retreat of secular democracy in Turkey, and the implosion of large parts of the Arab world have left many wondering whether Middle Eastern Muslims can sustain representative government.

In 1979 the Islamic revolution shook the Middle East, putting religious militancy into overdrive and tempting Saddam Hussein to unleash his bloodiest war. The collapse of Iran’s theocracy might be similarly seismic. Washington’s dictatorial preference could fade as the contradictions between Arab tyranny and Persian democracy grow.

Washington isn’t yet invested in democracy in Iran. Yet, as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has often noted, American hostility toward the Islamic Republic has been damaging. If the theocracy falls, Iranians will surely give America credit—vastly more credit that they will give to the European political class, who have been trying to make nice, and make money, with the clerical regime since the early 1990s—for this lasting enmity. We may well get more credit than we deserve. Both Democrats and Republicans who have dismissed the possibilities of democratic revolutions among the Muslim peoples of the Middle East will still, surely, claim it eagerly.

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Arab democracy, Democracy, Iran, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy