Learning from the Success of the Recent Fighting in Gaza

Aug. 12 2022

Lasting only 66 hours, the Israeli military operation last weekend was, in Ron Ben-Yishai’s words, “an outright Israeli triumph in all aspects: military, political, and financial.” That this was so, Ben-Yishai explains, is made most clear not by the success of the Iron Dome in intercepting the rockets launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) or the IDF’s swiftness in eliminating the organization’s leadership, but in the terms of the ceasefire:

The PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah, who is currently in Tehran, as well as the organizations’ other leaders in Gaza and Damascus, had no choice but to accept what the Egyptian mediators’ offer, even though it asked for no significant sacrifice from Israel. The ceasefire lacks any form of substantial political or military content, and does anything but put the organization at ease. It was essentially an unconditional surrender for Islamic Jihad, for the sake of Hamas and Gaza residents.

However, it must be noted that the IDF and civilians were blessed with a lot of luck. A lot of things had the potential to go wrong, yet the odds were in our favor. The missiles fired by our jets landed exactly where they were supposed to, the intelligence was flawless, and the collateral damage, i.e., innocent Gazan civilians, was kept to a minimum. Less than a third of the Palestinian casualties were a result of Israeli fire. This is a noteworthy accomplishment when comparing to previous operations, in which at least half of the casualties were uninvolved civilians. More so, this accomplishment is also noteworthy when compared to armies of other democratic countries.

It must be assumed that the luck we were blessed with this time probably won’t be on our side next time, and that it’s fair to expect that “the next time” is right around the corner. The main takeaway from this operation is that precise political and military preparations are necessary for success in the battlefield. This kind of preparation calls for resources—mostly time—hence the IDF must plan and practice to prepare for operations where we are not the initiators, who always have the upper hand.

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza Strip, Islamic Jihad, Israeli Security

How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists

Sept. 28 2022

On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:

[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.

Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.

The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.

Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.

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Read more at Nervana

More about: Arab World, Iran, Women in Islam