Islamic Jihad and Hamas Are Getting Better at Making Rockets

Sept. 21 2022

During its brief conflict with Israel last month, Palestinian Islamic Jihad managed to fire an average of 588 rockets and mortars per day. Put into the context of previous confrontations, that is a dramatic escalation over the average of 400 projectiles fired by terrorist groups in Gaza during the 2021 war, and 220 during the brief 2019 conflict. Uzi Rubin delves into these and related data to argue that the minimal casualties and physical damage Israel suffered during these exchanges are the product of the IDF’s ever-improving defensive capabilities, rather than any failings on the part of its enemies. He explains the implications:

Since even a failed launch causes alarms to be sounded in Israel that send the population to the bomb shelters and disrupt routine life, it is perhaps more cost effective for the armed Palestinian militias in Gaza to invest more effort in increasing the quantity of their rockets rather than spend the costly and time-consuming effort to make them more reliable.

With everything else being equal, producing and firing rockets is cheaper than shooting them down. Contrary to Clausewitz’s dictum that defense is easier than offense, in the case of missile warfare, and at the current state of military technology, the opposite is true: rocket and missile offense is easier than rocket and missile defense. . . . Instead of investing in fancy decoys, [Palestinian groups] invest in larger stockpiles of missile and rocket and in ever-growing fleets of survivable launchers. The idea is to drown the defenses under a veritable deluge of rocket and missiles, synchronized with an onslaught of cruise missiles and UAVs.

[T]he evidence is that all of Israel’s efforts to block the smuggling of machinery, raw materials, and components to the Gaza production lines are not too effective and are unable to stem the Gaza rocket buildup. It stands to reason that this buildup will eventually peak since there must be some inherent limitations of manpower, production capacity, and launching sites in Gaza. By the same token, the growth of Israel’s defensive capabilities is also sure to hit some ceiling eventually, due to several limiting factors, most importantly that of finances.

In other words, Israel and Gaza are locked in a technological arms race and, Rubin concludes, “there is no assurance that Israel will ultimately prevail.”

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Islamic Jihad

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy