What Not to Do in Gaza

While Jerusalem has made clear its intention to end Hamas’s control of the Gaza Strip, it’s not at all evident what is supposed to replace Hamas—short of the unwelcome possibility of an Israeli reoccupation. Robert Silverman suggests the answer might be the introduction of a “multinational force and observers” (MFO), such as is deployed in the Sinai Peninsula to keep the peace between Egypt and Israel. I have to admit my skepticism that such a force could be up to the task of imposing order on the unruly territory and overseeing the creation of a new regime—except for the fact that every other option seems even worse. More importantly, Silverman has some thoughts about what not to do:

One lesson from past failures in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere is to avoid the well-educated, English-speaking expatriates whom Americans feel will be welcomed by the locals. Everyone recalls Iraq’s Ahmed Chalabi or Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai, but more relevant here is the PLO return to Gaza in the mid-1990s. They replicated their Tunis seaside-villa lifestyle in the midst of Gaza. They set up armed guards on the corniche to prevent the average Gazan from entering the exclusive residential zone of their new rulers. When the Gazans got a chance, they voted the PLO thugs out of power (and instead got the genocidal maniacs of Hamas.)

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy