A key part of the strategy behind Hamas’s weekly border protests—made explicit by its leader Yahya Sinwar—is to mix its fighters among peaceful demonstrators, so that there is a high likelihood of civilian casualties if the IDF returns fire. Similarly, Hizballah has positioned its military installations and supply depots so that nearly one-third of Lebanese Shiites are serving as de-facto human shields. In December, Congress passed a law sanctioning such activities, mentioning both organizations by name. Mark Dubowitz and Orde Kittrie discuss the extent of the problem posed by the use of human shields—which are employed by Islamic State, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups—and how the new law can make a difference. (Interview by Clifford May. Audio, 38 minutes.)
A New U.S. Law Can Combat the Use of Human Shields
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.