Who Won the Gaza War? Or Was It a Tie?

In Operation Protective Edge, Israel was able to achieve its goal of stopping rocket fire without a full-scale invasion of the Gaza strip, and without significant concessions to Hamas. Yet Hamas remains in power in Gaza and is no doubt planning its next war. In his summation of lessons learned from the conflict, Amos Yadlin, a former chief of military intelligence, considers who won, weighs the benefits and drawbacks of leaving Hamas in power, and ponders the IDF’s strategy for the next round:

The way in which the campaign was conducted countered Israel’s traditional security concept, which is based on deterrence, early warning, and decision. Israel’s overwhelming military power and the results of the previous conflicts did not deter Hams from initiating the recent offensive. There was no specific intelligence indication or strategic warning about the approaching conflict. . . . Likewise, in the conflict itself, Israel did not achieve a decisive victory. Clearly, it is not possible to apply the traditional security concept to every campaign or round of conflict, but it is important that it serve as a fundamental frame of reference for the Israeli defense leadership. . . .

Hamas in Gaza is neither a classic terrorist organization nor is it a normal state. If falls under a new definition of a hybrid organization that includes elements of the two configurations. Therefore, when fighting against it, it is necessary to apply all elements of the classic security doctrine as well as mission-specific elements of a war against non-state terrorist organizations.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza, Hamas, Israeli grand strategy, Israeli military, Protective Edge, Terrorism

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy