Israeli Strategy: Gaza

The Israeli effort to defeat a terrorist (Hamas) enclave in Gaza is a piece of an arch that until now has been out of Israeli reach.  Destroying Hamas’ underground infrastructure, isolating it diplomatically while hunting down numerous Iranian proxies that seek to infiltrate Israel will be accomplished.

What Gaza represents for Israel is a mortal, existential threat of Iranian envelopment that must be addressed strengthening a favorable Israeli balance of power.  For the Israeli’s, clearing the outer rim of Israel proper is the first task to be accomplished before an Iranian breakout.

None of this addresses the fundamental cultural, diplomatic and strategic challenge of a growing fractious Shia proxy.  The Arab Spring has devolved into an age old conflict between Shia (Iran) & Sunni (House of Saud).  Hamas’ refusal to assist Assad in Syria reveals a darkening, a widening of tensions that Iran cannot master.  This lead to an isolated Hamas, hence the need to launch indiscriminate rocket attacks into Israel.

The interwoven layers of strategic deterrence involved in this ‘long view’ of Israeli nuclear strategy will take time to unveil.  Removing, substantially degrading Iranian proxies along the Israeli perimeter could take considerable time.  The entire Sunni ‘establishment’ is diplomatically backing Israel.   (You read that right!!)  Incidentally, an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear assets will NOT prompt a broader regional conflict.  Except for a dithering American executive, strategically Israel possesses scope and time.

The only viable Iranian alternative is to preempt Israel by launching against its civilian population.  This is unlikely; Iran will continue to develop and fine tune its long held doctrine of low intensity conflict, retaliating indirectly through surrogates.  It will diplomatically threaten, but Iran will not seek open confrontation by closing the Strait of Hormuz.

Hamas & Hezbollah are open game!

The rockets used are not terribly accurate, they have no guidance systems, however, they are replenished at a favorable clip with more precise weaponry.  Hamas possess’ substantially upgraded longer ranger missiles such as the Fajr-5 and the Khaibar (Syrian built), whose range is about 200 miles.  This means that Hamas can strike at Israel’s port of Haifa from Gaza.  The 50 mile range Fajr-5 can be positioned to hit Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or the Dimona nuclear reactor.

Strategically, the IDF needs to disarm Gaza, eliminate Hamas’ missile, drone capability easily retrofitted for chemical, biological dispersed weapons.  This is precisely why Hezbollah has been missing from this conflict.  It knows that its drone capability would usher in new Israeli doctrines that would wipe Hezbollah out!

Two Words:  GO ISRAEL.

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About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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