Posts Tagged ‘Operation Protective Edge’
Israeli scholar says Army is not well prepared for conflict with Hezbollah; Hamas war showed major flaws
This is a sober report by Eitan Shamir. The implications are clear: Israel’s QME (quality military edge) with Hezbollah has deteriorated over the years, while Hamas’s fighting on the ground has materially improved. This is the negative teleology of technology that Hillary Clinton warned the Israelis about in her 2010 AIPAC speech…. overtime you can dome and wall yourself off with technology – and the US will pay heavily to help – but the arc is likely against your effectiveness over time. Peace, settlement, conflict mitigation are desperately needed.
“…Prior to Operation Protective Edge, the IDF was forced to make some decisions regarding its future force structure as a result of a shrinking budget. In effect, the IDF had to choose between one of two options: strengthen its relative weaknesses (maneuver-oriented ground forces) or, conversely, increase its relative strengths (standoff fire, precision fire, intelligence, cyber, and special forces). The IDF apparently chose the second course of action, but the consequences for its standing and reserves ground forces would be significant: cutting back supply plans for the Namer APC (armored personnel carrier); delaying the Merkava 5 tank projects; closing armor, artillery, and aircraft units; and dramatically reducing training. The ground forces could have found themselves in dire straits as they did prior to the 2006 Lebanon war.
|Operation Protective Edge was not a repeat of previous campaigns where Israel’s air supremacy pressed rivals to end the conflict.|
The assumption behind this decision was that the ground forces’ unique capabilities would become less relevant to defeating future threats and were, therefore, no longer necessary in such strengths. Instead, it was decided that accurate, long-range fire and special forces raids aimed through precise intelligence could rapidly destroy the enemy’s capabilities. However, this assumes the ability to anticipate the nature of these threats, such as the prediction that the IDF will not face a symmetrical enemy (a large-scale, regular army). Rival armies do exist, but the IDF planners assumed they would not be used. Forecasting the future is always difficult, but Israeli military planners envisioned a repeat of previous operations whereby Israel’s air supremacy pressed rivals to seek ways to end the conflict. Operation Protective Edge failed to live up to these expectations.
Ground fighting proved much fiercer than anticipated. In Operation Cast Lead (December 2008-January 2009), when Israeli ground troops entered Gaza, Hamas ground forces fled. This time, they fought to defend the tunnel system. Israeli forces searching for the tunnels inside Gaza suffered approximately 700 casualties—45 of them fatal; still, casualties among Palestinian fighters were significantly higher. While the Israelis searched for the tunnels, Hamas conducted three raids into Israel via yet undiscovered tunnels. Most of the raiders were killed, but the IDF suffered casualties. The ground battle did not stop the firing of Palestinian rockets and missiles, but it did reduce it considerably. Hamas also made two amphibious raids conducted in the first days of the war. Both were detected, and all the participants killed.