Friday, December 28, 2012

Gatestone Update :: Yaakov Lappin: Israel Redefines Victory in the New Middle East, and more

Facebook  Twitter  RSS
Gatestone Institute
In this mailing:

Israel Redefines Victory in the New Middle East

by Yaakov Lappin
December 28, 2012 at 5:00 am
Be the first of your friends to like this.
Senior Israeli officials have indicated this month that any round of future fighting with Hezbollah will make last month's Gaza conflict seem minor by comparison. Offense, not defense, is still preferred.
Israel is redefining its concept of military victory in a Middle East dominated by terrorist organizations turned quasi-state actors.
Once, decisive, unmistakable victories, accompanied by conquests of territory that had been used to stage attacks against Israel, provided all parties concerned with a "knockout" image. Victory was seen by the Israel Defense Forces as a clear-cut event, which ended when the enemy raised a white flag. Today, however, the IDF considers this thinking out of date in the 21st century battle arenas of the region, where a terror organization such as Hamas will continue firing rockets into Israel right up until the last day of a conflict, and claim victory despite absorbing the majority of damages and casualties.
Today, the goal of seizing control of the enemy's turf is seen as a short-term initiative, and assuming long-term control and responsibility for hostile populations is a highly unpopular development among strategic planners, who now argue that this should be avoided wherever possible.
For decades, the IDF has been facing irregular asymmetric terrorist organizations which can change form, melt away and reform according to their needs.
The last time Israel fought direct battles with organized, hierarchical military foes was during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Today, as the main goal of most conflicts, victory has been replaced by deterrence. Deterrence, rather than clear-cut conquest or triumph over the enemy, has formed the goal of Israel's last three conflicts: the Second Lebanon War of 2006; Operation Cast Lead against against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in 2009 and Operation Pillar of Defense against the same entities in Gaza in November.
Although the Second Lebanon War was claimed by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah as a "divine victory," six and a half years later, at the end of 2012, Hezbollah has still not repaired all of the damage it suffered in that conflict, and the Lebanese-Israeli border has never been quieter. Despite several glaring tactical and operational shortcomings, as a deterrent the Second Lebanon War was an Israeli victory.
Nevertheless, deterrence-based military achievements are temporary by nature. At some point, deterrence erodes away, and must be reestablished all over again. This is what happened in Gaza last month. And the IDF has been preparing for a fresh confrontation with Hezbollah in Lebanon, which today is armed with at least 50,000 rockets and missiles, many of them with a range of 200 kilometers, that can strike deep inside Israel.
Quietly, the Israel Air Force has been upgrading its weapons systems to allow it to face down Hezbollah with enhanced firepower. The new systems currently installed in IAF jets mean that a very large number of targets can be struck in Lebanon from the air within a very short period of time. The 1500 targets struck in Gaza, for example, during November's operation over the course of eight days, could have been struck in 24 hours had the IAF elected to do so.
Israeli intelligence has been mapping out the weapons storehouses in southern Lebanese villages and towns, and building up a long list of targets, for the day that Israel's deterrence runs out.
The IDF's evolving new doctrine involves short spells of fighting, in which the IDF hits the other side hard – hard enough to ensure that the Israeli home front will enjoy prolonged calm after the fighting ends. As opposed to the mission of utterly destroying Hamas or Hezbollah, such limited goals can be obtained quickly. Hezbollah is fully aware, meanwhile, that should it begin another conflict, it will reap major destruction on Lebanon.
The Israeli doctrine is flexible. It allows the IDF to choose the severity of the blows it lands on the enemy, depending on the circumstances of each fight, and the adversary involved.
Senior Israeli defense sources have indicated this month that any future round of fighting with Hezbollah will make last month's Gaza conflict seem minor by comparison. Even if the goal will not be to destroy Hezbollah, the organization is still susceptible to enormous damage; it is well aware of its exposure to overwhelming Israeli firepower.
The day after a future conflict ends, one defense source said this month, Hezbollah will have to "get up in the morning and explain to their people" why they invited yet more destruction to Lebanon.
The fact that Islamist terror organizations Hamas and Hezbollah have formed political entities, and are responsible for managing the affairs of their people, means that they are more vulnerable than ever.
Unfortunately, the rocket and missile capabilities possessed by both means that Israeli civilians are also in the firing line; and the IDF is not counting on rocket defense systems such as Iron Dome to prevent wide-scale damage and secure future victories.
Even in the service of the limited goal of deterrence, offense, not defense, is still preferred.
Finally, the new doctrine is not fixed in stone; should Israel ever find that it cannot deter the enemies on its borders, it may choose to revert to its older method of defending its citizens: fully vanquishing hostile forces, despite the price it may have to pay.
Related Topics:  Israel  |  Yaakov Lappin

Egyptian Cleric Threatens Egypt's Copts with Genocide

by Raymond Ibrahim
December 28, 2012 at 4:00 am
Be the first of your friends to like this.
"The day Egyptians…feel you are against them, you will be wiped off the face of the Earth." — Dr. Wagdi Goneim
Islamic leaders continue to portray the popular protests against President Morsi and his recently passed Sharia-heavy constitution as products of Egypt's Christians. Recently, Muslim Brotherhood leader Safwat Hegazy said in an open rally, as captured on video:
A message to the church of Egypt, from an Egyptian Muslim: I tell the church — by Allah, and again, by Allah — if you conspire and unite with the remnants [opposition] to bring Morsi down, that will be another matter…. our red line is the legitimacy of Dr. Muhammad Morsi. Whoever splashes water on it, we will splash blood on him."
More recently, Dr. Wagdi Ghoneim — who earlier praised Allah for the death of the late Coptic Pope Shenouda, cursing him to hell and damnation on video — made another video, entitled, "A Notice and Warning to the Crusaders in Egypt," a reference to the nation's Copts, which he began by saying, "You are playing with fire in Egypt, I swear, the first people to be burned by the fire are you [Copts]." The video was made in the context of the Tahrir protests against Morsi: Islamic leaders, such as Hegazy and Ghoneim, seek to portray the Copts as dominant elements in those protests; according to them, no real Muslim would participate. Ghoneim even went on to say that most of the people at the protests were Copts, "and we know you hid your [wrist] crosses by lowering your sleeves."
The heart of Ghoneim's message was genocidal: "The day Egyptians — and I don't even mean the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafis, regular Egyptians — feel that you are against them, you will be wiped off the face of the earth. I'm warning you now: do not play with fire!"
Along with trying to incite Egypt's Muslims against the Copts, and threatening them with annihilation, Ghoneim made other telling assertions, including:
·        Addressing the Christians of Egypt as "Crusaders," once again showing Islam's simplistic, black-and-white vision, which clumps all Christians — of all nations, past and present, regardless of historical context and denomination — as one, in accordance with an Islamic tradition that states "All infidels are one religion."
·        Comparing Christian Copts to animals: "Respect yourselves and live with us and we will protect you... Why?... because Allah has forbidden me to be cruel to animals. I'm not trying to compare you to animals … but if I am not cruel to animals or plants, shall I be cruel to a soul created by Allah? You are an infidel in Allah's sight — and it is for him to judge you. However, when you live in my country, it is forbidden for me to be unjust to you — but that doesn't mean we are equal. No, oh no."
·        Telling Copts: "I want to remind you that Egypt is a Muslim country.... if you don't like the Muslim Sharia, you have eight countries that have a Cross on their flag [in Europe], so go to them. However, if you want to stay here in Egypt with us, know your place and be respectful. You already have all your rights — by Allah, even more than Muslims... No one investigates your homes, no one investigates your churches. In fact, in the past, the Islamic groups used to fake their IDs and put Christian names on them when they would go out for [jihadi] operations, so that when the police would catch them, they would see they are Christians and be left alone." Ghoneim misses the irony of what he says: Police know that Egyptian Christians are not going to engage in terror; Egyptian Muslims are suspect.
·        Saying, in mocking tones, towards the end: "What do you think — that America will protect you? Let's be very clear, America will not protect you. If so, it would have protected the Christians of Iraq when they were being butchered!" — a reference to the fact that, after the U.S. ousted Saddam Hussein, half of Iraq's Christian population has either been butchered or fled the nation, and all under U.S. auspices.
·        Claiming that the Copts are only four million while the Muslims are 85 million — even as Coptic Orthodox Church registries maintain that there are more than 15 million Copts, and most outside analysts say 10 million— and adding that Morsi was only being nice by saying, as he did during one of his speeches: "There are no minorities in Egypt." Ghoneim fails to explain, if Copts are so few — four million compared to 85 million — how could they be so influential, and flood the Tahrir protests with such large numbers?
·        Mocking new Coptic Pope Tawadros—not surprising considering his great hate for the former Pope—by claiming that the new Pope urged Copts to protest; that the new Pope wants to see Morsi and Sharia law fall, and by adding, "Is it not enough that you have all those monasteries?"
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Related Topics:  Egypt  |  Raymond Ibrahim

To subscribe to the this mailing list, go to

No comments:

Post a Comment