Sunday, January 04, 2009

Gaza

I don't blog much on the Middle East. I can sum up my beliefs very succinctly: Israel has a right to exist, the Palestinians have the right to their property and full civil and political rights, and extremists on both sides -- Israeli settlers, Hamas, Hizbollah and various other Jihadists -- have a strong stake in preventing a lasting peace.

Regarding the Israeli incursion, it appears Hamas' fighters have followed the lead of the Iraqi army and, after trying to scare off the enemy with blood-curdling threats, melted away into the civilian population.

The media can talk all it likes about fierce fighting, but when at least three brigades of infantry and armor -- more than 10,000 soldiers -- invade a very confined urban territory with 1.5 million inhabitants and dedicated defenders, you don't get just 21 fatalities, (most from artillery), you get Berlin in April and May, 1945.

Obviously, the pattern of provocation -- invasion -- guerrilla resistance, which worked well enough for Jihadists in Iraq, is being applied by Hamas in Gaza. The Israelis have invaded, Hamas has gone to ground, the Israelis will make some arrests and destroy some paramilitary infrastructure, and they'll either leave or be caught in the same grinding attrition faced by the US in Iraq and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

On the plus side, Israeli intelligence seems to be quite amazing. When you read all the coverage of Operation Cast Lead, look to see how the Israelis knew who the rocket makers were and had the information to make relatively surgical hits against Hamas military installations.

The ground forces going into Gaza will have that same quality of information, showing Mossad is much better at analyzing its enemies than the CIA was in Iraq.

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