The Calm Before the Storm?

What to make of the fighting so far  from a military standpoint? 

According to the latest reports, it doesn’t seem that Israeli forces are taking heavy casualties.  Just 7  according to CNN.  So does this mean that Hamas is taking a beating, even “losing?” After all,  the Islamic Resistance Movement faces several geographic and other challenges that Hezbollah didn’t.  From an excellent article at  The National:

there are five important differences between the two conflicts that the Hamas leadership does not seem to have grasped or appreciated.

1. Gaza, only 360 square kilometres in size, lacks the strategic depththat Hizbollah had in Lebanon. So Hamas guerrillas have much smaller and narrower areas of operations than Hizbollah guerrillas had in Lebanon, which gives Israel an advantage.

2. Hizbollah fighters are not members of government, civilian and military institutions such as the police and ministries, so Israeli jets had a limited list of targets. In Gaza they have a large number of easy targetsthat were hit in the first minutes of the attack, killing at least 200 Hamas members in public buildings.

3. Israel besieged Lebanon from air and sea but could never seal off land routes in and out of the country, so Hizbollah had a good supply of arms and supplies. Gaza was completely sealed off fromall sides with the exception of a few tunnels that were mostly destroyed in the first two days of the attack. Now Israeli tanks have cut off Gaza City and the northern part of the Strip from its southern part and completely sealed off all entry points, so Hamas has no access to military supplies.

4. Hamas is much less able than Hizbollah to threaten the Israeli rear. While Hizbollah missile strikes hit dozens of Israeli settlements, towns and cities all over northern and central Israel and can now reach southern Israel, Hamas’s missiles can reach only up to 45km and are mostly ineffective. Missiles fired from Gaza in 2008 killed ten Israelis, while Hizbollah missile attacks on Israel in the 33-day war killed more than 100 and inflicted serious damage to property. So Hamas missile strikes will not be enough to force Israel into new ceasefire talks. Moreover, Hamas’s anti-armour capabilities seem to be ineffective against Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

5. Hizbollah had much better information, intelligence and counter-intelligence than Hamas. This has been made clear by Israel’s ability to hit many sensitive targets and to dominate the battlespace from the air. Hamas has failed to spring any surprises on the battlefield in the way that Hizbollah did in 2006, confusing the Israeli military command.

Or is HAMAS merely waiting  to set up a strategic ambush or  “spring the street warfare trap?”   If I was the Hamas military leader, recognizing that the IDF has  insurmountable advantages in face-to-face normal fighting,  I would tell the foot-soldiers to sit back, put up minimum resistance, and wait until IDF extends itself all over Gaza. And then go all out in a Stalingrad-type  last stand with a blaze of martyrdom.  

If Hamas is going to go down, then their strategy might be to try and bring down as many Israeli soldiers as possible.   There isn’t any question that Hamas would have the full weight of Arab public opinion behind it in such a battle.  And if Israeli public opinion, suddenly faced with lots of their boys dying combined with a newly inaugurated  Barrack Obama under enormous pressure to get involved…. momentum might start swinging Hamas’ way.

Anyway,  if Hamas supposedly has 15-20 K fighters and the IDF claims to have killed just 150 than these guys are somewhere.  Probably waiting.

29 Responses

  1. […] different, but Israel appear to have learned from their defeat against Hezbollah. (Thanks to Arabic Media Shack for the initial link). 1. Gaza, only 360 square kilometres in size, lacks the strategic depth that […]

  2. Good points. But ultimately doesn’t Hamas have an advantage over Hizbollah, namely that there aren’t many political alternatives other than Hamas? In Lebanon there are more parties competing for votes, and if Hizbollah lost, people might have voted for someone else. But who else is there in Gaza other than Hamas?

  3. well there’s Fatah. they can’t be counted out completely. Noone can say for sure if Palestinian support for Hamas in Gaza is because of deep agreement with their political agenda and philosophy or is it merely a reaction to the desperate circumstances that Gazans face. If those desperate conditions were to improve, would Gazans suddenly be less supportive of Hamas?

  4. actually, In Lebanan., though, Hezbollah has the SHia vote locked up. Although I am not 100% sure, but I don’t believe that Amal, the second Shia party, is a serious competitor with Hezbollah for votes. The Shias in Lebanon arent going to vote for Sunni parties or Druze or Christian parties.

    Fatah is a strong competitor. So I think its a strong arguement could be made that Hamas has more competition than Hezbollah. And thus more to lose from not performing well in this current round of fighting that they instigated.

  5. Some not bad analysis. One might think, that izraelis keep this option in mind. Remember, what russians did in Grozny, when local “Hamas” started city’ war? They did flat it out, complete. There was no more city. Rooting for it?

  6. Hamas is hiding their fighters hoping they don’t loose too many and become weak. They are hoping public opinion will turn the world against Israel and get them to stop the war. That is why Hamas has been firing rockets from schools and hospitals. They know Israel will attack back at that spot and there will be high casualties of civilians. This plays bad on the news. The Hamas leadership has stated they will not go for a cease fire that includes foreign troops. If you really wanted peace you would allow foreign troops to come in to keep israel from invading again. But it also keeps hamas from attacking Israel which is their whole purpose. If your purpose is the death of Israel than Hamas saying it wants a cease fire is like a child saying he will be good if you don’t spank him. You turn back and the child is back to being bad. Hamas does not care about its people, it exists for blood and death and its leaders are cowards hiding behind the innocent woman and children they are willing to sacrifice.

  7. The Arabs have a long history of being liars!

    The Israels would not be at war & bombing if the Gazens choice of leaders didn’t keep begging for it with there 4,000+ rockets being launched into Israel for years. The Arabs of the world are not generous to send aid, money, assistance or food to help their hungry fellow man. Israelis have sent hundreds of trucks of food & medical supplies from ISRAEL into Gaza since the start of operations. they are generous. They also allowed hundreds of trucks of international aid safe passage into Gaza. The USA has been the most generous with aid and food to the Gazens for Many, Many, Many, years. The Gazens have been ungrateful & they elected a terrorist group to lead & govern them. The USA tried to help but terrorbag arafat could not ever be satisfied. Yea, he was a big liar to. The Gazens should be less lazy and hunt down and put in jail the criminals that keep launching rockets into Israel. No country would have tolerated more rocket attacks then Israel has. There are videos on the internet that show hamas shooting rockets and mortars from schools and mosques. I don’t know why cnn is unwilling or afraid to air them. I hope they have not recieved money from Arab countries to slant there reporting. The UN (useless nations organization ) did not condemn the 4000+ rocket attacks carried out by hamas into Israel & terrorizing them for years & years. Not to mention the homicide attacks. Why do you think Israel would have to controll the borders ? ITS BECAUSE OF THE hamas ATTACKS.
    Thousands worldwide protest the Israelis defending themselves rooting out terror but, MILLIONS WORLDWIDE PROTEST THE ATTACKS PERPETRATED BY hamas. God bless all man kind.

  8. First – I am not saying that Palestinians deserve land more than the Jews. I am saying that Jews were given Israel by the world powers. Is this a lie? Can you truthfully say that no Palestinians were displaced during this time? My point is that giving parts of our North (Montana) to the Jewish people would have avoided the resulting conflict. And I still have no clue what stereotypes you are talking about.

  9. Comments that do not adress the specific post at hand will be deleted.

  10. I thought my other post (the first one) did address the post. I was side-tracked by Jaime’s cat calls.

  11. Alpine Steve,
    The Israelis are giving aid and such to the people that they are also killing on a hourly basis. Wouldn’t you expect that’s the least they could do? I mean the US did blow Iraq to smithereens, hence why we are paying out our pockets in Taxes to help rebuild the country we destroyed based on faulty intelligence.

  12. the israelis dont intend on killing those people on an hourly basis, they warned the civilians beforehand to escape.

  13. Except the kids at the U.N. school.

  14. Mo,
    The Israelis don’t kill inocent people on purpose. I hate war. I hate killing of any of gods creatures. If the UN would enforce it’s resolutions there would be no reason for wars. That was the idea behind the UN creation ( world voting together, to work together. to keep the peace and keep the world safe from WW3) sadam tortured his people and defied the UN resolutions and shot at are aircraft for 10 years. What did the UN do…make more useless. toothless resolutions. Peace keepers without resolve, without balls or courage to back up what the world body decides. Talk and words without actions, even if written down on paper (resolutions) resolve nothing.

  15. Amen to that Alpine. The UN peace-keeping forces are a joke. They basically go places to give the appearence of security but knowing that they are not at risk unless attacked themselves, and without pro-active resolutions, find themselves no more than scare-crows.

  16. pro-active resolution – that sounded like a subliminal clearasil ad.

  17. Have the Palastinians ever given aid to anyone?
    Have they even ever offered to help or aid anyone? Have they ever offered aid or goodwill to Israelis?
    None that I have heard of.

  18. Just asking…do the Palestinians have aid to give? Other than moral support? I doubt we would hear about Palestinians supporting Israel. If Hamas wants the death of Israel and some Palestinians stood up against them I would think they would disappear and no one would ever hear from them. Just saying.

  19. “Noone can say for sure if Palestinian support for Hamas in Gaza is because of deep agreement with their political agenda and philosophy or is it merely a reaction to the desperate circumstances that Gazans face. If those desperate conditions were to improve, would Gazans suddenly be less supportive of Hamas?”

    Given this you’d think Israel’s best strategy would be to increase living standards in Gaza by as much as possible in order to undercut Hamas’s appeal. That’s obviously not what is happening.

  20. Adrian,
    Yeah that makes sense doesnt’ it? I agree.

  21. Seconded by Rob. I’d like to pass the measure…

  22. No matter what the reasons are, you just don’t do mass killings to Children and women, bombard schools, hospitals and places of worship. To my knowledge, Israel has very safisticated US-made weapons that don’t miss a target. BUt you know what, I think we have another theory on how dinasours went extinct!!

  23. What youre saying is very true, improving the living conditions in Gaza will definately work. Lets start by lifting the 3-year old blockade on food, water, medicine and electricity. Gaza has been a boiling pot for the past 3-years due to this blockade. Hamas’s reaction was to fire rockets, which to me, seems to be the only thing a “drawning” person can do, is to splash!!!
    God Bless

  24. Heres an idea, why don’t the Gazens work together and be responsible to themselves and their community and make things better for themselves. They are grownups. Why don’t work with the people in the west bank to improve their standart of living instead of living off international aid. I wonder how many letters of thanks they have sent to the countries who have been sending them many of millions of dollars in aid for many years. Oh thats right they have to burn our flag & celebrate the 911 attacks on the USA. Maybe they need to redirect their efforts and energy to do positive things instead of blaming everyone else for their failures. Instead of being grateful for the aid they recieve its like they crap in the hand that feeds them. I feel really bad for the horror the inocent people have endured, especially the children. I wish they had more responsible parents and weren’t taught to hate the people that have tried to help them the most.

  25. They have been shooting rockets long before the filtering out weapons blockaids were put in place. They have not been starved or they would be dead.
    there hospitals would be closed without electric and supplies. The border controll was Israel responce to the hamasicide attacks and rockets. attacks and rocket attacks came first and they kept smuggleing weapons in violation of the cease fire agreements they agreed to adhere to. they can never be trusted.

  26. All of us here are making rash arguments. We DON’T know what the truth is, but we are speaking as if we do. There are other factors as to why Israel is targeting schools, as well as, other factors, outside of blatant terrorism, as to why Hamas fires rockets. It’s a sad world we live in, and the only way to fix it is to teach our children not to make the same mistakes. But are we doing that? Are we?

  27. Alpine Steve,
    I agree with you completely in regards to the UN not having the balls to help. But I disagree with you about the Palestinians not giving aid. I understand that they have received a lot of Aid over the years, but so has countries in Africa, Asia, and MidEast. My point is, these countries receive aid because they don’t have anything to offer. Would you expect a beggar to give you a quarter? No, why would you. It’s sad but true. There are oil-rich and money-rich Arab nations out there who do provide aid, but NOT nearly enough as they should and can afford too. If you think about it…Saudi Arabia could help the Gazans and Israelis out with Aid, but they chose to only give enough Aid to keep there name clean.

  28. Mo,
    I think your right . I hope the violence ends soon!
    I think the Gazens should be allowed to use the large empty swaths of land between gaza & Israel for agriculture and allow them to be more self sufficient. Maybee even make some money in exports.That would be a good project the UN to help them with. I think they should also be allowed to travel freely to & from the west bank even if its only in a secure corridor pratrolled by both peoples if neccessary to keep the peace. They ( Palastinian people ) need to be made to feel whole as a people with their own country with sovereignty and internationally recognized boarders. I think this is what would promote peace in the region I openly and publicly ask the Lord God to help us all just get along. Amen.

  29. Alpine Steve,
    Nicely put.

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