?Israel’s Strategic Aims: Radical Changes
Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman
The Israeli military machine is a major offshoot of a military strategy adopted by the Zionist entity following its establishment in Palestine in 1948. The strategy’s elements focused on maintaining Israel’s military superiority above and beyond the military capabilities of Arab states. Wars on ‘enemy territories’ must be waged while keeping the Israeli ‘home’ front safe and away from any raging battles. Within this context, the strategy included that very short wars must by fought in order for its reserve forces to return to work before the economy gets ruined. A salient goal of the strategy was to see Arabs weak and in disunity by keeping their inner conflicts raging by all means available together with launching preemptive military strikes against Arab ‘enemies’. This old military strategy allowed Israel to defeat Arab armies in a way that drove some Arab countries to seek peace with normal relations with Tel Aviv, while the Zionist entity’s agenda of Judaizing historical Palestine was in full swing. However, such a strategy is no longer viable to protect the Zionist state:
First, because Arab and Palestinian rockets can now reach all Israeli urban centers, industrial complexes and power grids and even the nuclear facilities at Dimona. Iranian-made rockets have great precision and very heavy loads of explosives can now hit any strategic target in Israel.
Second: As Israel experienced a transformation toward religious radicalism where the Talmudist religious colonial mentality is now ruling, so was the case on the Arab side where some radical religious groups (excluding the extreme “Islamic” factions such as ISIS and al-Nusra Front) have now replaced the secular Arab resistance movements pushing their forces forward to face “the Zionist colonial enemy”. Combatants in the battlefields of the Middle East are now divided between the “chosen people of God” on the Israeli side and groups with such names as “The Party of God”, “The Army of God”, …etc., who all come under the banner of “Islamic resistance” in the Arab (and Islamic) worlds. Indeed, since the Likud Party (and its ultra-nationalist and ultra-orthodox allies) came to power in Israel, the Arab/Israeli confrontation has been shifting to a near religious war to be waged till death without any possibility of a compromise. This is the result of Israel’s transformation of the Torah from a spiritual book to a ‘real estate’ book with divine entitlements for Jews only in Palestine.
A third reason which may pose an existential threat to Israel is the birth of militant takfiri groups spawned from the toxic waste of al-Qaeda, like Daesh, falsely claiming to be Muslims who are ‘hell bent’ on annihilating their enemies (Muslims, Christians or Jews) by all means including unconventional weapons.
The above reasons may have led Israel to think carefully before starting a major war in the Middle East. A new military strategy was to be drawn up as the old one bit the dust in southern Lebanon and Gaza. The Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) held, earlier in June, its annual conference in Herzliya where Israeli strategists and military experts gathered to form a new strategic policy. They agreed that the survival of the Zionist state is on the line now and the Air Force cannot win wars by itself when Israeli foot soldiers, as seen in Lebanon and Gaza, could not match the fighting spirit that Hamas and Hizbollah fighters possess. In this regard, the most pertinent strategic study was presented by Lieutenant Colonel Ron Tira who is now serving as an adviser to The Campaign Planning Department in the Israeli Air Force. He is also the author of “The Nature of War”. Tira advocates “a very close relation and co-operation with regional Arab countries who share common interests and common enemies with Israel” while, in the meantime, building “a defensive wall” by extending the arm of the Israeli Air Force to strike far and near. He asked Israel “to provide support to ethnic groups like the Kurds and the Druz and other minorities” in addition to affecting a balance of power between Jabhat al-Nusra (a branch of al-Qaeda) and other factions in the south of Syria because the local environment has radically changed and a political and military vacuum has been created and is being filled with more sinister and deadly players than the ones seen in the past. Along the same lines, Israeli political analyst Yaakov Lappin wrote that “it is vital to insure that Iran and Hizbollah never establish a foothold in the area near the Golan, but without flaunting Israel’s alliance with al-Nusra to the world.” Israeli “defence” minister Moshe Yalon, offered his own perspective saying that “dealing with warring groups in the south of Syria, Israel has to operate like a surgeon hand to prevent fighting groups from making a sudden change of hearts launching attacks against Israel”.
On a different note, Efraim Halevi, Israel’s former Mossad chief said “Israel has been ignoring the political aspect needed for its security which left Israel’s enemies to dominate the international political arena of the conflict.” Almost similarly, General Amos Yadlin, Director of The Center of National Security Studies who advocated a return to the old Israeli strategy when Israel waged its wars on enemy territories, gave a different advice: “it is the full responsibility of the government which allows its enemies to launch attacks against Israel from within Israeli territories.”