Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Could it be a setup or trap by Hamas?

by Richard Martin

A friend has asked me if Hamas deliberately set up a trap for the Israelis through their attacks over the last 5 days. My answer follows. I’m interested in others’ thoughts and comments.

It depends what is meant by “trap.” If this whole Hamas operation was an attempt to entice Israel into invading Gaza, then it could indeed be a trap. In speaking with others and reading the news, no one really knows what Hamas’s intentions were with this attack.

Possibilities include: provoking Israel into a rash move; provoking some kind of general uprising from S. Lebanon and the West Bank; provoking a civil war in Israel; provoking an invasion of Gaza; provoking a more general war; throwing a spanner in the works on Saudi-Israel peace negotiations. Anyone’s guess is as good as mine at this stage.

If by trap is meant that it would be a hard slog, then I agree with that assessment. The WSJ this morning is reporting that the Israeli aim is to destroy Hamas and its control of the Gaza Strip. They’ve already made a good start by killing almost all the attackers still in Israel or trying to enter. They are also hitting key locations and individuals in Gaza. That’s the stuff we can see. There are probably covert operations ongoing or being prepared as we speak.

My sense at this time is that the IDF is going to maximize use of air power and surgical operations to destroy Hamas and its capabilities, while degrading its hold on the population. I have no idea how they can do the latter. There could be ground operations, but I would see them as limited, performed by commandos. That’s pure speculation on my part however.

Questions for an operational estimate: Does Israel know who and where to hit Hamas? Do they know how many fighters they have? Can they destroy all of their war stocks? Can they get close collaboration with Egypt to allow refugee movements from Gaza into Egypt? Will Egypt conduct joint “strangling” operations with Israel to cut tunnels and other physical links?