The most formidable of twenty-first century weapons

Monday, August 21st, 2017

A new study from RAND examines Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2009 and Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and shares some lessons learned in Gaza:

For starters, smart weapons are no panacea. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attempted to destroy Hamas rocket launchers and tunnels with airpower alone (surprising in light of the failure of such an approach in the 2006 Lebanon War). Lack of success meant ground troops had to be sent in.

The failure of airpower meant the revival of artillery. The IDF barely used artillery in 2009, but used lots of big guns in 2014. “On a technical and tactical level, the IDF’s use of artillery support was impressive,” RAND noted. “It increased its use of precision artillery from earlier campaigns and reduced the minimum safe distances for providing fire support. Artillery fire often proved quicker and more responsive than other means of firepower, such as CAS [close air support].”

Armor also proved its worth in Gaza. “Before Protective Edge, the IDF invested in intelligence and airpower, often at the expense of particularly heavy armor,” RAND found. Or as Israeli sources told RAND, “Half a year before, they closed the Namer [a tank converted into a troop carrier] and we said it was a mistake; and immediately after, they reopened the project. You need protection. Mobility is protection.”

In turn, armor needs active protection systems. “there was near-universal consensus among IDF officers and outside analysts interviewed for this report that vehicles equipped with the Trophy system stood a better chance of surviving not only RPG fire, but also the Kornet ATGM [anti-tank guided missile],” RAND found. “Indeed, according to some accounts, there were at least 15 instances of active protection systems intercepting Kornet-style missiles.” Another unexpected benefit was that the sensors on the Trophy also proved useful in detecting the location of hostile fire.

However, neither smart weapons nor artillery can stop that most formidable of twenty-first century weapons: lawfare, or the use of international law and public opinion to stymie an adversary’s superior firepower. Under intense media scrutiny, the IDF grappled with how to destroy rocket launchers that Hamas had emplaced in densely populated civilian areas. To its credit, Israel tried a variety of means to avoid civilian casualties, including calling residents on their phones to evacuate, social media and the memorable “door knocker” inert bombs landing on roofs as a signal to get out of the target zone. Lawyers even reviewed targeting decisions, and yet Israeli still suffered a public relations disaster, including public and UN accusations of war crimes. Now the IDF General Staff is adding a lawfare section. “For better or worse, lawfare is here to stay, and the IDF — like all Western militaries — will have to wrestle with its implications in any future operation,” RAND concludes.


  1. Bob Sykes says:

    Most Westerners think that these wars were tactical victories for the Israelis; however, both Hamas and Hezbollah are still there, and their forces are getting better. So, strategically, Israel’s position is somewhat worse, especially since it is clear that Assad will survive and Iran will have a foothold in Syria as well as Iraq and Lebanon.

  2. Kirk says:

    The effect of “lawfare” is important only so long as the parties engaged by those seeking to use it think it’s important. The moment that they cease to care…? LOL.

    You’ll note a distinct lack of “lawfare” being conducted against the Russians, and before them, the Soviets. The Soviets suffered a kidnapping of one of their diplomats back in the ’80s: Their response? Kidnap family members of the terrorists holding their diplomat, and then mailing body parts back to them with a note that they’d like their diplomat back. Intact. Upon return of the diplomat, with profuse apologies, the KGB/GRU entities involved politely informed the terrorists that if so much as a hair was mussed on a Soviet diplomat again, they were going to kill everyone, regardless of who was responsible for the mussed hair. The terrorists responded by posting guards on the Soviet embassy… Those guards were still there when the Soviet Union collapsed.

    One of these days, the Israelis are going to have enough of having Israeli families slaughtered in their kitchens, and then the worm is going to turn. Not one bit of “lawfare” is going to save the Arabs from what follows, and the Israelis are probably just going to tell the rest of world to take their precious “public opinions” and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine.

    Terrorism and lawfare only work so far as you allow them to. Up to a point, they’re effective. Past that point? You’d better be the guy with the upper hand, or you’re going to wind up rounded up, herded onto reservations, and then offered a variety of life-shortening vices while you wail about your lost “warrior lifestyle”. And, that’s the best likely outcome. Worst case, you wind up filling mass graves along with your women and children, and some archaeologist will excavate your remains in a few dozen centuries, tch-tching all the while about man’s inhumanity to man.

    I actually am of the opinion that all these jackasses conducting “lawfare” on behalf of the Arabs and such are inhumane assholes, because they’re encouraging the Arabs in this folly of theirs. When the end-game comes, and they’ve finally goaded the Israelis into doing the necessary, well… All those fine Western lawyers will be nowhere to be found during the ensuing “event”. Their clients, however, are going to find out what the Jews learned from studying the Western way of war, and suffer the “final solution” the Nazis tried to inflict on the Jews. Only, being the Israelis, I rather suspect they aren’t going to munge it up, either.

    I’m going to guess that there’s going to be some highly motivated Israeli biologist or other sort who takes matters into their own hands, after one too many deaths in their immediate family, and then an object lesson in the benefits of good public health and vaccine policies is going to take place. Like as not, the Israeli government won’t even be aware of it, until it’s too damn late to stop it. And, after that? No more Palestinian thugs with knives, and probably no more of a lot of things in the immediate vicinity of Israel.

    People should pay attention to signalling–The name of the Israeli nuke program is a huge “tell”, in that Samson shook down the temple and took everyone else with him. When the time comes, and the Israelis implement their planning for how to deal with an existential threat-level attack on them, you’re going to be surprised at how widely they’ve defined their terms when it comes to the temples they intend to shake. My suspicion is that a lot of European cities whose residents have blithely sold the technological means to the Arabs to enable the destruction of Israel will be suffering the fate of Tel Aviv shortly after it gets vaporized. If I were a Jew, given the general European disregard for the sanctity of my life and well-being, I’d be targeting Paris, Berlin, and London right along with Riyadh and Tehran. It’s only fair, you know…

  3. Lucklucky says:

    Lawfare only exists in a process of a Western Civilization being destroyed by Marxist dominance of media and education. It is essentially a political fight in the West.

    For example no one cares about cluster bombs, cluster rockets, Fae, and mines dropped in Syria by Russians and Assad, just over the border. Because that isn’t a fight that western Marxists in media and education are interested on. If Israel didn’t exist there would not be Palestinians, they would be Jordanians and Egyptians. I am afraid that IDF does not realize that the conflict exists only because of the political West.

  4. Sam J. says:

    Bob Sykes says,”Most Westerners think that these wars were tactical victories for the Israelis…”

    I don’t believe that. It was a huge failure. Sure they could blast all the buildings in the area to the ground but they couldn’t take territory or stop rocket attacks. The couldn’t even take ground in the occupied territories(a open air concentration camp). They HAD to fall back and use artillery. They had no choice. They were getting their ass kicked.

    “…One of these days, the Israelis are going to have enough of having Israeli families slaughtered in their kitchens, and then the worm is going to turn…”

    The idea that somehow the Jews are some nice loving people because they fire artillery into what is a open air concentration camp but call them on the phone first is silly nonsense. So…they can beat people in a walled prison…well whoopty shit.

    As for various active shield systems on tanks if you have them you can’t have troops guarding the tanks. Big problem. Swarms of RPG’s could attack. What’s a RPG cost. $150??? Twenty Men in teams of two firing constantly. Tough to fight back and tanks cost in the multi-millions.

    The only thing holding the Israelis back is they know at some point the hatred for them for their genocidal behavior will spark a serious determination to wipe them out. They’ve bungled relations with their neighbors so bad now that there’s probably no way to fix it. When the Palestinians don’t attack the Israeli’s the Israelis attack them and take their land and when the Palestinians attack the Israelis the Israelis attack them and take their land. It makes no difference, Jews attack you no matter what you do. We saw the Jew attack on the US on 9-11 where building 7 fell the same speed as a rock dropped in air. There’s no doubt they did this to get us to fight for them in the middle east. How long can a people abuse everyone on the planet and expect any kind of clemency???

  5. Sam J. says:

    Kirk says,”…I’m going to guess that there’s going to be some highly motivated Israeli biologist or other sort who takes matters into their own hands…”

    This is why you should never trust the Jews ,have them anywhere in your country, around you or allow them any sort of power over you at all. Enormous numbers of them have this genocidal maniacal type thought patterns. They try to control everyone around them, steal every last dime that isn’t welded down to the floor and attack people constantly with their psychopathic schemes(I mean psychopathic in a clinical sense not as a name calling exercise) and then when people are completely fed up with their behavior they immediately move into their “I’ll kill everyone persecution complex” mode of deranged thinking.

    “…The name of the Israeli nuke program is a huge “tell”, in that Samson shook down the temple and took everyone else with him….If I were a Jew…”

    Yeah right…if.

    “…I’d be targeting Paris, Berlin, and London right along with Riyadh and Tehran. It’s only fair, you know…”

    Uh…I don’t know that. If that’s so shouldn’t the Russians and the Ukrainians massacre the Jews down to the last Man Women and Child for what they did to them? What about the Spanish who lost their country for 800 years when the Jews betrayed them to the Muslims or when they killed so many in the Spanish Civil War.

    It appears to me that the Jews are a tribe of psychopaths. I can’t say every last Jew is a psychopath but there seems to be no doubt that as a group they have all the behaviors of a tribe of psychopaths.

    All of the Jews ancient writings are nothing more than a manual for psychopaths to live by. The Talmud is nothing but one psychopathic thought after another. The Talmud “great enlightenment” basically says that everyone not Jewish is there to serve Jews. All their property is really the Jews. No one is really human unless they’re Jews and their lives don’t matter. A psychopathic religion for a psychopathic people.

    They’ve been thrown out of every single country that they’ve been to in any numbers. Psychopaths having no empathy themselves can only go by the feedback they get from the people they are exploiting. So they push and push to see what they can get away with. The normal people build up resentment towards them. Thinking “surely they will reform or repent” like a normal person who does wrong. Of course the Jews do not. They don’t have the mental process for reform. Then in a huge mass outpouring of hate for the Jews, fed up with the refusal to reform their behavior, they attack and/or deport them. In this stage of the cycle the Big/Rich Jews escape and the little Jews are attacked.

    Start over.

    Even if it’s wrong if you assume the Jews are a tribe of psychopaths you will never be surprised and Jew’s behavior will make sense.

    You may quibble with my notions but the long term effects of Jews on any society where they reside long enough and in sufficient numbers has the same effect as if it were invaded by a tribe of psychopaths. Even if the Jews aren’t a tribe of psychopaths there seems to be no difference as the outcome is the same.

    It’s dead simple how they do what they do and it follows exactly the same play book that psychopaths play. They say they are abused by whomever the last victim was, gain your trust then take control of your life. For individuals they take control of the finances and then isolate you from family and others. In a countries case they take control of the banks and the media.

    They say they should attack us with biological and nuclear weapons. It would seem to me any rational country, knowing what we do about the Jews past, would see that the only rational choice is a unilateral mass attack on the Jews before they attack us.

  6. Lucklucky says:

    You don´t even know History.

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