Jewish Right To Israel

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Will The Hamas Suicide Strategy Work Again?

Barry Rubin describes The Israel-Hamas War and the Suicide Strategy: How Arab Forces Expect to be Weak, Start Losing Wars and Still Hope to Win -- it is a central idea that helps to understand the Middle East in general, and Rubin describes it as follows:
I will start a war that I cannot win in order to create a situation where the other side wrecks my infrastructure and kills my people. Then I will lose militarily but win the battle. How? By the following means:

  • I’ll kill some people on the other side and do some damage to it. Since they are weaker and less brave than I am they will give up. The longer the war, the more likely they are to look for a way out even if that involves many concessions on their part. Using terrorism against their civilians reinforces this tactic.

  • By suffering, and magnifying that suffering using a generally sympathetic Western media, I will make the other side feel sorry for me and oppose their own leaders who will be portrayed as bullying, bloodthirsty, and imperialistic.

  • The specter of war, suffering, and especially civilian casualties, will drive the “international community” to press my adversaries to give in, stop fighting (even if I continue it on a lower level), let me survive, and even give me benefits
Read the whole thing.

This time around, though, Hamas is not getting the kind of support it may have expected. While it is true that in addition to Iran, Hamas has received support from Turkey and Qatar -- and of course has Egypt more firmly in its corner with the Muslim Brotherhood in charge -- the 'Arab Spring' has taken out potential backers who are too preoccupied to help.

Even Egypt is unlikely to help to the degree Hamas would like, since the Muslim Brotherhood is still in the process of consolidating its, not to mention having severe domestic problems that need to be addressed.

Back on Novebmer 13, the Times of Israel reported Egypt to Hamas: We will not intervene if violence continues:
Egypt has told Hamas it will not intervene on its behalf if the current wave of violence on the Gaza-Israeli border continues, a senior Egyptian official told Israel Hayom on Monday night.

While not explicitly calling for a cease-fire, the statement appears to be a message from Egypt to Hamas to stop the rocket fire. The message seems to have gotten through, as only one rocket was fired at Israel on Tuesday, bringing the total rocket count since Saturday night to 150.
That was before Operation Pillar of Defense, when Hamas was escalating the number of rocket attacks against Israeli civilians into the hundreds.

In the end, Hamas appears not to have listened to Egypt, but Obama seems intent on making the Muslim Brotherhood into a key peace broker, an idea Israel appears willing to accept.

At this point, the key question is whether Israel stages a ground invasion into Gaza.
If it does, a repeat of the political consequences of Operation Cast Lead could hand Hamas the kind of victory he had expected all along.


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