Weekend long read

1) Writing at Newsweek, Jacob Stoil and John Spencer explain why ‘The Road to Ceasefire Leads Through the Rafah Offensive’.

“The military strategy for Hamas’ October 7 attack was to create the largest scale of atrocity possible and survive Israel’s counterattack. Then, having survived, it intended to build up for many more October 7 attacks, all with the aim of achieving its grand strategic goal: the destruction of Israel and the death of the Jewish people.

Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas political leader, stated as much, saying, “Israel is a country that has no place on our land. We must remove that country … the Al-Aqsa Flood is just the first time, and there will be a second, third, and fourth. Will we pay a price? Yes, and we are ready to pay it.”

Hamas’s hope is that repeated attacks like October 7 will eventually break the will of the Israeli population. To do that, Hamas would need to survive the war.”

2) At the JCPA, Dan Diker and Khaled Abu Toameh discuss ‘Sinwar’s Ramadan Jihad Dream’.

“Hamas leaders such as Sinwar and Mohammed Deif, the overall commander of the group’s military wing, have been aspiring to what they term the “unity of the battlefields,” a multi-front war against Israel from Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, together with Israel’s Arab population.

Thus far, the dream has not materialized, much to the dissatisfaction of Sinwar and his cohorts. Some Hamas leaders have not bothered to conceal their disappointment with their failure to ignite a multi-front confrontation with Israel. As far as they are concerned, the response from Hizbullah is below expectations.”

3) Tal Hagin looks at ‘Telegram Warfare: The New Frontier of Psychological Warfare in the Israel-Palestine Conflict’ at the Fathom Journal.

“In today’s interconnected world, individuals armed with nothing more than an internet connection, a smartphone, and access to encrypted platforms like Telegram can effectively sow discord within enemy populations from the comfort of their own homes.

Palestinian militant factions have adeptly harnessed this capability, exercising significant control over the narrative amidst the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza: this represents a stark reminder that the ability to influence enemy morale is as indispensable as military might, sounding a crucial alarm for national security strategists worldwide.”

4) At the Tablet magazine, Bernard-Henri Lévy explains how to ‘Stop the War in Gaza’.

“It’s about a small, fragile, and threatened country that, confronted with the most sadistic mass terror attack in modern history, responds like any other democracy would have in its place, and, in fact, like the United States did when invading Afghanistan after Sept. 11, or like France bombing Mosul—where thousands of civilians died alongside 3,000 ISIS fighters—after the Bataclan.

Instead of supporting Israel in its legitimate self-defense, the world accuses the Jewish state of poisoning wells and starving the civilian population; it’s no longer opinion, it’s demonization; it’s the unified non-thought of Humanity 2.0, the sequence of its speech and reflexes, which takes for granted that Israel is “indefensible,” that Zionism—alone among national liberation movements—is a curse word, and that the very survival of the Jewish people on its land is an entirely legitimate object of dispute.”

5) The ITIC reports on ‘Public Criticism in Lebanon of Hezbollah Activity along the Israel-Lebanese Border’.

“Hezbollah joined the fighting against Israel on October 8, 2023, the second day of the Operation Iron Swords, in support of the Palestinians. The fighting in south Lebanon, and especially the damage caused to the area, led the Lebanese public to criticize Hezbollah, especially for dragging Lebanon into a war which did not concern it.

The main criticisms of the war have been that it is a war being fought by the Palestinians, not the Lebanese; Hezbollah is not “protecting Lebanon,” although it represents itself as such, but rather it is destroying Lebanon; Hezbollah serves the interests of the Iranian regime; even without a war, Lebanon is undergoing a serious economic and political crisis, and Hezbollah is sending the country into the abyss; Hezbollah operates in the Christian, Sunni and Druze towns and villages in south Lebanon to force local residents to migrate to other areas inside the country.”

6) At the Alma Center, Boaz Shapira reports on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“The development and evolution processes that The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has gone through, since its establishment in 1979, have reached the point where they are one of the strongest and most influential organizations in Iran today. This power buildup has placed the IRGC in a significant influential position in all of the country’s centers of power and established itself as one of the main elements the regime relies on to ensure its stability. Furthermore, these processes have also made the IRGC a key factor in the design and implementation of Iran’s foreign policy and its efforts to increase regional influence.”

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