The new conflict in the Middle East is an extremely interesting topic for analyzing the strategic situation.
We are all accustomed to looking at the blazing fire of the Arab-Israeli confrontation from an ordinary, boring and understandable position. Here we see the adamant Israel, full of military-technical power, and here are all sorts of paramilitary groups from Lebanon and Palestine, which are suitable only for senseless launches of homemade missiles.
The author of this text has no sympathy or prejudice in relation to one or another side of the conflict. Below you will be presented with a non-standard and controversial view of the "Palestinian question", showing that the situation there is by no means as unambiguous as we are accustomed to perceive.
It would be worth starting this material with the fact that Palestinian militants are extremely often presented by the media as savages, fanatics and suicides.
But this is delusion - and deliberate misinformation.
For clarity, imagine a city slightly smaller than the Ural Magnitogorsk, which is crowded with two million people.
This city is blocked from land and sea. All telephone networks are tapped by the enemy. Most of the incoming cargo is inspected. The territory is controlled by satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles, means of electronic intelligence, the situation is monitored by thousands of analysts, there are enemy informers and agents on it.
In these conditions, you need to assemble an organization from nothing with a military potential, which will be enough to plunge your enemy into chaos.
Now you are starting to understand the conditions under which the Palestinians work, aren't you?
But with all the introductory notes listed, they need to mobilize tens of thousands of people, skillfully conducting their work for years and keeping it in complete secrecy.
Organizing resistance requires looking for more than just random people - it needs the best of the best. We need engineers, skilled workers, programmers, builders and, in the end, just executive cadres with a good level of intelligence.
Now think carefully about how difficult it is to carry out such recruiting in conditions of full monitoring by the enemy of the same cellular communication and the Internet.
Israel and its allies are restricting the import of even building materials into Gaza - there is no talk of any dual-use technologies. We need truly miracles of resourcefulness in order to purchase and deliver in commercial quantities reinforced concrete, communications equipment, metal-cutting machines, steel, components for explosives, tactical equipment, optics, computers, fire control devices and hundreds of other vital resources.
In the face of constant opposition and intelligence activities of the enemy, you need to dig kilometers of underground structures, without attracting attention. We need technology, people, tools.
It is required to take out cubic meters of land in conditions when Gaza is practically transparent for optical reconnaissance means.
I will not even mention the production of "primitive missiles" - any production in such an environment is in itself a feat, while the Palestinians make thousands of them. This is the import and delivery of machine tools and materials, and the search for qualified personnel, and the training of workers, and storage in complete secrecy.
This is not the work of fanatics and fools. This is a high-class activity of highly motivated professionals who challenge one of the best military vehicles in modern stories.
So the numerous racist texts that ridicule the Palestinians have nothing to do with reality. By the way, in terms of literacy, education and its social structure, Palestinian society is one of the most modernized in the Arab world.
Unfortunately, the Israeli military operations in recent years have been extremely poorly analyzed from the point of view of the universal logic of strategy. And this, we must admit, is a big omission.
It is so at least because the Lebanese and Palestinians have achieved one extremely important task over the years. They contributed to the transformation of the Israeli army into a typical "post-heroic" army of the XNUMXst century.
Having actively provoked Israel into military operations over the past two decades, the Palestinians and Lebanese have shaped its internal political agenda over and over again. This, in turn, turned the basic idea of Israeli society "the life of every Jew is important" into a dangerous poison that hit the country's military machine.
Despite relatively low combat losses, military operations turned into internal political failures (like, for example, the second Lebanese war) - Israeli society simply refused to take casualties among soldiers for granted. Violent criticism fell on politicians and the highest military circles, provoking a series of resignations and changes.
Israeli propaganda, which is actively trying to present opponents as dull-witted terrorists and murderers, has also played a detrimental role. In this case, society simply does not understand why the glorious Israeli soldiers die at the hands of such an insignificant enemy. And the people's anger finds a way out in criticizing their own authorities.
This is a natural process for post-industrial societies (including the USSR during the war in Afghanistan). Even increased militarization and constant indoctrination cannot save it: the population simply ceases to adequately perceive the idea that death in war is natural.
Israeli politicians and high-ranking military personnel, in turn, have successfully adjusted to the political agenda - none of them naturally wants to leave high positions.
This is how the "post-heroic" type of thinking came to Israel - and the desire of the society to win the war without sacrifices.
Year after year, this has led to the transformation of the IDF's strategy of action. Tank units and brigades of paratroopers appeared less and less on the battlefield - they were replaced by contactless war. In the current conflict, we can observe an almost complete absence of actions even by combat helicopters and commando squads (which were previously actively used to destroy launchers).
All this is a consequence of the desire to avoid even minimal military losses.
Of course, many will naturally object - after all, high-precision weapon so effective, why bother sending soldiers at all? This is a fair observation, but only partly true.
The strategic incident of this issue is that bombing and high-precision weapon strikes by themselves cannot compel the enemy to surrender. They are effective only and exclusively if you need to destroy any specific resources of the enemy - but they are not able to ensure victory by themselves.
As you probably already noticed, despite the fact that Israel has been pouring thousands of tons of steel and explosives on Lebanon and Palestine for several years, they still have not surrendered. Yes, the Israelis can achieve any tactical success, but strategically they are not capable of breaking Hamas or Hezbollah.
This requires a full-scale ground operation and the accompanying losses - but for Israel this is simply unacceptable.
In turn, these factors are pushing the Israeli military to use the tactics of air terror. Under normal conditions, bombing is a slow and painful process of detecting, selecting and destroying one target after another. However, Israel does not exchange for such sentiments, inflicting arbitrary strikes, including against the civilian population. He does not use carpet bombing tactics solely for reasons of prestige, which, however, is already too tarnished in the eyes of the world community.
Air terror naturally discredits Israelis, actively shaping pro-Palestinian sentiments even in the United States. The highest political echelons of the authorities of the countries historically allied with Tel Aviv still continue to support him by inertia. However, its existence is being called into question in the face of a vibrant anti-Israeli public agenda.
On this issue, one should also pay tribute to the uncomplicated political technologies of the Palestinians and Lebanese, who are successfully using the enemy's excessive power against himself.
It is worth noting separately a very remarkable and crude Israeli information provocation associated with the use of allegedly Palestinian accounts on social networks, which glorify "Hitler's righteousness."
This is nothing more than evidence of the complete failure of Israel in the information war.
The Iron Dome and the Paradoxes of Strategy
War is often presented to the audience in an extremely deceptive form: it seems simple, understandable and logical, while in fact it is a set of paradoxes.
The confrontation between Israel and Palestine is one of the clearest examples of a paradoxical logical strategy in the modern world.
Earlier we have already spoken about one of such incidents: the Israeli army, which for decades has been preparing for a war with an enemy superior to it, is unable to conduct an operation against the Palestinian paramilitary forces, which are many times inferior to it.
This, in turn, gives rise to another paradox - Israel, as a stronger party, is forced to defend itself. And this is a separate issue that requires detailed consideration.
The best defense of Lebanon and Palestine was the Israeli ideological setting about the value of the life of every Jew. On the one hand, such a thesis requires preventive elimination of the threat. On the other hand, on the contrary, it drives Israel into the framework of a deep defense - after all, a preemptive strike will irreversibly incur losses.
Under these conditions, the experience of previous years turns out to be powerless - if in the 60s and 70s the Israelis faced inevitable destruction, which mobilized their nation to fight, now they do not see such a threat due to their own strength. This, by the way, is another strategic paradox: Israel's excessive military-political power helps to reduce the psychological mobilization of its population and leadership.
Thus, the Jewish state faces a typical choice for any "post-heroic" country - on the one hand, it is necessary to fight, but how to do it if you are suffering losses?
And, of course, he gets an equally typical answer - advanced military technologies are required.
As many have already noted, the web is literally torn apart by enthusiastic descriptions of the work of the "Iron Dome" and the Israeli aviation... This is a great example of "post-heroic" means of warfare. A missile defense system, designed to protect infrastructure from outside attacks, and carriers of high-precision weapons capable of destroying the enemy without "civilian casualties."
I have no desire to speculate about the effectiveness of the Iron Dome. Associated with this system are other, more important aspects that are directly related to strategy.
After the Lebanese campaign of 2008 (it was the losses incurred in it that put an end to the IDF's ability to wage contact wars) Israel began developing the Iron Dome. The reason for this was the rocket and artillery shelling of Hezbollah - perhaps not as effective as effective. At that time, they were conducted using extremely primitive means - sometimes they were Soviet BM-13s from the Second World War.
The appearance of the "Iron Dome" removed the heavy burden of responsibility from the military-political leadership of Israel - now they could conduct a "high-precision defensive war", which, in turn, made it possible to maneuver in avoiding any contact battles (this is especially clearly observed today, when Israel is deploying more and more missile defense batteries, while evading a ground invasion, which, undoubtedly, would be much more effective).
In turn, the Iron Dome created a new strategic paradox. Spawned by the concept of "an interceptor missile, despite its price, is cheaper than the object it protects," this system created a situation in which Israel began to suffer huge financial losses, regardless of the success of its opponents.
The bottom line is the following: the estimated price of the Tamir interceptor missile is at least $ 100. There is a wealth of data providing smaller numbers. However, they do not seem reliable, given the complexity of the technology used (air defense and missile defense systems, in general, are almost the most expensive military technologies and only combat aviation can compete with them in this matter).
The estimated cost of the most expensive unguided munitions used by the Palestinians is hardly more than 2–3 thousand dollars.
The logic is simple - now every Palestinian missile, even without hitting a target, can inflict certain economic damage on Israel. If we take into account the fact that sometimes 2 interceptor missiles are required for a successful interception, and the total mass of missile salvos from Palestine, then by simple calculations we will understand that Israel is literally shooting gold across the sky. Every day, the Iron Dome destroys millions of dollars on its own, fully justifying the economic component of launching Palestinian missiles (approximately over the past 8 days, Israel has spent from 120 to 140 million dollars only on the operation of the Iron Dome system).
The more effectively the Iron Dome works, the more it justifies the strategic importance of launching Palestinian missiles, which were able to inflict economic damage on the enemy without being hit.
But you know perfectly well that the Iron Dome is technically unable to intercept everything, right?
The very fact of the de facto missile defense system has led to the fact that the Palestinian and Lebanese groups began to produce even more missiles with significantly improved combat characteristics - accordingly, the need to intercept them has sharply increased.
As a result, we get a vicious circle of strategic paradox: Palestinian missiles are effective regardless of the results of hits, and Israel is consistently suffering losses in a war with an enemy that is inferior to it in absolutely all respects.
If we add to the cost of the work of the "Iron Dome" the cost of high-precision weapons spent by Israel (where the account is close to the border of 600-700 million dollars, no less), the cost of maintaining combat and reconnaissance aircraft (a flight hour of a light F-16I fighter costs 22,5 thousands of dollars, and Israel daily raises dozens of aircraft into the air, including heavy fighters - it is also worth noting the increased consumption of the engine and airframe resource, which will subsequently require additional spending), spending on providing reservists, spent artillery shells, damage caused by pogroms and the hits of missiles that broke through the defenses, insurance payments and compensations, the work of warships and many other factors, it will become clear that in just a few days of the war Israel lost several billion dollars, having achieved absolutely nothing but local tactical successes.
On the contrary, the significantly less costly Palestinian activities have a pronounced strategic impact. And although they cannot break Israel, this leads to consequences of a different kind, for which Tel Aviv is not at all ready.
First, as mentioned earlier, it has a completely insane media effect.
Israeli propaganda is powerless against the many sympathies that arise in relation to Palestine. If earlier such were the lot of ultra-left marginals, now the focus is shifting towards the “politicized majority”. This effect will still manifest itself in all its glory in the following years, when, under pressure from the public, Israel begins to lose its "support group."
Second, the Palestinian crisis attracts a number of ambitious and extremely unfriendly players to the interests of the Jewish state. Naturally, this is deadly for Tel Aviv, which certainly does not want to become a bargaining chip in the game of superpowers.
In fact, this is an example of how dangerous forceful methods of resolving long-term conflicts are. Israel, lulled by the power of its military machine, has driven itself into a strategy trap with its own hands: any of its actions, regardless of their effectiveness, have a positive effect exclusively on the position of Tel Aviv's opponents.