Home Tags Enemy
JERUSALEM – A number of Israeli high school students on the verge of being inducted into the IDF publicly called on Prime Minister Netanyahu not to trade high-profile terrorists for them in the event they fall into enemy hands.
Declaring Palestine. It is a core issue for Israel that has come up in my columns before. But now, the enemy's operational tactics have been changed and fine-tuned. This month, Palestinian Authority leaders will seek formal creation of their independent state via the "good offices" of the United Nations.
After Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation The Endless Futility Of Israel’s ‘Peace Process’ (Fourth Of Five Parts)
Israel's persisting legal obligation to abrogate the Oslo Accords, as we have seen, stemmed from certain peremptory expectations of international law. Israel, however, also has substantial rights of abrogation here that bind its behavior apart from any such expectations. These particular rights derive from the basic doctrine of Rebus sic stantibus.
IDF planners working on an improved strategic paradigm will need to understand the following: Removing the bomb from Israel's "basement" could enhance Israel's nuclear deterrent to the extent that it would enlarge enemy perceptions of secure and capable Israeli nuclear forces. Such a calculated end to deliberate ambiguity could also underscore Israel's willingness to use these nuclear forces in reprisal for certain enemy first-strike and retaliatory attacks. From the standpoint of successful Israeli nuclear deterrence, IDF planners must proceed on the assumption that perceived willingness is always just as important as perceived capability. This, again, may bring to mind the counter intuitively presumed advantages for Israel of sometimes appearing less than fully rational.
The presence of any force multiplier may create synergy. Again, in the matter of Israel, we must acknowledge the antecedent "geometry of chaos." Understanding this more fully, IDF fighting units could conceivably become more effective than the mere sum of their respective parts.
By its improved use of correlation of forces thinking, Israel will need to seize every available operational initiative, including certain appropriate intelligence and counterintelligence functions, to best influence and control each enemy's particular matrix of expectations. This is a tall policy order, especially as these multiple enemies will include both state and sub-state adversaries, often with substantial and subtle interactions between them. Moreover, in an age of chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons, the consequences of certain IDF planning failures could be literally intolerable.
Any chaotic disintegration of the world system wouldfundamentally transform the Israeli system. Again, recalling the remarkable Swiss playwright, such a transformation could ultimately involve total or near-total destruction. In anticipation, Israel will have to orient its strategic planning to an assortment of worst-case prospects, thus focusing much more deliberately on a wide range of primarily self-help security options. This point simply cannot be overstated.
Nuclear deterrence, ambiguous or partially disclosed, is essential to Israel's physical survival. If, for whatever reason, Israel should fail to prevent enemy state nuclearization, it will have to refashion its nuclear deterrent to conform to vastly more dangerous regional and world conditions. But even if this should require purposeful disclosure of its nuclear assets and doctrine, such revelation would have to be limited solely to what would be needed to convince Israel's enemies of both its capacity and its resolve.
Project Daniel understood that international law has long allowed for states to initiate forceful defensive measures when there exists "imminent danger" of aggression. This rule of anticipatory self-defense was expanded and reinforced by then-President George W. Bush's issuance of The National Security Strategy of the United States of America. Released on September 20,2002, this document asserted, inter alia, that traditional concepts of deterrence would not work against an enemy "whose avowed tactics are wanton destruction and the targeting of innocents...." As Israel is substantially less defensible and more vulnerable than the United States, its particular right to resort to anticipatory self-defense under threat of readily identifiable existential harms is beyond legal question.
It is highly unlikely, The Group reasoned, that any enemy state would ever calculate that the expected benefits of annihilating Israel would be so great as to outweigh the expected costs of its own annihilation. Excluding an irrational enemy state, a prospect that falls by definition outside the logic of nuclear deterrence, all state enemies of Israel would assuredly refrain from nuclear and/or biological attacks upon Israel that would presumptively elicit massive counter-value reprisals. Naturally, this reasoning would obtain only to the extent that these enemy states fully believed Israel would actually make good on its threats.
Both Israeli nuclear and non-nuclear preemptions of enemy unconventional aggressions could lead to nuclear exchanges. This would depend, in part, upon the effectiveness and breadth of Israeli targeting, the surviving number of enemy nuclear weapons and the willingness of enemy leaders to risk Israeli nuclear counter-retaliations. In any event, the likelihood of nuclear exchanges would obviously be greatest where potential Arab and/or Iranian aggressors were allowed to deploy ever-larger numbers of unconventional weapons without eliciting appropriate Israeli and/or American preemptions.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. As I have indicated again and again on these pages, Israel remains the openly declared national and religious object of Arab/Islamic genocide. This term is used here, again, in the literal and jurisprudential sense. It is not merely hyperbole or an exaggerated figure of speech.
Although The Group drew explicitly upon contemporary strategic thinking, we were also mindful of certain much-earlier investigations of war, power and survival. One such still-relevant investigation was identified in Sun-Tzu's classic, The Art of War.
Si vis pacem, para bellum atomicum. "If you want peace, prepare for atomic war." However reluctantly, this must be Israel's overriding strategic mantra in the years ahead. This is not because a nuclear war is especially likely, but rather because Israel's nuclear deterrent will remain indispensable for the prevention of large-scale conventional conflict.
Palestine, Iran And Israel’s Nuclear Strategy: Critical Notes for an Essential Strategic Policy in...
Pretended irrationality can be a double-edged sword. Brandished too irrationally, Israeli preparations for a Samson Option could encourage enemy preemptions. Here, again, the specter of a nuclear Iran should emerge front and center. After all, sanctions against Iran have represented little more than a fly on the elephant's back.
Palestine, Iran And Israel’s Nuclear Strategy: Critical Notes for an Essential Strategic Policy in...
What is Israel to do? Confronting a new enemy Arab state that could act collaboratively and capably (thanks, largely, to the U.S.) with other Arab states, or possibly even with non-Arab Iran, and also potentially serious synergies between the birth of Palestine, and renewed terrorism from Lebanon, Israel could feel itself compelled to bring hitherto clandestine elements of its "ambiguous" nuclear strategy into the light of day. Here, leaving the "bomb in the basement" would no longer make strategic sense.
Worldwide, it is generally assumed that Israel's nuclear policy of deliberate ambiguity makes good sense. Everyone already knows that Israel has "the Bomb." So, why "stir the pot" by retreating from "opacity?"
Regarding the Oslo Accords and Israel's vulnerability to war, Israeli security has become increasingly dependent upon nuclear weapons and strategy. Faced with a codified and substantial loss of territories generated by Oslo, the Jewish state will soon have to decide on precisely how to compensate for its expectedly diminished strategic depth. While this shrinkage will not necessarily increase Israel's existential vulnerability to unconventional missile attack, it surely will increase that state's susceptibility to attacking ground forces and to subsequent enemy occupation. Any loss of strategic depth will almost certainly be interpreted by enemy states as a significant weakening of Israel's overall defense posture, an interpretation that could then lead to substantial enemy incentives to strike first.
Faced with the daunting prospect of seemingly endless terrorism, and with staggering global opposition to any of its essential and altogether permissible forms of self-defense, Israel now requires a complex and capable counter-terrorism strategy merely to survive. Simultaneously, the major threats to Israel's physical survival lie in certain mass-destruction (biological and/or nuclear) attacks by enemy states. Ultimately, therefore, the Jewish State's actual continuance rests upon even more than successful counter-terrorism. It rests also upon the inherently fragile and unpredictable foundations of nuclear deterrence.
Many people prowl round Mount Sinai. Their speech is blurred, either they are garrulous or they shout or they are taciturn. But none of them comes straight down a broad, newly made, smooth road that does its own part in making one's strides long and swifter. Franz Kafka, Mount Sinai
After absorbing any enemy nuclear aggression, Israel would certainly respond with a nuclear retaliatory strike. Although nothing is publicly known about Israel's precise targeting doctrine, such a reprisal would likely be launched against the aggressor's capital city and/or against similarly high-value urban targets. There would be absolutely no assurances, in response to this sort of aggression, that Israel would limit itself to striking back against exclusively military targets.
We all already understand that modern physics has witnessed revolutionary breakthroughs in the meanings of space and time. These stunning changes remain distant from the related worlds of diplomacy and international relations. Ironically, however, much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs is plainly about space. Not so obvious, but certainly just as important, is that this struggle is also about time.
Swiss playwright Friedrich Durrenmatt was certainly not thinking about Israel's national security when he wrote these words in A Dangerous Game, but his argument still fits perfectly in understanding the Jewish State's prospects for survival. Indeed, and not without considerable irony, unless Israel soon begins to fashion its essential strategic doctrine with a view to including various absurdities, it will never be able to find real safety in the Middle East. There, in what is arguably one of the world's very worst "neighborhoods," unreason often reins triumphant, and chaos is never far away.