Major General (Res.) Itzhak Brik who since 2018 has been a harsh critic of the IDF’s readiness for war in general and a two-front war in particular, told FM103 Sunday morning, following the IDF’s humiliation by Hamas invaders: “Unfortunately, I was right, and I very much hope that I will not be even more right, should a regional war break out and we are not prepared for it, the catastrophe will be hundreds of times greater.”
“Before we proceed to take revenge on Hamas, we need to plan with great care with the assumption that a military operation in Gaza can degenerate into an all-out war on five fronts,” Brik warned, adding, “A regional war may break out as a result of the war in Gaza.”
Brik drew a nightmare scenario, suggesting that “The next war will feature both very difficult battles on land and very difficult attacks from the air. The Israeli home front will be hit by thousands of missiles every day, and along the border, we will be facing thousands of fighters who want to come across.”
“But we’ll face the biggest catastrophe inside the country, as tens of thousands of armed Arab rioters will run throughout the country, and we hadn’t prepared for this. Unlike in the past, today there’s synergy between Hamas and Jihad and what’s happening in Judea and Samaria, and the fronts are coordinated. One serious incident on one of the fronts can cause a war that no one wants,” he said. “For example, the kidnapping of the soldiers in Lebanon that caused the Second Lebanon War (in 2006). The State of Israel should not act based on intents, or out of a logical determination, the State of Israel should have prepared itself for this multi-faceted threat, and unfortunately, we are not there.”
He has plenty of nightmare scenarios, which on the day after the Hamas overpowering of IDF defenses in southern Israel on Shabbat Simchat Torah, October 7, 2023, start to make perfect sense.
“Let’s take Hezbollah, they have 10,000 highly trained commandos and fighters, anti-tank missiles, and rockets, Hezbollah is not a guerrilla force. Those fighters intend to cross the Lebanese border into Israel, with vehicles, and motorcycles, on foot and invade settlements in the north – we are not ready for that today.
“But at the same time, while the army is dealing with that, within the State of Israel there will be an explosion of tens of thousands of rioters in the cities.
“Even Egypt could become a front. Whoever thinks that the peace we signed forty years ago will keep the peace forever doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There is a regime change in Egypt now. I’m not saying it will happen tomorrow, but we need to understand that it’s coming.
“And the Syrians are also starting to rebuild their army.”
Retired Major General Brik believes that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement on Saturday that he was waging war on Hamas in Gaza, must take into account that Iran has the ability to “flatten the State of Israel.”
“The prime minister and the political and security echelons need to think about how the country will withstand a regional war, this must be a central consideration in every decision the government makes,” he stresses. “The reserve units need to be mobilized selectively against the north, against the PA, and Gaza. The Prime Minister should declare a state of national emergency, on the assumption that a regional war is bound to break out.”
Brik has very few good things to say about the IDF’s competence in multi-arena combat. “Not only are the reserves not ready, but the army has been reduced to the point where we don’t have the ability to deal with five fronts at the same time.”
With that in mind, and anticipating a worst-case scenario, he recommends, “Just do what’s necessary immediately: establish a national guard of 100 thousand people. Give them weapons so they can defend themselves.”
At the same time, Brik opposes a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah, which he doesn’t believe would reduce its offensive capacity significantly, while “a pre-emptive strike on Hezbollah will bring the entire region to a certain war, maybe also the Iranians, certainly the pro-Iranian militias. Of course, Hamas will continue to participate and break into the country from Judea and Samaria. A preemptive strike against Hezbollah will guarantee a regional war.”