In his speech before the Institute for National Security Studies on Tuesday, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi presented the very tip of the iceburg regarding the state of readiness of Israel’s enemies now and in the future, and vaguely indicated a commando operation that was carried out far beyond the countries bordering Israel.
The Institute for National Security Studies is an independent Israeli research institute and think tank affiliated with Tel Aviv University dealing in areas of national security matters such as military and strategic affairs, terrorism and low-intensity conflict, military balance in the Middle East, and cyber warfare.
In recent years, the IDF has been making an ongoing effort to undermine the enemy’s offensive capabilities, and in his lecture, the Chief of Staff gave one vague example of this series of actions which are part of an ongoing effort. Clearly, it’s impossible to delineate what that same commando operation was, but from what Kochavi was hinting at, it took place well beyond Israel’s borders, and beyond the circle of neighboring countries, and involved more than the air force or the navy. These operations, according to the chief of staff, included ground commando units.
Chief Kochavi likes the term “multidimensional,” and he has worked to establish of a multidimensional force that combines all the capabilities of the military, in cooperation of sea-air-land integrated with intelligence and cyber warfare.
Kochkavi did not add any concrete information about the IDF’s operations in the depths of enemy territory, but it can be understood that these occurred as a result of an ongoing effort to reach a significant result in the face of the enemy’s intentions to act against Israel. With that in mind, if Kochavi was referring to the Iranians, then he was hinting that the effort had been effective.
The IDF has made considerable use of the chaos that has taken place in recent years in the Middle East and operated to prevent the establishment of a Shiite foundation in Syria. This was complemented with the fighting against ISIS, which was also touched on by the Chief of Staff in his lecture. ISIS has not disappeared, Kochavi said, but has changed its state of operation.
The chaos, especially in the Syrian-Iraqi region, was created due in part to the efforts of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who intervened in the bloody civil war in Syria and, together with the Iranians, led to at least a partial victory of Syrian President Bashar Assad over opposition forces.
It remains to be seen what will happen to the IDF’s ambitious activity in the era of President Joe Biden, after the Trump administration’s almost open support for Israel’s offensive initiatives.
Clearly, the daring IDF action has to have led to tremendous psychological deterrence, when the enemy understands that IDF units are operating within its territory, and every decision of that enemy to carry out its intentions goes awry because there is a high chance that it would be punished by a much stronger military power.
In Israel, there is constant criticism of the weakening of IDF deterrence on the Gaza border, because Israel is unable to take truly punishing steps for fear of international condemnations. On the other hand, the potential damage posed by Gaza is not high and certainly does not equal the strategic threat from distant countries like Iran, Iraq, and Yemen. And there, in countries that are capable of inflicting heavy losses on the Jewish state, the Chief of Staff claims the IDF manages to produce significant deterrence.
Naturally, if Israel did succeed in significantly disrupting Iran’s operational capability, then it’s definitely a very important achievement.
Kochavi is currently summing up half of his term on the job and will be required to make crucial decisions now if he wants to carry out even some of the plans he brought with him two years ago. The eruption of the corona pandemic significantly delayed these plans and the frustration this causes the Chief of Staff was evident in his body language on Tuesday.