As the ground war in Gaza continues, the IDF advances deeper and casualties on both sides mount, there is a lack of clarity regarding the tactics and strategy of the two sides; above all, do they have an exit plan should events spin out of control? While the tactical and strategic aspects can still be understood, the exit strategy is more difficult to grasp. This situation is similar to previous Israeli military campaigns of this nature – the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah and the 2008-2009 and 2012 battles with Hamas.

On the surface, in all these crises, we witnessed asymmetrical warfare between a regular army and a guerilla force. In reality, however, Hezbollah and Hamas are much more than just that. They don’t qualify for the usual terms used to describe them – “terror groups,” “militias” or “irregular structures” – they are political, social, economic and military entities that control sizeable geography and also can be defined as state-like actors in the regional arena.

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