Analysis: New IDF chief faces an axis of evil

The positions Benny Gantz has filled until now make him suitable for the post; now, he will need to prove he is the right man for the job.

By
February 15, 2011 02:49
4 minute read.
Benny Gantz gets new rank from Barak, PM

Gantz Barak Netanyahu 311. (photo credit: Avi Ochaion/GPO)

Shortly after receiving his new rank and as he made his way from the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem to military headquarters in Tel Aviv, the new IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz received news of a Kassam rocket attack in the western Negev.

Later in the day, thousands of young Iranians took to the streets of Tehran to protest against the radical regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The protests could lead to the resurgence of the Green Movement, which popped its head above the ground and might eventually lead to a change in government in Iran. Not something immediate but possible.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Gantz becomes IDF chief of General staff amidst rocket fire
From Bergen-Belsen to the Kirya

One of his first tasks will be presenting IDF plans for bridging that gap to the cabinet. How many aircraft will it need to buy? How many more Merkava Mk 4 tanks will it require?

Seven years ago, the IDF dismantled three divisions. There is some thinking within the top IDF command that maybe those divisions should be reinstated.

For the time being, Israel is trying to stabilize its relationship with Egypt. There is some concern with the fact that Defense Minister Mohamed Tantawi is now the head of the country. Tantawi, who fought in three wars against Israel, is not particularly fond of the IDF or the Jewish state. This could affect military relations between the countries.

Under these circumstances, Gantz will not have even one day of grace. The positions he has filled until now – head of Northern Command, head of the Ground Forces Command, military attaché in Washington and deputy chief of staff – make him suitable for the post. Now, he will need to prove he really is the right man for the job.

These two incidents illustrate the opposite ends of the axis of evil that Israel faces in the Middle East. On the one hand is Iran, which is continuing to develop a nuclear weapon and could pose an existential threat to Israel. On the other end is Hamas, which is continuing to arm itself with larger missiles and rockets with extended ranges and accuracy.

They also demonstrate the challenges that Gantz will need to deal with over the next three years as he serves as the IDF’s 20th chief of General Staff. The possibility that Israel will need to confront Iran in the coming years is growing, as is the chance of a another war with Hezbollah and Hamas. Added to the mix is Egypt, whose future is uncertain as the army took control, postponing elections for at least half a year.

2011 is turning into a critical year for Israel and the IDF. The upheaval in the Middle East and the expected American withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan will present new challenges for Israel.

Within this strategic context, Gantz will need to also a draft a new multi-year plan which will set the IDF’s procurement plans for the coming five years. After the Harpaz Document affair, he will also need to quickly work to stabilize the IDF’s top ranks and ensure that senior officers do not jump ship after the shakeup that resulted in his appointment.

Egypt presents the greatest challenge. It is no secret that the IDF does not currently have enough units, planes and tanks to properly deal with a war that could involve Egypt, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran at the same time.

One of his first tasks will be presenting IDF plans for bridging that gap to the cabinet. How many aircraft will it need to buy? How many more Merkava Mk 4 tanks will it require?

Seven years ago, the IDF dismantled three divisions. There is some thinking within the top IDF command that maybe those divisions should be reinstated.

For the time being, Israel is trying to stabilize its relationship with Egypt. There is some concern with the fact that Defense Minister Mohamed Tantawi is now the head of the country. Tantawi, who fought in three wars against Israel, is not particularly fond of the IDF or the Jewish state. This could affect military relations between the countries.

Under these circumstances, Gantz will not have even one day of grace. The positions he has filled until now – head of Northern Command, head of the Ground Forces Command, military attaché in Washington and deputy chief of staff – make him suitable for the post. Now, he will need to prove he really is the right man for the job.


Related Content

idf hebron
August 22, 2014
Palestinians throw Molotov cocktail at IDF checkpoint in Hebron

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH, TOVAH LAZAROFF

Israel Weather
  • 13 - 22
    Beer Sheva
    16 - 21
    Tel Aviv - Yafo
  • 12 - 19
    Jerusalem
    15 - 23
    Haifa
  • 18 - 28
    Elat
    16 - 29
    Tiberias