Israel’s Gaza war, aftermath: The strategic horizon

I began this longer than anticipated series Gaza Comment Exchange on 18 July with the topic, Arab Press. As the “truce” seems to be holding I will return to my core subject, Antisemitism and Jewish Survival, next week. I might have chosen to discuss the immediate situation confronting Israel following Gaza: Abbas possibly ending the “reconciliation” with Hamas; the battle for Kuneitra and Islamist possible threat to the Golan; ISIL’s likely threat to Jordan; Egypt’s growing prominence and possible return of the army politically and diplomatically to the days of Nasser; except today with shared interests with Israel. I might have updated my article Shalom l’Galil: Israel in Syria of March, 2014 in which I described Garrison Israel with expanded buffer zones surrounding Lebanon. And, of course, I might have, was tempted to, return to the consequences to the Middle East (and the world) of America’s return to the comfort of its cocoon of Isolationism. Instead I have excerpted three articles I feel point beyond today’s horizon: Israeli preparedness for the next and future conflicts; the strategic threat to the region of Iran; and the BushBama alliance previously covert, which I discussed in the early years of the Iraq misadventure (see, eg, Nuclear Iran and the US-Israel “special relationship ) and openly today as allies fighting ISIL in Iraq.My intention (assuming the “truce” continues) is to return next week to my core focus of Antisemitism and Jewish Survival.
Israel's next war will be fought on northern front
The fight for the budget has harmed the IDF's preparedness for the war, and the army went into Gaza in near total shutdown.
In addition to minimizing conscript units' trainings and cancelling training for reservist battalions - who make up the main fighting force in case of a war in the north - the army is also ill-equipped with protective tools.
Nowadays, the IDF has a very small amount of Namer armored personnel carriers (APC) that can provide proper protection. The rest are light M113 APCs (nicknamed Zelda), and we've already seen how safe they are in the APC disaster during Operation Protective Edge. Had the public known the numerical ratio between the Zeldas and the Namers, it would've been outraged.
In a war in Lebanon, these old APCs would turn into a real death trap when facing Hezbollah's advanced anti-tank missiles. Since the army only has a small amount of Trophy active protection systems (APS), many of the advanced APCs would be left exposed as well.
As far as aerial protection is concerned, the situation is not much better. The IDF currently has only nine Iron Dome batteries, and it is clear they won't be enough to protect Israel from the catastrophe of thousands of rockets launched at its population. The David's Sling missile defense system, which is capable of intercepting long-range rockets and missiles, will only become operational in over a year, and even then it'll have one main shortcoming: One interception would cost $1 million.
Henry Kissinger on Iran, NPR interview, 9 Sept, 2014: “There has come into being a kind of a Shia belt from Tehran through Baghdad to Beirut. And this gives Iran the opportunity to reconstruct the ancient Persian Empire — this time under the Shia label — in the rebuilding of the Middle East that will inevitably have to take place when the new international borders [are] drawn. Because the borders of the settlement of 1919-'20 are essentially collapsing.
“That gives Iran a very powerful level from a strategic point of view. I consider Iran a bigger problem than ISIS. ISIS is a group of adventurers with a very aggressive ideology. But they have to conquer more and more territory before they can became a strategic, permanent reality. I think a conflict with ISIS — important as it is — is more manageable than a confrontation with Iran.”
Obama’s plan for local armies to fight IS under a “core coalition” is unreal for lack of military muscle
Facing pressing demands to do something serious about the brutal Islamic State, US President Barack Obama threw together a mix of US air strikes, strengthening moderate Syrian rebel groups and enlisting friendly regional governments for the fight “to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL” A “core coalition” of nine NATO governments was put together, made up of Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark, whose leaders were assured that they were not expected to put boots on the ground… [But no] armed force capable of taking on the marching jihadis is to be found in all the vast territory of some 144,000 sq. km seized by the Islamist terrorists, between Raqqa in northrn Syria and the northwestern approaches to Baghdad.
Around the region, too, Saudi King Abdullah and the Emirates will shun any US-led coalition that rests on military and intelligence cooperation with Iran… the Obama administration and Tehran were fighting ISIS together and sharing intelligence in Iraq and Syria President Obama will soon discover his mistake in offering Turkey’s new president Tayyip Erdogan a role in the “core coalition” as the only representative of the Muslim Middle East, and scorning to count Egypt and Saudi Arabia into his formula for “degrading and defeating” al-Qaida.