While there is an explosion of coverage on the Hamas attack and Israel’s ferocious response, there’s a lot of redundancy in the information conveyed, even allowing for differences in sources and factoids. A new, freed from paywalls post by Elijah Magnier, Gaza’s New Challenges: The Drone Onslaught that Awaits Israel, stands apart in conveying some key developments that don’t seem (yet/at all) widely reported, and using that as a platform for further commentary.
I urge you to read this new post in full. It’s carefully reasoned. Nevertheless, I will take the liberty of hoisting what seem to be particularly important points:
The war is already doing damage to Israel’s society and economy. We had highlighted early commentary that stressed that Israel was vulnerable to a meaningful exodus of its population, such as fairly recent immigrants and tech workers. That is en route to happening and then some. From Magnier:
On the ground, there’s a palpable sense of desperation. A growing number of Israelis and foreigners are going to the civilian airport, eager to escape the rising tensions. Their urgency is heightened because many foreign airlines have suspended flights to and from Israel. This mass departure highlights not only the immediate dangers of the conflict, but also the more profound, lasting effects it may have on Israel’s social morale and economic resilience.
Magnier also pointed out that the stock market suffered a dramatic selloff and the currency fell sharply too.
Hezbollah is believed to be set to act in a serious way, and not merely lob a few rockets. Again from the post:
Hezbollah’s recent rocket attacks, which targeted Radar Hill and the occupied Shebaa Farms and sent a resounding message domestically and internationally, have raised the stakes. Their message is clear: involvement in the Gaza conflict is not a matter of ‘if’ but of ‘when’. Both Hezbollah and Israel appear to be on the same page, preparing for what seems to be an inevitable showdown.
This means Israel is facing a two-front war. Hezbollah, early on through Egypt warned that it would attack if Israel did not “regulate” its response. The ferocity of the air strikes and the intent to send ground troops in would seem to be anything but that. It is not hard to image that whatever Hezbollah would do at scale would either be immediately before or immediately after troops went in so as to maximize the physical and informational challenge.
Hezbollah is unlikely to be alone in attacking Israel. Magnier warns of massive drone attacks from multiple borders:
Israel has evacuated all northern settlements to pre-empt any surprises similar to those witnessed in the southern regions near Gaza. The skies are set to become a new battleground, with swarms of drones poised to join the fray from multiple directions, from Syria, Iraq and Yemen. As the situation intensifies, the rallying cry for a “Unity of the theatres” among the “Axis of the Resistance” supporting Gaza grows louder, signalling a united front on the horizon.
Israel’s military suffered more than is acknowledged in the Hamas attack, particularly the loss of intelligence, and is showing some signs of disarray:
In a significant development on the first day of the assault, Palestinian forces made substantial inroads, advancing into Israeli camps and targeting the 8200th Intelligence Unit among other 11 military barracks. This unit, a linchpin of the Israeli intelligence apparatus, is directly linked to the Gaza Division Command and oversees drones that gather intelligence for Israeli targeting.
The successful attack on this unit, resulting in its destruction and the reported capture or elimination or escape of its personnel, has severely affected the Israeli military’s intelligence capabilities. This setback is evident in the Israeli army’s lack of actionable intelligence. It appears to have failed to anticipate or counter the resistance fighters who managed to capture Israeli soldiers and move freely in and out of Gaza even on the third day of the conflict. This breach underlines the resilience and strategic capability of the Palestinian resistance and the weakness of the Israeli army when faced with determined militants.
As other commentators have pointed out, Israel may be drawn into a conflict that it is not well adapted to fight. This is in addition to the fact that if it goes into Gaza in a meaningful way, it could be caught in a clearing-operation type campaign. The result would be a high level of casualties on both sides. Consider the points made by reader Louis Fyne:
Gaza has 2 million people in roughly a hellscape the size of Mannhattan.
In no scenario can 100, 200,000 troops pacify that zone to match Bibi’s rhetoric!
And a big chunk of the IDF are reservists, many secular Jews.
If the IDF will enter (to match the rhetoric), it will be horrific fighting and erstwhile middle-class comfortable israeli families will see suffering (KIA) at levels not seen since 1948.
Per capita worse than US in the Vietnam War.
And remember just months ago, Bibi was on the doorsteps of receiving a colour revolution.
So you have urban, suburban reservists fighting/dying for ultra-right-wing Orthdox political aims. (and there are various IDF draft loopholes that benefit the ultra-orthodox)
Ironically the opposite of the US, where the meme is that conservatibes will not volunteer to fight for a woke Pentagon
Whether by design or accident, Hamas will pressure Israeli society in any long-term war at pre-existing fault lines….
folks understandably have blood fever and want revenge…..but a rash invasion of Gaza will make things worse for everyone, including Israeli Jews
Now back to Magnier:
Inside sources have highlighted the growing unity and strength of the ‘Axis allies’ in the face of the Israeli military. They argue that the Israeli army, which traditionally relies on air strikes to pave the way for ground operations, avoids direct confrontation unless areas are pre-emptively cleared with extensive bombing. The sources point to instances where Israeli forces withdrew, leaving behind their war equipment when Palestinian militants attacked their military barracks in the Gaza Strip encirclement.
Drawing parallels with the 2006 conflict, the sources suggest that the Israeli army may face determined and fierce resistance, similar to the combined forces it encountered in southern Lebanon after the initial heavy bombardment.
Magnier does point out that an Israel ground assault against Gaza could be limited and avoid triggering a large-scale Hezbollah attack. Or it could go for splitting Gaza in two, which MAgnier deems as extreme but potentially effective. But he also repeatedly suggests that Israel’s opponents are coordinating possible cross-border attacks, particularly with drones. Now there may be a big gap between intentions and effects, since joint operation is a fraught affair.
A major wild card is what Netanyahu will do. He’s been caught flat-footed and both temperamentally and out of a presumed need to prove Israel’s prowess, seems inclined towards maximalist responses. That tendency is not at all helped by press amplification of the more bloodthirsty views among Israel’s backers, particularly in the US.
This may fall into the category of drawing a yarn diagram too tight, but one has to wonder about the Hamas massacre at the music festival. Maybe Hamas was horribly undisiplined once it broke through the containment fence, but a BBC reconstruction depicts the attack on the festival as methodical.
And now Hamas has elicited even more fury in Israel with its threat to broadcast the execution of hostages if Israel does not dial down its bombing of Gaza. But consider:
Hamas' best-case scenario right now is the IDF charging into Gaza without adequate planning or preparation. They want to turn the strip into Grozny '95 writ large.
Given the Israeli government and media are pounding the table for action they very well might get their wish. pic.twitter.com/zkrdtX5WkP
— Armchair Warlord (@ArmchairW) October 10, 2023
One has to wonder if there was design in the threat to execute hostages, as opposed to this being a desperate move after Israel started massively pounding Gaza (as in Hamas mistakenly thought the presence of so many hostages would lead Israel to be more selective in its strikes). Would these acts be shocking by design, as an attempt to build pn the Napoleon rule, summarized as don’t get in your enemy’s way when he making a mistake, here trying to goad Israel into making the mistake of a hasty ground assault on Gaza?