#ISRAELHAMAWAR. The IDF difficulties of the ground operation

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During the night between 25 and 26 October, the IDF made its first entry with tanks into the Gaza Strip. According to many military analysts, this was preparation for the land invasion much announced by the government but in fact not yet approved despite the demands of the military.

The United States asked Israel to wait before starting the operation, some say to bring in the air defense, others to give a way to free the prisoners, the fact is that perhaps it is not so simple to act in an urban context. As written in another article, Israel has received military advisors from the USA who are showing their experience in Mosul against ISIS.

Israeli authorities announced their intention to conduct a ground operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip almost immediately as IDF units began driving Palestinians out of Israeli territory. However, plans for its implementation were later revised.

An IDF ground operation inside Gaza could lead to a free-for-all war. In such a conflict, on the one hand there will be Israel, the United States and its Arab allies in the region, on the other – Iran, Qatar, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and other countries. Israel and the United States are openly preparing for this type of confrontation: American aircraft carriers have been deployed in the Mediterranean Sea and the THAAD missile defense system and other weapons will be delivered to Tel Aviv. In other words, Israel could decide to launch a ground operation, but it would not be fully ready to react to the consequences.

According to Arab military analysts, the number one reason why Israel did not launch the military operation is organizational chaos. The Hamas attack against Israel occurred on October 7. At first, the Israelis practically did not react to the actions of the Palestinians, but already on October 9, the country’s leadership announced the mobilization of 300 thousand reservists to launch an attack. Large-scale conscription had never occurred in Israel, and clear organizational, supply and planning problems quickly emerged. Since then, two weeks have passed since the announcement of the mobilization. IDF forces are deployed on the field, but the order to attack has not arrived.

The uncertainty and turbulence surrounding the IDF’s deployment impacts the military’s ability to respond quickly to threats both now and as the conflict potentially expands. It is probably for this purpose that the issue of transferring the US Marine Corps and an air squadron of 90 aircraft to the region, along with the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford and destroyers armed with Tomahawk missiles, is being considered.

Another reason could be that the IDF faces a fierce battle in the city. Most Israeli army infantrymen, and especially reservists, are unprepared for large-scale operations and, worse, intense urban combat. Special forces units may have a relatively high level of readiness, but these forces are small in numbers and poorly armed.

Most Israeli soldiers would not be trained adequately on an individual level and the formations would not have the necessary skills on a collective level. Two weeks after the mobilization, the IDF still does not conduct exercises at the brigade or even battalion level, despite Israel having the world’s largest training base for urban combat.

And still the tasks set by the country’s leadership are not solved by bombing. If the conflict cannot be extinguished by political methods, sooner or later the IDF will have to enter the city. At the same time, the army leadership and Israel as a whole are well aware of the dangers of launching an operation with the current level of troop training.

Reason number four is the uncertainty of the plans of the political and military leadership. The mobilization of 300 thousand reservists led to the fact that the troops are already deployed and dispersed in the Gaza Strip, but in reality they are inactive. The actions of small sabotage groups of the IDF bring practically no results, and the bulk of the ground forces are simply waiting for orders in the field.

As a result, the entire IDF military machine “stuck” in an intermediate state. Maintaining a deployed army requires significant resources that are in short supply, and troops suffer losses in minor skirmishes with Lebanese Hamas and Hezbollah.

Antonio Albanese e Graziella Giangiulio

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