Hamas military chief Deif is alive, laying groundwork for next war with Israel

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Despite attempt on his life, Hamas' top military commander is actively renewing group's rocket stockpiles, rebuilding terror tunnels, as tensions between group's political and military wings running high as it struggles to return itself to pre-summer state – Gaza, an overview.

Nine months after Israel locked horns with Hamas in Gaza for over 50 days, it is clear that not only did Mohammed Deif, Hamas' military commander, survive the Israeli attempt on his life that saw his wife and child killed, but he has also jump-started Hamas' military wing, sources in Israel said Wednesday.


In the past, Deif had run the Al-Qassam Brigades as a centralized organization, overseeing every small detail in its activities – from its overarching strategy, to rocket production.




Mohammed Deif




However, in recent months, and in the wake of the devastating Operation Protective Edge, tensions between Hamas's military and political wings have fermented, with the latter placing the onus of the group's failure on the political echelon, which they say undermined their efforts to steer the conflict in its favor.




For years Hamas has planned for a surprise shock attack followed by a larger offensive in or from Gaza. During its opening onslaught, Hamas planned to use its complex system of tunnels to stream its terrorists into Israel and have them attack a border area community, or even communities, sowing terror and kidnapping Israelis back into Gaza. This was supposed to be Hamas' opening move during Operation Protective Edge. This plan was Deif's brainchild.







Still from video showing armed militants on the Gaza side of the border in March 2015




But Hamas' political leadership refused to green-light the operation when the time came, and thus the military wing now blames them for the operation's failure.




Tensions between the two branches are further fueled by disagreement on other issues as well: While Deif has been pushing for Hamas to bury the hatchet with Iran in return for arms and funds, political leader Khaled Mashaal has been pushing for closer ties with the Gulf states, namely Saudi Arabia – Iran's arch-nemesis.




Generally, there is very little regard among the military wing for its political leadership, and such tensions could boil over to the point that it will begin to make decisions independently. When Ahmed Jabari headed the terror group's military wing he would frequently launch terror attacks without informing or coordinating with the political leadership.




Despite tensions, Hamas' military wing still has the political echelon's support and receives additional funding from Iran. The money trail leading to Hamas spans almost the entire globe and passes through cambists in Egypt. From there it makes the journey through the Sinai and – through the tunnels – it passes in cash form into Gaza. Despite the Egyptian army's best efforts to destroy the tunnel infrastructure in the Sinai, at least a dozen are still active.




More rockets, more tunnels


Not long after the operation in Gaza ended, Hamas began to renew its underground construction projects – rebuilding both offensive and defensive tunnels based on the assumption Israel was still lacking an adequate response to the threat. The new tunnels were dug in new locations, while those unearthed or hit by Israel over the summer were disregarded and left to decay.



Hamas has even increased its investment in the tunnels, and now employs over 1,000 workers working around the clock in three shifts, six days a week. To fortify their inner walls, Hamas uses cement purchased on the black market in Gaza, in addition to wood and hard plastics.







Inside a Gaza tunnel (Archive Photo: Reuters)




By the end of Operation Protective Edge, some 32 offensive tunnels were known to Israel, some of which already reached into Israeli territory. Hamas has set a goal for itself to reach that number again ahead of any new flare-up with Israel.




The same can be said about the group's self-produced rocket stockpile. Recent months have seen a massive effort to replenish the group's rocket supplies to their pre-war state. There is a concentrated effort to build short-range rockets that can hit border communities, as these types of projectiles are the most effective against Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. The group is also busy amassing long range rockets that can go as far as Tel Aviv or Jerusalem (roughly 75 km) and even those that can reach Haifa (150 km).




As part of Hamas' attempt to overcome Iron Dome, it is possible the group will attempt to fire multiple rockets from different locations at a single target in Israel, some of which will eventually be able to penetrate the missile defense system, which despite its impressive record is limited to a finite number of interceptions per battery.







Several rockets intercepted in Sderot during Operation Protective Edge (Photo: Motti Kimchi)




Hamas has also worked to get its elite ground and navy commando units back into shape, in addition to attempting to boost its unmanned aircraft program. Hamas is using Syrian and Iranian experts to help rebuild its forces.




Second front


One of the central lessons the group internalized as a result of Operation Protective Edge was that to truly be able to deal Israel a blow, they need to open an additional front during the conflict. Therefore the group has begun to lay a terror infrastructure in the Sinai which will pester the IDF during any future fighting by firing rockets. To this end, it is very likely to assume that a channel of dialogue has been opened between Hamas and ISIS' branch in Sinai. Hamas understand it needs ISIS affiliates in the Sinai to help with smuggling efforts from Sinai to Gaza.



In case a war breaks out in the north with Hezbollah, Hamas could decide to use the opportunity to open a second front in the south, to further strain the IDF's defenses.


Today more than ever, Hamas sees itself committed to maintaining the calm with Israel and has no desire to lead an escalation as long it is still working on rebuilding itself to pre-operation levels. That was the reason that Hamas was quick to send Israel the message that it was not them who was behind the rocket fire last Thursday. The message was brokered by Egypt, despite the falling out between the two neighbors, further proving that the Israel-Egypt-Hamas line of communication is, like Deif, still alive and kicking.








*two (unrelated) points: 1. Keep in mind this was written by an Israeli website. 2. I expect there to be a war between Israel and Hezbollah within the next two years.
 

Falcon29

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Let me address some misinformation in the article. :)

Firstly, yes he is alive. He's managed to survive a lot of assaisination attempts. One where a missile from a drone directly hit and paralyzed his lower body. It is true that political wing mislead armed wing. But idea that they were going to do premptive incursion into Israel isn't true. Also, Deif is not supporter of syrian regime. He is open to relations with other nations in region.

Stating that Syrian experts are rebuildibg their forces is also a hilarious myth. Hamas and Hezbollah are better trained than Syrian army. This is why Hezbollah is leading fight in syria. It's advising Syrian troops. Syria has nothing to offer to Hamas though. Iranian experts aren't needed either, there is nothing more Hamas can learn from Iran. Hamas has most experience, more than Hezbollah and iran regarding Israel. It learned from this experience, what it needs is weapons. Iran no longer is able to smuggle weapons to Gaza and it's less important to it. Hamas just needs funds, and that's how they build their military. By purchasing weapons and material from black market. For their rockets, they have their own research program. But situation is not possible for it to make the most out of this research because resources are scarce and operationally they can't build big weapons. They cannot be hidden well enough.

The second big myth is about Sinai. There is no ISIS there. There are some militant tribals. I've been to Sinai myself many times. The people who smuggle goods into Gaza are average residents which the Egyptian army knows and allows it. I saw trucks smuggling goods in front of army. It is essential businnes for Egyptians. Also Egypt and Hamas recently have begun official contacts to easen any tensions.

....

For point #2, I do not expect that. Unless Iran gives up on Syria. If Iran finds nuclear program more important than Syria we will see a possible war this June if Iran is attacked. But if it isn't attacked, no way war won't happen for another ten years minimum. Hezbollah is dedicating a lot to Syria it now needs to be more involved than it already is. Rebels are making gains. Hezbollah essentially has transformed its organization by dragging itself into Syria. It can no longer priotorize Israel as Israel is no longer a priority for Iran. Iran finds Syria and Iraq more important. So Hezbollah has to adjust to this change.
 
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Let me address some misinformation in the article. :)

Firstly, yes he is alive. He's managed to survive a lot of assaisination attempts. One where a missile from a drone directly hit and paralyzed his lower body. It is true that political wing mislead armed wing. But idea that they were going to do premptive incursion into Israel isn't true. Also, Deif is not supporter of syrian regime. He is open to relations with other nations in region.

Stating that Syrian experts are rebuildibg their forces is also a hilarious myth. Hamas and Hezbollah are better trained than Syrian army. This is why Hezbollah is leading fight in syria. It's advising Syrian troops. Syria has nothing to offer to Hamas though. Iranian experts aren't needed either, there is nothing more Hamas can learn from Iran. Hamas has most experience, more than Hezbollah and iran regarding Israel. It learned from this experience, what it needs is weapons. Iran no longer is able to smuggle weapons to Gaza and it's less important to it. Hamas just needs funds, and that's how they build their military. By purchasing weapons and material from black market. For their rockets, they have their own research program. But situation is not possible for it to make the most out of this research because resources are scarce and operationally they can't build big weapons. They cannot be hidden well enough.

The second big myth is about Sinai. There is no ISIS there. There are some militant tribals. I've been to Sinai myself many times. The people who smuggle goods into Gaza are average residents which the Egyptian army knows and allows it. I saw trucks smuggling goods in front of army. It is essential businnes for Egyptians. Also Egypt and Hamas recently have begun official contacts to easen any tensions.

....

For point #2, I do not expect that. Unless Iran gives up on Syria. If Iran finds nuclear program more important than Syria we will see a possible war this June if Iran is attacked. But if it isn't attacked, no way war won't happen for another ten years minimum. Hezbollah is dedicating a lot to Syria it now needs to be more involved than it already is. Rebels are making gains. Hezbollah essentially has transformed its organization by dragging itself into Syria. It can no longer priotorize Israel as Israel is no longer a priority for Iran. Iran finds Syria and Iraq more important. So Hezbollah has to adjust to this change.
As far as I know, those extremist militant groups in Sinai have recently pledged allegiance to Isis which makes them part of it. I'm sure you can find evidence about that online.

And actually, it's looking lately like Iran might be giving up on bashar. And your point that hezbollah is overstretched now actually makes me think Israel will seize this opportunity to crush it before it becomes an even bigger threat. And the same with Iran. Israel would rather go to war with Iran + Hezbollah now before they get their hands on nuclear missiles which would seriously threaten Israel. Call it just a hunch maybe..
 

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As far as I know, those extremist militant groups in Sinai have recently pledged allegiance to Isis which makes them part of it. I'm sure you can find evidence about that online.

And actually, it's looking lately like Iran might be giving up on bashar. And your point that hezbollah is overstretched now actually makes me think Israel will seize this opportunity to crush it before it becomes an even bigger threat. And the same with Iran. Israel would rather go to war with Iran + Hezbollah now before they get their hands on nuclear missiles which would seriously threaten Israel. Call it just a hunch maybe..
Some should go fire a missile or two from Hizbollah controlled territory on Israel and then set back and enjoy the show.:~_~:
 

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As far as I know, those extremist militant groups in Sinai have recently pledged allegiance to Isis which makes them part of it. I'm sure you can find evidence about that online.

And actually, it's looking lately like Iran might be giving up on bashar. And your point that hezbollah is overstretched now actually makes me think Israel will seize this opportunity to crush it before it becomes an even bigger threat. And the same with Iran. Israel would rather go to war with Iran + Hezbollah now before they get their hands on nuclear missiles which would seriously threaten Israel. Call it just a hunch maybe..
Doesn't matter what online says. There are only militant cells in sinai, no organized structure. I know this better than any online or anybody here does. And what's mentioned in the article is propaganda.

Israel won't go to war on Lebanon, because as I told you hitting Hezbollah hard would make a rebel victory in Syria reachable in short amount of time. Israel wants the Syrian war to last another 10 years. A quick rebel victory is not in the interest of Israel. Which is why it will not attack Hezbollah. Hezbollah will never have nuclear weapons either. Nuclear weapons serve purpose of a state. You should know better than to suggest something like that.

Israel also won't attack Iran without US green light. Once again because it will enable Syrian rebel victory and ISIS victory in Iraq. Israel might get in limited war with Hezbollah, even after that it won't be weak enough for state to topple the organization.
 
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Doesn't matter what online says. There are only militant cells in sinai, no organized structure. I know this better than any online or anybody here does. And what's mentioned in the article is propaganda.

Israel won't go to war on Lebanon, because as I told you hitting Hezbollah hard would make a rebel victory in Syria reachable in short amount of time. Israel wants the Syrian war to last another 10 years. A quick rebel victory is not in the interest of Israel. Which is why it will not attack Hezbollah. Hezbollah will never have nuclear weapons either. Nuclear weapons serve purpose of a state. You should know better than to suggest something like that.

Israel also won't attack Iran without US green light. Once again because it will enable Syrian rebel victory and ISIS victory in Iraq. Israel might get in limited war with Hezbollah, even after that it won't be weak enough for state to topple the organization.
Israel has vowed it would take unilateral military action against Iran WITHOUT U.S. green light if it feels threatened in the past. And actually it's very possible that if Iran obtains nuclear weapons they would give some to Hezbollah as they've given very sphosticated missiles and such in the past Israeli Strikes Highlight Fears Over Hezbollah | Al Jazeera America (as you can see, when Israel felt threatened by such weapons they didn't hesitate to attack without green light or whatever). While it's true that Israel would rather drain all parties in the Syria conflict, two years time would be enough for that.

And visiting Sinai doesn't make you an expert on it btw.
 

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Israel has vowed it would take unilateral military action against Iran WITHOUT U.S. green light if it feels threatened in the past. And actually it's very possible that if Iran obtains nuclear weapons they would give some to Hezbollah as they've given very sphosticated missiles and such in the past Israeli Strikes Highlight Fears Over Hezbollah | Al Jazeera America (as you can see, when Israel felt threatened by such weapons they didn't hesitate to attack without green light or whatever). While it's true that Israel would rather drain all parties in the Syria conflict, two years time would be enough for that.

And visiting Sinai doesn't make you an expert on it btw.
Are you dumb? Hezbollah will get nuclear weapon? Where will they store it? Under Beirut? And with which tactical ballistic missile from Iran will they use? Nuclear weapons are not meant to be used, they are meant to enhance ability to secure interests without severe consequences. And large nations use this them, and fortify them under mountains.

You're a Jordanian, you never lived with Israeli's or involved in conflict with them. We know their conscience better than you. Israel will not attack Iran. Unless it is sure it will drag the US into conflict and make the US deploy ground troops. Israel would never do the dirty work, it will instigate conflict and fight Iran to the last American. Or it rather have Arabs and Iranians go at it. End of discussion, I don't gave a hair on my ass what you read online.

What makes you think I just visit Sinai? Have you ever been in Sinai? Or went through tunnels on both sides? Or bought goods from the tribes in Sinai? Or aware of how weapons get into Gaza and what methods the Palestinians use to get them? If not, then refrain from speaking. We Palestinians know the Sinai like the back of our hand. Many Palestinians live there.
 
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