In the current Middle East, where erstwhile Israeli allies like Egypt and Turkey display open hostility, where Sudan serves as Iran’s warehouse and Gaza and Lebanon as its forward bases, the Jewish State finds itself in the precarious center of a tightening noose. Israel has not been so under siege since the Yom Kippur War.
Reality check: Since 9/11, and especially in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring, we have been living in the “Era of Islamism”, as evidenced by the rise to power of Hamas in Gaza, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Islamist-leaning AK Party in Turkey, and the Ennahda Party in Tunisia. Libya has also been overrun by violent Islamists, as has the Sinai Peninsula. Should Syria fall into the wrong hands, the situation severely worsens. If the Hashemite monarchy in Jordan is also toppled, circumstances could be dire indeed.
No matter in which direction Israel looks, the picture isn’t pretty. Nonetheless, there is a way out of the suffocating noose.
Now more than ever in the last 40 years, Israel must adopt The Decisive Doctrine and impose a zero tolerance policy against the Revolutionary Guard franchises. Definitive victories obliterating Hamas and Hezbollah will send an unmistakable message to their masters in Tehran, and to watchful regimes in Cairo and Damascus. More importantly, eradication of these Jihadists will give Israel critical breathing room and the chance to focus on Iran’s nuclear bomb program, which remains the single greatest existential threat to the State of Israel.
Therefore, the Israel Defense Forces’ oft-stated goal of “crippling” terrorist organizations is wholly inadequate and simply won’t do; the crippled heal and live on to terrorize another day, as history has repeatedly shown. If Cast Lead had finished the job, Pillar of Cloud would not have been necessary. If the First Lebanon War against the PLO had ended only after the then-nascent Hezbollah’s extinction, the Second Lebanon War would have never come about. Leaving a remnant to regroup, rebuild, and rearm merely guarantees a next-time-around.
And in the meantime, should Israel sit idly by like inert dupes, observing and counting as Iran supplies missiles to its vanguard proxies perched on Israel’s borders? Taking out the Sudanese weapons depot was a step in the right direction. For those gripped in the vise of terrorism, beleaguered and besieged, proactive measures prove crucial.
The IDF and Israeli leadership must internalize a fundamental lesson, especially in relation to Hamas and Hezbollah, before the stranglehold is complete and it is too late: Fighting in self-defense does not mean fighting on the defensive. If Israel is going to war…it must go the distance.