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For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:

CONFLICT MANAGEMENT”: THE COLLAPSE OF A CONCEPT

(Kindly consider “liking”, sharing, tweeting – please use hash-tag ‪#‎IntoFray)

IDF’s “Or Hadagan” exercises, the largest in almost two decades

While Israel has been “managing the conflict”, its non-state adversaries have been enhancing their capabilities so dramatically that they are now a grave strategic threat

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):

 ALGEMEINER: https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/09/08/conflict-management-the-collapse-of-a-concept/
ISRAELI FRONTLINE: http://www.israelifrontline.com/2017/09/fray-conflict-management-collapse-concept.html  

ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS: https://israelnewsonline.org/into-the-fray-conflict-management-the-collapse-of-a-concept/#.WbKF8igjE2w
ISRAEL NEWS ONLINE: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/20987
ISRAEL RISING: https://www.israelrising.com/conflict-management-theccollapse-concept/
ISRAPUNDIT : https://www.israpundit.org/into-the-fray-conflict-management-the-collapse-of-a-concept/
JERUSALEM HERALD: https://www.jerusalem-herald.com/single-post/2017/09/07/INTO-THE-FRAY-%25E2%2580%2598Conflict-management%25E2%2580%2599-The-collapse-of-a-concept
JEWS DOWN UNDER: https://jewsdownunder.com/2017/09/08/fray-conflict-management-collapse-concept/

  MEDIUM : https://medium.com/@martinsherman/into-the-fray-conflict-management-the-collapse-of-a-concept-1f27c4f6f661
JEWISH PRESS: (To be posted)

Several  short  excerpts:

…to remain at peace when you should be going to war may be often very dangerous. ..–Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, 431 BCE

This week, Israel conducted its largest military exercise for almost two decades code named “Or Hadagan” (“the Light of the Grain”), reportedly in honor of the late Meir Dagan, former director of Mossad.

 

Far reaching shift in threat perception 

 

 

Fighters of the Shiite Hezbollah movement attend the funeral of a comrade who died in combat in Syria during his funeral in the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Hatta on March 18, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Mahmoud ZAYYAT (Photo credit should read MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Hezbollah Forces (Photo credit: MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images)

The drill, which took place in the north of the country, and involved tens of thousands of troops from all branches of the IDF, was intended to prepare the Israeli military for a possible futureconfrontation with Hezbollah…This, in itself, reflects far-reaching changes in the realities on the ground and the resultant shift in Israeli threat perception and hence in the armed forces’ operational focus and strategic outlook  that have taken place since the end of the 2006 Second Lebanon War…

 

 

 

“To defeat, not deter…”  


But changing threat perception was not the only major shift in military thinking associated with the drill.  For the reported definition of its objectives seem to indicate an emerging awareness that the approach adopted over the last few decades has been both dysfunctional and detrimental…Referring to the professed goal of the “Or Hadagan” drill,[Amos] Harel [wrote“ The objective is to defeat Hezbollah. This time the talk is not of inflicting significant harm to Hezbollah, to deter it, or to quash its desire to fight until the next round of violence.”

 

Conflict management: A concept discredited

 

…Arguably, one of the most explicit advocates for the idea of conflict management is Prof. Efraim Inbar, formerly BESA’s longstanding director, who…set out the essence of this conflict management approach as it pertained to Hamas in Gaza:  …The use of force…is a long-term strategy of attrition designed primarily to debilitate the enemy capabilities… and in hanging on until opponents yield their radical goals …” …Clearly, this prescription has failed dismally both with regard to  Hamas and Hezbollah, neither of whom have had their capabilities “debilitated”, nor have forgone their “radical goals.”  

 

Conflict management discredited (cont.)

 

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Tunnels in Gaza: Dug while Israel was managing the conflict

…After all, not only is there any sign of either of these organizations moderating their radical rejectionist approach towards Israel, but the periods of inter-bellum calm have been consistently used by both to dramatically upgrade their capabilities…

 

 

 

 

Mistaking “regrouping” for “deterrence”

 

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Hassan Nasrallah Secretary-General of Hezbollah

In light of all these daunting developments, it is clear that successive bouts of limited fighting have done little to deter either Hamas or Hezbollah in the sense of breaking their will to engage in battle. Rather, after every round, they have been forced to regroup, redeploy and rearm—only to  re-emerge spoiling for a fight, ever bolder, with ever-greater (indeed, once inconceivable) capabilities…These are the bitter fruits that conflict management has produced.

 

There but for the grace of God…

 

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                                                   Northern Israel as see from the Golan Heights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Against this grim backdrop in Lebanon, the developing realities in Syria must be taken into consideration: The deployment of Russian forces and the growing dominance of the Iranian presence in the country…All this should cause us to shudder with dread at the thought that,had the “enlightened” voices of moderation, reason and understanding of the “Other”, carried the day, and Israel had withdrawn from the Golan, all these perils would be perched on the heights overlooking the Sea of Galilee, the city of Tiberias and much of northern Israel…There but for the grace of God…

 

Backing away vs. backing into confrontations 

 

For several years now I have been warning against clear and present dangers inherent in conflict management—cautioning that it is little more than “kicking the can down the road” into a risk fraught future.  I expressed growing concern that by adopting a policy of avoiding confrontations. which Israel could win, the government  may well back the nation  into a confrontation so severe that it may not—or only do so at devastating cost… we can only hope that such a crucial confrontation is not upon us…

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,

Best wishes,

MS