Stratfor has speculation on how a ground operation against Gaza might unfold. Since geography hasn't changed much since Cast Lead, the major thrust line is probably going to be exactly the same: right along the Gaza/Egyptian border.
In the southern theater, Israeli units moved in and set up blocking positions near Rafah and Highway 4 in order to cut Hamas' logistical supply lines running north toward Gaza City. ... this served to isolate Gaza City.
But with Mubarak gone will Egypt cooperate this time? STRATFOR writes:
Egypt now has a very different government, which brings into question its willingness to support a ground operation. Cairo has already announced that the Rafah Crossing will remain open. This creates an even more serious imperative for Israeli units to cut the supply lines in the south of the Gaza Strip to Gaza City. Israeli ground forces may need to physically occupy the Egypt-Gaza border.
Where it gets interesting is if Israel omits the other half of Cast Lead -- the component involving going into the densely populated area to root out Hamas rocket sites and infrastructure. If it simply thrusts up along the corridor and engineers essentially excavate a deep ditch to destroy the thousands of tunnels then even when it withdrew the Hamas supply line would take a longtime to reconstruct.
Above-ground supplies can still be passed through -- after being inspected for military supplies -- so Egypt can still claim the crossing is open. And Israel moving on a narrow front can plausibly say that Gaza itself has not been invaded; and that the Israelis are simply going to enforce the provisions against military supplies being shipped in.
This also makes it possible to "find" Iranian made supplies and reframe the operation as an anti-Iranian measure, something that has considerable appeal in the region. Thus, a combination of non-invasive blockade and political warfare can probably offset Hamas' talking points to a great degree. It will also give Obama his most treasured opportunity: the ability to have it both ways.
Netanyahu could continue the negotiations for a ceasefire from a genuine position of strength and at all events even if he withdraws in a as little as a month Hamas will face the ruin of its existing tunnel network. In fact, Israel could largely offset the political impact of an operation along the strip by arranging for all kinds of civilian goodies to be shipped in over the corridor, gratis even. That would not only ruin the smugglers (many of whom are Palestinian politicians) but also make it hard for anyone to get really upset.
If Hamas thought provoking an Israeli crackdown by raining rockets down on the Jewish state would rally Arab nations to its side, it may have miscalculated badly, experts told FoxNews.com.
The Gaza-based terror group began a barrage of rockets on southern Israel on Nov. 10, which brought a swift reaction from Israel. Israeli air strikes have taken out several Hamas leaders and launch sites, and its military is now poised to rumble into the territory with tanks and soldiers, just as it did four years ago – with equally one-sided results.
As for Hamas’ regional allies, including Egypt, the signs of solidarity have been strictly rhetorical. If Hamas’ campaign was aimed at dragging regional allies into a widening conflict, many experts are skeptical that it will succeed.
Maybe the bloom is off the Palestinian rose. People in the West like social democracy and Hope and Change so much that Drudge says millions want to 'opt out' of Christmas. Jordan is rioting for gas. Egypt is running out of food. Syria is in civil war. Lebanon is on the edge of civil war. And all Hamas can think of doing is firing their frigging Fajr-5 rockets at Israel and hoping the rest of the region and the western left rides to its rescue?
Good timing Hamas. Like everyone needed that.
Yes, the way the unions were looking to show their resolve by closing the Hostess company and destroying 18,000 jobs. They think the world is 'about them' and centered around them. Then one day things just pass you by.
If Israel doesn't get into a house to house battle for Gaza then not even the mainstream media can convincingly depict them as monsters. Netanyahu if he were careful could win a limited victory over them, so long as he knows not to go too far. Hamas is vulnerable because the Arab world has imploded; even Obama in his actual strength has imploded. The world is no longer what it was.
Article printed from Belmont Club: http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez
URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2012/11/20/ground-options