The IDF must be preparer for three principal security scenarios in the near future, former national security adviser Maj.- Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror has said, naming them as a large-scale ground war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, attrition against Hamas in Gaza, and the possibility of a military operation in Iran.
The military must prepare for these challenges while providing ongoing security, Amidror, a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said in a report published on the center’s website.
The feat “will be neither easy nor cheap,” he added.
“The most significant threat to Israel’s very existence is the possibility that some time in 2015, Iran will reach a deal with the West that would allow it to pursue some form of nuclear military capability. This process will not come to fruition this year, but a bad deal with the superpowers would be an important milestone for Tehran,” Amidror warned.
Looking ahead to 2015, Israel faces threats posed mainly by non-state entities motivated by Islamic ideology.
“The strongest of them is Hezbollah, which was formed with a dual purpose in mind: It represents Iran’s long reach in the area and against Israel, while at the same time it aims to control Lebanon, where the Shi’ites are the largest ethnic group,” Amidror added.
Hezbollah most closely resembles an army, and its arsenal totals some 150,000 missiles and rockets, several thousand of which can target any area in Israel.
“This rare and substantial firepower apparently even exceeded the firepower possessed by most of the European states combined,” Amidror said in the report.
Additionally, Hezbollah is armed with surface-to-sea missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, drones and modern anti-tank missiles.
“It is well organized into a military-style hierarchy and appears to possess command and control systems of high quality. It was established by Iranian leaders, but its leadership has always consisted of Lebanese people who were closely linked to Iran’s interests,” the report continued. “Hezbollah assisted the Shi’ites by providing for their needs in the civilian sphere as a base for building its military power.”
Hezbollah is busy with its intervention in Syria, a war it deems crucial for its own survival, according to Amidror. “It fights beside the Syrian Alawites because it needs them to stay in power. If Assad survives, Hezbollah’s status in Lebanon will increase, as will its status in Damascus.”
Hamas in the Gaza Strip also constitutes a steadily rising security threat, one that is able to manufacture its own longrange rockets and tunnel grid.
Hamas is left with 3,500 rockets after a 50-day war with Israel. Now, “the big question is the speed at which Hamas can regain the capabilities it has lost. For Hamas, the current regime in Egypt is a formidable obstacle. Hamas has the markings of a well-organized military organization, as well as an impressive ability to learn and improve,” Amidror wrote.
Islamic Jihad in Gaza cannot be discounted as a threat either.
Amidror noted that in 2015, no real army threatens Israel’s security any longer. Egypt’s military does not hold Israel as a prime target, and Egyptian military leaders have yet to consolidate their hold on power, the former national security adviser argued.
The Syrian army is completely engaged in the civil war, “and while it still possesses a substantial arsenal, its units have been compromised, its morale is extremely low, and many of its commanders fear for their lives if the other side should win. The once enormous Iraqi army, at one time seen as having the ability to change the balance of power on the eastern front against Israel, has ceased to exist.”
Additionally, Amidror stated, “the small but professional Jordanian army is looking east and north, toward the crumbling states of Iraq and Syria.
Islamist terrorists are thriving within the power vacuum in both countries, and Jordan may already be in their cross-hairs.”
Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, are arming themselves with the best of Western weaponry to prepare themselves for Iran.
Radical jihadi elements are basing themselves in the Sinai Peninsula and Syrian Golan, but the threat they pose to Israel is less significant, due to their current lack of strength, he said.