The IDF is operating to a well thought out war plan on the ground as well as in the air. This is a description of IDF ground operations from strategypage.com:
For the last two years, the Israeli Army has been developing new tactics and equipment for fighting Hamas and Hezbollah-type gunmen in urban areas. The Israelis have built training areas, with dense urban construction, and run many of its ground troops through special exercises. How well the new tactics and training are will be seen in the next week or so. The new tactics are meant to minimize civilian casualties, while enabling Israeli troops to quickly move through the area and kill or capture enemy personnel and equipment. Reservist units that have not gone through the special training are being sent to the new training centers for at least a few days of instruction on the new tactics. These new methods, while officially secret, apparently involve some new fighting tactics, and lots of electronic warfare. Hamas has had to operate with both cell phones and landline communications down. In addition, their walkie-talkies are sometimes jammed, and apparently listened to carefully by Israeli electronic warfare troops. This is causing command and coordination problems for Hamas fighters.
What we are seeing here is an IDF version of the British Army urban tactics used in the 2003 Iraqi invasion at Basra, with IDF special forces reprising the role of the SAS.
It has added to it a truly extensive human intelligence and electronic/information warfare system. This is a partial description of that system from an IT industry pro-Israeli blogger:
Well, in my professional life I deal with complex IT systems, and I've given a bit of thought to this issue seen from that perspective:
First, Israel clearly has created a sophisticated GIS (geographic information system). A system that records tens of thousands of buildings, their location, and their distance from each other. Then there's a database with the names of the tens of thousands of families who live in the buildings, and the phone number of each family. The system has the ability to identify all the families and phone numbers that could be affected by an attack on any given building. Finally, given the numbers involved, there must be a system that automatically makes concurrent phone calls to dozens of families, since everybody has to have the same ten-minute warning.
Ah, and someone put tens of thousands of piece of information into that database. Such a system costs real money, takes time to set up, and since it is obviously operating close to flawlessly, it was tested, fiddled with, tested, fiddled with, and tested again. The purpose, I remind you, is to save the lives of thousands of Palestinians who happen to have murderous neighbors.
Since the relational software we used to map the Sunni and Shia tribes of Iraq, and destroy Al-Qaeda in Iraq, came from the Israelis, you can imagine the kind of intelligence that software combined with the GIS (geographic information system) mentioned above can generate in real time.
The battle reports I have seen thus far indicate that the IDF has cut up and isolated Hamas in various urban islands in Gaza, this allows:
- IDF Arabic speaking Sayeret undercover teams to conduct "body snatches" of Hamas leadership or to obtain intelligence from Palestinian snitches under the cover of night.
- IDF conventional forces to go in at night with good intelligence to conduct ground operations that are seizing/flattening key urban terrain or supply points to flush Hamas into the open.
- IDF sniper teams to set up at night at vantage point to engage/control the movement of visibly armed Hamas gunmen.
- IDF to take far more biometric information from military aged male Palestinians in their custody for it's intelligence data bases and.
- IDF to conduct air and artillery strikes during the day, using information from the above night operations, to minimize Palestinian casualties.
Hamas is going to be well thrashed and the majority of it's leaders, military supplies and infrastructure will be killed or destroyed. The longer Operation Cast Lead lasts, the more Hamas will be thrashed and broken up into family/clan based factions.
I don't expect the Olmert government to finish the job -- AKA destroy enough of Hamas to allow Fatah to take over straight away. The "post-Operation Cast Iron" Gaza will see a power struggle between surviving factions of Hamas, the local family based unaffiliated criminal gangs and Fatah supported criminal gangs/clans (like 150 strong Pro-Fatah Helles clan) reinserted into the rubble of Gaza.
The key to the "rubble phase" will be if Israel occupies the border between Egypt and Gaza for an extended period after the main military operations are completed. This will prevent the covert intervention of Iran into Gaza -- through the utterly corrupt Egyptian border guards -- for the duration of Israeli "mini-occupation" of the Gaza-Egyptian border.
-- Military Curmudgeon