Hamas – Israel Conflict : The Grave Cost Of Intelligence Failure

-By Ravi Srivastava

(This article has been featured in Defence Monitor on 12 Oct 23)

a 3 mins read.

Audacious Attack

The Hamas attack on Israel on 6th Oct was extremely audacious and unexpected. It came on the Israel’s national holiday weekend amidst the festive mood and was reminiscent of the Yom Kippur war launched by Egypt and Syria on the same day 50 years ago. The attack was orchestrated by Hamas from land, air and sea simultaneously. It was a bizarre and highly provocative move by Hamas and by the development so far, this conflict looks sure to be a long affair. Initial estimates suggested that since the conflict erupted hundreds of Hamas terrorists barged inside the Israeli territory. The music fest held in the desert of Southern Israel became the initial target with complete savage killings of around 260 Israeli civilians and tourists.

Israel realised the gravity of situation as it unfolded with massive rockets raining from Gaza and landing in various neighbourhood. It for once proved, that the aura of          Iron Dome shield of Israel has been overwhelmed. The magnitude and scale of the attack shows it was very well coordinated. Israel’s accusation of neighbouring Iran, a Hamas sympathiser, for this attack may raise more diplomatic heckles in the Middle East. The declaration of war by PM Netanyahu and swift siege laid on Gaza by Israel is indicative of Israeli resolve to respond to this bloody challenge. The voices from world capitals have shown their sympathy towards Israel while holding Hamas entirely accountable for this tragic situation.

Intelligence Failure

The surprise attack has created a flutter among the intelligence agencies world over. It was undoubtedly a singular intelligence failure resulting in massive loss of life and reputation for Israel. The question is ringing in the head how it could be possible that a tightly surveilled territory of Gaza could beat the famed Israeli intelligence; how and what led to collective failures of the coordinated intelligence sharing among mega powers. This being a prominent and known conflict zone a failure of this magnitude has all the ingredients of the conflict from spiralling out of control.

This was one such aspect that prompted Russian statement upon the US foreign policy failure in Middle East, in effect Russia was commenting on US intelligence failure. Ironical it may be at this time, when a few weeks back Famed Five Eyes patted themselves on the back for ‘picking’ intelligence of one almost unknown terrorist being killed in Canada, suggestively linking the threads with India. It reflects how off is the priority being laid out resulting in real conflict zones going unnoticed and unobserved. There will be very heavy price to pay, now that Israel has declared war, No doubt that this price will be extracted from these very same famed agencies. Indications suggests that these agencies have been told to find ‘ways and means’ to extract hostages of their country taken away by Hamas. They will need to answer soon why were they found sleeping, as they now struggle to find relevant intelligence to support their respective governments approach further.

Escalation Fears

This attack by Hamas brings to fore some very troubling questions – the use of declared terrorist organisation in conventional war; the Hamas and it’s sympathisers inclination to turn this conflict into an Islamic war against ‘non-believers’; and most strikingly risking the entire region into a larger geopolitical conflict. As the Israeli offensive takes firm shape it will bring destruction to Gaza and there are bound to be massive civilian casualty in this densely populated area. The situation would be the nerve test for Arab countries, the dilemma to choose will be overwhelming one way or the other it has led the fault lines exposed and opened.

This problem in front of governments world over will keep erupting until there is a universal acknowledgement that Terrorism in all forms is just Terrorism. It serves No cause, whatever cloak of justification is given to it. The justification to terrorist acts needs to be shredded for once, and the world must respond in a collective voice. Else, there will be forced temptation to choose sides whether for domestic survival or for geopolitical gains. In both cases it will remain a temporary hurrah over a just and righteous destiny. Time ahead will be difficult with flickering hopes that the conflict do not spread any further.

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