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View: Hamas brutal attack on Israel will spur new cycle of violence & extremism

The Israelis have described the October 7 massacre of innocent Jews by Iran backed Hamas Sunni terrorists as their 9/11. Indian media tends to compare the dastardly attack on Israel with 26/11, where even Israeli Jews were targeted by Pakistan Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) group with ISI support at Chabad House at Nariman Point. The common thread in all these three massacres is that innocents by the hundreds were butchered by jihadists with the exception that intelligence was available in 9/11 and 26/11 but not properly assessed. In 26/11, the intelligence was actionable, pin-pointed and shared by US with India but still the attack could not be prevented due to poor national security leadership and even more pathetic CT execution.

Israeli counter attack, in Gaza after 10/7 massacre
Israeli counter attack, in Gaza after 10/7 massacre

While 9/11 and 26/11 were single-dimensional events—the first air-based attack and second sea-based attack—the 10/7 ongoing terror attack is far more complex in nature with strikes from land, sea and air across the Gaza border and with no chatter. The synchronization of terrorists infiltrating into south Israel through land by simply over-running the check posts, using para-gliders to cross the border through air and finally use boats to infiltrate into Siderot-Ashkelon-Ashdod areas shows tremendous planning for a military commando operation that will be hailed as a master operation for jihadists in times to come. And that the fabled Shin Bet and Mossad had prima facie no clue about the incoming attack will also be recorded in history unless they had the information but failed to assess the threat. The massive intelligence failure in Israel and humiliation by a Palestinian terrorist group also poses very serious questions to western intelligence apparatus, which analyses the communication chatter in the world 24 X 7. That 3000 rockets were launched simultaneously from Gaza towards Israel shows the level of war planning and the humungous intelligence failure.

While it is clear that Israel will extract massive vengeance on Hamas for this audacious attack, their retaliation will be hampered by Israeli citizens and soldiers (male and female) held hostage by the Hamas terrorists in tunnels under Gaza. There is a possibility of horizontal escalation of war on two fronts if Iran backed Hezbollah opens another front on Israel-Lebanon borders. If that happens, then the entire Middle-East will go up in flames given the umbilical links between Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas as well as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who are now leading the terror strike.

Although the consequences of 10/7 will play out in the decades to come, the hands of jihadists and the fundamentalist forces have been strengthened for the time being as the Hamas attack comes after Sunni fundamentalist Taliban captured Kabul on August 15, 2021. This temporary victory for Hamas will spread more religious radicalization and threaten the economic growth of Middle-East and the world in long term. The new cycle of violence and religious extremism has already begun. Is India prepared for it?

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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel. …view detail

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