IDF preparing units for next war: Lebanon and West Bank

On December 13, 2012 by stratagem

Source: Jerusalem Post

The IDF Spokesman’s Office is preparing for the next war, in which the swiftness of its response will be key, Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the IDF Spokesman, says.

Speaking to the Globes Business Conference in Tel Aviv earlier this week, Mordechai said his unit was in the midst of preparing for a future war that will likely be more complex than the recent conflict with Hamas.

“We’re not patting ourselves on the back from the last operation,” he said, referring to November’s Operation Pillar of Defense.

“Militarily, we understand that this was a time-limited operation,” he said. “We made mistakes – and where we err, we correct ourselves.”

Mordechai also addressed his unit’s efforts to reach out to Arabic speakers.

“We operate an Arabic website, but it is hard to be interviewed by Al Jazeera,” he related.

“They put up background images of children who’ve been killed, and you know that it’s actually from Syria or a previous war. We discovered that when we tell the local residents in Arabic what we are doing, we receive a high score in terms of our credibility relative to the Arabic media. It is important for us to explain that we’re not fighting the people, but Hamas.”

Mordechai said he expected the next conflict to be more complex, not only for his unit but for the military as a whole.

“Since the conflict changes, the challenge becomes much larger. We understood that we don’t have a victory image in Pillar of Defense. That was the mistake of the Second Lebanon War. We wanted a victory image in Bint Jbail, and everything became embroiled,” he said, referring to the south Lebanese town that was the scene of heavy house-to-house fighting with Hezbollah in 2006.

Mordechai said Lebanon was likely the main future front, adding that the West Bank was also a potential front.

“My ability to explain war in Pillar of Defense was easier. There was legitimacy,” he said. “But it’s clear to me that if the air force had missed and there were many civilian casualties, the challenge would have been greater. This has happened already, in the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead [in the winter of 2008/2009].”

In recent months the IDF has held several war drills based on the scenario of a sudden eruption of conflict on multiple fronts. The drills included the rapid deployment of infantry, armored vehicles and artillery units from the center of the country to the North and South.

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