Like most people, I’ve been closely following what’s been going on in Israel and Gaza since Saturday’s attack.
Most of our readers know that I’m a former intelligence officer; while it seems like a lifetime ago, those instincts never leave. And as I’m shaking my head in disgust at what’s happened, I also can’t help but notice a number of peculiarities that just don’t add up.
First, it’s bizarre… almost suspicious… just how poorly trained the Hamas fighters are. As I watch videos of the gunmen, they demonstrate a distinct lack of even basic firearms proficiency.
They have limited trigger discipline. They wave their weapons around like children playing with toy guns. They shoot one-handed as if they learned marksmanship from watching Rambo.
Plus their small unit tactics are pitiful; they don’t know how to move and fight as a unit or how to clear buildings. They don’t even know basic hand and arm signals.
There also don’t seem to be any tactical or strategic objectives. In warfare, opposing sides seek to achieve clear goals– destroy high value targets, disrupt lines of communication, neutralize enemy units, secure key terrain, etc.
But there’s been none of that so far from Hamas.
This weekend’s attack had obviously been in the works for several months, with significant external support from Iran.
Yet it appears that all of the meticulous planning went into logistics, finance, smuggling, and cross-border coordination. Zero planning went into figuring out the actual mission… let alone training the fighters for combat.
It’s as if Hamas and their allies in Iran thought about every tiny detail about the attack… except for the attack itself. Instead they just rounded up a bunch of angry teenagers, put weapons in their hands, and told them to go murder civilians while screaming “Allahu Akbar”.
Now, it’s not unusual for terrorists to be poorly trained. When I was in the military, we saw so many reports of bomb makers accidentally blowing themselves up, or fighters literally shooting themselves in the foot, that my colleagues and I euphemistically referred to them as “stupid terrorists”.
It’s also not unusual for a terrorist group to lack achievable objectives; some people just want the world to burn, and anyone attracted to such a vocation is typically lacking in intellect and strategic vision.
But this isn’t an ordinary terrorist organization. This attack was essentially from a sovereign government. And it’s frankly strange that they would take such a big swing without thinking through the basics.
Another point that doesn’t add up is America’s role.
Much has already been written about the Biden administration’s culpability in this attack, including the humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan that weakened America’s standing in the world, as well as abandoning tens of billions of dollars in military equipment to the Taliban.
Then of course there was that small matter of releasing $6 billion to Iran in exchange for five US hostages (at least three of whom were also Iranian nationals).
Well, Mr. Biden himself announced that at least 14 US citizens have been killed by Hamas. At least 20 US citizens are missing in Israel and suspected to have been kidnapped by Hamas.
So where is their $6 billion? What was so special about those Iranian-Americans that the United States government (which laughably insists they ‘do not negotiate with terrorists’) allowed Iran to pocket $6 billion in frozen cash to release them?
Don’t misunderstand– I’m not advocating for paying Hamas to get the American hostages out. Quite the opposite. In my mind, you don’t negotiate with terrorists. You neutralize them. Especially when said terrorists are sloppy, emotional, poorly-trained cowards.
But that’s not the point. I’m just trying to understand the logic. Why pay $6 billion for some Americans, but nothing for other Americans? For that matter, why do a costly, one-sided prisoner exchange with Russia for a WNBA player, but don’t do the same to secure the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich (who has been unjustly held in Russia for more than six months)?
What is the President’s logic?
Sorry I almost threw up in my mouth a little bit. I apologize for suggesting the man has any logic at all.
Bizarrely, the Pentagon– presumably under the President’s direction– went to the trouble to announce that a rescue mission “is not off the table”. What does that even mean? If you’re going to rescue people, you go and do it. You don’t say you might do it. Or that doing it “is not off the table”. You just go and do it, while you still have the initiative and element of surprise.
Saying you might send your Special Operations Forces on a rescue mission either tips off the enemy, or proves you are full of hot air… thus weakening your position even further. Talk about a bonehead move.
(In completely unrelated news, the Pentagon also recently announced that it was slashing its Special Operations Forces. But hey, at least the Navy has plenty of drag queens now. )
A final point that doesn’t add up is what the media is calling an “intelligence failure” on the part of the Israelis. Come on. That’s a colossal understatement at best.
Mossad (Israeli intelligence) has agents and operatives all over the world. They have countless resources in Gaza. They have people in Iran. They have assets at luxury hotels in key cities like Beirut, Cairo, and Dubai, all to keep tabs on high profile guests and meetings that take place.
So it’s hard to believe that they were caught off-guard and had no idea that this attack was being planned for months.
They completely missed the smuggling operation that brought an arsenal of weaponry into Gaza. They missed the multiple meetings that took place over the past few months in Beirut between Hamas leaders and senior Iranian officials.
And these weren’t even secret meetings; they took place in broad daylight and included some of Iran’s top military commanders and even the country’s foreign minister.
It’s not just Mossad; plenty of nations’ intelligence agencies (including in the United States) keep close tabs on Hamas and Iran. The CIA has a whole division dedicated to Iran. Yet apparently everyone missed it.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that, despite the mountain of bureaucracy and compliance now required in the global banking system, everyone also missed the river of money that funded Hamas’s operation.
This is mind boggling; laws like FATCA, CRS, and the USA PATRIOT Act were supposedly passed, at least in part, to cut off terrorist groups from the global financial system.
Banking has become so cumbersome that the rest of us ordinary, law-abiding citizens have to suffer ridiculous paperwork and compliance just to conduct routine financial transactions.
Your bank will treat you like a criminal if you withdraw $5,000 in physical cash.
Yet Iran– a nation that has been blacklisted by the global financial system– has been able to send hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas– a blacklisted terrorist organization.
This is not a simple ‘intelligence failure’. The ‘experts’ missed it. And the systems they designed failed miserably.
At best, this was a catastrophic breakdown of an entire system that was put in place worldwide to prevent the very thing that just happened this weekend.