David Kirkpatrick

March 7, 2010

The schizophrenia of Islamists

Here’s a MEMRI report on Hama‘s response to the Goldstone report on the Gaza War of 2008/2009.

I bolded the final graf. Hit the first link for the entire report:

Following Hamas’ June 2007 Gaza coup, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas fired its ministers from the national unity government. Hamas, for its part, did not recognize the dismissal, nor does it recognize the legitimacy of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s government and of Mahmoud Abbas’s presidency. Instead, it regards Isma’il Haniya and his government as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people. Recently, it has instructed the media to stop calling it al-hukouma al-muqala (“the dismissed government”).

Hamas’ view of its government as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people was reflected in its recent response to the Goldstone report. The response, delivered to Curt Goering, head of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Gaza, was submitted not in the name of Hamas but in the name of the PA. Signed by Hamas’ Minister of Justice, Muhammad Faraj Al-Ghoul, it bore the PA seal and the PA Ministry of Justice letterhead (see image below). In fact, Al-Ghoul explicitly stressed that the document was not a Hamas response to the Goldstone report but rather the official response of the Palestinian Justice Ministry. He emphasized that “the government is the one issuing the response, because it is the body handling the issue, rather than the resistance factions,”[1] thereby indicating that the Gaza government does not represent Hamas, but rather the entire Palestinian people.

Apparently, Hamas’ goal in submitting this report is to improve its international status and to gain the UN’s recognition. The rationale is that by accepting the document, the UN would in effect be recognizing Hamas’ status as the official representative of the PA.

The Hamas response, which was published in the movement’s magazine Al-Risala, contained an apology for rocket attacks that harmed Israeli civilians; later Hamas denied issuing an apology.

March 19, 2009

Information warfare study

Filed under: Media, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:17 am

The release:

Information warfare in the 21st century: Ideas are sometimes stronger than bombs

Terrorist organizations sometimes have an advantage in the media; a new study describes how our side can regain the advantage in this arena too

Terrorist organizations sometimes have an advantage in the media. A new study by Dr. Yaniv Levyatan of the University of Haifa, published in the journal of Israel’s National Security College, describes how our side can regain the advantage in this arena too.

“Information warfare” plays a crucial role in the struggle against terrorist organizations, sometimes more so than conventional weapons. Therefore, the information warfare against terrorist organizations ought to be instigated and on the attack, and should continue even when military warring has ended. Thus concludes a new study by Dr. Yaniv Levyatan of the Ezri Center for the Study of Iran and the Gulf at the University of Haifa, which was published in the National Security College’s Bitachon Leumi journal.

According to Dr. Levyatan, in the modern field of struggle between a sovereign country and a terrorist organization it is also necessary to relate to the information warfare that is taking place in the new and traditional media as well as other technological platforms, from the Internet to computer games. “The terrorist organizations invest efforts in information warfare tools, which enables them to bridge the physical gap between them and their conventional fighting forces. Today, these organizations frequently hold an advantageous stance in this field,” he points out.

The study also shows that terrorist organizations have created built-in advantages in the information warfare. For example, one of the conclusions of the Second Lebanon War is that one of Hezbollah’s targets was to drag Israel into a disproportionate response so that it would be able to exhibit Israel in the Western and Arab media as a brutal country. Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s use of citizen populations as human shields is also intended to display Israel in the media as an inhumane country.

In order to counter the terrorist organizations’ advantages, Dr. Levyatan presents strategies that Israel ought to carry out in this field, the guiding principal being that just like in conventional warfare, the country must initiate and not be dragged behind the other side, and of course it must rely on intelligence. “There is a major difference between gathering intelligence for military fighting and gathering intelligence for information warfare. Intelligence for information warfare must relate to components such as who the enemy’s elitists are, what their social structure is, and what their political and tribal affiliations are. It is important to know what symbols are significant to the opponents, what the population’s primary information channels are, and which messages would be engaged or discarded,” the researcher points out.

He asserts that an efficient technique in information warfare is to photograph the combat fighting against the terrorist organization. This way, the organization’s claims of exaggerated use of force can be refuted, or it can be shown that the terrorists are those who are injuring the population that they claim to be defending. Another technique is to identify the point of weakness between the population and the organization, and use that to our advantage. For example, if basic needs are lacking, the army provides assistance for the population – and we point out that it does so while the terrorist organization prevents the population of its basic needs.

“Information is a weapon, and just like an army invests in tanks and planes, the army must also invest in information weapons. The army must develop abilities and skills that are not always considered as an intrinsic part of its activities – such as computer games, culture products, video clips, and television programs. When the army succeeds in presenting a product of information that incriminates the guerilla organization, it might be able to meet its required target more efficiently than if it had acted with physical force,” Dr. Levyatan concludes.



January 3, 2009

Israel, Hamas and the latest turmoil

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:21 pm

Once again the Middle East has gone from a hot, to a white-hot zone. I’m not going to add a lot to this issue other than to thank my stars I don’t live in a part of the world that faces terrorism, fear and war on a daily basis. And has for a while.

Makes the Bush 43 response to 9/11 — torture, suspension of habeas corpus, indefinite detention of US citizens without any due process, asinine air travel policies and restrictions, et.al. — look a bit ridiculous at this point in time.

Here’s an interesting bit of analysis on the current Israeli/Hamas dust-up.

From the link:

As Israel’s tanks and troops poured into Gaza on Saturday, the next phase in its fierce attempt to end rocket attacks, a question hung over the operation: can the rockets really be stopped for any length of time while Hamas remains in power in Gaza?

And if the answer is determined to be no, then is the real aim of the operation to remove Hamas entirely, no matter the cost?

After her visit to Paris on Thursday to explain to French authorities why she thought this was not the time for a quick cease-fire, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Israel said, “There is no doubt that as long as Hamas controls Gaza, it is a problem for Israel, a problem for the Palestinians and a problem for the entire region.”

Vice Premier Haim Ramon went even further Friday night in an interview on Israeli television, saying Israel must not end this operation with Hamas in charge of Gaza.