Thursday, March 06, 2008
Iraqization in Gaza
I find it curious that Israeli patrol that was targeted with an explosive today just north of the border with Gaza is reported to have been hit by "an explosively formed penetrator" (or "projectile"). The American military considers the so-called EFP to be an Iranian device, one that has to a certain extent changed the rules of the game in Iraq. It was this very weapon that the Bush administration pointed to when it accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guard of meddling in Iraq and labeled the group a terrorist organization. In fact, a US Defense Department briefing just Tuesday mentioned again the association between this particular bomb and the Iranians. Of course, the katyusha-style rocket that is now hitting Ashkelon, the "grad," is Iranian made. So what's going on here? There's an Israeli line being retailed that the breach of the border with Egypt allowed lots of weapons into the country, weapons which are now being used against the Israeli border communities. I'm skeptical of that. I view it as part of the propaganda war. These EFPs and grads sound like the most valued and hoarded elements of Hamas' arsenal. On the other hand, if, as in Iraq, the technique of manufacturing the EFP can be imported instead of the actual bomb, we may be seeing the diffusion of know-how either from Iran itself, or, alternatively, from non-Iranian individuals who fought in the Iraqi insurgency and somehow made their way to Gaza. Either way, it's clearly a disturbing development, and will make any ground campaign in the Strip that much more costly in terms of human life.