IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz’s cryptic remark Monday, June 6, that “The Israeli Air Force will next month dramatically change its mode of operation,” meant that a decision has been taken to start directing the IAF’s fire power against military and terrorist targets in the Syrian and Iraqi arenas – in particular the al Qaeda forces foregathering ever closer to Israel’s borders with Syria, Iraq and Jordan. By aerial fire power, the general meant not just warplanes but also Israel’s long-range unmanned aerial vehicles and helicopters.
He was lecturing to the Herzliya meeting of the Interdisciplinary Center’s policy and strategy institute.
Asked what he meant by “a dramatic change in the IAF’s mode of operations,” Gen. Gantz replied: A different kind of enemy is at our door. It is “more mobile, better at concealment and comes from farther away.”
If we count the jihadists present in the northern part of the map (.i.e., north of Israel) and add them to those scattered in the south and east (Iraq, Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula), we come to a total of 50,000 armed Islamist fighters, he said..
So how do we handle them? Two divisions? That may work for the Gaza Strip. But this enemy is widely scattered and not susceptible to our usual military tools. Still, we are obliged to deal with this menace and “we also have the opportunity to do so.”
That was all the chief of staff was ready to say on the subject.
He made it clear that conventional military divisions are obviously no use for combating Al Qaeda’s 50,000 terrorists because they are not a standing, regular army deployed on fixed front lines. They move around stealthily in deeply remote desert regions and wadis, which are often unmarked even on military maps.
Full article: Gantz: IDF gets set to target 50,000 Al Qaeda fighters piling up around Israel in Syria and Iraq (DEBKAfile)