View Full Version : The Limitations of 4GW

07-08-2006, 02:57 PM
From SWC member ZenPundit - The Limitations of 4GW (http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2006/07/limitations-of-4gw-as-rule-i-dislike.html).

As a rule, I dislike writing about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict because it is a problem that under the current dynamic, cannot be resolved but I will make a military theory exception today.

William Lind at DNI (http://www.d-n-i.net/) has an interesting analysis of the predicament that the HAMAS (http://www.cfr.org/publication/8968/) government of the Palestinian Authority finds itself in during the current crisis with Israel over kidnapped Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit . In " To Be or Not To Be a State? (http://www.d-n-i.net/lind/lind_7_05_06.htm)", Lind argues that the move by HAMAS, a 4GW entity, to accept the responsibility of state governance was a serious strategic error that played into the hands of Israeli and American officials who had no intention of permitting a HAMAS government to be a success...

In my view, the original miscalculation made by HAMAS was the expectation that they could have their cake and eat it as well by enjoying the prestge and power base of PA instrumentalities while being allowed to carry on their terror war with Israel. A free pass of sorts from accountability by virtue of having won a democratic election. This did not happen as both Israel and the United States indicated that a HAMAS-run PA would be responsible for upholding all of the agreements the PA had signed with Israel under Arafat's Fatah or suffer accordingly. Lind is correct here -HAMAS had become very "targetable".

A better strategy for HAMAS than clinging to its credo of uncompromising resistance to Israel would have been a full court press P.R. campaign for a " Hudna" or truce that would let the Islamists save face while pragmatically adhering to past agreements. The "Hudna" idea was floated by a few HAMAS leaders after their victory but was never made the centerpiece for a political victory at the moral level of warfare; indeed, recent threats to attack Israeli schools in retaliation for Israeli attacks in Gaza would seem to indicate that HAMAS does not understand the dynamics of 4GW at all...

Steve Blair
07-11-2006, 09:01 PM
This may be an indication of what used to be called the terrorist mindset (circa the early 1980s or so). One of the problems that the "established" groups (such as the RAF, spinoffs of the IRA, UDA, PLO, and Red Brigades) encountered was that after they had been operating for a few years they really lost sight of any political goals they might have had. The politics became a justification for the killing, instead of the killing being a tool to advance their political goals. As this cycle of death gained momentum, often fueled by the departure of earlier leaders (though death, imprisionment, or a growing weariness with the struggle), the killing became an end in and of itself and the political goals became so far-fetched as to be impossible to implement. New members attracted by the killing and opportunities for "glory" associated with it often had little connection to, or interest in, earlier political goals. The killing cycle also proved very difficult to break away from. Some groups have (Eta seems to be one, along with bits of the PLO and UDA), but others went into a death spiral with it.

Regarding Hamas, it may simply be the one "tool" they are most familiar with, and thus the one they will always resort to in a crisis.

A long-winded way of saying that not everything that looks "4GW" is necessarily "4GW."