April 10, 2011 Fighting in South Slows, Violence Continues in Syria

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

April 10, 2011 Fighting in South Slows, Violence Continues in Syria

131 rockets and mortars have fallen on Israel since the beginning of the exchange of fire with Hamas. Some combination of luck and the success of the Iron Dome system has resulted in a minimal number of serious injuries, as a result of the damage from all of these incoming rockets. Hamas and Israel have reached a tentative agreement to end the fire. It is not clear if it will work. During the course of the day there was a marked decrease in rockets, and Israel did not conduct any air raids on Gaza. However, tonight a Grad missile fell outside of Ashkelon. This missile firing may have been the "last shot" that Hamas always likes to get off, or it could be indicative of Hamas not having control of their men. 

Meanwhile, Iron Dome continued to work well, with it successfully knocking down 8 of missies it engaged, with the 9th stilal underdetermined. That is, by all accounts, an incredible success. Of course Israel only has two Iron Dome batteries. One would have thought that as of this morning an additional 11 batteries would have been ordered (bringing Israel's total number of Iron Dome batteries to the 13, which is said to be the number necessary to defend both the North and the South. However, instead, tomorrow it is expected that a special cabinet committee will approve the purchase of an additional four Iron Dome batteries, contingent on receiving the promised aid of $250 million from the United States, when the final budget resolution comes through. I could see that despite the operational success, institutional bias is standing in the way of making the right decisions.

In an interview on Israel Channel 2 this evening the former Chief of Staff and Commander of the Air Force stated that Iron Dome was great, but what we really have to do is make the leaders of Hamas fear they could be killed; as if that worked so well in the Second Lebanon War, in which he was the Chief of Staff. There is also absolutely no sense of the budgetary difficulties under which the US is operating at the moment. It is time to radically change the IDF procurement priorities, or change other government priorities, or borrow the money and spend the $ 1 Billion dollars to properly equip the country with the means of defense it needs.

Demonstrations in Syria are getting worse. A total of 200 people have been killed since they began; 60 were killed over this past weekend alone. The killing of demonstrators is not acting as the deterrent the Assad government hoped it would. Israeli observers are beginning to believe that the opposition to Assad may have gone beyond the point of no return.

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