How did Hamas manage to puncture the might of the IDF? The answer lies in new technology which gives small players unprecedented opportunities.
When Hamas militants shocked the world last weekend by launching the biggest and most violent attack on Israel in decades, it was almost equally shocking how they did it.
Hamas blasted through a super-high-tech, $1 billion security system on the Gaza border using little more than bulldozers, paragliders and a 2G cellular network, a remarkable upending of the two sides’ tech dynamic.
Audrey Kurth Cronin, director of the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Security and Technology, says new technology means it is much easier for small players to use public technologies such as drones and geolocation to attack high-tech states.
“Technology is changing warfare, but it isn’t necessarily changing it in the ways that most techno-optimists think it will,” Cronin said. “Because technologies are so accessible, you’ve got … groups like Hamas able to use everything from drones, to social media, to low-tech clusters of technology both high and low that can have an enormous impact.”
For Hamas, that took the form of staying off smartphones and preparing its propaganda in advance, as well as overwhelming the Israeli border so rapidly that its drone surveillance system failed.
Cronin characterises three key areas where lower-tech actors can, and do, overwhelm their counterparts: The democratisation of media technology; the increase of physical reach allowed by cheap drones and rocketry; and systems integration, or the ability to communicate effectively within the group.
That makes for a wildly evolving threat landscape.
Big, rich states might inflate their defence budgets and boast of systems like Israel’s Iron Dome, but the extent to which sophisticated technology is “distributed” across a broad consumer landscape is enough for highly motivated smaller actors to do whatever violence they wish.
We just saw the future of war (Politico)
Photo: Some Hamas terrorists crossed the border on motorcycles (LPR)