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Values Exploitation in Asymmetric Conflict

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Technical Report,25 Jun 2018,23 May 2019

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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This paper argues that asymmetric warfare is a manifestation of asymmetric values and morals, and a deliberate strategy which seeks to gain advantage by engaging in warfare that exploits the adversarys values. Specifically, Palestinian Islamists exploit Israeli morality and values through acts of resistance and terror in addition to effectively using victimhood narratives to gain legitimacy. The Israeli Defense Force IDF continues to struggle to defend against values exploitation by Islamist acts of strategic and operational terror. Such encounters of exploitation require an ongoing learning cycle. This cycle forces Israel to constantly mediate the need for security and military action necessary to achieve it. It also requires the IDF to exercise power in moral ways that meet public and national need for security. By comparing Israeli, Palestinian, and Islamist values and military interaction, this monograph identifies what is important to each group. It also examines what each does and says in response to the other in the recent confrontation in the Gaza Strip. A broad review of Western and Middle Eastern literature provides insight into how and why Islamists exploit asymmetry. Further, an examination of what it means to be an Israeli Jew and Palestinian Muslim is contrasted with Islamist thought and action against Israel. This monograph aims to highlight values-based strategy and operations, the potential dangers of both ignoring it, and how each resists their rivals strategy. Therefore, it exposes the ability of Palestinian Islamists to exploit values and conduct operations in asymmetric conflict and discusses the implications for Israel and the IDF.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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