By Robinder Sachdev
Having delivered a brutal and unprecedented attack on the people and nation of Israel, the Hamas leadership will know for sure that Israel will strike back with wrath, to exterminate the Hamas network of militants, terrorists, and core active supporters in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas mastermind/s, who orchestrated this vile attack, must have war-gamed the Israeli reaction, and it is logical that they must have figured out some defensive strategies to use when Israel attacks Gaza.
I studied for my master’s in international affairs at American University, in Washington, DC, about 25 years ago, where our professors shared case studies of global conflicts of the 20th century, including the ever-simmering Israel–Palestine relations. So, often I look at world affairs through an academic prism. Now, in the case of the present Israel-Hamas conflict, as someone who specializes in geopolitics, I first look at geography. Then the core interests, or issues, of the actors involved, and then at the optics of the issue – in fact, I now analyze global affairs from the prism of “optopolitics.”
READ: Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy clash over Israel-Hamas war (October 15, 2023)
- Israel-Gaza War of 2023:
As a student of geopolitics, first, I researched the geography of Gaza. I found that 25 percent of the area of the Gaza Strip is below sea level. That set alarm bells ringing in my mind. I dug deeper to find the specific areas of the Gaza Strip that are below sea level. Turns out there are four areas, regions in the Gaza Strip that are below sea level, and three of these low-lying areas are in North and Central Gaza. Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya, in North Gaza, then Gaza City in Central Gaza, and, Rafah in South Gaza.
- The knowns:
It is well known that Hamas has extensive and long experience in making tunnels. Starting in 2007, during the Israeli blockade of Gaza, Hamas and other actors in Gaza built tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border to smuggle in food, medicines, and weapons. Today, apart from the Egyptian border smuggling tunnels, Hamas has graduated to build anywhere between 300 miles and 800 miles of tunnels under the Gaza Strip itself. The labyrinth of tunnels, 30 feet to 100 feet under the Gaza Strip is informally known as the “Gaza Metro”. This underground network is reported to give Hamas warfare mobility underground, weapons storage, medical, and more, to fight a war that is above the ground.
- Connecting the dots:
My column today is NOT about the Gaza Metro, the guerrilla tunnels under Gaza. Now, assume you are a top Hamas radical, and you know the above facts. And you know your unprecedented attack on Israel will infuriate Israel to attack the Gaza Strip. How will you war-game to counter the obvious Israeli response to your deed?
- The Sea-water flood-bomb:
Hamas must have devised myriad guerrilla tactics to fight a ground invasion by Israel. Your column today posits that Hamas may have also prepared some unique, un-imagined weapons that may catch Israeli invasion off-guard. Forget the tunnels under Gaza that are being discussed ad nauseam. Below, I invite you to consider a different perspective on a new category of tunnels that Hamas might have created to thwart the Israeli invasion of Gaza.
- What if Hamas has made tunnels that connect the above-mentioned “Below Sea Level” pocket areas in the Gaza Strip, with the Mediterranean Sea on Gaza coast?
- These “Sea-water flood-bomb tunnels” (SWFBT) drilled to the last two meters before the sea-connect. And, a remote-controlled bomb placed at the mouth of these tunnels on the sea-connect point at the Mediterranean Sea.
- When the Israel invasion starts from North Gaza, these remote bombs at sea-connects explode.
- The seawater rushes in via tunnels and floods the low-lying areas in the Gaza Strip.
- The impact of the SWFBTs:
- Physics tells us that water seeks equilibrium. Once the sea-facing mouth of these specialized SWFBTs is burst open, sea waters will rush into these special tunnels with unimagined ferocity – and reach the “below-sea-level” areas in Gaza within minutes – and flood those low-lying areas to the tune of 2-5 feet, to bring water levels at par with sea-level.
- Firstly, flooding of such areas, pockets, which may be 1 mile to 3 miles, or more, in North Gaza, which itself is a mere 6 miles wide, will create wetlands and marshes that will cause Israeli heavy artillery, tanks, even jeeps, that attempt to drive over this area to be stuck, immobile. This is known in military parlance as “Area Denial”.
- Secondly, in the case of a particular SWFBT used as a case study, if the tunnel route spans 2 miles to reach a “low-lying area”, the 2-mile pathway of this tunnel, through which sea waters are rushing with significant force, will have the effect of softening and dampening the soil above it. Moreover, it’s essential to consider that the topsoil in Gaza primarily consists of sand and clay, making it even more susceptible to softening. Especially when these SWFBT tunnels are constructed just 3 to 4 feet below ground level – a sufficient depth to allow seawater to flow into the designated low-lying areas. Consequently, this 2-mile route of the tunnel, in this case, will transform into marshy and softened ground, creating a soft-soil barrier where Israeli trucks and jeeps may become immobilized, not to mention heavy tanks.
- Dear reader, if you have read so far, you will have a good idea of what I am imagining as a war strategy by Hamas to blunt the Israeli invasion, which they know will come after their heinous attack. So, apart from the known knowns, they must have prepared some unknowns to counter the Israeli hammer. That is all I am trying to discover in this analysis.
Oh, by the way, the Hamas attack on Israel was named the “Al-Aqsa Flood.” Could flooding Gaza as a means of defense in response to their attack on Israel be part of the reason why they evoked the idea of a “flood”?
(Robinder Sachdev is the President of The Imagindia Institute, based in New Delhi.)
Read more columns by Robinder Sachdev:
Can Modi revive a global era of Camelot? (June 21, 2023)
Can India become America’s ordnance factory? (June 16, 2023)
Come, let us re-discover Zero (3) – Zero, India’s biggest export product ever (December 15, 2016)
The opto-politics for India in a post-truth, Trumpian world (November 21, 2016)
Modi must now zero-in on how to build a credible India (May 26, 2014)
Modi needs to be the Deng Xiaoping and Lee Kuan Yew of India (May 12, 2014)
Why Modi may need a Robert Kennedy (May 1, 2014)
PR is not PR – and Modi must not fall into the 100-day trap (April 21, 2014)
Welcome to India’s new foreign economic policy (April 11, 2014)
When and where will Modi meet Obama? (April 8, 2014)