Learning from the War on Terror

commentary

Mar 21, 2024

Smoke rises following an Israeli strike as Palestinians fleeing north Gaza due to Israel's military offensive move southward at the central Gaza Strip, March 15, 2024, photo by Ahmed Zakot/Reuters

Smoke rises following an Israeli strike as Palestinians fleeing north Gaza due to Israel's military offensive move southward at the central Gaza Strip, March 15, 2024

Photo by Ahmed Zakot/Reuters

This commentary originally appeared on War on the Rocks on March 21, 2024.

At the height of the “Global War on Terror,” I spent over 10 years as an intelligence analyst. My work informed military counterterrorism operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and supported the development and implementation of counterterrorism policy at the Pentagon.

As I watched Israel's operations in Gaza against Hamas—designated as a terrorist organization by not just Israel, but also the United States, the European Union, Britain, and NATO—I couldn't help but be stunned. The invasion of Gaza proceeded as if combatting a terrorist group in an urban environment was a novel experience. Frank Sobchak recently pointed out in these pages how Israel's war echoes the U.S. failure to plan how to manage Iraq after the fall of president Saddam Hussein. My perspective is similar, but I might go further: What's been happening in Gaza suggests none of the lessons from 20 years of global counterterrorism conflicts were implemented.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at warontherocks.com.


Karen M. Sudkamp is a national security researcher at RAND with a focus on how to limit the impacts of conflict on civilian populations. She spent over a decade in the U.S. intelligence community supporting political-military and counterterrorism analysis, operations, and policy focused on the Middle East.

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