Israeli Military on the Brink: Intelligence Failures and Political Chaos

Former US Special Forces Soldier Greg Stoker analyzes Israel’s deteriorating military strategy and the potential for a disastrous regional conflict.

The State of Israel finds itself in an impossible military and political predicament. For decades, a cornerstone of Israeli defense has been the universal belief in its deterrence capacity—rooted in the strength and potency of its unconquerable military and the omniscience of its intelligence agencies.

The escalation of hostilities on October 7, marked by the largest intelligence failure in recent history, combined with a politically damaging campaign of violence in Gaza, has shattered this myth. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have failed to achieve any of their stated operational goals, leaving Israel vulnerable in the eyes of its politicians and people.

To reestablish the regional status quo and realize a messianic vision of a greater Israel, powerful far-right ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Ben-Gvir are staunchly opposed to a ceasefire in Gaza. Such a ceasefire would provide the military with a much-needed reprieve and pause hostilities with Hezbollah on the northern border. Prime Minister Netanyahu, reliant on these ministers for his power base, now vehemently agrees with them after initially floating the idea of a ceasefire proposal through an anonymous aide earlier this month.

Yoav Gallant, the Minister of Defense, who previously briefed the prime minister in the press, is now toeing the party line. He is currently in Washington, engaged in talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin regarding the impending invasion of southern Lebanon.

The situation is primed for escalation, and there appears to be no off-ramp for any of the parties involved.

In our first episode of “State of Play,” host Greg Stoker examines the historical precedents of Israeli military action in Southern Lebanon, particularly the 34-day war in 2006. He compares these precedents to current IDF operational procedures in Gaza to predict the conduct of an impending large-scale military operation on the northern front.

Greg Stoker is a former United States Army Ranger who conducted four combat deployments to Afghanistan under the aegis of Joint Special Operations Command from 2009 to 2013. He has practical experience in human intelligence collection and analysis and has recently turned to anti-war activism and geopolitical analysis.

While the possibility of a regional war continues to mount, some indicators suggest brakes still exist in the form of ordnance and manpower shortages. It is no secret that the IDF is experiencing a munitions shortage—from JDAM bombs to 155mm howitzer shells—due to its excesses in Gaza. Additionally, the Prime Minister has promised a drawdown in operational tempo in Gaza to refocus on the north.

All indicators point to a military stretched beyond its capacity and a governing body at the limit of its political capital. However, the question remains: will they or won’t they?

Join us on “State of Play” for an in-depth look at the potential for and folly of engaging in a full-scale war that cannot be won—a war that will have far-reaching and unforeseeable consequences for both the region and the world at large.

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Greg Stoker is a former US Army Ranger with a background in human intelligence collection and analysis. After serving four combat deployments in Afghanistan, he studied anthropology and International Relations at Columbia University. He is currently a military and geopolitical analyst and a social media “influencer,” though he hates the term.