Should the IDF (or any Military) Create a Conflict Resolution Commando Unit?

My latest is an out-of-the-box piece co-written with Andrea Bartoli (Director of the S-CAR at GMU) which asks:

"Imagine back in 2010 if instead of masked men with guns, trained for intense warfare at sea, boarding a ship in the dead of night, the IDF had dispatched an elite unit of conflict resolution specialists. Could the tragedy at sea been averted?" 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roi-benyehuda/conflict-resolution-com...

 

Comments and criticisms are of course welcomed and encouraged (there is a raging debate already underway), we just asked that you leave them in the the talk-back section of the article and not in reply to this message. 

 

Also, if you have not already read, i recommend my fun/critical Smurf piece published by the Forward. 

http://www.forward.com/articles/139107/

Best,

 

Roi

Views: 24

Tags: Conflict, Flotilla, Gaza, Israel, Justice, Military, Palestine, Peace., Resolution

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Comment by Jason Gladfelter on July 1, 2011 at 4:01pm

Hi,

An interesting idea, for sure. In addition to the points highlighted in the article, one must keep in mind that there is a fine line between military action and peaceful enterprises. Once military action is deemed necessary it should not be hamstrung. Of course, it seems this isn't the norm right now, but I think that is because of the duties and missions that are added to military expectations. Rules of engagement, Conventions, war crimes, etc have aimed to make war more appealing, or less horrible.  The fact is that war is Hell and should never be used, but the dilution of its purpose and the tempering of soldiers' responsibilities (not to mention the addition of others that are non-combative) have created a gray area between war and peace. It seems commandos without weapons is a further dilution with consequences that could only encourage others to wage war against a perceived weakened enemy.  

Comment by Roi Ben-Yehuda on June 30, 2011 at 2:39pm
Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments. I recommend that you add them to the debate that is going on the talk-back section of the article.  Yours will be a good addition.
Comment by Rocky Mountain Peace Institute on June 30, 2011 at 1:32pm
I wish we lived in a world without cold hard politics, intelligence, espionage, proxy wars, covert, and clandestine activities; but that's how the world works. A naive proposition, but one utopian idealist might definitely be able to huddle around; the Pentagon, different story.
Comment by TRILOK CHANDRA SRIVASTAVA on June 29, 2011 at 10:57pm

RAISING A COMMANDO UNIT FOR CONFLICT- RESOLUTION SOUNDS FASCINATING BUT OF LITTLE USE. IN ANY DEMOCRATIC/SOCIAL  SET-UP, IT IS THE POLITICIANS OR PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVES WHO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE SENTIMENTS OF PEOPLE IN CONFLICT PRONE AREAS. POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVES, RELIGIOUS LEADERS AND SOCIAL ORGANISATIONS CAN BETTER PERFORM IN PACIFYING AND AVERTING CONFLICT. ARMED FORCES ARE CALLED FOR WHEN ALL OTHER MEASURES HAVE FAILED TO AVOID CONFLICT. IN INDIA, SOMETIMES IN DISTURBED AREAS, ARMY IS CALLED FOR TO STAGE " FLAG-MARCH"[ ARMED SOLDIERS IN THEIR VEHICLES MOVE IN CONFLICT-PRONE AREAS] AS A MEASURE TO INSTILL A SENSE OF SECURITY AMONG INNOCENT PEOPLE AND ALSO TO WAVE A MESSAGE OF STRONG ACTION AGAINST THOSE HARMING PEACE. ALSO,INDIAN ARMY CARRY-OUT MANY WELFARE PROJECTS IN CONFLICT ZONE WHERE SITUATION HAS STABLISED TO WIN PUBLIC CONFIDENCE. BUT,IN ANY SITUATION OF ONGOING CONFLICT, IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT UNARMED COMMANDOS WOULD BE IN POSITION TO PLAY ANY SIGNIFICANT ROLE. IT IS RELEVANT TO MENTION THAT, WHILE WORKING IN AREAS OF ONGOING COMMUNAL-RIOTS IN EAST- BENGAL [ BEFORE ACTUAL PARTITION OF INDIA IN 1946],EVEN MAHATMA GANDHI HAD TO EXPRESS THAT 'AHINSA; [NON-VIOLENCE] SOMETIMES, HAS LIMITED-EFFECTIVENESS BUT MUST BE FOLLOWED". I VALUE YOUR THEME OF " COMMANDOS FOR PEACE" BUT THEY MUST NOT BE UNARMED SOLDIERS TO BE PUSHED IN THE AREA OF CONFLICT.

REGARDS,

TRILOK CHANDRA SRIVASTAVA, INDIA

 

Comment by Rich Roth on June 29, 2011 at 10:47pm

It would look like the comments started fairly on point, and then got a little tense.  Much like what I have seen during my time in the Gaza Strip.

 

If I may point out the IDF is a military force, what you are talking about is more a police action.  The US I feel is trying to move its military or some of it, more into the police mode.  Difficult, and may I say dangerous.  When watching the IDF at the borders, it became apparent that they, right or wrong, are in a very dangerous situation.  I know of a lot of IDF that are not sympathizers, but do have a lot of empathy for the Palestinian's situation.  They, if on border posts would be very dangerous to their fellow soldiers.  Letting down your guard for a moment, can lead to very bad things, in which your fellow soldiers can be killed or hurt. 

The vast majority of the Palestinians are not dangerous to anyone, but due to perhaps culture, and or religion rarely turn in someone in their ranks that is dangerous.   This means that a group of good guys can mask a bad guy.  Which means you must be on alert when around the group.   Police face this issue all the time, and the best at it are probably the gang units of LA or New York City.  They still are often considered ruffians and over the top by rest of the gangs neighborhood members.  Still they are police not military.

The Military is a more directed force, and when they try to act like police are going to get hurt.  There is a movement that sends US police over to Israel to learn tactics.  It really should be the other way around LA and NY police gang units should be training (who) in Israel.  Israel does not normally use police in these situations they use soldiers, who by training, and to stay alive are a more confrontational group.  

 

I think I do have some possible means of progress, but I am probably well over the amount of words already.

Comment by Ibrahim Mohamed on June 29, 2011 at 10:35pm

Dear Roi Ben-Yehuda, if IDF invested conflict resolution strategies as well as the killing Commando unit they so heavily invested; The Turkish Flotilla or the Israeli blockade of Gaza for that matter, would not have existed and the masked men with guns back in 2010 would never have occurred.

Hopefully, your generation will change how the game is played in the future.

Best regards,

Ibrahim

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