Gaza situation discussion

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Elfdart » 2008-12-30 12:31am

Ender wrote: The ones living in the area surrounding the buildings they are targeting. If the 6:1 ratio quoted in this thread is correct, than it appears such measures are working, because given the population density that is rather good.
How exactly would that work? The people getting the phone calls don't alert anyone else? The "terrorists" don't notice their neighbors fleeing their homes or apartments? I smell horseshit with this story.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Ekiqa » 2008-12-30 12:45am

Isn't the reason it's 6:1 because the Israelis hit a security force graduation?

And hitting security compounds, and then complaining that the Palestinians can't control their own population is hypocrisy. If you take out all the police forces, who can police the region? Because of that, it is easier for terrorists to operate.

If every single police officer was wiped out in a city, the gangs would become pretty public and powerful. So how is the Israelis doing the same to Gaza supposed to result in more control of the terrorists?

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by ray245 » 2008-12-30 12:56am

Why do I have a feeling that the Israelis won't think twice about genocide if such actions will not lose support from the Western world, namely the US.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by The Grim Squeaker » 2008-12-30 01:02am

ray245 wrote:Why do I have a feeling that the Israelis won't think twice about genocide if such actions will not lose support from the Western world, namely the US.
Because you're an idiot?
Reuters wrote: Israel presses on with Gaza attacks
Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:39pm EST

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli warplanes killed 10 Palestinians on Tuesday in attacks that targeted Hamas government buildings and other symbols of the Islamist group on the fourth day of the fiercest air offensive in Gaza in decades.

Israeli missiles flattened five ministerial buildings and a structure belonging to the Islamic University in Gaza City, witnesses said.

Muawiyah Hassanein, the head of Gaza City's ambulance department, said security guards and civilians were among those killed.

A Hamas sports center and two training camps belonging to the group were also destroyed in the attacks, which plunged Gaza into a blackout as explosions echoed across the city.

Medical officials put the total Palestinian death toll at 345 and more than 800 wounded. A United Nations agency said at least 62 of the dead were civilians.

The latest attacks came hours after rockets fired by Gazan militants killed an Israeli soldier at a military base near the border with Gaza and a civilian in the city of Ashdod. The Israeli army also amassed armored forces along the frontier.

Israeli aircraft also fired missiles at the home of a senior commander in Hamas's armed wing. He was not home. Another attack targeted offices belonging to the Popular Resistance Committees militant group.

Broadening their targets to include the Hamas government in Gaza, Israeli warplanes on Monday bombed the Interior Ministry, which supervises 13,000 members of the group's security forces. The building had been evacuated and there were no casualties.

Hamas, an Islamist movement that took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 after routing Fatah forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, defied the Israeli assaults, the fiercest in the coastal territory since the 1967 Middle East war.

Rocket fire from Gaza at Israel intensified immediately after Hamas declared the end of an Egyptian-brokered, six-month-old truce on December 19.

With six weeks to go to an election that polls suggest the hawkish right-wing Likud party will win, Israel's centrist government says the offensive aims to put a stop to the rockets.

Four Israelis have been killed by rockets since the offensive began four days ago, including three on Monday.

Israel declared areas around the Gaza Strip a "closed military zone," citing the risk from Palestinian rockets, and ordered out journalists observing a build-up of armored forces.

Excluding the press could help Israel conceal preparations for a ground incursion following an air campaign that has turned buildings to rubble and left hospitals struggling to cope.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller and Joseph Nasr, Editing by Matthew Jones)
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by ray245 » 2008-12-30 01:05am

DEATH wrote:
ray245 wrote:Why do I have a feeling that the Israelis won't think twice about genocide if such actions will not lose support from the Western world, namely the US.
Because you're an idiot?
Feelings aren't really rational thoughts you know.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Gil Hamilton » 2008-12-30 02:13am

CJvR wrote:The Hamas:Civilian casualty ratio so far seems to be about 6:1 which is IMPO a surprisingly good ratio for Gaza and Hamas. The IDF seems to have had good intel this time, plenty of Palestinians with axes to grind where Hamas is concerned...
Yeah, and I'm sure that every Vietnamese counted in a Army Body Count was a bloodthirsty Viet Cong too. What's the source on that 6 confirmed Hamas to 1 confirmed civilian number?
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by eyl » 2008-12-30 03:10am

Gil Hamilton wrote:Yeah, and I'm sure that every Vietnamese counted in a Army Body Count was a bloodthirsty Viet Cong too. What's the source on that 6 confirmed Hamas to 1 confirmed civilian number?
UNWRA (see the OP).
Ekiqa wrote:Isn't the reason it's 6:1 because the Israelis hit a security force graduation?

And hitting security compounds, and then complaining that the Palestinians can't control their own population is hypocrisy. If you take out all the police forces, who can police the region? Because of that, it is easier for terrorists to operate.

If every single police officer was wiped out in a city, the gangs would become pretty public and powerful. So how is the Israelis doing the same to Gaza supposed to result in more control of the terrorists?
Except that the police are also effectively Hamas' armed forces (or part of them).

I haven't seen anywhere any indication of exactly which police force was hit. Also, bear in mind that there are, IIRC, 14 or so PA security organizations, some of which are more militarized than others, and all of which are referred to as "police".

As to the wider goals of this operation, while the Israeli government has been rather close-mouthed as to the ultimate goals (a lesson learned from Lebanon), I'd say they are to damage Hamas' C&C capabilities by taking out leaders, reduce their capabilities by taking out launching teams and missile caches (in particular the longer-range Grads*, which they have to smuggle in rather than making them in workshops), and to establish deterrence leading to an "improved" cease-fire where the occasional missile strikes against Israel are no longer acceptable.

*Which hit Ashdod last night, the farthest north they've reached AFAIK and Israel's 5th largest city (and major port).

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by hongi » 2008-12-30 03:18am

Feelings aren't really rational thoughts you know.
That's the best excuse you have?
and to establish deterrence leading to an "improved" cease-fire where the occasional missile strikes against Israel are no longer acceptable.
Well it all rests on how well Israel pulls this off. If they hammer Hamas to a point that it's forced to come to a ceasfire, mission achieved. If Hamas survives, they'll claim a moral victory like Hezbollah did and Israel's screwed.

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Edi » 2008-12-30 03:35am

Solauren wrote:Could the intelligence Israel acquired to do this, given it's apparent quality and quantity, be indictive that the majority of the Palestinians are turning against Hamas. Perhaps even because they are 'sick' of the fighting and Hama's policies?
Non sequitur.

Hamas is actually popular among the Palestinians, especially in Gaza. The reason the ratio is so impressive is that they hit concentrated targets like the security compounds simultaneously and at least one of those compounds was the site of a Hamas security forces graduation ceremony.

As far as law enforcement etc go, Hamas is the elected government in Gaza. They are the ones who take care of policing and other similar actions, so destroying their capability to do anything will not really affect things one way or another. If they didn't police the non-affiliated groups who were shelling Israel, this makes no difference. If they were, it does, but Israel doesn't really give a damn about it.

What will happen is that the strikes will simply solidify the popularity and support of Hamas, since it is the only group seen by the Palestinians as meaningfully standing up to Israel.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Gil Hamilton » 2008-12-30 03:51am

eyl wrote:UNWRA (see the OP).
You mean the figure they cite as "at least 57 civilians dead" and state that the figure is conservative? That doesn't mean that they've killed six Hamas for every one civilian, you know. They were stating the number of civilians they personally counted. To claim that Israel is getting a 6:1 Hamas to Bystander ratio based on that is extremely dubious, particularly since given how densely populated that area is it is almost certainly not true.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by weemadando » 2008-12-30 06:12am

On the numbers front - the 6:1 figure is fucking good. To be honest, even a 1:6 would be fucking good considering the density of Gaza and the tactics of both Hamas and the IDF.

The IDF has learnt a lot of lessons about how to conduct a conflict that won't bring the media pictures full of crying mothers w/ dead children or pictures of kids throwing rocks at a tank - those photos are out there from this one to be sure, but the fact is that the media are still stunned by how successful it has been. And every time there's a negative story, they've countered with tidbits like the recorded voice messages. And Hamas are being hamstrung by the intensity of the coverage - they can make noises and release unpleasant photos, but the number of independent and other reliable reports (like the UNWHR one) coming out are swamping them and more importantly, swamping the media with coverage showing that it isn't as bad as it has been/could be.

The media is also understandably hesitant after getting burnt by the "photoshopped" smoke photos from Lebanon - they don't want to get dragged through the mud again because they printed a dodgy photo or story, something which both sides probably have ready to go in their hundreds.

My little private hope? That they pull Gilad Shalit out of a hole somewhere, alive and well. That would land the IDF a massive propaganda victory.

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by MKSheppard » 2008-12-30 07:39am

Word is coming out that the Israelis also hit about 40~ smuggling tunnels, you know, the ones that the Egyptians just couldn't find (Sarc) in the opening waves.

On the other hand, they're still allowing large amounts of humanitarian supplies to go through the blockades; something like 100~ trucks on a single day alone were let into Gaza.

I think the ultimate aim of this is to essentially destroy HAMAS' huge stockpile of munitions and "cadets", which Israel managed to do in it's opening wave; for a place as small as Hamastan, losing 200+ "cadets" is a loss that will be felt for a long time.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Coyote » 2008-12-30 10:27am

I remember when Hamas was elected into power; it was specifically pointe dout that they were elected because they were the only ones seen to be dealing with things such as education, jobs, and welfare. They were essentially elected on that platform, and not because they were "confronting Israel". I cannot help but wonder if the Palestinian people still feel this way-- there is still a crisis in jobs and education and food, but Hamas instead take resources and confronts Israel.

As for pictures of crying mothers, etc-- Hezbollah kinda ruined that for them in the Lebanon bombings a year or so ago. When they flooded the Internet with scores of such obviously, and poorly doctored fakes and posed scenes of carnage (blue helmet man; the same dead child in three different districts of the city; the same wailing widow in two different places at once; the obviously photoshopped images of the same smoke plume over the city copy-pasted dozens of times, etc...) the credibility is undermined for many future scenes.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2008-12-30 10:32am

Is there a possibility that Israel might just bomb the crap out of Hamas and just use its ground forces to growl and not invade? The way I see it is unless the Army is extremely confident it has learnt the lessons of the last Lebanon offensive, it is going to be very hard to root Hamas out. A devastating bombing campaign crippling Palestinian infrastructure might be the only option available.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Knife » 2008-12-30 11:30am

Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:Is there a possibility that Israel might just bomb the crap out of Hamas and just use its ground forces to growl and not invade? The way I see it is unless the Army is extremely confident it has learnt the lessons of the last Lebanon offensive, it is going to be very hard to root Hamas out. A devastating bombing campaign crippling Palestinian infrastructure might be the only option available.

I'd be surprised if the Israeli army was completely recovered from the Lebanon experience. That said, sending in the grunts would depend on what goal Israel is actually after. If hitting strategic targets and cache's is the goal, they can probably do that with air power and any ground support would be more spec-ops.

Oh, edit: lol, on the morning news, the White House is calling for a Lasting Cease Fire in the Middle East. :mrgreen:

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Sky Captain » 2008-12-30 11:33am

Could`t IDF implement some high tech solution to intercept Hamas rockets in midair? Some sort of laser based missile defense system like US ABL. If Hamas rockets gets regulary intercepted then they would be forced to infiltrate suicide bombers into Israel if they want to continue their attacks which is a lot harder than shooting homemade rockets over the border.

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2008-12-30 11:41am

Sky Captain wrote:Could`t IDF implement some high tech solution to intercept Hamas rockets in midair? Some sort of laser based missile defense system like US ABL. If Hamas rockets gets regulary intercepted then they would be forced to infiltrate suicide bombers into Israel if they want to continue their attacks which is a lot harder than shooting homemade rockets over the border.
The THEL is very very far away from operational deployment. We are looking at 3 years or more.

There are other systems that are being worked on and are being tested, but whether they are ready is another thing.
Knife wrote:I'd be surprised if the Israeli army was completely recovered from the Lebanon experience. That said, sending in the grunts would depend on what goal Israel is actually after. If hitting strategic targets and cache's is the goal, they can probably do that with air power and any ground support would be more spec-ops.
Yeah, that's what I would have thought. Changes to doctrine and the retraining required would have taken easily over a year.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Sarevok » 2008-12-30 12:55pm

Well if the Israeli army does deploy it would be interesting to see how the Merkava performs with lessons learned from Lebanon. They should have the Trophy APS upgrade ready for use now. So it would provide a first look at how APS equipped tanks perform in hostile areas filled with RPG and anti missile armed enemy.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Axis Kast » 2008-12-30 01:14pm

How does rendering Hamas stronger than before help above objectives ?
Obviously, the Israeli government is dubious of any claim that they can win a worthwhile number of Palestinian hearts and minds by tempering security policy.
I guess that's why this sort of thing works so well for Israel? It's sad that you can openly identify the real issue and then sidetrack into hilarious fantasies. No interest in actual conflict resolution = conflict may not be resolved.
As far as Israel is concerned, strict separation has had tremendous dividends: the death toll from new attacks has dropped precipitously – to completely unprecedented low levels – while rockets are far less deadly than suicide and car bombs. HAMAS has spent a great deal of whatever political goodwill they acquired from winning a democratic election. Whether or not this current round of fighting really does smash up the organization’s security apparatus, Israel doesn’t believe that there are really any Palestinians “sitting on the fence,” and can finally use its military assets against an enemy. They’re sitting fat and happy.

I’m also curious how you read a personal fantasy in a pretty obvious explanation of Israeli security policy from the Israeli government perspective.

But, taking you up on your aside, how do you expect anyone to broker peace when neither party has an interest in ending the conflict? The Israelis have decided that no Palestinian negotiator is capable of fulfilling pledges – so why make any fresh concessions? The Palestinian terrorist organizations figure that they have hit critical mass: it’s impossible to alienate their supporters, so they have no interest in anything but maximal solutions.

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by The Grim Squeaker » 2008-12-30 01:22pm

BBC wrote: Gaza air campaign 'a first stage'

Israel's air assault on Gaza is "the first in several stages" of operations aimed at ending militant rocket fire, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said.

As bombing continued for a fourth day, another top official said Israel was ready for "long weeks of action".

Palestinian officials say more than 360 people have been killed since Saturday. Four Israelis have died in rocket fire.

As EU officials prepared to discuss the crisis, some reports from Israel said it was considering a temporary truce.

Mr Olmert was set to discuss the idea of a 48-hour suspension, suggested by France, with his officials later in the day, the French news agency AFP said.

But Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer warned a truce would allow militant group Hamas - which controls Gaza - "to regain strength... and prepare an even stronger attack against Israel".

US President Bush agreed in a telephone conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that for any ceasefire to be effective it had to respected by Hamas, the White House said.

A BBC reporter says Israeli tanks and troops are massed along Gaza's border.

Correspondents say this could be a prelude to ground operations, but could also be intended to build pressure on Hamas.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana called for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of crossings to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, as EU foreign ministers prepared to discuss the crisis in Paris.

On Tuesday, Israeli jets attacked more targets linked to Hamas, hitting a number of government buildings and security installations.

At least 10 people were killed and 40 said to have been wounded in the raids.

One air strike killed two sisters, the eldest aged 11, riding in a donkey cart in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, Palestinian medical sources said.

The UN has called for an investigation into the attacks, which are causing heavy civilian casualties. It says at least 62 of the Palestinians killed so far were women and children.

Richard Falk - the UN special rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories - said the international community must put more pressure on Israel to end its assault.

But Israeli officials said there was more to come.

The Israeli military "has made preparations for long weeks of action", deputy defence minister Matan Vilnai said.

Mr Olmert's statement that the bombardment was "the first of several stages approved by the security cabinet" was quoted from a briefing he gave to President
Separately, Israeli naval vessels confronted pro-Palestinian activists seeking to break the Gaza blockade by boat. The activists said one vessel rammed them; their boat made port in Lebanon with heavy damage on one side.

The Egyptian-Gaza border was due to be opened to permit more trucks carrying aid to enter the territory, and for wounded Palestinians to be transported to Egyptian hospitals.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, under popular pressure to open the crossing fully, said that could not happen while Hamas, rather than the Palestinian Authority, led by its rival Fatah, controlled the border.

Demonstrators in Yemen, angered by Egypt's co-operation with the blockade on Gaza, briefly stormed the country's consulate in Aden, where they burned an Egyptian flag and hoisted a Palestinian one.

There have been angry protests against the Israeli offensive in many other cities across the Arab world and in several European capitals.

Hamas has pressed on with rocket and mortar assaults, killing three Israeli civilians and a soldier in areas that have not previously suffered such fatalities.

Israeli military officials said rocket attacks landing more than 25 miles (40km) from Gaza put nearly 10% of Israel's population of seven million within range.

Israeli political leaders have been under pressure to act against rocket fire with a general election looming in early February.

Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu has backed the offensive, telling the BBC that "Israel is using a fraction of its power to try to target surgically the terrorists".

The strikes began less than a week after the expiry of a six-month-long ceasefire deal with Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007.

Correspondents say short of a full-scale invasion of Gaza, it is unlikely Israel will be able to prevent rocket fire permanently.

Israel dismantled its strategic settlements and military bases in Gaza in 2005 but has kept tight control over access in and out of the narrow coastal strip and its airspace.
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1. Ashdod: First attack so far north, Sunday. Woman killed in second rocket attack, Tuesday
2. Ashkelon: One man killed, several injured in rocket attack, Monday
3. Sderot: rocket attacks
4. Nevitot: One man killed, several injured in rocket attack, Saturday

5. Civilian family reported killed in attack on Yabna refugee camp, Sunday
6. Israeli warplanes strike tunnels under Gaza/Egypt border, Sunday
7. Three brothers reported killed in attack on Rafah, Sunday
8. Khan Younis: Four members of Islamic Jihad and a child reported killed, Sunday. Security officer killed in air strike on Hamas police station, Tuesday
9. Deir al-Balah: Palestinians injured, houses and buildings destroyed, Sunday
10. Tel al-Hawa - Interior ministry and Islamic University badly damaged, Monday. At least three buildings in ministry compound hit, Tuesday
11. Gaza City port: naval vessels targeted, Sunday
12. Shati refugee camp: Home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniya targeted, Monday
13. Intelligence building attacked, Sunday
14. Jebaliya refugee camp: several people killed in attack on mosque, Sunday 15. Beit Hanoun - two girls killed in air strike, Tuesday
16. Israeli soldier killed at unspecified military base near Nahal Oz border crossing - five other soldiers wounded in same rocket attack, Monday night.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/m ... 804218.stm
In addition, more aid and humanitarian trucks are being let into Gaza by the Israel despite the continued attacks further into Israel's territory.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by CJvR » 2008-12-30 01:23pm

Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:Is there a possibility that Israel might just bomb the crap out of Hamas and just use its ground forces to growl and not invade?
A very high probability. Even if you flatten Gaza city and drive the entire civilian population into Sinai with artillery barrages (politicly impossible) digging out the vermin tunnel by tunnel, bunker by bunker and rubble pile by rubble pile will be costly - no way around that. Unless there is some high value target outside Gaza city that is unbombable I doubt the army will move in - particulary not when things are going so well for the airforce bombing campaign.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by [R_H] » 2008-12-30 02:22pm

"Disproportionate force" is often mentioned in news reports and articles, but what would be "proportionate" force in this situation?

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Sarevok » 2008-12-30 03:24pm

Sooo how many battalions worth of fresh cannonfodder can Hamas look forward to when the dust settles ?

Imagine airstrikes and artillery wiping out 300 people in your town and the ensuing bloodlust and call for revenge. Palestinians are likely not going to be any more rational in the kneejerk "kill ten of them for each of us" line of thinking. Especially given their past record.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by CJvR » 2008-12-30 03:27pm

[R_H] wrote:"Disproportionate force" is often mentioned in news reports and articles, but what would be "proportionate" force in this situation?
Hamas kills as many Jews as they can and the Israeli goverment sends diplomaticly worded protest notes.

EDIT: That way the rest of the world can go back to ignoring the problem.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Rye » 2008-12-30 07:18pm

[R_H] wrote:"Disproportionate force" is often mentioned in news reports and articles, but what would be "proportionate" force in this situation?
The bitter part of me wants to say "genocide, so the rest of the world can give the Palestinians their own state somewhere else," but when all is said and done, maybe the IDF should give up blowing shit up and let the Israeli people get RPGs and mortars on their own to shoot back at Palestinians? It'd probably kill less and then both sides can complain about terrorism against them while not stopping their own variants. After a while a cross-border, populist, antiterrorist cause could shift both populations away from it, with both of them arresting their own terrorists as it becomes politically expedient.
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