All that glitters is not gold

6 Min Read

There is a universal tendency to magnify everything that comes to us preceded or accompanied by good, apparently innocent and well-calibrated propaganda.

Marketing, well managed and without skimping on efforts, is frankly very profitable and there are numerous followers who are created and join the bandwagon of novelty, welcome it, applaud it, make it their own and even defend it without any kind of consideration or doubt.

Those who read me regularly know that I have dedicated a very important part of my professional life, directly or indirectly, to the study, analysis, development, management and application of intelligence, including military diplomacy. It is precisely the various postings and secondments in each of them that have led me to gain first-hand knowledge of the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) of several military intelligence services of allied or friendly countries and to be able to verify the effectiveness of almost all of them, with special mention or fixation on the Jordanian and Israeli ones.

That is why I have always doubted the effectiveness of the much-vaunted and praised new intelligence better known as Artificial Intelligence (AI). A tool that appeared just a few years ago, as something new and very powerful, to which an immense majority predicted great success and which would soon be capable of displacing the old procedures, antennae, means deployed in the field and specialised analysts in our centres, because a simple computer would cover and far surpass the weak, dangerous and costly capacities of all the aforementioned machinery deployed around a territory or event of more or less importance.

The other day, reviewing my notes and knowledge on the subject, I found that among the causes that can lead to such a failure of intelligence are: fatigue from repetitive observation of the object of special attention; obsolescence of the reason for it; reduction of budgets and personnel necessary to obtain certain guarantees of success and reliability; profound ignorance of the subject of observation and analysis on the part of the new people involved in the event of a change of observers; the failure to review and apply the lessons learned from other similar events or moments such as Yom Kippur – fifty years ago – as reflected in the photograph; the extension of the objective and the changes in their ways of acting; and, last but not least, the changes in procedure employed by the observing party without having maintained a minimum overlapping time between the new and the old, in order to be able to contrast the results of each one of them.

For one of those destinations, I know first-hand and I believe quite well, the TTPs employed by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in both Gaza and Lebanon to maintain reliable and precise control over Hamas and Hezbollah respectively, given that both terrorist groups are heavily fed and armed by Iran, heavily nurtured and armed by Iran (their eternal arch-enemy), are moved by them whenever they want to destabilise the area or prevent Israeli peace negotiations or initiatives with Arab countries in the area from taking place, or being implemented, once signed.

A theory and situation that has been on the table for many years now and that brings nothing new to the table, except for two very important things; both the number and the training capabilities and weaponry at Iran’s disposal have improved exponentially and the times when they had a series of homemade rockets, with short range and easily detectable due to their trajectories and cruising speed, are long gone; also among their important changes are their means of communication, which are based more on messengers on foot, by bicycle or scooter, and the obsolete military or civilian radios, which were easily detectable, are used less and less.

Well, despite those facilities that no longer exist today, the number of people infiltrated, bought or forced to remain disguised and dispersed among the terrorists and their political leaders – for various reasons or debts owed to Israel – has apparently decreased enormously. It seems that it was very expensive, extremely sensitive and the IA itself was trusted to provide them with the necessary information, but, because of the above, it is not reaching them at all or in dribs and drabs.

I do not wish to pontificate on this issue, I do not have the weighty elements at the moment to do so categorically, but this possibility has a high degree of probability of being true; we will find out where and what the failure of information has been when – once this serious conflict is over – it is truly clarified, because if it is not properly corrected, their survival is at stake and neither the politicians nor their Armed Forces are in a position to endure a similar embarrassment on another occasion in the near future. Israel and Israelis are people who, as we have seen, stick their necks out on a daily basis no matter who you are or what you do, and are therefore very demanding of your security.

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