The report, authored by former Defense Department official Anthony
Cordesman, said Israeli air strikes have eroded Hamas's military command.
Cordesman cited such air force targets as Hamas weapons tunnels, shelters
and other facilities.
"The IAF may not be able to find and hit every target, and some tunnels
and sheltered areas, but Hamas has clearly lost some key leaders and is
losing most of its key facilities and much of its equipment," the report
said. "It may be able to fire limited numbers of rockets indefinitely into
the future, but it will lose a significant amount of its weapons, as well as
its training facilities and communications facilities."
Cordesman said Hamas has failed to reach the military capabilities of
the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah. The report said Hamas does not have the
training, experience or the equipment of the Lebanese-based militia.
"Hamas is not Hizbullah," the report said. "It has not fought the IDF
[Israel Defense Forces] for years. Its forces are limited in training and
experience, and do not seem to have had anything like Hizbullah's access to
the more modern and lethal manportable and crew served weapons -- although
it may well have some anti-tank guided weapon and manportable surface to air
missiles in reserve."
CSIS determined that the Israeli military could quickly overpower Hamas
in urban strongholds in the Gaza Strip. The report cited the lack of a Hamas
military infrastructure, hampered by the refusal of the rival Fatah movement
to battle Israel.
"For all of the talk about the difficulties of house-to-house fighting,
it is important to note that most urban combat is over quickly unless both
sides have extensive combat equipment and support capabilities, and that
insurgent defenders generally take massive losses relative to the attacker,"
the report said. "Hamas may inflict casualties in a few clashes, but it also
has not yet demonstrated that it can bring together any kind of broad
Palestinian resistance that has any effectiveness."
Cordesman said the Israel Army would not be required to attack all Hamas
strongholds. He said the Israeli military could rely on the air force to
flatten suspected Hamas facilities in urban areas.
"It [Israeli military] can secure and isolate such strongpoints, attack
only those strongpoints that have key value, and use airpower instead of
house-to-house fighting," the report said. "The problems the IDF faces
because it was committed to a static war against far better defended areas
long the Israeli-Lebanese border do not apply in Gaza, and Israel has had
two years in which to retrain and improve its capabilities for joint
warfare. Unless its political leadership repeats the mistakes of 2006, it
does not need to fight the wrong kind of urban warfare."
Still, Cordesman appeared to dismiss the prospect that Israel's military
would stabilize the Gaza Strip. Regarded as a leading U.S. defense analyst,
Cordesman doubted whether the military would defeat Hamas or its insurgency
"While no one should judge the outcome of any clash or series of battles
before they are over, the more serious question will be whether IDF tactical
successes have lasting strategic value, and produce any kind of stable
political outcome," the report said.
"The deafening silence of the Israeli
government in describing the broader goals behind Israel's operations raise
much more serious questions here than its military operations to date. It
seems very unlikely, however, that any amount of Israeli tactical success
can — by itself — bring an end to the war process."