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Israeli Military Ready for Battle With "Arsenal of Tweets"

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Gone are the days when militaries readied troops and materiel as fierce battles loomed. In the 21st Century, top generals prepare all-out Twitter blitzes, instead.

While the Palestinians argue for their own state at the U.N., Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich tells POLITICO that the IDF has "prepared an arsenal of tweets, clips and other forms of content."

The IDF's social media "battle group" was formed in 2009, to reach "mainly an international audience that is less exposed to operational processes," Col. Ofer Kol, head of communications at the Army Spokesman's office, told Haaretz. "Foreign media do more 'zooming-in' and so it's important to us to show the totality of IDF actions without a filter," he explained.

Twitter has, in fact, become a valuable tool on the virtual battlefield.

Last week, the NATO-led international security assistance forces (@ISAFmedia) fired this shot at the Taliban's hearts and minds:

The link led to footage of checking on his troops after a Taliban attack:

What to make of this most modern of modern fighting techniques?

Daniel Drezner of Foreign Policy offered this take:

Is this kind of interaction a uniquely 21st century form of statecraft, or just old wine in new, snarkier bottles?

It's very tempting to roll one's eyes and say that we've seen this sort of thing before. CNAS' Andrew Exum argues that this exchange is similar to the "cross-trench trash-talking" of the Spanish Civil War. Which would be true... if the majority of the rest of the world had the option of witnessing the trash-talking in real time.

No, this is something different, something that I suspect is activating Anne-Marie Slaughter's sixth sense of detecting "modern social-liberal" trends. And as more and more international affairs heavyweights go on Twitter, it might be a harbinger of a whole new arena of the world politics sandbox.

Almost two years ago, the world got a glimpse of what we might expect from a Mid East Twitter battle royale, were one to break out in the coming days. Yes, in January, 2010, Kirstie Alley and Joy Behar went toe-to-toe over Behar's coverage of the Tiger Woods sex scandal -- which could provide a decent template for Israeli troops in the ol' cyber squadron:

"Cheating is between a husband and wife. Not TMZ and Joy Bewhore . . . God, I want to bash her in the vagina with her microphone.”

21st Century statecraft, indeed. Is there an extra seat available at Camp David?

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