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Thread: The 2006 Hezbollah-Israeli War (catch all)

  1. #41
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Used As a Military History Lesson

    If this alignment of interest between Amal and Iran would not have ensured a problematic occupation in and of itself, Israel’s actions in the south at the invasion’s inception virtually ensured a permanent schism between Israel and the Lebanese Shiite population. Avner Yaniv argues that Israel had no plan for administering the power vacuum that it created in the south through the destruction of the PLO mini-state. Ad hoc improvisation, which had always been a component of Israel’s conventional, offensively minded doctrine, led to “a series of reflexive fits drawing on Israel’s previous experience with comparable problems in the Sunni, Christian West Bank and Gaza Strip.”31
    This had an almost instant deleterious effect on Israel’s relationship with the Shiites. In the early days of the war, while the siege of the PLO in Beirut was still ongoing, the Higher Shiite Council, led by Amal’s Shams al-Din, Sadr’s successor, urged the Shiites of Lebanon to reject as illegitimate Israeli interference in southern Lebanon and the imposition of Israeli-backed administrations in Shiite towns and villages. Shiites were urged “to reject the occupation and not to cooperate in any way with the Israeli-imposed local administration.”32 When I asked Baruch Spiegel if the IDF had done anything initially to win “the hearts and minds” of the Lebanese Shiite population, his answer was simple. “Not immediately. It took time until we modified. It took time.”33 If there was ever a real window of opportunity to win over the Shiite population, it was shut by the time the IDF “modified” its practices.
    This installment of the JRTC CALL Cell BiWeekly History Lesson again turns to a product from the Combat Studies Institute. Occasional Paper 21 Flipside of the COIN: Israel’s Lebanese Incursion Between 1982 - 2000 by Daniel Isaac Helmer provides an in-depth analysis of Israel's 22-year long venture in Lebanon.

    Helmer describes this Israeli experience as a defeat on three levels. The Israelis went into Lebanon to destroy the Palestinian Liberation Organization: they won sweeping tactical victories but never succeeded in their aim to crush the PLO. More importantly, the sustained existence of the PLO as champion for a Palestinian people was a strategic defeat directly tied to the beginning of the First Intifadah. The Israelis stimulated the creation of Hezbollah in Lebanon and then lost the asymmetric fight with the Shia militia, in the process turning the militia into a global threat. Finally as described by Helmer, the 1982 Invasion was to destroy the "terrorists" and as he shows, the net result was an increase in terrorism from pre-1982 levels.

    As a former United Nations Military Observer in southern Lebanon (1987), I found this paper to be balanced and accurate. In many ways it explains what happened to the Israeli Defense Force in the 2006 fight with Hezbollah. But this paper transcends its role as a study of the conflict in Lebanon. It is very much a study of the unconventional versus the conventional. As such it is also quite relevant to US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    V/R

    Tom Odom

  2. #42
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Israel: Winograd Committee Report Released

    39 April Jerusalem Post - 'Olmert Nade the Decision to go to War Unprepared'.

    After months of waiting and speculation, the Winograd Committee's interim report harshly criticizing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and former IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz over their actions during the first five days of the Second Lebanon War was released to the public Monday afternoon.

    In conclusions much harsher than those expected ahead of the report's publication, Judge Eliyahu Winograd said in a press conference that "[The committee] established that decisions and the way they were taken suffered from the most severe flaws. We put the responsibility for these flaws on the prime minister, the defense minister and the former chief of staff."...

    The prime minister bore supreme and comprehensive responsibility for the decisions of 'his' government and the operations of the IDF, according to the report.

    Olmert made up his mind hastily, the report said, without asking for a detailed military plan and without consulting military experts. According to the findings, Olmert made a personal contribution to the fact that the war's goals were "overambitious and unfeasible."...

  3. #43
    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    Has anyone seen an English translation of the full report yet?

  4. #44
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    Default Behind the Headlines on the Winograd Commission’s Interim Report

    Haninah Levine e-mailed a link to his Center for Defense Information article Behind the Headlines on the Winograd Commission’s Interim Report.

    In late April, the Winograd Commission, appointed by the Israeli government last September to examine the events of the 2006 Second Lebanon War, published its interim report. Media coverage of the interim report, which is not yet available in English, has focused mostly on the commission’s harsh evaluation of the nation’s civilian leaders, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

    The 170-page document offers far more than just a report card on these politicians’ performance, however. It examines the behavior of the military, the government, the National Security Council, and even the media and the electorate over a six-year period which begins with Israel’s May 2000 withdrawal from southern Lebanon and ends on July 17, 2006, nearly a week into the war. It is both uncompromisingly honest and scrupulously fair, offering a 15-page discussion of “The Principles of Responsibility” and weighing at every turn the balance between individual, collective and institutional responsibility and plain bad luck. (The breadth of the commission’s findings reflects its composition, which includes Israel’s leading experts on public administration and human and civil rights law alongside two reserve generals.)...

  5. #45
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Deja Vu Encore

    Lesson One: Western militaries are in active denial concerning the limitations of precision weapons...
    Well I would certainly agree with that one. I saw a report yesterday on use two precision 155mm rounds against an AQ safehouse. The officer discussing the strike was an artilleryman and he was of course enthusiastic. The report did not however offer an assessment on collateral effects. To the FA guy's credit he pointed out that the real benefit from precision munitions was their efficiency in destroying the target, not the "surgical" capability that is often associated with such weapons. But back to the Israeli report..

    Between Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000 and the morning of July 12, 2006, when a cross-border attack by Hezbollah militants left three Israeli soldiers dead and two kidnapped, Israel’s policy towards the terrorist organization was, in its own words, one of “containment.” In practice, “containment” meant extreme restraint in response to acts of provocation. This restraint was justified by a simple calculus: in the IDF’s official estimation, Israel’s precision air and artillery forces could not suppress Hezbollah’s offensive rocket forces, which meant that any military action against Hezbollah was likely to provoke sustained rocket fire into Israel’s interior which could be suppressed in turn only with a costly invasion of the Hezbollah heartland.
    This really gets back to longstanding issues with the IDF and its use of artillery and air in conventional combat. 1956 when the IDF attacked Egypt to threaten the Suez Canal so the British and French would have an excuse to seize it to "protect it" was the IDF's first attempt at sweeping maneuver warfare. They ran into problems at Abu Agheila and in the Mitla Pass. They lacked artillery and the IAF was not sufficiently oriented to ground support to offset it. 1967 of course the IAF lead the way and then ruled the skies over the battlefield after eleimnating the Arab air forces. Israeli tactical thinking saw fixed wing air as flying artillery, used against point targets. In 1973 that cost them because the IAF had to abandon the air space over the canal and the Golan at times due to the SAM threat. Without that CAS, Israeli ground commanders had difficulty suppressing AT systems; IDF armor carried HEAT and SABOT rounds, not HE. Sagger and RPG gunners in the hundreds were difficult targets. Some of these faults were readdressed before the 82 Invasion of Lebanon; the IDF got 155mm SP and rotary wing attack aircraft from us and elsewhere. The IAF of course unraveled the SAM issue as well. In consequence, the 82 invasion even with the Syrian entry did not see artillery used as massed fires etc. During my tour in Lebanon in 87, I saw the same thing. The IDF FA units would practice hipshoots and actually fire missions but they were selectively used. There was still very much reliance on air--including rotary air--to hit select targets.

    With Hizballah's ability to use low tech launch systems, the calculus cited in this report sound very much like the conundrum facing the Israellis on the conventional battlefield in 1973 and in the unconventional battlefield I observed in 1987.

    Best

    Tom

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    I think one of the non-explicit lessons is that you have to prepare for the wars you might have to fight not only the wars you wish to fight.

    The other lessons are
    Lesson Two: There are real consequences to overstretching a military

    Lesson Three: Rhetorical praise for the troops must not interfere with honest assessment of their abilities

    I think all of these lessons are valid and are of importance for all wars not just last summers war.

  7. #47
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    I think one of the non-explicit lessons is that you have to prepare for the wars you might have to fight not only the wars you wish to fight.
    No doubt and absolutely the hardest lesson for most militaries to learn--very much in line with the old saw, "preparing for the last war."

    The others are also on target; I was just struck by the techno/precision fires issue as it plays out inside the IDF after watching them for so many years.

    Tom

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    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Default Recommendations? The 2006 Lebanon War

    I'm eagerly looking for stuff on the Lebanon War of 2006, but I know it's too early - all I've found are some articles online, and some interesting stuff about Hezbollah's anti-tank exploits using the RPG-29 (which apparently is one nasty mother).

    Anyone know of anything in the works or available?

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattC86
    I'm eagerly looking for stuff on the Lebanon War of 2006, but I know it's too early - all I've found are some articles online, and some interesting stuff about Hezbollah's anti-tank exploits using the RPG-29 (which apparently is one nasty mother).

    Anyone know of anything in the works or available?
    If you haven't already, I recommend you peruse the Hezbollah TTP thread in the MidEast forum, you will find member-posted links to several substantive articles and papers.

    The Hezbollah: A Win For 'The Best Guerrilla Force in the World'? thread also has some bits worth reading through, although the content of that thread tends more towards op-ed and commentary than the first one.

  10. #50
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattC86 View Post
    I'm eagerly looking for stuff on the Lebanon War of 2006, but I know it's too early - all I've found are some articles online, and some interesting stuff about Hezbollah's anti-tank exploits using the RPG-29 (which apparently is one nasty mother).

    Anyone know of anything in the works or available?

    Matt
    Don't know if this is linked in the threads mentioned, but it is very good. There's also a number of interesting comments and links at http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/
    Last edited by SteveMetz; 11-28-2007 at 11:28 AM.

  11. #51
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    Default In re: MattC86 and Second Lebanon War

    First, two apologies:

    1) That I seem to have been tardy in posting, and thus the thread seems to have proceeded beyond the topic;

    and

    (2) That perhaps this would be better posted in the thread Jedburgh noted; relatedly, apologies if some of these links have already been posted in that thread.

    Apologies stated,

    Some sources are:

    The Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies (Tel Aviv U) - albeit with a new name - has articles on the war in its journal, Strategic Assessment: http://www.inss.org.il/publications....=&read=839#9.3. It also has some books out or coming out, but those appear to be Hebrew-only.

    The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (Volume 20, Issue 4, pages 583-601, December 2007) has "Israel's Military Intelligence Performance in the Second Lebanon War," by Uri Bar-Joseph.

    Apparently the Journal of Strategic Studies will be publishing an award-winning article, and posting it online for free, in its January 2008 issue: Avi Kober, "The IDF in the Second Lebanon War: Why the Poor Performance?" http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/01402390.asp.

    Tony Cordesman had a nice, long lessons-learned on the war posted soon after it ended, but I can't seem to find it on the CSIS website: my hunch is they wanted to ensure this book - http://www.csis.org/component/option...,view/id,4168/ - would sell. If you want, private message me, as I downloaded a copy when it was downloadable.

    It appears preliminary findings of the Winograd Commission are available:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/854051.html

    Parameters had two articles in its Spring 2007 issue:
    "The 2006 Lebanon War: Lessons Learned” by Sarah E. Kreps
    “Israel’s Uncertain Strategic Future” by Louis René Beres
    http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/P...g/contents.htm

    Regards
    Jeff

  12. #52
    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Thanks to whomever (Jedburgh, I presume) for moving this to its proper location - I won't miss that again.

    And a bigger thanks for the guidance - lots of good stuff. I always appreciate people putting up with my neediness.

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

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    Default Winograd Report

    "Winograd lays blame for war failings on IDF," Ha'aretz, 31 January 2007.

    The final Winograd Committee report on the Second Lebanon War has categorically laid blame for the failings in the war on the Israel Defense Forces - criticizing nearly every arm and unit. With particular reference to the ground forces, the committee wrote, "They failed to meet most of the missions and challenges they were assigned."
    Full report here (in Hebrew).

  14. #54
    Council Member Chris Albon's Avatar
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    Default Detailed Tactical / Operational History of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War?

    Anyone know of a good detailed Tactical or Operational History of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War? I am not looking for a political history but rather an account of what happened on the battlefield.

    Suggestions?
    -----------

    Chris Albon,
    Ph.D. Student / UC Davis
    Blogger / War and Health

  15. #55
    Council Member CR6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Albon View Post
    Anyone know of a good detailed Tactical or Operational History of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War? I am not looking for a political history but rather an account of what happened on the battlefield.

    Suggestions?

    Try this
    "Law cannot limit what physics makes possible." Humanitarian Apsects of Airpower (papers of Frederick L. Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

  16. #56
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    CSIS, 11 Mar 08: The Lessons of the Israeli-Lebanon War
    The lessons from the Israeli-Lebanon War in 2006 are now far clearer than they were during the fighting and its immediate aftermath. The war has led to extensive criticism from military experts within Israel, as well as the work of the Winograd Commission. At the same time, the resurgence of the Hezbollah, and its partial rearming, have demonstrated just how difficult it can be to defeat an asymmetric enemy fighting on its own soil and with a popular base.

    The attached briefing summarizes these lessons and attempts to put them in the broader context of the key lessons the United States should learn from the Iraq and Afghan conflicts. Examples of these lessons include:

    • The need to properly characterize the enemy, the consequences of going to war, and the ability to achieve successful conflict termination: Different as the three wars are, and the conditions under which Israel and the US have fought, they do raise the common lessons that one of the most critical single choices in war is the choice of where, when, and why to fight.

    In all three cases, Israel and the United States faced real enemies. At the same time, it is an open question as to whether Israel’s grand strategic failures in characterizing its enemy and the political situation Lebanon were worse than the US failure to understand the nature of the enemy and risks it was dealing with in Afghanistan and Iraq. In all three cases, both Israel and the US also went to war without a credible plan for conflict termination and for dealing with the aftermath of the wars they chose to fight.

    • The need for realism in assessing the ability to use airpower. At a tactical level, Israel placed reliance on air power that cannot be compared to the way the US has used air power in the Afghan and Iraq conflicts, but which repeated many of the miscalculations about the ability of strategic bombing to achieve decisive political and military effects that characterized at least some of the strategic air and interdiction campaign in the Gulf War in 2001. These limits to airpower are as old as, Douhet but they are lessons that military forces seem to have to constant relearn

    There are other lessons more unique to the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict that may serve as a warning of the shape of things come in Afghanistan and Iraq, or in future conflicts. One was how ineffective most IAF close air support sorties were in dealing with a Hezbollah that could take advantage of tunnels, sheltered buildings, and well-prepared concealment.

    • The dangers of “proliferating” advanced light weapons to asymmetric and insurgent forces: Another warning comes from the Hezbollah use of advanced anti-tank weapons; manportable and light surface-to-air missiles, and anti-ship missiles. The situation in both Iraq and Afghanistan would be very different if the US and its allies faced anything like the same threat. It could have a major impact on the use of tactical airpower, but it would raise far more serious questions about the value of uparmoring and the security of tactical and logistic movements.

    The attached brief explores a wide range of additional lessons, including the lessons regarding readiness and training, warfare in built-up areas, and missile and rocket attacks and defense.....
    Complete 63-slide briefing in pdf at the link.

  17. #57
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    If there is a lesson here, it is that it <has> been clear from Douhet to the present that the advocates of airpower have no better political understanding of this aspect of airpower than any man on the street and probably less. They tend to sharply exaggerate its ability to influence or intimidate leaders and politicians, and act as a weapon of political warfare.
    Amen Brother Cordesman

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default and yet another...

    "...it would raise far more serious questions about the value of uparmoring and the security of tactical and logistic movements."
    I think he agrees with me that all this MRAP overkill is of little long term value...

  19. #59
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default OP 26: We Were Caught Unprepared: The 2006 Hezbolla-Israeli War

    Latest history lesson I sent out.
    "The lackluster performance of the IDF in the 2006 Hezbollah-Israeli war was the result of a multiplicity of factors. Halutz’s steadfast confidence in air power, coupled with his disdain for land warfare, increased the strength of the IAF at the expense of the ground forces. While continuing COIN operations against the Palestinians, the IDF saw its budget for ground forces slashed and training for major combat operations by divisions and brigades greatly reduced. Within the IDF reserve, equipment was not replaced or repaired, and the tactical skills of both reserve and regular ground forces continued to decline. Training for reserve tank crewmen was all but forgotten...

    ... The missteps committed by the IDF in this war provide the US Army with valuable examples of potential difficulties when counterinsurgency operations are abruptly changed to major combat operations. For the US Army, which has been almost exclusively involved in irregular warfare for years, this issue is of paramount importance. While the US Army must be proficient in conducting major combat operations around the world, it is possible that years of irregular operations have chipped away at this capability, not unlike the situation encountered by the IDF."

    This history lesson looks at the Combat Studies Institute's Occasional Paper #26 We Were Caught Unprepared: The 2006 Hezbollah-Israeli War by Matt M. Matthews. It makes a great follow up to OP21 Flipside of the COIN: Israel's Lebanese Incursion Between 1982-2000 by Daniel Isaac Helmer.
    Matthew's monograph is interesting reading. This is a study of a military in war befuddled by confusion in its own doctrine and its own reputation. The introduction above offers ample reason to read this book. I would also offer a couple of caveats to this study. Armies develop cultural trends over the years of their existence and the IDF is no different. As a military built around short wars and aversion to casualties, the IDF has since 1948 put its greatest emphasis on the Israeli Air Force and its second greatest emphasis on its armored forces. Aside from certain units, infantry has been a distant third. Combined arms operations using all elements in concert has not been a hallmark of IDF operations. So as you read this understand that, while years of irregular operations in the territories exacerbated these tendencies, those traits did not necessarily originate there.

    Secondly I would add emphasis to certain points. The IDF and Hezbollah have nearly a quarter century of history as enemies. It is true enough that Hezbollah was well supported and supplied by Syria and Iran over that period; it is also equally true that Hezbollah has remained very much a Lebanon-centric organization. As such it has had repeated opportunities to study previous IDF incursions and occupations of the area contested in this particular war. It is terrain that favors the determined and prepared defender. As a UN Observer in 1987 I watched these two antagonists spar repeatedly. Hezbollah began preparing for this match before the IDF pulled back in 2000. Finally I would say that while confusion of doctrine played a large role in this episode, the alternatives discussed concerning a rapid push to the Litani River to "demolish Hezbollah in six days" are just as disconnected from the reality of southern Lebanon as EBO and SOD proved to be.

    You may download a copy at CSI
    Best

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 03-13-2008 at 07:04 PM.

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    Thanks for the link, I have found Cordesman to be one of the most honest and realistic observers of the wars of the early 21st Century
    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

    The Eaglet from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

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