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Thread: The Road to the First Lebanon War: thirty years on

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default The Road to the First Lebanon War: thirty years on

    A fascinating reflective paper from an Israeli think tank, which aims to:
    to examine the processes that led to the First Lebanon War, the role played by Lebanese domestic and foreign actors in the road to war, and the unique nature of the war. At the end of the paper I will attempt to provide a brief commentary on the aims, results, and lessons of the war from my own point of view.

    It is a good easy read and I was struck by one passage (No. 21):
    However, Israel’s political leadership learned the hard way that the military achievements in Lebanon, attained in what was essentially asymmetrical warfare in a theater rife with difficulties and problems, were difficult if not impossible to translate into sustainable political achievements. Indeed, looking at the results of the war in a thirty-year retrospective shows that Israel was unable to attain its strategic objectives.
    Sounds like Afghanistan to me.

    I have looked around SWC and cannot find a thread on the First Lebanon War, although there are several on later wars and related aspects.

  2. #2
    Council Member
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    Oct 2010


    I beg to differ.

    1st Lebanon did not begin asymmetracally, or at least not overtly so. While it is true that both the PLO and the Syrian army proved less than capable to stop the IDF, both were organized and equiped like modern armies (the main exception being the PLO's lack of large armor units and air force). The insurgency phase didn't begin in earnest until after the IDF occupied Lebanon - and then it was headed (mostly) by the Shi'ites, who were either indifferent or supportive towards Israel during the initial fighting.

    The main problem, IMHO, was that Israeli political leaders did not understand that the Maronite Christians, on whom they relied to establish a friendly regime, were incapable of delivering. The Christian day was all but gone at the time, and their insistance on retaining control of "greater Lebanon" (i.e. retaining large areas populated by Muslims or Druze under their control) had ensured that they will never again be the desicive factor in the country.

    Perhaps, then, 1st Lebanon has more in common with "Iraqi Freedom" and its aftermath than with Afghanistan.
    "Nowadays people seem to imagine that impartiality means readiness to treat lies and truth the same, readiness to hold white as bad as black and black as good as white. I, on the contrary, believe that without integrity a man much better not approach a problem at all." Orde Charles Wingate, 1938

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