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Old 07-22-2006   #1
SWJED
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Default Hizbullah / Hezbollah (just the group)

Moderator's Note

This thread has steadily acquired smaller threads, six today and concerns the group's activities. Hezbollah appears in the title of several threads and in a large number of threads on other subjects (ends).


22 July New York Times - In 1990’s, Shadows Waged War by John Kifner.

Quote:
The Hezbollah guerrilla campaign that ended Israel’s 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000 was in many ways a precursor to the kind of asymmetrical warfare American troops are facing in Iraq — and Israeli troops would face again if they entered Lebanon in large numbers.

Suicide bombers, roadside explosives and ambushes were the weapons the shadowy force that called itself the resistance used to drive out a superior conventional army.

“By limiting the firing, we were able to keep the cards in our hands,” said Sheik Nabil Qaouk, then and now the Hezbollah commander in the south, in a rare interview six years ago, shortly after the Israeli withdrawal.

“We were able to do small, little battles where we had the advantage,” the sheik, a Shiite imam who is also referred to as a general, said at the time in Tyre, Lebanon.

Now, as Israel contemplates the possibility of another land invasion of Lebanon, its commando reconnaissance teams are meeting stiff fighting as they discover that Hezbollah has spent much of the past six years constructing networks of fortified bunkers and tunnels and amassing stores of thousands of rockets.

And while the Palestinians whom Israel is battling in the Gaza Strip have only light weapons and homemade rockets, Hezbollah is equipped with up-to-date weaponry like laser-guided missiles, much of it supplied by Iran.

In the earlier battles in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah used innovations like roadside bombs made of fake plastic rocks, which could be bought in Beirut garden stores for $15.

To confuse Israel’s motion sensors, they would run farm animals across areas monitored by the devices.

A Soviet tank that was hidden in a cave and never driven, and thus did not show up on heat sensors, took the Israelis months to find, the sheik said.

A turning point was the ambush, in the summer of 1997, of a raid by elite Israeli naval commandos — some of Israel’s toughest troops — in which a dozen were killed. Then Hezbollah put out word that it had an informer, deterring further Israeli counterinsurgency operations.

The effect was to drive the Israelis into fixed, fortified positions, conceding land and initiative to Hezbollah...

Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-30-2013 at 09:18 PM. Reason: Add Mod's note
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Old 07-22-2006   #2
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22 July Washington Post - History Revisited in Lebanon Fighting by Edward Cody and Scott Wilson.

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...Yet a look back over the past three decades suggests that the foe Israel is taking on today -- the Lebanese-based Hezbollah militia -- may be far harder to expel than the transplanted Palestinians it fought in southern Lebanon in the 1970s and '80s.

The history also suggests that Israel's previous military campaigns and occupations of Lebanon played a decisive role in creating this new enemy. Some analysts in Lebanon believe that the new bloodshed and a renewed attempt to fashion Lebanese society to Israel's advantage could generate yet another permutation, one that is perhaps even more irreconcilably hostile to the Jewish state.

"Now you risk producing something worse than Hezbollah, maybe al-Qaeda number two," said Fawaz Trabulsi, a Lebanese professor at the American University of Beirut who helped lead a leftist organization that fought Israeli troops alongside Palestinian guerrillas during the 1982 invasion.

"It's '82 all over again," Trabulsi said. "What's similar is the idea of destroying the infrastructure, of the PLO then, and now of Hezbollah. The difference is Hezbollah is Lebanese and you can't expel them."

The 1978 Operation Litani provided a clear lesson in the rules of unintended consequences. It was a swift success militarily; Israeli forces pushed across the border and moved about 20 miles north to the Litani River without serious opposition from primarily ragtag Palestinian defenders. They weren't native to the area or fully familiar with it -- they'd moved to it in the early 1970s to escape a crackdown in Jordan...

Its exploding young population, sons of those chased from southern homes, became the base of a new radical organization born several years later. Inspired by the 1979 Iranian revolution, it eventually took the name Hezbollah, or Party of God...

Yitzhak Bailey was teaching Middle East history at Tel Aviv University in 1982 when Israel's Defense Ministry called him with a job offer...

A native of Buffalo, N.Y., who arrived in Israel in the early 1950s, Bailey has made a specialty of Arab affairs, the culture of the nomadic Bedouin people in particular. But his task in the fall of 1982 was to evaluate the Shiite political landscape in south Lebanon and find Israel some friends there.

At the time, Israel had made common cause with Lebanon's Maronite Christians, who opposed the PLO's presence in Lebanon and feared for their place in a country with a growing Muslim majority. The Christian leadership was also willing to work openly with Israel.

Operating from an Israeli military base in Tyre, Bailey began traveling the region. He spent nights in family homes when he could, and tried to determine the most important political players in the Shiite south. Almost at once, he said, he began proposing in his reports a different approach to win allies in the crucial southern Lebanese region.

"All of Israel's eggs were in the Christian basket," Bailey said. "While the Shiites at the time were willing to be quite cooperative, they were not willing to say so openly." As members of a minority, many Shiites felt they needed protection from other factions in Lebanese society.

At the time, a Shiite Lebanese party called Amal was the most important party in the south. Once Israeli tanks and troops had dislodged PLO gunmen, Amal's influence increased dramatically. Amal was aligned in that period with more-liberal elements of the leadership of Shiite-dominated Iran, and the group tacitly accepted the Israeli role in the south. But once that cooperation became known, Bailey said, the movement broke apart.

Islamic Amal, as the radical splinter was called, began carrying out attacks on Israeli and Western targets. The group's popularity rose as Israel, responding to rising militancy, began tightening its hold with checkpoints, mass arrests and military operations that hit the civilian population hard.

The splinter group soon renamed itself Hezbollah.
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Old 08-01-2006   #3
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Default Hezbollah: A Win For 'The Best Guerrilla Force in the World'?

Commentary by Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institution:

Hezbollah's Popularity Exposes al-Qaeda's Failure to Win the Hearts
Quote:
...Americans should also be troubled that most Arabs surveyed now see the United States as one of the greatest threats to them (second only to Israel), in large part because of the Iraq war and the deep mistrust of U.S. intentions there, according to my poll with Zogby. In that sense, some have wanted to see the United States fail even more than they have wanted to see Iraq succeed; they worry about Iran, but they will root for it against Washington; and they fear Al-Qaida's world, but hope the group gives America a black eye.

This suggests that the current American challenge in the region is how to help shape outcomes, without making them seem part of an American imperial design. Yet the statements by the Bush administration in the first two weeks of the current crisis have played directly into regional fears. The reluctance to call for a quick cease-fire despite the massive damage and civilian casualties and statements about the suffering as being ``the birth pangs of a new Middle East'' have made many in the region conclude that the Lebanon war is America's war...
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Old 08-02-2006   #4
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Decent summary by Andrew McGregor, published by the Jamestown Foundation 1 Aug 06:

Hezbollah's Tactics and Capabilities in Southern Lebanon
Quote:
With its attack on Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, Israel is fighting on terrain that has been prepared by the Shiite movement for six years since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers have described finding a network of concrete bunkers with modern communications equipment as deep as 40 meters along the border. The terrain is already well-suited for ambushes and hidden troop movements, consisting of mountains and woods in the east and scrub-covered hills to the west, all intersected by deep wadis (dry river beds). Broken rocks and numerous caves provide ample cover. Motorized infantry and armor can only cross the region with difficulty. Use of the few winding and unpaved roads invites mines and ambushes by Hezbollah's adaptable force of several thousand guerrillas...
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Old 08-03-2006   #5
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Default Israel's Long-Term Battle: Defining Victory

3 August New York Times - The Long-Term Battle: Defining ‘Victory’ Before the World by Steven Erlanger.

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As Israeli troops press the ground offensive in southern Lebanon and commandos make an unexpected raid far to the north in Baalbek, Israel is fighting now to win the battle of perceptions.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wants to ensure that when a cease-fire is finally arranged, Israel is seen as having won a decisive victory over Hezbollah. It is important for him politically, especially after a slow and fumbling start to this war. In part, Israel wants to recover from an image of an unimpressive military venture against a tough, small, but well-trained group of fighters.

Israel also wants to send a message to the Palestinians, and to Hezbollah and its sponsors, Syria and Iran, that attacks on Israel will be met with overwhelming force, and that the cost is not worth the effort. How soon that message is perceived will play a central role in its decision to stop the war.

As with all wars, however, any victory must be consolidated in political and diplomatic arrangements, which remain uncertain, like the insertion of a multinational force along the border.

For Hezbollah, victory means simply avoiding defeat. It will be perceived by many Muslims to have won by keeping the capacity to fire even short-range rockets into Israel.

Gidi Grinstein, a former Israeli negotiator and director of the Reut Institute, a research group, calls it the “90-10 paradox.” Israel can eliminate 90 percent of Hezbollah’s fighting capacity, but Hezbollah can still declare victory and claim that it fought the mighty Israeli Army to a draw...
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Old 08-09-2006   #6
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Default Hezbollah and the Ghost of Giap

SWC member and all-around good-guy from Chicago posts over on his Zenpundit blog - Hezbollah and the Ghost of Giap.

Quote:
Colonel W. Pat Lang , making an observation about Israel's war in Lebanon with both immediate as well as historical implications.

"The Lebanese Hizbullah "Arab Guerrilla Army" is something different. What Newsweek describes is a force in transition, a force becoming a real army. Vo Nguyen Giap wrote in "People's War, People's Army" that a national resistance movement's armed force must "evolve" from political agitprop activities to guerrilla war and eventually to the status and capability of regular armed forces if it is to succeed in defeating its enemies and seizing " a place at the table" in its country's future."

The interesting thing about this observation is that, while Giap is a military leader of the first rank, his theory of guerilla warfare has rarely been borne out by history, including that of the Vietnam War. It is exceptionally rare for irregulars or guerillas to " transition" or "evolve" into full-fledged conventional military operations against a modern, first-rate opponent. Generally, guerilla forces beat state opponents by becoming more effective at guerilla warfare and causing a psychological and moral collapse of the state's will to resist; and only after seizing power, do the new rulers transform their guerilla fighters into professional soldiers...
Much more - read the whole thing...
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Old 08-09-2006   #7
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Default The RPF Did It

Quote:
It is exceptionally rare for irregulars or guerillas to " transition" or "evolve" into full-fledged conventional military operations against a modern, first-rate opponent. Generally, guerilla forces beat state opponents by becoming more effective at guerilla warfare and causing a psychological and moral collapse of the state's will to resist; and only after seizing power, do the new rulers transform their guerilla fighters into professional soldiers...
look at the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army 1990-1994

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Old 08-09-2006   #8
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Default hi Tom

My proviso was " against a modern, first-rate opponent" - I'm not sure the Rwandan Army made it to a level of competence comparable with say, South Africa much less a NATO state or great power.

You know the details on the ground there -how far apart in qualitative terms were the Rwandan military and the Patriotic Front ?
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Old 08-12-2006   #9
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Default COIN: Learning From Hezbollah

12 August Washington Post commentary - Learning From Hezbollah by Brian Humphreys.

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From my first day in Iraq as a young infantry officer, I was struck by the huge perceptual gulf that separated us from the Iraqis. My first mission was to escort a civil affairs team assigned to supervise the rebuilding of a local school. After tea, smiles and handshakes, we departed and were promptly struck by a roadside bomb. Our modest efforts to close the perceptual gulf, exemplified in our smile-and-wave tactics and civil affairs missions, seemed to my mind well-intentioned but inadequate.

At a deeper level, the motives of the local populace remained largely invisible to us, as people smiled one minute and attempted to blow us up the next. We knew little or nothing about their grievances and aspirations, or where the political fault lines ran in the cluster of small cities in the Sunni Triangle we were tasked with pacifying

We experienced many periodic spasms of violence that seemed to come out of nowhere before disappearing again. Of course they came from somewhere, but it was a somewhere we didn't understand. In a battalion of more than 800 men, we had one four-man team assigned to interact directly with the local population, and even this team was frequently sidetracked to deal with routine translation duties or interrogations.

Perhaps understandably for a conventional military force trained to focus on the enemy, our primary intelligence focus was on the insurgents. Much less attention was paid to the larger part of the population. Although we were a visible and sometimes forceful presence, I'm not sure we were a truly influential one.

Now, watching the latest news dispatches from Lebanon, I find myself comparing our efforts to introduce a new order in Iraq with Hezbollah's success as an effective practitioner of the art of militarized grass-roots politics. Frankly, it's not a favorable comparison -- for us. Hezbollah's organizational resilience in the face of an all-out conventional assault shows the degree to which it has seamlessly combined the strategic objectives of its sponsors with a localized political and military program.

Using the grass-roots approach, Hezbollah has been able to convert the ignored and dispossessed Shiite underclass of southern Lebanon into a powerful lever in regional politics. It understands that the basic need in any human conflict, whether or not it involves physical violence, is to take care of one's political base before striking out at the opponent...

Whatever the objective truth of Hezbollah's motives, its many supporters in southern Lebanon believe fervently that it is their organization, not an Iranian surrogate. Few if any American units in Iraq have achieved anything close to this level of success in winning the support of the local population. (Of more concern is the fact that few Iraqi security units or political leaders appear to have done so, either.) Commanders have come and gone, elections have been held, Iraqi soldiers trained, all manner of strategies for dealing with the insurgency attempted -- but with only limited and localized successes. Hezbollah's success among civilians in Lebanon, which is only reinforced by a ruthless pummeling from a reviled enemy, contrasts sharply with the continued fragility of the much more modest U.S. gains in Iraq, achieved at a much higher price.

The lessons should be clear. To engage in insurgency or counterinsurgency -- fancy terms for grass-roots politics by other means -- one must be willing and, most of all, able to work in the underbelly of local politics, as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon. It is the politics of getting people jobs, picking up trash and getting relatives out of jail. Engaging in this politics has the potential to do much more than merely ingratiate an armed force with a local population. It gives that force a mental map of local pressure points and the knowledge of how to press them -- benignly or otherwise -- to get desired results.

Some may say that this is just standard insurgency-counterinsurgency doctrine. True, but one has to ask why Hezbollah has been able to pull it off in Lebanon, while young Americans continue to endure a host of nasty surprises in Iraq.
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Old 08-12-2006   #10
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Default Writer only addresses one issue

The writer effectively addresses the issue regarding raising a grassroots effort in order to gain greater acceptance among the masses, but the writer completely ignores the greater issues.

I believe the two bigger issues are religion and race. We will never reach the level of acceptance that a Hezbollah can within their own culture because they can play the race and religion card. We are dealing with extremists who hate us and they are taught to hate from the time they are small children - until this changes we will continue to fight.
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Old 08-12-2006   #11
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Default Agree

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Originally Posted by keaggy220
I believe the two bigger issues are religion and race. We will never reach the level of acceptance that a Hezbollah can within their own culture because they can play the race and religion card.
I agree and thought the same thing as I read this op-ed piece this morning. Still, he was spot-on on concerning focusing on the population rather than exclusively on the insurgents. Some units have done this in Iraq and others have not. I would like to see a consistent approach throughout Iraq that puts “the people” as the center of gravity. That is, if it is not too late.
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Old 08-14-2006   #12
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Default Hezbollah: A Win For 'The Best Guerrilla Force in the World'?

14 August Washington Post - 'The Best Guerrilla Force in the World' by Edward Cody and Molly Moore.

Quote:
Hezbollah's irregular fighters stood off the modern Israeli army for a month in the hills of southern Lebanon thanks to extraordinary zeal and secrecy, rigorous training, tight controls over the population, and a steady flow of Iranian money to acquire effective weaponry, according to informed assessments in Lebanon and Israel.

"They are the best guerrilla force in the world," said a Lebanese specialist who has sifted through intelligence on Hezbollah for more than two decades and strongly opposes the militant Shiite Muslim movement.

Because Hezbollah was entrenched in friendly Shiite-inhabited villages and underground bunkers constructed in secret over several years, a withering Israeli air campaign and a tank-led ground assault were unable to establish full control over a border strip and sweep it clear of Hezbollah guerrillas -- one of Israel's main declared war aims. Largely as a result, the U.N. Security Council resolution approved unanimously Friday night fell short of the original objectives laid out by Israel and the Bush administration when the conflict began July 12.

With the declared U.N. cease-fire set to take effect Monday morning, many Lebanese -- particularly among the Shiites who make up an estimated 40 percent of the population -- have already assessed Hezbollah's endurance as a military success despite the devastation wrought across Lebanon by Israeli bombing...
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Old 08-14-2006   #13
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Default Will other Islamic fighters adopt the same tactics?

Will other Islamic fighters adopt the same tactics?

We already know that Terrorist organizations have established their own version of lessons learned database in operations/tactics. The successes by Hizballah over the past month against the IDF are no doubt being fed back to Iran since most Hizballah fighters where trained there. Although I think most of those so called Iranian advisors where probably the ones manning most of those Sagger-2 missiles. Hizballah's stand against the IDF has already been recognized in the Islamic world. Nasrallah is hailed as a Muslim hero others may adopt the same tactics by the use of rockets. Hizballah now has seasoned fighters that can now take that experience against the IDF and apply to future operations, as well as export to other fighters. It would not surprise me if similar tactics showing up elsewhere. Just in the past week rocket attacks have been reported in both A-Stan and Iraq. Iran no doubt has benefited the most from observing their trained and equipped fighters slugging it out against the IDF. Will they refocus their efforts elsewhere?
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Old 08-14-2006   #14
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Some insights from CEIP: Hizbollah's Outlook in the Current Conflict

Part One: Motives, Strategy and Objectives

Part Two: Accommodating Diplomacy and Preparing for the Post-War Context
Quote:
...Now that Hizbollah has shown that Israel’s powerful, U.S.-backed military was unable to disarm it, it believes that nobody else can, least of all the weakened Lebanese government. Qomati boldly declared that the “resistance is a red line for us, handing [in] our arms is out of the question, even if Shebaa is liberated.” This view is likely shared among the approximately 96 percent (according to a poll carried out in Lebanon last month) of Lebanon’s Shiites who support Hizbollah. The hundreds of thousands of Shiites who have been displaced from predominantly Shiite areas are likely to be more united as a community, as well as angry and radicalized vis-à-vis Israel, and thus even more favorable to Hizbollah maintaining arms than in the past.

In light of these facts, the consequences might be dire if the Lebanese government ardently pursues the disarmament of Hizbollah. In the worst case scenario, civil strife would occur and the state would collapse. In the best case, all Shiite ministers would withdraw from the cabinet, leading to the government’s collapse. Ultimately, the ruling majority is likely to be faced with a troubling dilemma: either a state within a state or a state within a failed state.
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Old 08-15-2006   #15
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Wow, that Canergie Endowment for International Peace "piece" was written by Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, "an assistant professor at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. She writes regularly on Lebanese politics and is the author of Hizbullah: Politics and Religion." Just call me a sucker for propaganda.


Hizbollah doesn't need to win. They just don't need to lose. Now, all this talk about Hizbollah rebuilding southern Lebanon is sort of moot with all those Israeli soldiers sleeping in what were once Hizbollah foxholes. What a bunch of crap. That also makes things a little difficult for Reuters to stage photographs and pundits to now come up with more lies about how great Hizbollah is for being dumb enough to start this battle to begin with getting Lebanon wrecked. Not only did Hizbollah not win this short engagement they also lost it. Also, I don't think the world would miss the current Lebanese government if it was to crumble under the weight of its own hypocrisy. You can't have your cake and eat it too as as the old saying goes. I don't understand all these defeatist attitudes every time the enemy places a vote on the battlefield. We tend to brag about the lessons the bad guys learn and ignore our own progress. It took over 25 rockets to kill one Israeli citizen. It took one Israeli forward observer or one Israeli air strike to kill an entire platoon of the world's greatest guerrilla force. The bad guys get together a three man team and run out and kill a tank. Suddenly, Israel is losing? How many tanks and crews has Israel lost since 1948? Three? Four? Come on! In the meantime, I suppose, the enemy will go back and get better and the dominating force will do nothing and just sit and wait for the next battle? Dying in place because of extremism doesn't make one a member of a good militia. It makes one a dead member of a good militia. As for rockets in Iraq. Did you just wake up this morning in-country to the sound of rockets? Some people seem to think we're up against the same type of endlessly funded insurgencies and guerrillas from the late great Soviet Union era. In case anyone hasn't noticed but the Soviet Union is gone. All their little victories during the Cold War are dying on the vine. That would include Syria and Iran.
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Old 08-15-2006   #16
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George Will in today's Washington Post - The Triumph of Unrealism.

Quote:
... Hezbollah, often using World War II-vintage rockets, has demonstrated the inadequacy of Israel's policy of unilateral disengagement -- from Lebanon, Gaza, much of the West Bank -- behind a fence. Hezbollah has willingly suffered (temporary) military diminution in exchange for enormous political enlargement. Hitherto Hezbollah in Lebanon was a "state within a state." Henceforth, the Lebanese state may be an appendage of Hezbollah, as the collapsing Palestinian Authority is an appendage of the terrorist organization Hamas. Hezbollah is an army that, having frustrated the regional superpower, suddenly embodies, as no Arab state ever has, Arab valor vindicated in combat with Israel.

Only twice in the United Nations' six decades has it authorized the use of substantial force -- in 1950 regarding Korea and in 1990 regarding Kuwait. It still has not authorized force in Lebanon. What is being called a "cease-fire" resolution calls for Israel to stop all "offensive" operations. Israel, however, reasonably says that its entire effort is defensive. The resolution calls for Hezbollah to stop "all attacks." The United Nations, however, has twice resolved that Hezbollah should be disarmed, yet has not willed the means to that end. Regarding force now, the U.N. merely "expresses its intention to consider in a later resolution further enhancements" of the U.N. force that for 28 years has been loitering without serious intent in south Lebanon.

Only twice in the United Nations' six decades has it authorized the use of substantial force -- in 1950 regarding Korea and in 1990 regarding Kuwait. It still has not authorized force in Lebanon. What is being called a "cease-fire" resolution calls for Israel to stop all "offensive" operations. Israel, however, reasonably says that its entire effort is defensive. The resolution calls for Hezbollah to stop "all attacks." The United Nations, however, has twice resolved that Hezbollah should be disarmed, yet has not willed the means to that end. Regarding force now, the U.N. merely "expresses its intention to consider in a later resolution further enhancements" of the U.N. force that for 28 years has been loitering without serious intent in south Lebanon....
Paul Moorcraft in today's Washington Times - Hezbollah Rising.

Quote:
Despite the recent U.N. ceasefire, the fighting in Lebanon is likely to continue. Shariah law allows a ceasefire in battle against infidels, but only for regrouping. Nor have the Israelis finished.

Hezbollah's highly potent kind of warfare could have profound strategic impact throughout the Middle East. Previously, Israel could capture Beirut in a week; now it has struggled for over a month to control small villages right on its own border.

Hezbollah, a novel hybrid, combines the sophistication and weaponry of a formal army blended with the near-invisibility of a hit-and-run insurgency. Fighting as tenaciously as the Viet Cong, Hezbollah has dramatically modernized classic guerrilla tactics, not least that it also holds territory and has seats in the Lebanese parliament and government. But it does not abide by the laws of war.

Like Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army, it has an authentic constituency base, one which was partly created by Israel's 1982 invasion.

Western experts are struggling even to name this new phenomenon. Some call it network warfare. Traditional armies are large, often cumbersome and organized in a strict disciplined hierarchy; networks such as Hezbollah have numerous, widely dispersed, agile and able soldiers who can improvise quickly, especially in their use of high-tech communications and propaganda.

Israeli special forces are surprised to come up against Hezbollah fighters with almost the same quality of equipment -- and training -- as themselves. Sophisticated anti-tank weapons have crippled even the much-vaunted Merkava tanks.

White flags are not in evidence. Hezbollah has not run away from Israeli military might as Arab forces did in earlier wars. Morale, organization, hi-tech weaponry and the cult of martyrdom equate to effective resistance. As the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) advances, Hezbollah hides in underground systems or simply merges with civilian refugees, then they attack from the rear.

Western defense colleges have spent much time studying how to counter so-called "asymmetric warfare." One method is deploying a network to fight a network. In late 2001 small groups of U.S. special forces cooperated with Northern Alliance fighters to utilize devastating air power to rapidly overwhelm the Taliban. Interestingly, the Taliban have recovered ground now that they are fighting conventional NATO forces. Insurgents are adapting and rapidly learning from one another. No doubt lessons on elaborate air-conditioned bunker systems are being Power-Pointed around the jihadist world.

In Vietnam, guerrillas made cross-border raids from the sanctuaries of neighboring states. Hezbollah, however, has waged a sustained daily war of attrition against another nation across a state border...
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Old 08-15-2006   #17
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Default Will and history

Quote:
Only twice in the United Nations' six decades has it authorized the use of substantial force -- in 1950 regarding Korea and in 1990 regarding Kuwait. It still has not authorized force in Lebanon. What is being called a "cease-fire" resolution calls for Israel to stop all "offensive" operations. Israel, however, reasonably says that its entire effort is defensive. The resolution calls for Hezbollah to stop "all attacks." The United Nations, however, has twice resolved that Hezbollah should be disarmed, yet has not willed the means to that end. Regarding force now, the U.N. merely "expresses its intention to consider in a later resolution further enhancements" of the U.N. force that for 28 years has been loitering without serious intent in south Lebanon.
George Will is off here. The UN Force in the Congo used force including fighter bombers in the sparring surrounding the Katangan secession in the early 1960s. The UN force there was the largest "pure" UN force deployed and most folks have forgotten it altogether. When it used force against the Belgian-sponsored secession of mineral rich Kataganga, that set off a hot political war inside the UN and inside the US government (between JFK's Administration and those who were willing to see the Congo dismembered).

And as usual Will and a host of others treat UNIFIL and its problems as if the UN had deliberately placed an inept force in southern Lebanon. UNIFIL's deployment in south Lebanon was never allowed to go as planned; the primary obstacle was Israel, intent on keeping the Litani River corridor open. UNIFIL soldiers died each month I was in Lebanon and the casualties came from both sides. It will be very interesting to see if the French do put a force on the ground with the requisite means to defend itself, especialy one with real AT and indirect fire capabilities.

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Old 08-15-2006   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Culpeper
Wow, that Canergie Endowment for International Peace "piece" was written by Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, "an assistant professor at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. She writes regularly on Lebanese politics and is the author of Hizbullah: Politics and Religion." Just call me a sucker for propaganda.
Have you read the book? Well written and insightful, it is one of the better books on Hezballah; it is certainly not "propaganda". The two short pieces she wrote for CEIP provide a good perspective from Lebanon; although gloomy in their analysis, they are not exactly written in a pro-Hezballah slant. If you want to read real pro-Hizballah propaganda, take a look at Hizbullah: The Story from Within, by Naim Qassim, one of the top tier of Hezballah's leadership. The book is still worth a read for the perspective, but you have to recognize it for what it is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Culpeper
Now, all this talk about Hizbollah rebuilding southern Lebanon is sort of moot with all those Israeli soldiers sleeping in what were once Hizbollah foxholes. What a bunch of crap.
Hezballah has a long history of rebuilding homes and more after major Israeli attacks. Operation Grapes of Wrath has been discussed as an example in another thread. They certainly won't be able to do it in the areas still under IDF control, but you can bet the funds are already flowing and plans are being drawn up.
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Originally Posted by Culpeper
That also makes things a little difficult for Reuters to stage photographs and pundits to now come up with more lies about how great Hizbollah is for being dumb enough to start this battle to begin with getting Lebanon wrecked. Not only did Hizbollah not win this short engagement they also lost it.
Can you reference any major media organization stating "how great Hizbollah is" for starting this conflict? Thus far, there seems to be unusual unanimity that Hezballah made a huge mistake in their calculations about the kidnapping that initiated this mess. However, Israel also made a tremendous strategic error in this case, as well as numerous operational mistakes, and they damn sure didn't "win" anything. But neither did Hezballah "lose". There is also unusual unanimity regarding the significant boost in stature that Hezballah has gained by simply standing their ground - despite their losses. To disregard the tremendous effect that is rippling throughout the region because of this is unwise.
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Originally Posted by Culpeper
Also, I don't think the world would miss the current Lebanese government if it was to crumble under the weight of its own hypocrisy. You can't have your cake and eat it too as as the old saying goes.
Blaming the victim. The Lebanese government was weak before this ball started rolling. The US and the West had a great opportunity to positively engage Lebanon after the Cedar Revolution when Syria was forced to withdraw in disgrace. It would have been perfect timing for a massive infusion of economic aid and military assistance specifically aimed at weakening Hezballah at a moment of vulnerability. But we were too focused on other targets, despite the administration's vaunted vision for the region, and only proffered token aid amid loud statements of success. Prior to this fiasco, Lebanon was in the middle of great economic growth and political opening that could have been greatly facilitated for a tremendous positive effect in the Levant. That moment is gone forever, and now Hezballah is in a position of strength. To achieve the same goals now will take a much greater effort, and the Lebanese government is going to be far less cooperative.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Culpeper
It took over 25 rockets to kill one Israeli citizen. It took one Israeli forward observer or one Israeli air strike to kill an entire platoon of the world's greatest guerrilla force. The bad guys get together a three man team and run out and kill a tank. Suddenly, Israel is losing? How many tanks and crews has Israel lost since 1948? Three? Four?
You are making the common errors of using body counts to make judgments of effect and mirror imaging ideas of conventional warfare onto a completely different type of conflict. The effect of Hizballah's rockets is purely psychological and has nothing to do with numbers of Israelis killed or wounded. Go back over the past decade's reporting in the Israeli media of rocket attacks in northern Israel and you'll see what I mean. The same thing goes when a Merkava is destroyed - a single tank destroyed by Hezballah has a far greater psychological impact upon the IDF and the people at home than did a dozen tanks destroyed in the Sinai in '73. Israel did not lose this fracas militarily; it lost it at the strategic geo-political level.
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Originally Posted by Culpeper
Some people seem to think we're up against the same type of endlessly funded insurgencies and guerrillas from the late great Soviet Union era. In case anyone hasn't noticed but the Soviet Union is gone. All their little victories during the Cold War are dying on the vine. That would include Syria and Iran.
No one with any sense mirror images today's conflicts with the brush fires of the Cold War. Although, to reverse that, there is a risk in summarily dismissing that era, because there are still significant lessons gained from those brush fires that we disregard at our peril. As you point out, however, funding is an issue that has changed tremendously. But today's terror and insurgent threats seem to have no problem in arming and equipping themselves. Rather than go into sources in detail here, I will simply recommend another RAND product: Trends in Outside Support for Insurgent Movements

By the way, Iran was not a Soviet victory. The Shah was a proxy of the U.S., and the Islamic Revolution was nearly as virulently anti-Soviet as it was anti-U.S. (they lumped us together as imperialists, and even burned our flags together).
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Old 08-15-2006   #19
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Default Rocket men

As a terror weapon the Hezballah rocket attacks were much less effective than human bomb attacks, both in body counts and terror in general, not to mention cost. The rockets did cause a lot of grass fires and forest fires. Perhaps their largest effect was in the disruption of the northern Israeli economy.

Hezballah remains a parasitic organization that relies on the charity of Iran and Syria plus its own organized crime methods of fund raising, so any rebuilding it does with be at the expense of flow of funds from those sources. One of its advantages is that it basically will bear no consequence for the destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure, therefore Hezballah will have little incentive to avoid future conflicts. The contribution of Saudi and other Gulf states to the rebuilding of the Infrastructure appears to have no strings that would force the Lebanese goverment to restrain Hezballah. The ability to make war without consequence or responsibility seems to be Hezballah's greatest asset.

Finding away to deal with that problem is the best hope of avoiding future conflicts with this group.
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Old 08-15-2006   #20
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Default Jedburgh

No, I have not read the book but I have put it in my queue. Right now I’m reading the RAND “On ‘Other War’”. If the current situation remains as planned then Hizbollah has lost the ability to rebuild what they help get destroyed. Oh, they will try but it is going to be difficult under the eyes of the entire world this time. It would be up to the UN to manage the rebuilding as such. Also, CNN is a good example of pro Hizbollah media coverage…

“During earlier coverage on Sunday, CNN chose the word ‘resistance’ to describe Hizbullah's actions in Lebanon – a term used by Hizbullah - as well as Hamas - to describe their own attacks - implicitly presuming that armed jihad organizations are 'resisting' and defending against aggression, rather than initiating it.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...291328,00.html


I don’t consider the Lebanese government a victim. I consider them a codependent of Hizbollah and blaming the current U.S. administration for allowing Lebanon to take their own medicine is not a mistake in the long term. I see no sense in the U.S. enabling the government of Lebanon into taking half measures as being good enough. Thus, the U.S. focusing on other problems rather than enabling Lebanon was not a mistake.

I understand the difference between conventional and the needed unconventional tactics in regard to fighting outfits like Hizbollah. Nevertheless, it is the U.S. that takes the loss of a single tank as a psychological defeat and not the IDF or the people of Israel. Israeli history didn’t start in 1948. I was just using that as a reference point because of the current State of Israel. Also, you stated that Israel didn’t win anything and then later claimed Israel won militarily. Since it is too soon to tell how big of an unconventional victory they may have achieved I will remain undecided until the current plan succeeds or fails before deciding whether or not Israel made mistakes to the point of defeat as is currently being spread throughout the Islam world no different than the Egyptian government falsely telling the Jordan government and the rest of the Muslim countries that they were once pounding the Israelis in Jerusalem and thus causing Jordan to end up losing territory. I also understand not to ignore past insurgency conflicts backed by the Soviet Union but I also recognize that today these insurgencies don’t have that sort of backing any longer. Gone are the days when Syria would be able to replace tanks with a constant flow of new ones coming in via the Soviet Union. I stand corrected on Iran.

As for Hizbollah’s valor and fighting tenacity? Towards the end of the current fighting after the cease-fire was imminent they were actually abandoning positions and weapons. Weapons provided by Iran and Syria no doubt. These guys are not the Japanese in the Pacific Theater. They do have options. One being to live another day and to do stupid things like abandoning weapons so the civilized world can prove where they actually came from. They're really not that smart.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.../15/wmid15.xml

Last edited by Culpeper; 08-15-2006 at 07:42 PM.
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