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Israel/Hezbollah: Claiming victory
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The sides in the latest Middle Eastern dust up are each claiming victory. I've seen a lot of condemnation of Israel and how they fumbled all of this badly. Olmert has been pilloried as inept and ineffective. Nasrallah is declaring it to be a "divine victory".

So who did come out on top? Good question. Conventional wisdom seems to be that Hezbollah comes out the big winner.

But do they? Tim Hames of "The Times" takes issue with the CW. First he considers the Hezbollah victory claim:
What, after all, does this Hezbollah claim consist of? The organisation considers it a triumph that it has not been completely “destroyed” after just four weeks of fighting. It contrasts this with the dismal record of several Arab armies combined in 1967. It has not yet been disarmed and may not be formally neutralised in the near future. Nor has it been discredited on the Arab street, where it has enhanced its popularity. The Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah, thus proclaims himself a “new Nasser”.

As victories rank, not being destroyed, disarmed or discredited is not that impressive. It is hardly Henry V at Agincourt. The idea that the Six-Day War represents the military standard for the Arab world is a somewhat humiliating notion. Allowing for the feeble record of the original Nasser, Israelis should not be too disturbed by the prospect of another incarnation. Nor was the Arab street that equivocal about Israel’s existence before these clashes started.
Heh ... as he notes, given Nasser's military record against Israel, Nasrallah may wish to consider invoking another Arab leader. But Nasser was also the leader of the pan-Arabic movement, and my guess is Nasrallah sees himself somehow elevated to that status by surviving the 30 days of fighting as well.

But let's step back for a second and view what happened in terms of claims of victory:
First, the damage inflicted by the Israeli Defence Forces on Hezbollah’s infrastructure and resources is far, far greater than the equivalent harm that it has suffered. A sizeable proportion of Hezbollah rocket launchers and fighters have been eliminated, while the Israeli army has lost no more than a few tanks and, to its regret, about 100 soldiers. For a body that is used to incessant combat, this is not a spectacular setback.
So tit for tat, it would seem that Hezbollah comes out on the short end of "who was damaged the worst". And if "he who controls the ground wins" is used as a standard, Hezbollah has some difficulty claiming victory there as well.
Secondly, Hezbollah has deployed a huge percentage of its missile arsenal to very little advantage. Only in the Alice in Wonderland world of the Middle East could it be seen as a “triumph” for a terrorist organisation simply to launch Katyusha missiles in the direction of Israel and roughly 95 per cent of them to hit nothing of any value. It took Hezbollah six years to accumulate a stockpile that, fundamentally, it has wasted.
I have to agree. Other than getting them headed in the right direction, the real effect of Hezbollahs massive rocket attack was negligible at best. Unless you count strikes that hit nothing as an effective terror campaign. Given that their declared mission in life is killing Israelis and destroying their state, their missile campaign was singularly ineffective in both areas.
Thirdly, the administration in Lebanon, which had ostentatiously refused to send its soldiers to the south of that country for the past six years, has been obliged to pledge to the United Nations that it will now do so. It will, furthermore, be under the de facto control of a much larger international force than has been assembled in that region before — one that will be judged a success or otherwise by the extent to which it keeps the place quiet.
Absolutely correct here. If Israel's desired end state was to deny Hezbollah the ability to operate with impunity as it has in the past in the south of Lebanon, it would appear that has been accomplished. Now of course that means the UN force will have to do what it is charged with doing, i.e. actually denying militant Hezbollah that ability. But the new onus for ensuring that is now shared in a dual role by Lebanon and the UN. No more excuses for a rogue element operating at will within the area that Israel wants controlled.

Hames also notes that until the outbreak of this latest battle, Hezbollah was exclusively the problem of Israel. Now Hezbollah has been elevated to an international problem and has involved the UN Security Council's credibility. When and if Hezbollah again attacks Israel, a whole different chain of events will be set in motion and one can't help but figure they will be aimed at Hezbollah instead of Israel.

Hezbollah is now consigned to staying north of the Litani River, which was Israel's strategic goal. And it has been able to accomplish that without itself having to occupy Lebanon. I'm at a loss to see how Hezbollah won in that exchange, given their only strategic method of attacking Israel - their rockets - require they be south of the river.

Given, this all depends on actual performance to mission standards by both the Lebanese armed forces and the UN peacekeeping force. Also given, I think the war against Hezbollah was poorly waged (and I think it is this more than anything which has the world looking askance at Israeli claims of victory). But that doesn't change the fact that if everyone does what they say they're going to do the end-state is everything Israel wanted or needed to accomplish strategically. Hezbollah's claims of victory sound a bit hollow coming from north of the Litani River.
 
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I would still argue that Israel suffered a defeat in Lebanon, McQ.... the effects they achieved could have been achieved MUCH quicker at much the same or a reduced cost, to the IDF in lives and in pictures of "suffering" from Lebanon.

As to the Lebanese Army and the UN "controlling Hizb’Allah, don’t hold your breath. Hizb’Allah has already gotten the Lebanese Cabinet to foreswear a disarmament of Hizb’Allah. And UNIFIL has done such a great job over the last 20-plus years of "keeping the peace" I’m sure that they will continue in their fine, distinguished and long tradition of excellence.... of watching the various groups in and around Israel lob rounds into Israel or Lebanon (Note I don’t fault the troops per se, it’s the political mandate/leadership that hamstrings UNIFIL. The job of UNIFIL is tough, dangerous, demanding and ultimately frustrating I’m sure.)

The presence of the Lebanese Army will complicate the issue the "Fire Next Time." The NEXT time Hizb’Allah begins to send Katyushas and raiding parties into Israel the Lebanese Army will be there, to defend Lebanon’s "sovereignty." France and the International Community will argue that Israel’s attacks are now an attack ON LEBANON, giving the UN a chance to demand a ceasefire, Syria and Iran a chance to "bolster" Lebanon in it’s "Struggle" against Israel’s "Aggression."

Bottom-Line: IF Israel had reached the Litani in two weeks, after smashing Hizb’Allah fairly unequivocally and THEN the UN and the Lebanese Army had come south it would have been perceived that Hizb’Allah had suffered a defeat and needed the "cover" of the International Community or had, in fact, been disarmed and that Lebanon now had a chance to RE-ASSERT a real sovereignty over it’s territory, i.e., that Israel had implemented Res. 1559 FOR Lebanon. Right now, it looks like Hizb’Allah fought Israel to a stand still... and that’s a VICTORY for most forces in the region.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Hizbullah...Victory?

There is something about the Arab-psyche that is a challenge to the Western mind. That is, their inclination to declare “Victory" under the most unseemly circumstances. In ’73 following their disastrous Yom Kippur sneak-attack on Israel, Egypt, even with their entire 3rd Army surrounded and defeated, declared Victory. The UN had to step-in to save Egypt. In ’82, when Arafat and his terror state-within-a-state were driven from Beirut, they celebrated their departure. When Saddam’s armed forces were decimated in Desert Storm , they proudly proclaimed their Victory. Alas, with most his troops and resources wiped-out by the IDF, Nesrallah has true to form, declared Victory.

In their minds, simply surviving is "Victory". It is this turning reality on its head as a means of preserving HONOR, while rewriting history that compels the Arabs to keep at their efforts to kill Jews and destroy Israel. In other words, the just ended Israel/Hizbullah mini-war is being characterized in the Arab press and in the streets as another in a long line of military Victories by Arab forces. Go figure?
 
Written By: Eric
URL: http://
My initial reaction was of course Hezbollah won due to 2 things:

1) It won’t be destroyed, and thus the world will have to deal with them at some point down the road when they’re stronger and more entrenched. This is classic Clintonian kick the can down the road action.

2) This cease-fire has served to legitimize them as an entity

But the more I think on it, the more I believe Olmert stumbled into a decent resolution from the Israeli point of view. Hezbollah won’t be able to fire upon Israel anymore. And now as you point out, the responsibility for this problem lies upon others- meaning Israel will be in a better diplomatic situation once Hezbollah violates it (and make no mistake, it will sooner or later) and Lebanon is a big winner for obvious reasons.

But it galls me that the p*ssifued nations of the west would rather paper over the problem than allow it to be dealt with.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Eric, Israel did NOT fight this well (Again Note: I’m a Chickenhawk). And it APPEARS that Hizb’Allah did well against the IDF. Israel took a week or more to commit troops to the fight and then they advanced, fitfully against Hizb’Allah villages and strongholds. They seemed to struggle to capture Bnet Jubail and other strong points. Yeah, that looks like the Tzahal did NOT perform all that well or was leery of casualties.

In the end yes, Tzahal got to the Litani, my point is that they could have been there MUCH sooner and Hizb’Allah could NOT legitimately claim a victory, moral or otherwise. NOW, it can claim:
1) They have "formula" for dealing with Israel, use propaganda and BLEED them, Israel won’t stomach casualties (irrelevant if it’s true or not this time or next, it’s the IMPRESSION Israel gave.)
2) Yes, Israel ground them down, BUT it took the vaunted IDF 31 DAYS to defeat them, "Imagine what could have been accomplished with more support."

And yes, 2) is important... it shows to Hizb’Allah that they CAN defeat the IDF, via attrition. The requirements are good training, well-defended strong points, and some outside help. Quite possibly, in their minds, IF the Hizb’Allah front line forces contain and attrite Tzahal, then Arab/Hizb’Allah mobile forces can actually roll Tzahal back to the border inflicting a REAL defeat on Israel.

It’s certainly one of the conclusions I’D draw from the struggle. Defend in depth, prepare well camouflaged positions, stocked, prepared and oriented for a prolonged 360 degree defense. Prepare to counter attack in company-sized attacks at least to inflict tactical defeats and casualties on the Israelis. In the best of all possible worlds Syrian/Hizb’Allah mobile force operating in larger formations defeat brigade-sized Israeli forces. Is it TRULY realistic, no, but it is possible and it really shows that Israel IS defeatable.

Please note, Israel made peace with Egypt, after the Yom Kippur War, a war that Egyptian forces inflicted early defeats on Israel and significant casualties. Syria was ultimately CRUSHED in 1973...No peace with the obvious losers, but accommodation with the forces that did comparatively well. A lesson to be drawn.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Hezbollah won’t be able to fire upon Israel anymore.
And that’s because the Cease-fire Faerie will take away their birthdays? Exactly WHO is going to prevent Hizb’Allah from firing into Israel, except mayhap Iran or Syria? I don’t mean to be snarky, even if I am here, normally I agree with you Shark, but this time I think you’re buying into the Lebanese/World Community "doing somwthing" about Hizb’Allah and I simply believe that all that they’ll do is watch Hizb’Allah re-supply and prepare for another "go" at Eretz Ysrael.

Think of Lebanon as Cambodia or Laos, did they STOP the DRVN from using their territory(ies) as a spring board into South Vietnam? Both, like Lebanon, could plausibly argue that they didn’t have the strength to stop the NVA. It may explain their actions, but it didn’t/doesn’t make the situation any better in South Vietnam or Israel.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe:

I don’t entirely disagree with your insightful analysis. Israel could have ( fill-in-the-blank) to expedite the destruction of Hizbullah process. Don’t get me wrong. I see the terror threat of Islamo-Fascism and am an ardent Zionist. But, even if Israel had killed Nasrallah and hung his body from a watch tower on the Israeli/Lebenon border,...they would still declare victory.

The only outcome of a more robust Iraeli assault would have been more collateral-damage of so-called " innocents". The world community would not permit this to happen. Even with Bush providing cover to Olmert. As much as I would have preferred to see total devistation south of the Litani, there no Hizbullah KIAs. They are all civilians. No winning on the traditional battlefield accounting methods.

So, to my point, Israel left S. Beirut and much of S. Lebenon destryed as a no too subtle reminder of ..not to mess with Israel. Once the truce breaks-down ( and it will), Hizbullah refuses to be disarmed and removed north, there will be round 2 of this war. We only witnessed the first battle. Then, Israel will not pull its punches.
 
Written By: Eric
URL: http://
In the end, how well Israel did or didn’t fight is a strawman.

Victory is (or should be) defined by who succeeded in achieving their strategic goals. I’m having difficulty finding any strategic goals which Hezbollah accomplished but no trouble at all with seeing them on the Israeli side.

No doubt some lessons were learned from the way they fought the conflict, but again, how it can be called an Israeli loss is beyond me.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’d agree entirely with you, Eric, that no matter what Hizb’Allah would claim a victory! And that Round 2 will be bloodier and that Round 2 WILL happen.

I’m not sure that a more "violent" assault would have led to worse Lebanese casualties or worse coverage. As to the latter, Israel would have possessed the battlefield, controlled access to it, limiting "bad Press" and would have been in a position to point out that the "civilian" casualties mostly had AK’s and RPG’s on them. Plus, again, losses are a function of TIME as well as intensity, the shorter the campaign, the LOWER the casualties, something politicians have trouble grasping...a two week campaign would have SIGNIFICANTLY reduce Lebanese losses.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ, I’d argue that having held their own against the Israelis for several weeks is a performance that Hizb’Allah will, justly proclaim. Has anyone else done BETTER? AND their losses are hidden from view. Exactly how many Hizb’Allah fighters died? How many Katyushas and Kornets are left? A lot, a few??? Who knows, OK Hizb’Allah and Israel know, but does anyone else? Not losing to the IDF, when everyone else has, is a good start.

And can you argue that Israel achieved it’s strategic goals? I’m not trying to be pessimistic or argumentative, but the soldiers are STILL being held and the Katyusha’s fell on Northern Israel until the Ceasfire. It was the UN’s ceasefire that brought the citizens out of their bunkers, not Tzahal AND the two troops are STILL captive. I have read the Cabinet is willing to discuss POW exchanges for them... so Israel did not disarm Hizb’Allah nor did it re-capture or force the release of IT’S PoW’s. Overall not a good campaign for Israel.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ, I’d argue that having held their own against the Israelis for several weeks is a performance that Hizb’Allah will, justly proclaim.
They can claim anything they wish, but they’re sitting on the north side of the Litani River and that speaks for itself.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Joe:

YES, but! With Olmert’s Kadima coalition in-power continuing to be focused on "giving-away" the West Bank this what we get. A tepid approach with all-consuming consideration for the politics, both global and with the US, driving military decisions. Add the Hizbullah’s use of Spigot AT missles, thermal-suits to defeat IR targeting, and VC-like underground-bunkers infrastructure, the Israeli armored-fist would have been blunted and denied its victory. So perhaps, not so fast with the traditional Israeli manouvers.

Like I said, this was round one. The Israeli strategists are taking it all in and revising docterine for round 2.
 
Written By: Eric
URL: http://
Add the Hizbullah’s use of Spigot AT missles, thermal-suits to defeat IR targeting, and VC-like underground-bunkers infrastructure, the Israeli armored-fist would have been blunted and denied its victory. So perhaps, not so fast with the traditional Israeli manouvers.
That’s tactics and as a chickenhawk I’m not so sure that I’d be able to answer in anything more than "The Combined Arms Team" and "Joint Operations" would probably have defeated the Hizb’Allah forces. McQ is more the one to address that... still Arty, Air, Mechanized Infantry, Armour working TOGETHER, en masse at selected points with the Air Force and Sayaret forces working to isolate the battlefield, along with insertion of forces from the sea, could very well have forced Hizb’Allah back to the Litani.
They can claim anything they wish, but they’re sitting on the north side of the Litani River and that speaks for itself.

Yes, and so does the fact that 200-plus rockets fell in Israel on the last day, IIRC, and the fact that the two Israeli service personnel are still captive.

Call this one closer to the War of 1812 than the Six Day War... neither achieved, fully it’s goals...or call it the First Gulf War, neither Iran nor Iraq succeeded in forcing their opponent to accede to their demands.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Another possible reason for the slow advance (disclosure: another chickenhawk here, so this is pure speculation) is minefields. When this all revved up and I looked back at the abysmal performance of the misbegotten UNIFIL, I figured Hez had had six years to create tough defensive positions and lay minefields. And, sure enough, back in the early days of this latest dustup there was an article (which I can no longer find) on IDF engineers clearing lots of ’sophisticated and powerful’ mines out of the way. How long does it take to do that? I dunno, but it strikes me as something you’d want to be very, very thorough about.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
And that’s because the Cease-fire Faerie will take away their birthdays? Exactly WHO is going to prevent Hizb’Allah from firing into Israel, except mayhap Iran or Syria? I don’t mean to be snarky, even if I am here, normally I agree with you Shark, but this time I think you’re buying into the Lebanese/World Community "doing somwthing" about Hizb’Allah and I simply believe that all that they’ll do is watch Hizb’Allah re-supply and prepare for another "go" at Eretz Ysrael.
LOL

Again, if the multi-national force does its job then no, Hezbollah cannot hit Israel again. if the multi-national force fails, then Israel has the chance of a lifetime
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
PS- I do agree, this is a rematch we’ll be seeing again soon in our lifetimes. The world is the real loser in this agreement
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Yes, and so does the fact that 200-plus rockets fell in Israel on the last day, IIRC, and the fact that the two Israeli service personnel are still captive.

Focus on what I said, Joe. Strategic goals. I can promise you one of them wasn’t the recapture of the two IDF soldiers.

And the fact that Hezbollah threw a couple hundred missiles south means little if the cease fire accords are actually enforce ... because they won’t be able to do it again, at least with those type rockets, if they are.

Strategic goals. I think you’d agree that one of Hezbollah’s was not to end up confined to north of the Litani River.

And enforcement is now an international responsibility, not an Israeli one.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well McQ I’d agree PRACTICALLY with your assessment of the recapture goal, BUT the Israeli government made their RETURN one of it’s stated goals. For better or worse it’s a benchmark, they didn’t recapture them (unlikely) nor did they inflict enough damage on Hizb’Allah to return them. And 250 rockets fell the last day...

I gotta tell you, you present THAT to the public, as Nasrallah and "Bibi" Netanyahu WILL and I think you’ll see that Isarael did NOT achieve it’s goals. You may be right, now, that Hizb’Allah CAN’T engage No. Israel, but they could THEN and they will be able to TOMORROW, in a metatphorical sense, so what was achieved TODAY fades away. Sure if the ceasefire had gone into effect several days later than it did, then Israel could justly point out that Hizb’Allah could NO LONGER SHELL ISRAEL, but they can’t say that can they?

You’re playing "inside baseball" here... because NOW they can’t; they lost, but that’s not really the issue is it? Again, they APPEARED capable of inflicting damage to the end, and that means a lot. And they now have months or years to restock and reload.

And note, I NEVER believed Israel would permanently destroy Hizb’Allah. That will only come when Assad and the Iranian regimes fall. But I do think that Israel might have more quickly disarmed Hizb’Allah and done it more PUBLICLY. They made Hizb’Alah use up a lot of it’s arsenal, but they took 31 days to do it. Note this war went longer than Yom Kippur, against a demonstrably weaker opponent than in 1973 and yet no "stunning victory" emerged.

Heck in 1982, in June at least, Israel demonstrated it’s capacity by defeating the Beka’a Air Defenses, destroying the Syrian Air Force, defeating the Syrian forces in the Beka’a and advancing to Beirut in a matter of weeks, all the while defeating the PLO and confining it in Beirut. None of that happened here, or anything CLOSE to it....and yes I know that the Syrians were NOT present in numbers significant to matter. But that merely makes the Israelis comparatively STRONGER than they were in 1982. I really don’t see that Israel got that much for it’s 100 dead.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
And enforcement is now an international responsibility, not an Israeli one.
No it isn’t McQ. Sure, IF the International Community and the Lebanese had the intention of enforcing the Res. But the reality is that UNIFIL and the Lebanese WON’T Enforce it. So if Israel takes your advice it’s going to see hizb’Allah re-grow and attack again, and that it’s security is in the hands of the French, the Turks, and the Lebanese. You can ask any number of folks in the world from 1931 to today exactly how much "international responsibility" provides protection, but ask quick because a lot of them are dead or dying.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
But the reality is that UNIFIL and the Lebanese WON’T Enforce it. So if Israel takes your advice it’s going to see hizb’Allah re-grow and attack again, and that it’s security is in the hands of the French, the Turks, and the Lebanese. You can ask any number of folks in the world from 1931 to today exactly how much "international responsibility" provides protection, but ask quick because a lot of them are dead or dying.
I look at this the same as the Gaza withdrawl....looks bad on the surface, but it sets Israel up for a stronger punch later in the game- you better believe that once UNIFIL fails Israel will be able to righteously say to the world "f*ck off" and finally be able to do what they want.

I’d have preferred they did it now, but as "camp" shows above, some hold the Joooos to impossible standards.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
And Hizb’Allah is what? IF Israel is state-sponored terrorism, Camp? Hizb’Allah is State-sponsored and it directly targetd civilians, both in Israel AND Lebanon? So if Israel is BAD, what does that make hizb’Allah? Get back to me when you figure it out.

Oh and Camp, you mean that terrorism emerged this year? I’m sure Robert Steadham would be surprised to hear that. And so, the British Plot was put togther over the last 31-40 days was it?

"Look Mahmud what is happending in Lebanon! We MUST do something!" "I agree Achmed, I’m calling the Mosque’s Ice Cream Social Group and we will plan a strike against the Crusader Dogs!" Really Camp, it might work out at Lafayette Park or in SanFran but bring your "A" game here.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
No it isn’t McQ.
According to the cease-fire agreement it is, Joe. Now, as I’ve noted, whether they can fulfill the commitment is an entirely different subject. But as UNIFIL they had no such commitment.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I don’t care what the "Ceasefire Agreement" stipulates... you might as well be quoting the terms of the German-French Armistice of 1940 or the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact on 1939. The words mean NOTHING...I mean Kellogg-Briand outlawed WAR, it didn’t but it did SAY it did. So now UNIFIL will be standing around watching the Hizb’Allah re-arm and shell Israel, but now their remit will include ISREAL as well as Lebanon. OK. I accept that...but it’s practical effect is going to be nil.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I accept that...but it’s practical effect is going to be nil.
Uh, no, Joe, it’s not. It is an entirely different ballgame now whether the UN enforces the cease-fire or not.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Puh-LEASE McQ... This is the UN that has been going to "DO SOMETHING" about Darfur...OK what’s going to happen is that Hizb’Allah will rearm, openly... the UN will do nothing. They will begin to attack Sheba’a Farms and the UN will "dicsuss" this, urging restraint upon Israel. Attacks will come across the border, sniper fire, the odd mortar round, mayhap an attempted infiltration or two and the UN will urge "restraint"...

Finally Hizb’Allah will either miscalculate, as they may have done this time, OR Iran will OK an assault on Northern Israel with Katyushas and the like...The UN will want negotiations and dialogue and will protest Israel’s "disproportionate response." If and when israel Invades the Lebanese Army will fight, for "Lebanon" and the UN will side with Hizb’Allah and Lebanon, urging restraint and an end to violence.

Surely you’re not of the opinion that this presents the UN and the International Community with a "line in the sand" from which they can not retreat without loss of face and clout and so THEY WILL MOVE TO HONOUR THEIR AGREEMENTS? Look at the "Neutrality Patrols" in the Spanish Civil War and tell me that the International Community will have ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM turning its back on aggression.

The UN is NOT going to do anything except provide diplomatic cover for the aggressors in Lebanon. It’s reputation IS on the line, only they are going to see that the way to maintain it is to support the Hizb’Allah not Israel. If Israel can be disuased from acting their charade can continue. They’re not going to thank Israel for pointing out their futility and powerlessness.
Uh, no, Joe, it’s not. It is an entirely different ballgame now whether the UN enforces the cease-fire or not.

Bottom-line: it won’t. And Israel will have to deal with Kofi Annan, the Lebanese Cabinet, AND Hizb’Allah next time. And it will still be Israel that ensure’s Israel’s peace, no one else.




 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I mean is this a part of the supposed Israeli "victory" in Lebanon, McQ? Sure Hizb’Allah fired on them until the last day. And No they didn’t get their troops back, BUT NOW a party OTHER THAN ISRAEL is going defend Israel?

OK, I’d buy that as a victory or at least a "plus" for Israel IF the third Party(ies) were NATO, Britain, France, and/or the US. Those are reasonably reliable, capable, Western-oriented parties. If push came to shove, certainly the US and Britian could muster the will and firepower to harm Hizb’Allah. And they might have the will and competence to prevent a re-arming of Hizb’Allah.

HOWEVER, the third and fourth parties chosen have a demonstrated LACK of will OR ability to accomplish any of these, admittedly dangerous and tough missions. So how does this help Israel?

Again I’d see it IF the parties were Britain, the US, mayhap even India, alone or in partnership, then Israel would have ADDED allies on it’s border. But the current ceasefire regime simply places the same ineffectual and philosphically hostile forces on Israel’s border that were PREVIOUSLY there, though I guess it adds add one extra player, the Lebanese Army...which is probably incapable of and unwilling TO disarm Hizb’Allah, one of it’s political commanders.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
While I agree with McQs statments about strategic goals, I don’t think that is the victory that Hezbollah is claiming. As McQ said previously We cannot afford to loose the propaganda war, and this is the victory they are claiming.

Sure they didn’t do much in the way of eliminating Israel. But Israel didn’t do much in terms of at least a couple of their stated objectives: Unconditional return of their captured soldiers, Elimination of Hezbollah’s capacity to fire rockets at Israel. By standing up for 30 days and denying Israel the ability to declair absolute victory, Hszbollah my not have won stratigically, but they did win in the eyes of many Arabs. This is one hell of a propaganda victory.
 
Written By: John Harrold
URL: http://
Again I’d see it IF the parties were Britain, the US, mayhap even India, alone or in partnership, then Israel would have ADDED allies on it’s border. But the current ceasefire regime simply places the same ineffectual and philosphically hostile forces on Israel’s border that were PREVIOUSLY there, though I guess it adds add one extra player, the Lebanese Army...which is probably incapable of and unwilling TO disarm Hizb’Allah, one of it’s political commanders.
Joe, no doubt this won’t work, and Israel (hopefully under a leader with some grasp of how to use his military) will have to fight again. The gain here is unseen - it’s in the diplomatic arena. When the new UNIFIL fails, that’s the final failure for them, and Israel will be free of having to deal with these international a-holes.

And maybe Hezbollah takes out some UNIFIL troops.....that would be a bonus :)
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Bottom-line: it won’t. And Israel will have to deal with Kofi Annan, the Lebanese Cabinet, AND Hizb’Allah next time. And it will still be Israel that ensure’s Israel’s peace, no one else.
No one said otherwise (nor does it matter whether the UN is ineffective ... again). Israel will be able to pursue it next time absolutely "condemnation" free.

Those who would condemn them are the same ones who would have failed in peace keeping. That includes the country of Lebanon (no excuse now) and the nations who’ve guaranteed the peace. And, as I see it, Hezbollah is crap on toast at that point since it will be on everyone’s list if they do this sort of thing again.

Israel, otoh, will be acting in its own self-defense, will be able to point to non-compliance by Hezbollah and mission failure on the part of Lebanon and the UN as it acts with impunity to destroy the treat.

Whole different ball game. Israel just preemptively won the next engagement (and PR war).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Israel will be able to pursue it next time absolutely "condemnation" free.

I doubt it will be absolutely condemnation-free. Nothing Israel does will ever be absolutely condemnation-free. No matter how uncontrovertibly justified — legally, morally, or both — Israel is in taking an action, the usual suspects (like camp, above) will condemn it. They will write condemning blog posts, comments, letters to the editor, and other screeds that are utterly void of logic, coherency, moral sense, or any grasp of history. The much-overblown Arab street will throw its standard tantrum, burning Israeli and US flags (they must have a warehouse full of them somewhere) with abandon.

The UN will make pious bleating noises about ’restraint’ while sinking even deeper into the quagmire of irrelevance. And Israel, having already jumped through the hoops of ’international law’ will be able to finally finish the job without meddling diplomatic impediment.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
Well McQ you got a better belief in the International Community than me. I think when Hizb’Allah starts it again, Israel will be attacked for EXACTLY what it was attacked for this time... AND if it brings down the Lebanese government they’ll get the brunt of that blame too.

Some how people seem to think that there is just "one more line" Israel can back into AND THEN the World will "understand." The World hasn’t understood for 40 years and I really don’t think one more time is going to do it.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Whole different ball game. Israel just preemptively won the next engagement (and PR war).
Exclamation point!
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
I agree with McQ, mostly - IMO Israel did about everything they could do that would be to their ultimate strategic benefit. Short of eliminating Hizballah’s arsenal completely without harming civilians at all, or some other magic trick that no one’s capable of in 2006. More aggressive tactics would have created tactical victories at the expense of strategic goals

(for example: greater Israeli aggression, no Hizballah sign-on to the ceasefire, prolonged Israeli/Hizballah guerilla war over years, collapse of pro-moderation forces in Lebanon, serious escalation in Israeli global isolation, blood and treasure down the drain, ultimate Israeli withdrawal).

and less aggressive ones would have not established enough deterrence.

It wasn’t a crushing victory, but I don’t see how Israel gets one of those.

I also agree that Israel achieves a net benefit- the only really practical /important one - Hizballah moves back from the Litani.

There’s a budding movement among the wingnuts that Olmert has embarrased his government, but it’s a fantasy. Israeli history is riddled with a nationalist movement that regularly asks for and collects the heads of its relatively cautious leaders - and then the belligerent nationalist comes into power and promptly begins acting a lot more cautiously than he advertised - or else is also driven from power. Menachim Begin was voted in as a belligerent, made peace with Egypt belligerently invaded Lebanon and was forced to resign. Netanyahu was voted in as a belligerent and gave back Hebron to Arafat. Ariel Sharon was voted in as a belligerent and ended up championing the disengagement movement.

Israel’s reality requires prudence as well aggression.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Ok to all you who seem to believe NEXT time Israel has the PR advantage, 2006:
1) Israel inside recognized International Boundaries
2) Facing Hizb’allah an anti-Zionist, anti-Semetic TERRORIST organization supported by Theocratic Iran and Autocratic Syrai;
3) Which proceeds to attack Israel, kidnap it’s soldiers, and when attacked indiscriminately shells Israeli civilians.

Who gets the giant rallies in its favour, Israel or Hizb’Allah? Who gets attacked for "disproportionate responses? Of course, ISREAL...

Now it’s 20XX and what’s different, again folks? Just walk me thru that difference that Israel will have NEXT time.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
If Churchill and the Brits can revel in their masterful extrication of the BEF at Dunkirk, why can’t Hezbollah do the same? `
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
McQ,

I’m really not sure how you went from your post "How is this going to work" to celebrating the great victory. The term Flip flop comes to mind.

You seem to have forgotten that, as we speak, Iran is building a nuke. Hezbollah had one goal in this fight and that was to stay in missle range of Israel. Israel had two goals, one to get them out of range and two to get their soldiers back. They failed. Hezbollah just needs to stay in business until the nukes are done. Then things are going to get VERY interesting.

BTW: Pakistan is doubling its productions of nuclear war heads. Its a good thing they are on ours side.



 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
I’m really not sure how you went from your post "How is this going to work" to celebrating the great victory. The term Flip flop comes to mind.
Well coming from you, Cindy, I’m not at all surprised you’ve arrived at that conclusion.

Let me just say that Israel is in the catbird’s seat in all of this no matter what happens. Hezbollah is the entity with restrictions placed on it, not Israel and the UN and Lebanon now have the onus of resticting and disarming Hezbollah, not Israel.

I’m not sure how that works out into a flip-flop, but hey, I don’t understand most of your reasoning to begin with.
You seem to have forgotten that, as we speak, Iran is building a nuke. Hezbollah had one goal in this fight and that was to stay in missle range of Israel. Israel had two goals, one to get them out of range and two to get their soldiers back. They failed. Hezbollah just needs to stay in business until the nukes are done. Then things are going to get VERY interesting.
I haven’t forgotten anything whatsoever concerning that ... its simply not relevant to this particular post.
BTW: Pakistan is doubling its productions of nuclear war heads. Its a good thing they are on ours side.
Uh huh, and your point?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
My point is that Israel has a stratigic goal when it sent its troops into Lebanon. That goal was to take Hezbollah out of rocket range. Self defense is the only moral justification they have for carnage they created.

Hezbollah is still in rocket range. They fired off 150 rockets on the last day and then honored the cease fire. No more rockets were fired. They demonstrated not only are they still in rocket range but they also have command and control. That is statigically important because of a nuke can be deployed and plausibly denied by either Pakistan or Iran. That is not a "cat bird seat" that I would want to be sitting in.

Israel did not achieve its aims. Hezbollah did. Turning into a cheerleader won’t help.


 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
My point is that Israel has a stratigic goal when it sent its troops into Lebanon. That goal was to take Hezbollah out of rocket range.
That’s right, and that is a stipulation of the cease-fire agreement ... Hezbollah, north of the Litani River.
Israel did not achieve its aims.
It did indeed. Hezbollah agreed to the term of the cease-fire agreement.

The fact that Hezbollah is now trying to change its mind doesn’t change the fact that Israel got what it wanted ... in writing and backed by the Lebanese and UN.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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