Monday, July 31, 2006

Lebanon, Israel: Israel Really F...ed Up

The Whole Thing
Yesterdays atrocity was the sort of thing that was bound to happen. When you throw so much ordinance for that long at a wide area, a bomb, rocket, or shell, will eventually hit civilians. If poor people in the United States can not leave New Orleans in a hurricane, who the hell expects everyone to leave Southern Lebanon?? Particularly, when the Israeli planes have hit people fleeing.

Its Time

As my old Foreign Policy prof said "Israeli tanks will rumble" through even a "vague" U.S. "opening." Here the U.S. gave the Israeli's just about as much leeway ever given to their country in a conflict with its neighbors. It was understood that Israel was facing a threat in Lebanon, and it was time to erradicate the Hizbullah weapons and fighters ringing Lebanon's southern border.

Israel surprised? New weapons in the middle east? In 1982, the P.L.O. backed by petro-dollars bought a whole bunch of pretty decent Soviet-block weapons. Twenty four years later, again with petro-dollars, Hizbullah has a pretty big arsenal. It is all goodies available in the former Soviet block, Iran/Syria, and the huge international black market. You need to look no further than Colombian guerillas and paramilitaries, Chechnyans, every militia in the Balkans, or the I.R.A., to see how easy it is for cash-rich factions to arm themselves in the post-Cold War era.

Trained Guerillas?
Teenagers only need about 3 months to pick up the basics and discipline of soldiering. Give them additional months of training and drilling in small and large unit tactics, weapons systems, and other specializations, and suddenly you have infantry, artillery, communications, and logistics. When led by battle-hardened NCO's and officers trained by Iranians, this is an effective fighting force. They can function in very small units as well as regular formations, and can disapear into the civilian population. With two decades of preparation, who doubts these guys have managed to create an effective army?

Is this a new type of warfare as some of the bla-bla pundits are saying? Hardly, during the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong and their North Vietnamese allies, managed to create a network of regular units, regional units, and village militia, alongside a political structure, nation-wide intelligence networks, and sleeper cells in cities. This organization was controlled through top-down Marxist-Leninist discipline, in which central direction and control filtered down from the very top of the leadership all the way down to village cadres. In the field, individual units could operate in extremely small groups that could melt back into their villages. In larger formations, they could hold fortified and/or underground positions that withstood heavy bombardment, such as the network of tunnels outside of Saigon. When the right moment came, they could operate at the batallion and division level. Ironically, the I.D.F. itself is descended from a group that combined the organization of the British Army with an emphasis on flexible small units. Hizbullah is a modernized version of this type of guerilla warfare, using the best available tools.

It is hardly surprising that Hizbullah with 6 years to prep the battlefield was well dug in, armed and trained to fight. Even armchair strategists, like yours truly, knew it. Airpower and firepower alone were not going to dislodge troops dug in hardened bunkers, like the Japanese in Iwo Jima or Okinawa. Israel needed to send in entire divisions and clear out those bunkers one by one, literally killing the Hizbullah troops and destroying their network of fortifications. And Hizbullah unlike many guerilla armies was holding territory. From the polls, most Israeli's supported strong measures, they are under the longest sustained attack they have ever been under since 1948. A country that has lost so many soldiers in past wars, would most likely accept the many casualties that a full ground fight would bring.

But what the hell did the leadership do? They bombed, and bombed, sent troops in, withdrew them, pulled back, went in again. Why the hell didn't they go in there and take those bunkers and towns the way it needed to get done? They were not going to destroy those bunkers from the air, unless they used bunker-busters. Whatever strategy they employed, it did not work. They just managed to trash Lebanon's infraestructure, kill civilians all over the country, and killed Lebanese troops and U.N. observers. Israel knows it operates under a deadline. As soon as the international community gets shocked, it is game over. Israel's leadership really messed up.


sod said...

Dan Schorr was saying that hezbo have all sorts of sophisticated weaponry. including laser guided munitions etc...

Hezbo claim that they struck another Israeli warhip.

Boli-Nica said...

You can buy all that stuff in the black market. Anything in the current Russian arsenal is available for a fee, and a bunch of American stuff too.

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