Lebanon analysis roundup

Intriguing snippet from Robert Fisk, an old hand in Lebanon:

The long-range Iranian-made missiles which later exploded on Haifa had been preceded only a few weeks ago by a pilotless Hizbollah drone aircraft which surveyed northern Israel and then returned to land in eastern Lebanon after taking photographs during its flight. These pictures not only suggested a flight path for Hizbollah’s rockets to Haifa; they also identified Israel’s top-secret military air traffic control centre in Miron. (Robert Fisk, The Independent, via countercurrents.org)

Below are some links to various analyses of the crisis that have emerged in the past few days. Perhaps the key question is who will be weakened most by the Israeli offensive, Hezbollah or the Lebanese state?

Hizbullah’s opportunism may well have been aimed at increasing the pressure on Israel to temper its action in Gaza, but this appears to have backfired drastically. Israel set itself a precedent in its robust reaction to the kidnapping of Cpl Shalit, necessitating an equally violent response to Hizbullah’s kidnapping. However, in reacting in such a forceful manner, Israel has narrowed the scope for a diplomatic resolution and left itself little room for further escalation of its military options. (Janes)

The Israeli response to both this incident and the one in Gaza has been to shut down the local systems (air travel, electricity, roadways, etc.). This is similar to an airpower effects based operation (EBO) designed to incapacitate a state, but the effects generated in this situation are likely only to strengthen Israel’s non-state enemies (as if not to be outdone by the ability of the US to manufacture global guerrillas). (John Robb, Global Guerrillas)

Three days in, and it looks like Israel is losing the war.

Not militarily, of course — The IDF could turn Lebanon into a parking lot if it wanted to, and if it’s willing to take enough casualties it can probably push Hezbollah away from the Israeli border and suppress the rocket attacks (or at least most of them.)

No, Israel is losing this war the same way it "lost" the October 1973 War — by not crushing its enemies swiftly and completely, and then rubbing their faces in their own impotence and humilation. (Whiskey Bar)

According to a Lebanese source close to the government in Beirut, Israel is expected to decimate Hezbollah’s military and economic infrastructure over the course of a month. The goal is to drive Hezbollah forces about 43.5 miles inside Lebanon into the Bekaa Valley, north of the Beirut-Damascus highway. The Lebanese army will then take over Hezbollah’s positions when it deploys along Lebanon’s border with Israel and along sensitive border areas with Syria. (Stratfor via Google News)

one serious analyst I spoke to this morning who stopped by to talk after attending synagogue raised a good point. He said that he thought that Olmert’s insecurity about military management was driving the over-reaction.

But he also said that the QUALITY of the attacks against Israel were freaking out the Israeli military and intelligence leaders. Complex incursions that included abductions along with a successful attack on an Israeli gunship show that the enemy is no longer an unimpressive, rag-tag lot. Training and armaments have been improved, and Israel is scrambling to figure out how this happened. (The Washington Note)

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described what is happening in Lebanon as saying. "This is an act of war." Olmert is correct. This is war. It has been war, non-stop, since 1948. What is happening in Lebanon today is yet another chapter of bloody Middle East events that will last for generations to come, because it is impossible, after so many years of conflict, for the Israelis and Arabs to forgive and forget. (Sami Moubayed, Asia Times)

the weak do not have to worry about the outcome as long as they are willing to absorb the human and material costs of such a struggle. However, the strong have to think long and hard whether they want to live with the political consequences of a Pyrrhic victory. (Ehsan Ahrari, Asia Times)






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