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23 July 2006


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You are right. Nonetheless, that looks like their plan or hope. The IDF experience in southern Lebanon 1982-2000 hangs over the enterprise like a black cloud. Certainly, resuscitating UNIFIL as peacekeepers in southern Lebanon or introducing any other international force lacks credibility for those who are realists. Of course that does not stop the wind machine from fronting the idea or even giving the “liberated” zone to the Lebanese Army. But then, the talk keeps the conflict in play. Time will tell. Sure got out of control rather fast, almost automatically.


The whole idea of a buffer zone occupied by international troups or Israelis is pure stupidity if it's supposed to provide security for northern israel. Territorial depth is pointless against missiles is it not? And how long would an international force last with an iraq style insurgency fighting against it?

And the Israelis can't pull back without something kind of victory to show. But even emptying southern lebanon of people and fighting the Hezbollah all the way to baalbek would probably not break the organisation.

The Israelis with US suppport have managed to get themselves into a iraq style situation with no clear exit. In other words a quagmire.

John Howley

"The Israelis have screwed themselves."
A leading Ha'aretz columnist points toward a similar conclusion, without the Col's frankness.
"Zvi Bar'el:
Winning the war is a function of defining targets of the war. If the war was meant to destroy Hezbollah then winning is unachievable. If the idea is to bring the captured soldiers back, then probably we could have done it without the war, through negotiations. And if the purpose is to have a neutral or demilitarized zone between Israel and Lebanon, then we need a very strong Lebanese partner, which is not yet there."


It seems Gen. Halutz had the "plan" and Olmert/Peretz acquiesced. I have read other reports to that effect too where Olmert deferred to the military on the response strategy. It seems the decision to launch air attacks on Lebanon was made hastily without adequate debate on the potential alternatives. I suppose Olmert wanted to be seen as strong lest he be attacked by his domestic political rivals as being weak. From a domestic Israeli politics standpoint it has been a success with 80% approval ratings for the Kadima government. I wonder if those polls will have a similar trajectory to the Iraq invasion decision.

A voluntary putsch


that link doesn't work.

Serving Patriot

Where I once worked, some of the senior officers with experience fighting the Israelis noted on the first day of this conflict that it was all about strengthening an inherently "weak Israeli government" as the expense of the "easy" Lebanese (civlian) target. In this regard, Tony Judt's recent editorial (in Ha'aretz) - Israel as the "teenager" - seems appropriate. Funny, his work predates the current fight by only a few weeks:

As less cheerleading and more realism enters into the Israeli news media and then into the world media, more of this meme(Olmert/Peretz caving to aggressive IDF leadership to bolster their own weak standing & lack of experience) will probably come to light. It is too convient for accountability-avoiding civilian politicians in Israel; laying blame on unelected military officers for the strategic, oeprational, and tactical debacle underway (which is on the path to being even worse than the 1982-2000 Lebanon fight) is much easier than standing upright and being accountable.

From where I sit, there is no reasonable success metric for Israel (as there is none in our quagmire known as Iraq) - only varying levels of current and future pain. How much pain depends really on the Israeli people (like the American people). Yeats wrote:
"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

Hopefully, some of the best can regain their conviction.


Spooky Pete

Having an IDF chief with no direct ground combat experience may not be a great handicap given, what I see as Israel's limited military (but highly political objectives) in Lebanon.

My reading of Israeli strategy in Lebanon (with US agreement) is this:

Its seems that the Israelis intend only a limited air and ground offensive - to course some Hezbollah launch sites to become active - so they can be deteected and destroyed.

The broader bombing campaign (including Lebanon's capital) appears to be a way to create an international crisis that can only be "resolved" by ceasefire and the deployment of a much larger multinational force in south Lebanon (than the present UN force).

It appears Israel is not intending to create a significant buffer zone in south Lebanon. Therefore "reliance" will be placed on an effective multinational force to create a deep buffer zone.

Multinational forces have been unable to create lasting, effective buffer zones in this area before. This time there is the added difficulty of increasingly longe range Hezbollah rockets.

The required deeper, and consequently more sparsely manned, buffer zone will be doomed to fail sooner or later.

This failure will give Israel (and the US?) the green light to attack the sources of the rockets (already "officially" designated as Syria and Iran).

So the current Isreali strategy of limited reaction, then expectation of multinational force failure, are preliminaries for the (already justified) attack on Syria and Iran.

Somewhere in this gameplan is an appeal to the WMD threat, which may be justified in Iran's case.


W. Patrick Lang


I think you are wrong. Israel's goals in this are massive and the "let's pee on them" methoda adopted thus far will fail and result in a major psychological and political defeat for Israel and us. pl


confusedponderer, I guess my editing did not work too well on that post. Below the link.

A voluntary putsch


Israel's goals in this are massive and the "let's pee on them" methoda adopted thus far will fail and result in a major psychological and political defeat for Israel and us.

Agreed. I have put some effort the last days into clearing myself of the smoke of this skirmish and to think ahead.

It will be a stalemate.

Israel runs out of moral ground and targets. The negotiations need to include Syria and the Shebaa Farms and Golan Hights issues and nobody has polital room to manoeuver on these.

Israel and the US have a major loss on all decisive moral grounds. The Lebansese have a major loss of another kind. Hezbollah will and Syria may gain.

The only way to avoid that now is to escalate. Attack Syria and the smoke of war will cover the defeat (and reveal the next one.)

I have documented the reasoning for this here:

Spooky Pete


It'll take months for our differing theories to be proven right or wrong. That is, months for a UN force to be fully deployed and convincingly "fail".

I think the Israelis are better judges (and planners) of the Lebanon scene than you give credit. They are willing to trade a calculated risk in Lebanon with the wider goals of eventual "justified" US/Israeli bombing of Syria and Lebanon.


Spooky Pete


End of last line (above) should be "Syria and IRAN."


W. Patrick Lang


Pick a date by which we will know which is correct. pl

Spooky Pete


No problem. Any date before the November 2008 elections...

Naturally predicting exact dates for events months in the future defies the theatrical talents of even the most zealous CIA PhD.

You may well suspect that my predictions (possibilities?) are easily "true" if their timelines are between now and hell freezing over, but I think I have some feel for the subject.

The "announcement" of the failure of the multinational UN solution may occur in the form of an early morning Newsflash "Iran bombed by US/Israeli warplanes" in say, one year.


W. Patrick Lang


Nobody is talking about a UN force.

You faith in Israeli judgment is misplaced. pl


thanks for the link. Good read.

Spooky Pete


We'll see. I'll respond in comments on your useful "Meltdown for US/Israeli Strategy" post.



Soonmyung Hong

According to Sunday Times(UK), Halutz announced “We’ve won the war.” on the very first day.

“All the long-range rockets have been destroyed,” Halutz announced proudly. After a short pause, he added four words that have since haunted him: “We’ve won the war.”

I nominated him as Hermann Goering Award 2006.


Hi, this is an interesting forum about this "bad" problem. Last week i saw in Discovery Channel (Germany) an very interesting contribution from Mr. Friedmann? Do you know him? greetings, Martin from http://www.iphoneinfo.de


Thank you for your interesting blog. i think the problem between israel and arabia countries is a problem for the freedom in this area. we can hope the best for the next years - and for the peoples and childrens. greetings from europa

Jeremy Mills

Very Good Forum!


great blog very good to read, hope you keep up the good work and carry on the blogs


Thank you for you work! Good Luck.a


Thanks so very much for taking your time to create this very useful and informative site. I have learned a lot from your site. Thanks!!d


Yes, it’s nice point. I am totally agreed with you... Thank you.

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