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09 August 2006

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Nabil

Hizbullah did this on their own. They know the IDF as well as anyone and they know the land. These hidden bunkers would not require expertise or money from outside.

Hizbullah has been planning a defensive strategy for 6 years.

W. Patrick Lang

Nabil

Do you know that for a fact?

If that is so, then we have some of the greatest natural military planners and engineers there in Lebanon who have ever lived.

PL

Patrick Henry

Col..Thyats my impression too..Very Good training and Preperation...Well Supplied...Organized..

Wonder who the Advisors and instructors are..Nationalitys..??

Location of Training Centers..

All done this Covertly..??

Iran..??

How many of these Hezbollan have traveled out of Lebanon for training..??

Is this a Escalation of the Iranian ..Al Quaeda Ji`Had..Plan..??

Beginning with 9/11 and follw up plans..??

Where we suckered into iraq..??

Why and How..

Are the Israelis being Drawn into Traps..??

Heavy loss's..

Urbal and Gurilla Fighting..Well Planned..

Disregard for Cicilian life or Loss's..

Because its JIHAD..

and Only JIHAD that Matters..

More fanatical Goal oriented Aggression..?

top Carry out the ULTIMATE Objective..

VICTORY...

I dont like the Civilains Being Pawns..or wasted for someones fanatical...vicious..brutal cause that has no regard for human Life..Not even thier OWN..

Israel is in a tought spot to resolve this matter..

All elements ought to turn against and condemn Hezbolla before they destroy Lebanon.(and they are willing to turn Lebanon into another iraq..).and demand they disarm..

.or the Lebonese Army and police ought to help locate and disarm them.. and help bring Peace and stabalize the situation..

WISDOM....Or WAR..??

Ben P

Well, to put my 2 cents in, I'd say that Iran has obviously been furnishing equipment and tactical advise.

But I think Nabil is in part right as well.

hk

One does wonder if outside help is a necessary condition for building defenses like this--if I understand correctly, both NVA and VC became experts in tunnel building, with similar features as these tunnels, and they did so while constantly under heavy attack. I imagine that the conditions available for Hizbullah in southern Lebanon might have been more favorable, plus, I have to suspect that these folks probably know their enemy much better than the Vietnamese communists knew us.

Duncan Kinder

OK, I'll bite.

By "from someone," you mean Iran.

Presumably, any United States ' action against Iran which would include physical invasion, therefore, would be at least as unpleasant as that which Israel now is facing in Lebanon.

It would follow that, at minimum, the United States should adjust any potential action against Iran to take these sorts of defensive capabilities into account.

ckrantz

There also seems to have been serious intelligence failures by the israelis. Had this adventure been well planned they should have had a better understanding of the extent of the preparations made by hizbullah. Or am I missing something?

If the idea was to knock-off the hizbullah supporting arm in lebanon to make an attack on iran easier someone sure seem to have miscalculated. Assuming most of southern lebanon have similarly prepared positions hizbullah should be able to keep fighting for a long time and keep a large parts of IDF busy chasing guerillas. It looks to me like a lebanese version of iraq.

I wonder when the washington foreign policy establisment will wake up and see that the middle east is ready to explode and that the administration lives in a fantasyland when it comes to foreign policy with an urgent need of adult supervision.

Ghostman

Well, if you stick your hand further into a hornet's nest, you probably just get stung more! Perhaps the IDF should get out the history books. Study up on the battles of Okinawa and Iwo Jima. Those historical lessons should paint a pretty grim picture for the IDF. Will the IDF learn from history?

And what of the timeline, say 5-6 years out? Suppose the IDF fights this grueling battle and prevails. Hizbollah forces are finished. Will Nasrallah announce a general surrender? I doubt it. Time will pass, and future Hizbollah fighters will filter back into S. Lebanon. They are children today, they will be fighters tomorrow. And they will learn even more from these lessons of today. Iran, unless obliterated, will train today's children to be tomorrows fighters. Only no doubt, better armed than the fighters of today. And filled with even more hate for Israel, for tomorrows fighters, children today, will have seen their family members killed.

I continue to question Israeli long-term thinking on this conflict. And I continue to worry that factions in Israel and in DC seem hell-bent on dragging us into an ultimate conflict with Iran.

Ghostman

ckrantz

And by the way do this haaretz article sound familiar to anyone else?

'Reserve soldiers called up for duty in the North are reporting a severe lack of equipment and major problems with equipment they have been issued, unsuitable protection during Katyusha fire, and insufficient food.

"I feel like we've been thrown into the field and told to get along," Ram Dagan, who serves with a combat unit called up to the Lebanese border 10 days ago, said on his first leave. "I'm not talking about showers, not even about the food that's lacking, but about basic equipment to protect us. The helmets we've been issued are old-fashioned and hardly can be closed, and the body armor is 30 years old. It doesn't close on the sides or on the neck. We don't have a place to take shelter from rocket attack, and we are under fire all the time. We've been told that when we come under fire we should go into the APCs. But there are too many soldiers and not enough APCs. And anyway, they're not missile-proof," he said. '

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/747978.html

mt

I thought someone had previously mentioned Hizbullah was employing a Viet Cong style network of tunnels as part of it's defense. Today, the media identified North Korea as assisting in the construction of bunkers. In any event, someone other than Hizbullah has been busy.

b

The tactic of underground bunkers behind the enemies back sounds like Vietnam. Maybe Giap gave them a few lessons.

It definitly does NOT sound like Iranian or Syrian training.

There are good books available on Vietnam and why is it not possible that there are some really smart guys with Hizbullah who have read and did understand them?

Hannah K. O'Luthon

The surprises from southern Lebanon continue without stop. The presence of an elaborate network of sophisticated bunkers which were not well-documented
and mapped out by Israeli military intelligence is astounding, given the daily
reconnaissance flights, frequent intrusions, and almost certain attempts at penetration of Hezbollah (or at least Lebanese) lines of communciation by Unit 8200, not to mention satellite surveillance. How could such major construction projects go undetected in an area which is contiguous to Israel and under constant surveillance?

It may be that Israeli military intelligence has indeed failed very badly at the tactical level. Perhaps the vaunted bravura of Mossad, Lakam, Unit 8200 and all their ilk by now lies mainly in their expertise at psywar disinformation and political blackmail of the type needed to maintain effective control over both parties and the "docile" media in the U.S. (with Rupert Murdoch assuming the role formerly played by Robert Maxwell). In this they still seem unsurpassed, but perhaps that's just my gullibility emerging.

Naturally, it rankles to see Hezbollah fighting so effectively in South Lebanon
while the presumably highly defended strip between Forte Meade, Maryland and
Arlington, Virginia has fallen to Israeli forces without a shot being fired either on or after September 11.

m.hasan

I have read reports (all western and Israeli) that say that there are complex fortifications and deep tunnel systems and that HA received some help from the Syrians, Iranians, N Koreans and even some German Companies .

Other reports deny the truth of those reports and consider them a mere exaggeration designed to give an excuse for the failures of the IDF. Consider the air conditioning part in the analysis you quote. Consider the claim that Iranians are fighting with HA fighters or that Iranian experience was used to attack the military Israeli vessel. These exaggerations remind me of similar ones made by the Americans before the invasion of Iraq. Similar claims of deep bunkers built by N Koreans and that turned out to be mere holes like the one Saddam Husein was using for hiding.

It is reasonable to say that no one knows exactly the truth, which requires us to wait until this war ends. However, I would like to add here that I noticed that even Hasan Nasralla expressed his astonishment of the achievements of his men when he described it as a miracle that they are still fighting in the front line up till this moment. This was apparent in his speech yesterday and the one before that (I will try to find a transcript). His surprise indicates that whatever the techniques they are using, they are not that sophisticated. Besides, I do not think that he used N Korean or German expertise because he said from the start that his strength stems from the fact that the Israeli’s did not penetrate HA. Among the Israeli failures he enumerated was the intelligence failure and he described the Israelis with all their might as a blind giant who does not know his way and using his power indiscriminately.

Regarding your comment:
“It is to be expected that there may be further fortified belts to the north of this one. It begins to sound like an historic battle in the making.”
One commentator with good links with HA said that HA has prepared itself for a 4-phase war and each phase with very different tactics. Phase 2 begins with expansion and widening of the ground operation . He added that tactics and weapons that will be used by HA in phase 2 are very different than the ones already used in phase 1 and will be a surprise to Israel. He added that tactics used so far will look like a child’s toy compared to the ones that will be used in phase 2 and I guess that we have to wait and see. From the beginning, Nasralla considered Olmert, Peretz, and Halutz as naïve and stupid believing that they will exterminate HA in a week or two. His words were that invasion of south Lebanon will be a catastrophe for the Israeli army and that they should consult more experienced Generals before embarking on this folly. They probably thought that he is just bluffing. This commentator also said that thousands of HA fighters have been deployed and they are waiting for the Israelis.

zanzibar

"These fellows have had a lot of help from someone." - PL

If you had to speculate who could it be?

"The bunkers had been stocked with large quantities of food, enough to last for weeks" -

How long is "weeks"? 2,4,16??? This would be important as their re-supply must be limited.

With the UN cease-fire resolution going nowhere fast this could get ugly for both sides. And it seems the IDF will make a more forceful push with a new commander who was ex-Golani Brigade commander.

billmon

If they didn't learn how to fight like this on their own, who would have taught them? The Syrians? Then why aren't they in downtown Tel Aviv right now? The Iranians? Did they teach them how to use little boys as human mine sweepers?

I did hear or read somewhere that Hizbullah has been getting advice from some old NVA and Viet Cong vets. Which makes sense to me -- why not the best?

zanzibar

I continue to be impressed by Haaretz for publishing a wide range of opinion including hard hitting dissent to current Israeli policy. This report by Aluff Benn is astounding.

The defense establishment's proposal to expand the Israel Defense Forces operation in Lebanon was approved by a large majority of cabinet ministers on Wednesday: Nine ministers backed the proposal, while three abstained. But according to some attendees, the results of the vote do not reflect the ministers' true opinions. "If everyone voted the way they spoke, there would be a majority opposing the proposal," one minister said. So why didn't anyone vote against the proposal? We were afraid, the minister explained, of showing the public and the Hezbollah that there are rifts within the government and cracks in its support for the IDF.

The problem is that such cracks exist and no one is really making an effort to hide them anymore. Rifts between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz. Rifts between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz. And those between the head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan and Head of the Imtelligence Corps, Amos Yadlin. And between Peretz and his predecessor, Shaul Mofaz and between Mofaz and Avi Dichter. One of those present summed the situation up by saying, "everyone was involved in at least one quarrel."

snip

In the end, his salvation came from Condoleezza Rice. The U.S. Secretary of State called to inform the cabinet of expected progress in talks over a UN resolution which have so far been unfruitful. Livni had earlier conditioned her support for the proposal on a "timeout" to pursue a diplomatic resolution first before going ahead with the operation. As a result of Rice's news, Olmert and Livni managed to convince Peretz that the operation should be postponed for at least 48 hours. And so the cabinet meeting ended in a rather predictable compromise: Approval of an outline of the operation in principle, while postponing its implementation to allow for development in the UN talks. Troops, however, will take up positions in preparation for the operation. Israel is telling the UN "hold me back," in efforts to prevent itself from getting swept up in any one decision and hoping for the best. Olmert's moment of truth has been postponed, at least until Friday.

"everyone was involved in at least one quarrel". Wow! A war cabinet meeting. Looks like HA has rattled the Israeli cage!

Michael

If I can express my opinion I'd say Nabil is probably right because this is the most simple explanation, no Shaddoks here.
And considering the article, the writer is overestimating Hezbollah capabilities and sees them as more powerfull than really are.
I still remember the million soldiers army Saddam had 'on the paper' for the first Gulf War.
"Air conditionned Bunker"? I am not sure Hezbollah has money to spent on leisury things, ac consummes lots of energy which does not come cheap nowadays.

searp

We know HA has help from many quarters, but I am on the fence here because the usual suspects would not be expected to be much more sophisticated than HA.

I think PL's more significant statement is on the nature of the battle. HA will want a war of attrition, Israel will want a blitz. I'd say HA will probably get its way. While Israel has temporary territorial objectives, the remaining unoccupied territory simply becomes the new safe haven/border, and I don't see HA quitting.

So: maybe the rocket threat goes away, but it is replaces by combat on the forward edge of the battle area, and Israel will take losses.

blowback

We are not talking about massive concrete contructions here. The structures are proably very similar to the underground nuclear shelters that are sold to individuals with more money than sense. The engineering would be straight forward. Anyone with a mining, civil or military engineering degree would be able to come up with the designs. I would even expect that a decent builder would have the necessary knowledge.

The camoflaging of the construction work would be a pain but would not require great technical skill.

The "original idea" is actually not very original. The British did it in 1940 although luckily they never had need of it. As Billmon points out, the Japanese frequently did it. Probably the Vietnamese did it. Other than these, I am hard put to think of anyone else who has used this approach.

All three examples I cite above are well documented even if the documentation is a bit difficult to find but the web makes that a lot easier.

So the knowledge is out there so although I can't prove it, I can at least say it is possible verging on probable that this is a home-grown effort.

So all Hezbollah really need is one man to come up with the idea and the west does not have a monopoly on innovative military thought. You just have to look at Vietnam for that.

In some ways, I think that Hezbollah may have shown their cards too soon. For the best results for them , they should have waited until the Israelis were at the Litani River and then hit then in one go. The result could have been catastrophic for the Israeli. Now they will bring up the ground-penetrating radar, etc. to look for these bunkers and destroy them as they advance. However, this is will slow down the Israeli advance very dramatically.

blowback

A description of the British Auxiliary Units andphotos of one of their operational bases. Five minutes on Google.

Mo

Re-The Tabouleh line, I posted in another post about what Nasrallah said last night, which is that in this war, geography means nothing to HA so I doubt they're strategem involves the classic "lines".

What Nabil says may or may not be fact but in the early 90's Nasrallah said his aim was that the ressistance fight like guerillas but plan like an army. As such, HA as built engineering divisions, and departments with experts in all battlefield areas. I have no doubt they have recieved inital training and help, some even from Iran, and some merely by recruiting people educated in specialist areas, but that has long been turned into their own training and tactics adapted for the unique terrain of Lebanon. In fact, one of the resons the so called "HA captive" who "confessed" on Israeli TV was seen in Lebanon as bogus were his claims of going to Iran for training.

As such, their planning and engineering is not "natural" but I dont think it comes from outside anymore.

Paul

Sounds like Hizbullah studied the tactics of the Viet Cong and improved upon them? Or the Jewish resistance in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation? That said, I do not doubt the assistance of the IRGC.

Pan

Did the Israelis see any sign of this extensive construction? If they missed this, that would certainly constitute a major intelligence failure.

Nabil

I don't know it for a fact, but I don't see what an Iranian could teach them about doing it that they don't already know. Hizbullah have always believed that such an outbreak is probable. On that basis, they dotted the landscape with bunkers, and amassed all the katyushas they could, as a deterrent. It's not the kind of line where you have to think about the relative positions of pillboxes and minefields and ditches and so on. It's hiding places big enough to hold a few men, who can then observe and set up ambushes. Hizbullah have been observing and setting up ambushes for 20 years. They know more about it than anyone in Iran.

I think people are just surprised that the IDF has not been able to 'flush them out', and is still taking casualties in the border villages.

I am not saying that they don't have Iranian help. Iran gave them these anti-tank missiles, silkworms, iglas, know-how on building reconnaissance drones, and buckets of cash. Much of the rest is learned from experience.

-Nabil

Mo

Re. all the comments on foreign contractors - Please guys try to think Lebanon not New York. How obvious would a team of North Koreans be in Southern Lebanon do you reckon?

In regards to the fight if the Israelis try to push to the Litani, well in the words of Timor Goksel, former political adviser to the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon,

"What we are seeing so far are what they call 'village reserves' - that's a very interesting thing. Hezbollah have not committed their troops yet," he says.

"What is in store for the Israelis if they go deeper, and then hold on to territory for a while, is that they are going to see the real combat in south Lebanon - a very classic insurgency and it will be a very costly one because then I think Hezbollah will commit its professional troops."

That would explain why Nasrallah is so surprised by what his troops have accomplished so far seeing as they were the not so proffessional ones.


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