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11 August 2006

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Abu Sinan

No need to wear suicide belts when you are hitting them hard enough as it is. I have no doubt Hizb'Allah will use those tactics again, if needs be.

If Hizb'Allah is just using reserve units now, as is being claimed, I think the Israelis have some more surprises in store.

BTW, have you heard the claims by some on the far right, including those at "Little Green Fingers" and "Black Five" that some Shi'ite/Iranian major act of violence is planned for August 22nd to supposedly usher in the "Hidden Imam"?

Kind of nutty, but it seems even the vetern orientalist Bernard Lewis has bought into it.

John in LA

Given that HA is an insurgent militia from a poverty-stricken, mountainous agricultural district of a developing Arab country and that the IDF is the national army of an Urban, "European" wealthy country, there must be different standards for HA and IDF "success".

No question HA is winning this one and likely will be seen to win, even if/when IDF gains a cordon sanitaire and a French force to cover their retreat.

I should think that the French force will be kept on a very tight leash by the HA and that the French force will remember that it was HA that blew up their force the last time that they came into Lebanon in Force in the 80s -- and for the same reason; to cover the IDF retreat.

Given that the objective of HA was to leverage their conflict with the IDF into regionwide leadership of the Arab Shia, I'd say they have already succeeded.

Given that the IDF objective was lots of tough talk about "destroying" HA and their "terrorist infrastructure" -- I'd say that the IDF was a total loser thus far.

Both the IDF and the US have for some years predicated their political/military efforts in the region on "handling" the Arabs. And the only concern was how bad to beat them -- how many civilian casualties to be broadcast on TV and etc.

In Iraq and Lebanon we've seen both armies throw billions into pompous, vainglorious, arrogant and punitive campaigns -- only to fail in their primary objectives.

Col. Lang -- given that the vaunted Sea-Land-Air etc. efforts of these industrial armies have only created the prospects for an endless, grinding conflict, what other military options do they have?

Or do they now have to request terms from opponents that they have traditionally insulted, vilified and condemned?

Mo

Col.,
From what I am hearing, the only thing HA are compelled to do in this "deal" is move back behind the Litani. One wonders how you monitor a guerilla groups deployment especially when so many doing the fighting live south of the Litani.

The Lebanese army is no constraint and the "beefed up" UNIFIL force is supposed to, for the first time, act as constraint against Israel as well as HA. Therefore no more fly overs, no drones and therefore even less ability for Israel to monitor what HA is up to. Plus, if Israel comes across the border again, it is supposedly the French who have to stop them.

From a populist view, Nasrallah knows what kind of reputation HA now have and nothing short of disarmement will be enough to make the Arab street feel like HA has been defeated.

However above all this, if he is seen to be too inflexible to a "reasonable" offer,the Lebanese support may start ebbing away, as suffering is starting to really kick in, even in areas like central Beirut, and the humanitarian situation is deteriorating faster than most people expected.

Piotr Chmielarz

In my opinion if the US Army will have to fight against Hezbollah so they have a 100% for failure. How probably the best army in the world can get victory on Hezbollah if they can't win with iraqis resistance or Taliban forces. In there was ranking of succesful guerilla war so there it can be

1) Hezbollah, they are now the most sophisticate guerilla army. They are practically now relying on their own strenght. They can't get supplies by ground way because USA are ruling now Iraq don't tell me about "iraqis goverment" because we know very well that this is proxy goverment the same as Petain goverment in occupied France. I can bet that if there aren't US army so officials of this goverment will be hanged after one day. The sea way is too dangerous because iranian ships can be stopped in Persian Gulf.
2) Vietnamese against french and USA
3)Iraqis resistance against coalition forces. In my opinion they are like hezbollah in first days of activity of this movement during israelis occupation of south lebanon
4) reistance during seocnd war against germany.

Pan

Tanks wouldn't be such sitting ducks if they were accompanied by dismounted infantry in a classic combined arms deployment. Am I missing something? Are the Israelis practicing combined arms 101? Are they keeping the infantry buttoned up in their AFVs and using the Pumas and Merkavas as armored taxis and ambulances? If so, they deserve to be whacked.

canuck

Wishful thinking on Olmert’s part:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/749525.html>Dissension within his own government

I don’t believe Nasrallah will accept Israel’s terms. Probably after the 'final' ceasefire is agreed upon, Olmert, Perez, Halutz and others will be looking for new jobs.

zanzibar

To the left we have the town of Cassino, south of Rome. This is "where" the war in south Lebanon is headed. Pat Lang

That looks real bad! What a horrible outcome with possible multi-generational hatreds.

I am still puzzled by the assertions being made in some quarters that Hassan Nasrallah is going to accept a UN "deal" that implies that he lost the war. - PL

I posed a related question to the "proposed" UN resolution that seems to have been rejected by Lebanon. If the HA have been able to hold back the IDF so far, why would they want to agree to pullback to north of the Litani and have disclosed all their bunkers and fortifications? Israel is not pulling back to 13 miles south of their border. Why would they agree to an arms embargo on them when there is no similar embargo on Israel in the cease-fire resolution? Why would they agree to a UN force that would be authorized to fire on them but not the IDF or IAF?

I can understand these terms if the HA have been defeated and have no choice but that is not the case right now. Why the charade at the UN then? I am confused with the US and Israeli positions. They don't seem to have consensus within their own team of what "reality" is and what tactics and strategy they should deploy.

Patrick Henry

Col..

What ever "DEALS" are made or agreements reached..and I think they will have to be reached eventually..One has to suspect there is a "Motive" behind them..and one should always remember that the Hard Core JiHadist..Zealots and Iran still have a "PLAN"..

The message is Loud and Clear from Iran..

i would question every decision...every deal made and use all intel Resources to gather information and keep watch on Iran and Syria and see who is making alliances with who...and how much weapons material is still being supplied..

Are the Vietnamise ..North Koreans..Chinese or Russians playing a role with assistance to various factions..?? Since you seem impressed with HB Fortifications and Organization..?

Hasn't anyone been keeping an eye on what HB has been doing in Lebanon these last 15 years..??

it seems even the Israeli's are suprised..

Serf in USA

I believe a lot of us are puzzled by the thinking that Nasrallah will accept what amount to surrender terms. I can only surmise that it stems from the inate self delusions that Israelis, The US neocon cabal, and their presstitutes have. An aura of unreality and wishful thinking that is clearly visable in the editorials and letters to the editors at Ha'aretz. None so blind as he who will not see, illustrated.

Piotr Chmielarz

Can you explain what does it mean Tabouleh line is this similar to Maginot Line? I begin translation your comment on polish language but I don't know if this is in english. I don't know maybe I will publish your comment with translation of this article which you mention

Mo

Or maybe he just knew the Israelis were going to reject it like it sounds they have just done

Mo

Patrick Henry,
I suggest you read around the comments here a bit more if you are still under the assumption that Hizbollah are zealots and jihadists.

W. Patrick Lang

Piotr

Welcome.

"Tabouleh Line" is a little joke. You are right in thinking that this means a defensive line, but in this case the "line" is a fortified belt of villages, etc. We do not yet know the depth from north to south of this belt.

"Tabouleh" is a salad made of chopped parsley which is much loved in the Lebanon. Pat

Abu Sinan

If it is the "Tabouleh Line" on the border, maybe we could call the Lebanese Army, the Babaganoush Army.

Anyone who thinks that placing 15,000 of these guys on the border will make a difference needs to rethink this idea.

Although they are headed by a Maronite Christian, the Shi'ite influence in it is major.

If Hizb'Allah wanted to they could tear through the Lebanese forces like a hot knife through butter.

PL, I am interested in what Arabic news sources you rely on? I read many of them, but just for reference, the vast majority of them are just too influenced by their state backers, ie Asharq al Awsat and al Arabiya.

Al Jazeera I find to be a good source, and I used to watch al Manar until it was banned here in the USA. Although al Manar is certainly biased, I have found their reporting of the war, so far, to be more informed and less biased than many if not most Western sources, as opposed to the Israel propaganda that seems to have gone wild.

How many times did the IDF claim to hold and control bint j'beil only to come back later and change it, or the Hizb fighter they said planned and participated in the capture of the Israeli soldier who clearly had no role in the event.

Pvt. Keepout

Now how in the hell did Iran get US made TOW missiles? Oh, never mind:

"In summer 1985, [8] Michael Ledeen, a consultant of Robert McFarlane, asked Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres for help in the sale of arms to Iran. The Israel government required that the sale of arms meet the approval of the United States government, and when it was convinced that the U.S. government approved the sale by Robert McFarlane, Israel obliged by agreeing to sell the arms. [9] In July 1985, Israel sent American-made BGM-71 TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missiles to Iran for the release of Reverend Benjamin Weir..."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra_Affair

Well, no one could've predicted that weapons the US urged Israel to sell to Iran would then be given to Hizballah and later used to kill Israeli soldiers.

So, everyone's on board, if you will, for Total Dick Cheney's TPAjax 2, right?

Patrick Henry

Mo..I understanand that HB has stated that they aren't necissarily against "Americans' or "Jews"..they are "Anti Zionists" and against any Nation that supports the "Zionist "

Tell that to the Marines who died in Beruit..Civilians on Hijacketed Airplanes...and the civilian population in Isreal who have died at the Hands of the HB and PLO..

No matter the Faction..It all looks like "Ji Had" to me.. RELIGIOUS~WAR..and Religious Hatred..

W. Patrick Lang

Abu Sinan

Which of the three famous Sinans are you thinking of or is that actually your son's name?

I read the Arab press and watch the news on TV as well as French news which find I particularly good.

I don't place much credence in the Arab media for the reasons you mention. My long and "checkered" existence in the ME produced a wide variety of friends many of whom are now retired from government service. I rely on them. pl

jonst

Patrick Henry,

Just out of curiosity what do you think the HA thought they doing when bombed the Marines barracks? Does the battleship Iowa ring a bell to you?

zanzibar

Pvt. Keepout

Irony! The neo-cons have played the rhetoric of "freedom" and "democracy" for so long while subverting our laws. Now the Cheney crowd have taken it to a new level of absurdness.

Mike Ghirelli

UN resoloution will require Hezbollah to disarm. The Good Friday agreement near ten years ago proposed the disarmament of the IRA. It hasn't happened yet. How long to disarm Hezbollah?

cynic librarian

Pat, What wre the chances that the Israelis are playing 'possum here? That is, they are giving the impression that they are losing so that the UN will try to mediate a cease-fire. Knowing that Hizbullah is feeling overly confident, perhaps the Israelis are counting on the notion that Hizbullah will break the ceasefire. Once this occurs, the Israelis can then take off the kid gloves and really begin their offensive.

My reasons for bringing this (remote) possibility into play is that I believe, along with several others (including Steve Clemons, Luttwak, and Alexandrovna), that the Israeli invasion was planned as a way to get the US to invade Syria/Iran. If this hypothetical were true, then Israel perhaps has every intention to make it look as though it is pressing forward to the Litani and beyond as a defensive strategy.

Escalating the war in this way would perhaps make it very difficult for Iran/Syria to sit it out on the sidelines.

Many hypotheticals here, I admit. The major assumption is that this war was started not as a response to Hizbullah capture of Israeli soldiers but an attempt to get the US more involved vis a via the alleged puppet-masters Syria/Iran.

Old Yankee

Thank you for the informative page. I'm glad Juan Cole's link led me to it. I wondered if I was alone in watching a possible entrapment and an impendeng battle.
Israel's unwillingness to take large numbers of casualties is a weakness shared by every army in the West. Negate airpower by hardening, dispersing, hiding and moving. HA then lets Westernized infantry defeats, by requiring more protection than the prom queen. We just don't want to die for this stuff any more. I've been a grunt and I have a son in the Navy. I value him, more than I value any oil supply, foreign alliance or national loyalty.
The day of military attacks with infantry support are ending or ended.
I believe the word "infantry" is from the Greek word for an infant, because the youngest boys, The Babies, serving in the armies would hurl rocks to taunt opposing spearmen. Once again they have become babies. We see their baby faces on television. We meet the cuddly pet at their grave in Newsweek. We see their shattered bodies and know about IED brain damage. This is terror to America, where smart is required for success. Better a leg than a quarter of his brain. We identify. We anguish. We lose our nerve. They win.
Could any American or Israeli general say, "I will lose at least 1000 men in an attack today." and have his plan approved publicly? How do you plan for Iwo jima today?

I do not know if HA is planning a war of attrition or is setting up a trap for a battle against a line of mechanized forces. But, something's up. When Nasrallah spoke the other day, he seemed to be saying (not only don't I speak a word of Arabic, the gibberish at the bottom of the screen rarely makes sense to me) But, I got the impression he was confidently taunting an inexperienced government. I got a real, "Come on in and I'll kick your ass back out." feeling. This man came out of nowhere into my world, but I started listening to him right away. In this long joining of forces, he has not told an extreme lie yet concerning military matters. Nor has he been in the slightest bragadocious.
Sir, forgive my windiness, but my friends are starting to avoid me for fear of a rant. Thanks for the ear.
Why won't people take Nasrallah and the danger that this a trap leading to a great land battle seriously? Why is Israeli superiority a given? Unblooded boys up against battle hardened men who may have buried their whole family a few years ago. Any member of a group called Hisb'Allah (The Party of God) led by a man,Nasrallah (God's Victory) is a lot more prepared to die for their cause than I am. I should be ashamed, but I'm as delicate as those Israeli boy soldiers and I don't want to die for nuthin'.
Israel must take the best cease fire it can get soon. HA may allow them to disengage. The international community may require them to. Or is it too late? I was a grunt. I don't know when a battle has been joined and when you can seperate without running. I'll be watching your site closely. I hope I'm dead ass wrong. Hal Carpenter

canuck

What’s wrong with this picture?

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/sylley2000/032928100.jpg

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,251-2307810,00.html>Hizbullah missiles rain down

I’m no tactician, but that looks like a very large target to me. Aren’t infantry troops supposed to stop missiles from being launched before tanks are sent in? Tanks aren’t impervious to destruction. I remember my step father, who was in the Royal Marines in WWII, a Canadian MP in Korea, served a one year UN mission in Egypt and finished his career in the Service Corps., telling me that one day when we were on the tank range in Camp Borden, Ontario.

Matthew

Patrick Henry: The PLO have not and are not fighting a "relgious" war against Israel. It is accurate to say they are fighting a "nationalist" war or an "anti-colonial" war. The attempt to equate all resistence to Israel, even by people who live under a brutal occupation, with "terrorism" or a "religious" war, undercuts your other points.

JoeC

An interesting Haaretz report today (if accurate) suggest that that Olmert has serious questions about how the war is being pursued by the IDF:

"On Monday night, after visiting the Northern Command, Olmert was convinced that the war must be stopped. He did not like the operational plans he was shown, and was not thrilled with the army's performance.

For three weeks, he has been hearing daily that tomorrow the IDF will gain control of Bint Jbail and the town is still swarming with lethal Hezbollah fighters. He did not trust the army to stop the rocket fire even in a prolonged operation."

Since then, Olmert has mobilized a coalition to release him from the grand military operation, which, according to IDF estimates, would involve hundreds of fatalities.

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