Saturday, August 19, 2006

William S. Lind: Beaten

While the extent of damage to Hizballah's military resources may be far greater than Hezbollah lets on, William Lind strikes a number of telling points in this think-piece, not least the ineffectualness of a technology heavy army against a mobile, motivated and well-trained guerrilla force. it is quite possible, as he would agree I suspect, that Israel will choose to simply insure that Lebanon is left in a state of chaos that will make consolidating an effective government in Beirut impossible. Of course, that will drive out many Lebanese, except those too stubborn, poor or politicized to leave. In other words, Israel could make Lebanon a breeding ground for even more opponents. That would be foolish, but it might do it.

Perhaps Hezbollah's greatest success in the war is to establish such a fierce image that European prime ministers will refuse--despite entreaties from Malloch Brown and George Bush--to send serious military contingents to southern Lebanon. To be fair, I was extremely doubtful about the prospects for an international force from the very beginning of this war.

William S. Lind: Beaten: "With today's cease-fire in Lebanon, the second Hezbollah-Israeli War is temporarily in remission. So far, Israel has been beaten.

The magnitude of the defeat is considerable. Israel appears to have lost at every level-strategic, operational and tactical. Nothing she tried worked. Air power failed, as it always does against an enemy who doesn't have to maneuver operationally, or even move tactically for the most part. The attempts to blockade Lebanon and thus cut off Hezbollah's resupply failed; her caches proved ample. Most seriously, the ground assault into Lebanon failed. Israel took little ground and paid heavily in casualties for that. More, she cannot hold what she has taken; if she is not forced to withdraw by diplomacy, Hezbollah will push her out, as it did once before. The alternative is a bleeding ulcer that never heals.

But these failures only begin to measure the magnitude of Israel's defeat. While Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, is now an Islamic hero, Olmert has become a boiled brisket in the piranha pool that is Israeli politics. The cease-fire in Lebanon will allow camera crews to broadcast the extent of the destruction to the world, with further damage to Israel's image. Israel's 'wall' strategy for dealing with the Palestinians has been undone; Hamas rockets can fly over a wall as easily as Hezbollah rockets have flown over Israel's north"

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