Sunday, October 08, 2006

Anthony Shadid on Hezbollah's miscalcuation

This report has well-captured the miscalculation made by Nasrallah and company on July 12, and the extent to which Hezbollah's operation was founded on utter confidence in the militia's successful deterrence of Israel. What Hezbollah did not take into account was the extent to which its calculations were founded on rational strategist on the Israeli side. Moreover, for deterrence to succeed profoundly it must "work" across the spectrum of threats. In this instance, once Israel escalated the war to wholesale attacks on Shi'i population centers in the suburbs of Beirut, Hezbollah lacked the capacity to deter Israel's continuation of the bombing campaign.

Israel's failure, despite its domination of the escalation game, turned on its strategic miscalculation about the nature of Hezbollah's political support and its unwillingness to pay a high human toll for recapturing and occupying southern Lebanon.

The requiem for war in Lebanon is still developing. The most important debate in Lebanon is likely to be the one that takes place within Hezbollah, where Nasrallah's image as a supreme strategist and analyst has been considerably tarnished. Nasrallah has been in office for 14 years, or eight YEARS longer than the prescribed term the secretary-general. Will the party decide it is time for a change? Probably not right now, but even asking the question is a step-level change.

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