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    Israeli-Hezbollah conflict

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    lulldapull

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    How Hezbollah defeated Israel

    Post  lulldapull on Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:45 pm

    Guys, this is a long article, but definitely worth the read as it destroys the CNN and BBC versions of pro-Israeli and Pro-US propaganda. What is most interesting is the old Soviet army AT-3 'Sagger' that blew up almost all IDF Merkava's.

    By Alastair Crooke and Mark Perry

    Introduction
    Writing five years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, US military expert Anthony Cordesman published an account of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict. "Preliminary Lessons of the Israeli-Hezbollah War" created enormous interest in the Pentagon, where it was studied by planners for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and passed hand-to-hand among military experts in Washington. Cordesman made no secret of his modest conclusions, rightly recognizing that his study was not only "preliminary", but that it took no account of how Hezbollah fought the conflict or judged its results.

    "This analysis is ... limited," Cordesman noted, "by the fact that no matching visit was made to Lebanon and to the Hezbollah." Incomplete though it might have been, Cordesman's study accomplished two goals: it provided a foundation for understanding the war from the Israeli point of view and it raised questions on how and how well Hezbollah fought. Nearly two months after the end of the Israeli-Hezbollah war, it is now possible to fill in some of the lines left blank by Cordesman.

    The portrait that we give here is also limited. Hezbollah officials will neither speak publicly nor for the record on how they fought the conflict, will not detail their deployments, and will not discuss their future strategy. Even so, the lessons of the war from Hezbollah's perspective are now beginning to emerge and some small lessons are being derived from it by US and Israeli strategic planners. Our conclusions are based on on-the-ground assessments conducted during the course of the war, on interviews with Israeli, American and European military experts, on emerging understandings of the conflict in discussions with military strategists, and on a network of senior officials in the Middle East who were intensively interested in the war's outcome and with whom we have spoken.

    Our overall conclusion contradicts the current point of view being retailed by some White House and Israeli officials: that Israel's offensive in Lebanon significantly damaged Hezbollah's ability to wage war, that Israel successfully degraded Hezbollah's military ability to prevail in a future conflict, and that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), once deployed in large numbers in southern Lebanon, were able to prevail over their foes and dictate a settlement favorable to the Israeli political establishment.

    Just the opposite is true. From the onset of the conflict to its last operations, Hezbollah commanders successfully penetrated Israel's strategic and tactical decision-making cycle across a spectrum of intelligence, military and political operations, with the result that Hezbollah scored a decisive and complete victory in its war with Israel.

    The intelligence war
    In the wake of the conflict, Hezbollah general secretary Hassan Nasrallah admitted that Israel's military response to the abduction of two of its soldiers and the killing of eight others at 9:04 on the morning of July 12 came as a surprise to the Hezbollah leadership.

    Nasrallah's comment ended press reports that Hezbollah set out purposely to provoke a war with Israel and that the abductions had been part of a plan approved by Hezbollah and Iran. While Hezbollah had made it clear over a period of years that it intended to abduct Israeli soldiers, there was good reason to suppose that it would not do so in the middle of the summer months - when large numbers of affluent Shi'ite families from the diaspora would be visiting Lebanon (and spending their money in the Shi'ite community), and when Gulf Arabs were expected to arrive in large numbers in the country.

    Nor is it the case, as was initially reported, that Hezbollah coordinated its activities with Hamas. Hamas was taken by surprise by the abductions and, while the Hamas leadership defended Hezbollah actions, in hindsight it is easy to see why they might not have been pleased by them: over the course of the conflict Israel launched multiple military operations against Hamas in Gaza, killing dozens of fighters and scores of civilians. The offensive went largely unnoticed in the West, thereby resuscitating the adage that "when the Middle East burns, the Palestinians are forgotten".

    In truth, the abduction of the two Israeli soldiers and the killing of eight others took the Hezbollah leadership by surprise and was effected only because Hezbollah units on the Israeli border had standing orders to exploit Israeli military weaknesses. Nasrallah had himself long signaled Hezbollah's intent to kidnap Israeli soldiers, after former prime minister Ariel Sharon reneged on fulfilling his agreement to release all Hezbollah prisoners - three in all - during the last Hezbollah-Israeli prisoner exchange.

    The abductions were, in fact, all too easy: Israeli soldiers near the border apparently violated standing operational procedures, left their vehicles in sight of Hezbollah emplacements, and did so while out of contact with higher-echelon commanders and while out of sight of covering fire.

    We note that while the Western media consistently misreported the events on the Israeli-Lebanon border, Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper substantially confirmed this account: "A force of tanks and armored personnel carriers was immediately sent into Lebanon in hot pursuit. It was during this pursuit, at about 11am ... [a] Merkava tank drove over a powerful bomb, containing an estimated 200 to 300 kilograms of explosives, about 70 meters north of the border fence. The tank was almost completely destroyed, and all four crew members were killed instantly. Over the next several hours, IDF soldiers waged a fierce fight against Hezbollah gunmen ... During the course of this battle, at about 3pm, another soldier was killed and two were lightly wounded."

    The abductions marked the beginning of a series of IDF blunders that were compounded by commanders who acted outside of their normal border procedures. Members of the patrol were on the last days of their deployment in the north and their guard was down. Nor is it the case that Hezbollah fighters killed the eight Israelis during their abduction of the two. The eight died when an IDF border commander, apparently embarrassed by his abrogation of standing procedures, ordered armored vehicles to pursue the kidnappers. The two armored vehicles ran into a network of Hezbollah anti-tank mines and were destroyed. The eight IDF soldiers died during this operation or as a result of combat actions that immediately followed it.

    That an IDF unit could wander so close to the border without being covered by fire and could leave itself open to a Hezbollah attack has led Israeli officers to question whether the unit was acting outside the chain of command. An internal commission of inquiry was apparently convened by senior IDF commanders in the immediate aftermath of the incident to determine the facts in the matter and to review IDF procedures governing units acting along Israel's northern border. The results of that commission's findings have not yet been reported.

    Despite being surprised by the Israeli response, Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon were placed on full alert within minutes of the kidnappings and arsenal commanders were alerted by their superiors. Hezbollah's robust and hardened defenses were the result of six years of diligent work, beginning with the Israeli withdrawal from the region in 2000. Many of the command bunkers designed and built by Hezbollah engineers were fortified, and a few were even air-conditioned.

    The digging of the arsenals over the previous years had been accompanied by a program of deception, with some bunkers being constructed in the open and often under the eyes of Israeli drone vehicles or under the observation of Lebanese citizens with close ties to the Israelis. With few exceptions, these bunkers were decoys. The building of other bunkers went forward in areas kept hidden from the Lebanese population. The most important command bunkers and weapons-arsenal bunkers were dug deeply into Lebanon's rocky hills - to a depth of 40 meters. Nearly 600 separate ammunition and weapons bunkers were strategically placed in the region south of the Litani.

    For security reasons, no single commander knew the location of each bunker and each distinct Hezbollah militia unit was assigned access to three bunkers only - a primary munitions bunker and two reserve bunkers, in case the primary bunker was destroyed. Separate primary and backup marshaling points were also designated for distinct combat units, which were tasked to arm and fight within specific combat areas. The security protocols for the marshaling of troops was diligently maintained. No single Hezbollah member had knowledge of the militia's entire bunker structure.

    Hezbollah's primary arsenals and marshaling points were targeted by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in the first 72 hours of the war. Israel's commanders had identified these bunkers through a mix of intelligence reports - signals intercepts from Hezbollah communications, satellite-reconnaissance photos gleaned from cooperative arrangements with the US military, photos analyzed as a result of IAF overflights of the region, photos from drone aircraft deployed over southern Lebanon and, most important, a network of trusted human-intelligence sources recruited by Israeli intelligence officers living in southern Lebanon, including a large number of foreign (non-Lebanese) nationals registered as guest workers in the country.

    The initial attack on Hezbollah's marshaling points and major bunker complexes, which took place in the first 72 hours of the war, failed. On July 15, the IAF targeted Hezbollah's leadership in Beirut. This attack also failed. At no point during the war was any major Hezbollah political figure killed, despite Israel's constant insistence that the organization's senior leadership had suffered losses.

    According to one US official who observed the war closely, the IAF's air offensive degraded "perhaps only 7%" of the total military resource assets available to Hezbollah's fighters in the first three days of fighting and added that, in his opinion, Israeli air attacks on the Hezbollah leadership were "absolutely futile".

    Reports that the Hezbollah senior leadership had taken refuge in the Iranian Embassy in Beirut (untouched during Israel's aerial offensive) are not true, though it is not known precisely where the Hezbollah leadership did take shelter. "Not even I knew where I was," Hezbollah leader Nasrallah told one of his associates. Even with all of this, it is not the case that the Israeli military's plans to destroy Lebanon's infrastructure resulted from the IAF's inability to degrade Hezbollah's military capacity in the war's first days.

    The Israeli military's plans called for an early and sustained bombardment of Lebanon's major highways and ports in addition to its plans to destroy Hezbollah military and political assets. The Israeli government made no secret of its intent - to undercut Hezbollah's support in the Christian, Sunni and Druze communities. That idea, to punish Lebanon for harboring Hezbollah and so turn the people against the militia, had been a part of Israel's plan since the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.

    While IDF officials confidently and publicly announced success in their offensive, their commanders recommended that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert approve increased air sorties against potential Hezbollah caches in marginal target areas at the end of the first week of the bombing. Olmert approved these attacks, while knowing that in making such a request his senior officers had all but admitted that their initial assessment of the damage inflicted on Hezbollah was exaggerated.

    Qana was the result of Olmert's agreement to "stretch the target envelope". One US military expert who monitored the conflict closely had this to say of the Qana bombing: "This isn't really that complicated. After the failure of the initial campaign, IAF planning officers went back through their target folders to see if they had missed anything. When they decided they hadn't, someone probably stood up and went into the other room and returned with a set of new envelopes of targets in densely populated areas and said, 'Hey, what about these target envelopes?' And so they did it." That is, the bombing of targets "close in" to southern Lebanon population areas was the result of Israel's failure in the war - not its success.

    The "target stretching" escalated throughout the conflict; frustrated by their inability to identify and destroy major Hezbollah military assets, the IAF began targeting schools, community centers and mosques - under the belief that their inability to identify and interdict Hezbollah bunkers signaled Hezbollah's willingness to hide their major assets inside civilian centers.

    IAF officers also argued that Hezbollah's ability to continue its rocket attacks on Israel meant that its militia was being continually resupplied. Qana is a crossroads, the junction of five separate highways, and in the heart of Hezbollah territory. Interdicting the Qana supply chain provided the IAF the opportunity to prove that Hezbollah was only capable of sustaining its operations because of its supply-dependence on the crossroads town. In truth, however, IDF senior commanders knew that expanding the number of targets in Lebanon would probably do little to degrade Hezbollah capabilities because Hezbollah was maintaining its attacks without any hope of resupply and because of its dependence on weapons and rocket caches that had been hardened against Israeli interdiction. In the wake of Qana, in which 28 civilians were killed, Israel agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire.

    The ceasefire provided the first evidence that Hezbollah had successfully withstood Israeli air attacks and was planning a sustained and prolonged defense of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah commanders honored the ceasefire at the orders of their political superiors. With one or two lone exceptions, no rockets were fired into Israel during this ceasefire period. While Hezbollah's capacity actually to "cease fire" was otherwise ignored by Israeli and Western intelligence experts, Hezbollah's ability to enforce discipline on its field commanders came as a distinctly unwanted shock to IDF senior commanders, who concluded that Hezbollah's communication's capabilities had survived Israel's air onslaught, that the Hezbollah leadership was in touch with its commanders on the ground, and that those commanders were able to maintain a robust communications network despite Israeli interdiction.

    More simply, Hezbollah's ability to cease fire meant that Israel's goal of separating Hezbollah fighters from their command structure (considered a necessity by modern armies in waging a war on a sophisticated technological battlefield) had failed. The IDF's senior commanders could only come to one conclusion - its prewar information on Hezbollah military assets was, at best, woefully incomplete or, at worst, fatally wrong.

    In fact, over a period of two years, Hezbollah intelligence officials had built a significant signals-counterintelligence capability. Throughout the war, Hezbollah commanders were able to predict when and where Israeli fighters and bombers would strike. Moreover, Hezbollah had identified key Israeli human-intelligence assets in Lebanon. One month prior to the abduction of the IDF border patrol and the subsequent Israeli attack, Lebanese intelligence officials had broken up an Israeli spy ring operating inside the country.

    Lebanese (and Hezbollah) intelligence officials arrested at least 16 Israeli spies in Lebanon, though they failed to find or arrest the leader of the ring. Moreover, during two years from 2004 until the eve of the war, Hezbollah had successfully "turned" a number of Lebanese civilian assets reporting on the location of major Hezbollah military caches in southern Lebanon to Israeli intelligence officers. In some small number of crucially important cases, Hezbollah senior intelligence officials were able to "feed back" false information on their militia's most important emplacements to Israel - with the result that Israel target folders identified key emplacements that did not, in fact, exist.

    Finally, Hezbollah's ability to intercept and "read" Israeli actions had a decisive impact on the coming ground war. Hezbollah intelligence officials had perfected their signals-intelligence capability to such an extent that they could intercept Israeli ground communications between Israeli military commanders. Israel, which depended on a highly sophisticated set of "frequency hopping" techniques that would allow their commanders to communicate with one another, underestimated Hezbollah's ability to master counter-signals technology. The result would have a crucial impact on Israel's calculation that surprise alone would provide the margin of victory for its soldiers.

    It now is clear that the Israeli political establishment was shocked by the failure of its forces to accomplish its first military goals in the war - including the degradation of a significant number of Hezbollah arsenals and the destruction of Hezbollah's command capabilities.

    But the Israeli political establishment had done almost nothing to prepare for the worst: the first meeting of the Israeli security cabinet in the wake of the July 12 abduction lasted only three hours. And while Olmert and his security cabinet demanded minute details of the IDF's plan for the first three days of the war, they failed to articulate clear political goals in the aftermath of the conflict or sketch out a political exit strategy should the offensive fail.

    Olmert and the security cabinet violated the first principle of war - they showed contempt for their enemy. In many respects, Olmert and his cabinet were captives of an unquestioned belief in the efficacy of Israeli deterrence. Like the Israeli public, they viewed any questioning of IDF capabilities as sacrilege.

    The Israeli intelligence failure during the conflict was catastrophic. It meant that, after the failure of Israel's air campaign to degrade Hezbollah assets significantly in the first 72 hours of the war, Israel's chance of winning a decisive victory against Hezbollah was increasingly, and highly, unlikely.

    "Israel lost the war in the first three days," one US military expert said. "If you have that kind of surprise and you have that kind of firepower, you had better win. Otherwise, you're in for the long haul."

    IDF senior officers concluded that, given the failure of the air campaign, they had only one choice - to invade Lebanon with ground troops in the hopes of destroying Hezbollah's will to prevail.

    Israel's decision to launch a ground war to accomplish what its air force had failed to do was made hesitantly and haphazardly. While Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) units had been making forays into southern Lebanon during the second week of the conflict, the Israeli military leadership remained undecided over when and where--even whether--to deploy their ground units.

    In part, the army's indecisiveness over when, where and whether to deploy its major ground units was a function of the air force's claims to victory. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) kept claiming that it would succeed from the air--in just one more day, and then another. This indecision was mirrored by the Western media's uncertainty about when a ground campaign would take place--or whether in fact it had already occurred.

    Senior Israeli officers continued to tell their press contacts that the timing of a ground offensive was a tightly kept secret when, in fact, they didn't know themselves. The hesitation was also the result of the experience of small IDF units that had already penetrated beyond the border. Special IDF units operating in southern Lebanon were reporting to their commanders as early as July 18 that Hezbollah units were fighting tenaciously to hold their positions on the first ridgeline overlooking Israel.

    At this point, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a political decision: he would deploy the full might of the IDF to defeat Hezbollah at the same time that his top aides signaled Israel's willingness to accept a ceasefire and the deployment of an international force. Olmert determined that Israel should not tip its hand--it would accept the deployment of a United Nations force, but only as a last resort.

    First, he decided, Israel would say that it would accept a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) force. In keeping with this strategy, Israeli reserve forces were called to the front on July 21. The surprise call-up (the IDF was to defeat Hezbollah first from the air, and then--if that failed--use its regular forces, with no reserve forces to be called) made the initial deployment of the reserves hurried and uncoordinated. (It is, to repeat, likely that Israel did not believe it would have to call on its reserves during the conflict, or it would have called them much earlier.)

    Moreover, the decision to call the reserves took key senior reserve officers, usually the first to be notified of a pending call-up, by surprise. The reserve call-up was handled chaotically--with the reserve "tail" of logistical support lagging some 24-48 hours behind the deployment of reserve forces.

    The July 21 call-up was a clear sign to military strategists in the Pentagon that Israel's war was not going well. It also helps to explain why Israeli reserve troops arrived at the front without the necessary equipment, without a coherent battle plan, and without the munitions necessary to carry on the fight. (Throughout the conflict, Israel struggled to provide adequate support to its reserve forces: food, ammunition and even water supplies reached units a full 24-48 hours behind a unit's appearance at its assigned northern deployment zones.)

    The effect of this was immediately perceived by military observers. "Israeli troops looked unprepared, sloppy and demoralized," one former senior US commander noted. "This wasn't the vaunted IDF that we saw in previous wars."

    In keeping with Olmert's political ploy, the IDF's goal of the total destruction of Hezbollah was also being markedly scaled back. "There is one line between our military objectives and our political objectives," Brigadier-General Ido Nehushtan, a member of Israel's general staff, said on the day after the reserve call-up. "The goal is not necessarily to eliminate every Hezbollah rocket. What we must do is disrupt the military logic of Hezbollah. I would say that this is still not a matter of days away."

    This was a decidedly strange way of presenting a military strategy--to conduct a war to "disrupt the military logic" of an enemy. Nehushtan's statement had a chilling effect on IDF ground commanders, who wondered exactly what the war's goals were. But other IDF commanders were upbeat--while the IAF had failed to stop Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israeli cities, fewer rockets were fired at Israel from July 19-21 than at any other time (a very small number on July 19, perhaps as few as 40 on July 20 and 50 on July 22).

    July 22 also marks the first time that the United States responded militarily to the conflict. Late on the day of the 21st, the White House received a request from Olmert and the IDF for the provision of large amounts of precision-guided munitions--another telltale sign that the IAF had failed in its mission to degrade Hezbollah military assets significantly during the opening rounds of the war.

    The request was quickly approved and the munitions were shipped to Israel beginning on the morning of July 22. Senior Pentagon officials were dismayed by the shipment, as it meant that Israel had expended most of its munitions in the war's first 10 days--an enormous targeting expenditure that suggested Israel had abandoned tactical bombing of Hezbollah assets and was poised for an onslaught on what remained of Lebanon's infrastructure, a strategy that had not worked during World War II, when the United States and Britain destroyed Germany's 66 major population centers without any discernable impact either on German morale or military capabilities.

    But there was little grumbling in the Pentagon, though one former serving officer observed that the deployment of US munitions to Israel was reminiscent of a similar request made by Israel in 1973--at the height of the Yom Kippur War. "This can only mean one thing," this officer said at the time. "They're on the ropes."

    In spite of its deep misgivings about the Israeli response (and the misgivings, though unreported, were deep and significant--and extended even into the upper echelons of the US Air Force), senior US military officers kept their views out of public view. And for good reason: criticism of Israel for requesting a shipment of arms during the 1973 war led to the resignation of then Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) chairman General George Brown. Brown was enraged that US weapons and munitions were being sent to Israel at the same time that American commanders in Vietnam were protesting a lack of supplies in their war in Southeast Asia.

    The current JCS chairman, Peter Pace, who remained notably silent during the Israeli-Hezbollah war, understood history, saluted, and remained silent. But the JCS and senior military commanders were not the only US officials who were worried about Israel's performance. While the new US munitions were winging their way to Israel (via Prestwick, Scotland), intelligence officials were conducting initial assessments of the war's opening days, including one noting that in spite of the sustained Israeli air offensive, Al-Manar was still broadcasting in Beirut, though the IAF had destroyed the broadcast bands of Lebanon's other major networks. (This would remain true throughout the war--Al-Manar never went off the air.) How effective could the Israeli air campaign have been if they couldn't even knock out a television station's transmissions?

    The call-up of Israel's reserves was meant to buttress forces already fighting in southern Lebanon, and to add weight to the ground assault. On July 22, Hezbollah units of the Nasr Brigade fought the IDF street-to-street in Maroun al-Ras. While the IDF claimed at the end of the day that it had taken the town, it had not. The fighting had been bloody, but Hezbollah fighters had not been dislodged. Many of the Nasr Brigade's soldiers had spent countless days waiting for the Israeli assault and, because of Hezbollah's ability to intercept IDF military communications, Israeli soldiers bumped up against units that were well entrenched.

    IDF detachments continually failed to flank the defenders, meeting counterpunches toward the west of the city. Special three-man hunter-killer teams from the Nasr Brigade destroyed several Israeli armored vehicles during the fight with light man-made anti-tank missiles. "We knew they were going to do this," Ilay Talmor, an exhausted Israeli second lieutenant, said at the time. "This is territory they say is theirs. We would do the same thing if someone came into our country."

    While the IDF continued to insist that its incursions would be "limited in scope", despite the recall of thousands of reserve troops, IDF battalions began to form south of the border. "We are not preparing for an invasion of Lebanon," said Avi Pazner, a senior Israeli government spokesman. The IDF then called Maroun al-Ras its "first foothold" in southern Lebanon. "A combination of air force, artillery and ground-force pressure will push Hezbollah out without arriving at the point where we have to invade and occupy," Pazner said.

    The difference between "pushing" out a force and invading and occupying a town was thereby set, another clear signal to US military experts that the IDF could enter a town but could not occupy it. One US officer schooled in US military history compared the IDF's foray into southern Lebanon to Robert E Lee's bloody attack on Union positions at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War. "Oh I can get there, all right," Lee's lieutenant said during that war, "it's staying there that's the problem."

    After-battle reports of Hezbollah commanders now confirm that IDF troops never fully secured the border area and Maroun al-Ras was never fully taken. Nor did Hezbollah ever feel the need to call up its reserves, as Israel had done. "The entire war was fought by one Hezbollah brigade of 3,000 troops, and no more," one military expert in the region said. "The Nasr Brigade fought the entire war. Hezbollah never felt the need to reinforce it."

    Reports from Lebanon underscore this point. Much to their surprise, Hezbollah commanders found that Israeli troops were poorly organized and disciplined. The only Israeli unit that performed up to standards was the Golani Brigade, according to Lebanese observers. The IDF was "a motley assortment", one official with a deep knowledge of US slang reported. "But that's what happens when you have spent four decades firing rubber bullets at women and children in the West Bank and Gaza."

    IDF commanders were also disturbed by the performance of their troops, noting a signal lack of discipline even among its best-trained regular soldiers. The reserves were worse, and IDF commanders hesitated to put them into battle.

    On July 25, Olmert's strategy of backing down from a claimed goal to destroy Hezbollah was in full force. The Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz was the bearer of these tidings, saying that Israel's current goal was to create a "security zone" in southern Lebanon. His words were accompanied by a threat: "If there is not a multinational force that will get in to control the fences, we will continue to control with our fire towards anyone that gets close to the defined security zone, and they will know that they can be hurt."

    Gone quite suddenly was a claim that Israel would destroy Hezbollah; gone too was a claim that only NATO would be acceptable as a peacekeeping unit on the border. On July 25, Israel also reported that Abu Jaafar, a commander of Hezbollah's "central sector" on the Lebanese border, was killed "in an exchange of fire" with Israeli troops near the border village of Maroun al-Ras--which had not yet been taken. The report was not true. Abu Jaafar made public comments after the end of the war.

    Later on July 25, during US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Jerusalem, the Israeli military fought its way into Bint Jbeil, calling it "Hezbollah's terror capital". The fight for Bint Jbeil went on for nine days. But it remained in Hezbollah hands until the end of the conflict. By then, the town had been destroyed, as Hezbollah fighters were able to survive repeated air and artillery shellings, retreating into their bunkers during the worst of the air and artillery campaign, and only emerging when IDF troops in follow-on operations tried to claim the city.

    The Hezbollah tactics were reminiscent of those followed by the North Vietnamese Army during the opening days of the Vietnam conflict--when NVA commanders told their troops that they needed to "ride out the bombs" and then fight the Americans in small unit actions. "You must grab them by their belt buckles," a Vietnamese commander said in describing these tactics.

    On July 24, as yet another sign of its looming failure in Lebanon, Israel deployed the first of thousands of cluster munitions against what it called "Hezbollah emplacements" in southern Lebanon. Cluster munitions are an effective, if vicious, combat tool and those nations that use them, including every single member of NATO (as well as Russia and China), have consistently refused to enter an international agreement banning their use.

    The most responsible nation-states that use them, however, "double fuse" their munitions to cut down on the failure rate of the "bomblets" after they have been deployed. During the administration of US president Bill Clinton, defense secretary William Cohen agreed to the double-fusing of US cluster munitions and a phase-out of the "high dud rate" munitions in the US stockpile, which was intended to cut the failure rate of these munitions from 14% (some estimates are higher) to less than 3% (though some estimates are lower).

    While investigations into Israel's use of these munitions is not yet complete, it now appears that the IDF deployed single-fused munitions. Recent reports in the Israeli press indicate that artillery officers carpeted dozens of Lebanese villages with the bomblets--as close to the definition of the "indiscriminate" use of firepower as one can get.

    The Israeli munitions may well have been purchased from aging US stockpiles that were not double-fused, making the United States complicit in this indiscriminate targeting. Such a conclusion seems to fit with the time-line of the resupply of munitions to Israel on July 22. The IDF may well have been able to offload these munitions and deploy them quickly enough to have created the cluster-munitions crisis in Lebanon that plagues that nation still--and that started on July 24.

    On July 26, IDF officials conceded that the previous 24 hours in their fight for Bint Jbail was "the hardest day of fighting in southern Lebanon". After failing to take the town from Hezbollah in the morning, IDF commanders decided to send in their elite Golani Brigade. In two hours in the afternoon, nine Golani Brigade soldiers were killed and 22 were wounded. Late in the afternoon, the IDF deployed its elite Paratroopers Brigade to Maroun al-Ras, where fighting with elements of the Nasr Brigade was in its third day.

    On July 27, in response to the failure of its units to take these cities, the Israeli government agreed to a call-up of three more reserve divisions--a full 15,000 troops. By July 28, however, it was becoming clear just how severe the failure of the IAF had been in its attempts to stop Hezbollah rocket attacks. On that day, Hezbollah deployed a new rocket, the Khaibar-1, which hit Afula.

    On July 28, the severity of Israel's intelligence failures finally reached the Israeli public. On that day, Mossad officials leaked information that, by their estimate, Hezbollah had not suffered a significant degradation in its military capabilities, and that the organization might be able to carry on the conflict for several more months. The IDF disagreed, stating that Hezbollah had been severely damaged. The first cracks in the Israeli intelligence community were beginning to show.

    Experts in the US were also beginning to question Israel's strategy and capability. The conservative Brookings Institution published a commentary by Philip H Gordon (who blamed Hezbollah for the crisis) advising, "The issue is not whether Hezbollah is responsible for this crisis--it is--or whether Israel has the right to defend itself--it does--but whether this particular strategy [of a sustained air campaign] will work. It will not. It will not render Hezbollah powerless, because it is simply impossible to eliminate thousands of small, mobile, hidden and easily resupplied rockets via an air campaign."

    Gordan's commentary reflected the views of an increasing number of military officers, who were scrambling to dust off their own air plans in the case of a White House order targeting Iranian nuclear sites. "There is a common misperception that the [US] Air Force was thrilled by the Israeli war against Lebanon," one Middle East expert with access to senior Pentagon officials told us. "They were aghast. They well know the limits of their own power and they know how it can be abused.

    "It seemed to them [USAF officers] that Israel threw away the book in Lebanon. This wasn't surgical, it wasn't precise, and it certainly wasn't smart. You can't just coat a country in iron and hope to win."

    The cold, harsh numbers of the war point up the fallacy of the Israeli air and ground campaign. Hezbollah had secreted upwards of 18,000 rockets in its arsenals prior to the conflict. These sites were hardened against Israeli air strikes and easily survived the air campaign. Hezbollah officials calculated that from the time of firing until the IAF was able to identify and deploy fighters to take out the mobile rockets was 90 seconds. Through years of diligent training, Hezbollah rocket teams had learned to deploy, fire and safely cover their mobile launchers in less than 60 seconds, with the result that IAF planes and helicopters (which Israel has in much fewer numbers than it boasts) could not stop Hezbollah's continued rocket fire at Israel ("Israel is about three helicopters away from a total disaster," one US military officer commented).

    Hezbollah fired about 4,000 rockets at Israel (a more precise, though uncertain, figure calculates the firing of 4,180 rockets), bringing its stockpiles down to 14,000 rockets--enough to prosecute the war for at least three more months.

    Moreover, and more significant, Hezbollah's fighters proved to be dedicated and disciplined. Using intelligence assets to pinpoint Israeli infantry penetrations, they proved the equal of Israel's best fighting units. In some cases, Israeli units were defeated on the field of battle, forced into sudden retreats or forced to rely on air cover to save elements from being overrun. Even toward the end of the war, on August 9, the IDF announced that 15 of its reserve soldiers were killed and 40 wounded in fighting in the villages of Marjayoun, Khiam and Kila--a stunning casualty rate for a marginal piece of real estate.

    The robust Hezbollah defense was also taking its toll on Israeli armor. When Israel finally agreed to a ceasefire and began its withdrawal from the border area, it left behind upwards of 40 armored vehicles, nearly all of them destroyed by expertly deployed AT-3 "Sagger" anti-tank missiles--which is the NATO name for the Russian-made vehicle- or man-deployed, wire-guided, second-generation 9M14 Malyutka--or "Little Baby".

    With a range of 3 kilometers, the Sagger proved enormously successful in taking on Israeli tanks, a fact that must have given Israeli armor commanders fits, in large part because the Sagger missile deployed by Hezbollah is an older version (developed and deployed in 1973) of a more modern version that is more easily hidden and deployed and has a larger warhead. If the IDF could not protect its armor against the 1973 "second generation" version, IDF commanders must now be wondering how it can possibly protect itself against a version that is more modern, more sophisticated, and more deadly.

    Prior to the implementation of the ceasefire, the Israeli political establishment decided that it would "clear drop" Israeli paratroopers in key areas along the Litani River. The decision was apparently made to convince the international community that the rules of engagement for a UN force should extend from the Litani south. Such a claim could not be made unless Israel could credibly claim to have cleared that part of Lebanon to the Litani.

    A significant number of Israeli forces were airlifted into key areas just south of the Litani to accomplish this goal. The decision might well have led to a disaster. Most of the Israeli forces airlifted to these sites were immediately surrounded by Hezbollah units and may well have been decisively mauled had a ceasefire not gone into effect. The political decision angered retired IDF officers, one of whom accused Olmert of "spinning the military"--using the military for public relations purposes.

    Perhaps the most telling sign of Israel's military failure comes in counting the dead and wounded. Israel now claims that it killed about 400-500 Hezbollah fighters, while its own losses were significantly less. But a more precise accounting shows that Israeli and Hezbollah casualties were nearly even. It is impossible for Shi'ites (and Hezbollah) not to allow an honorable burial for its martyrs, so in this case it is simply a matter of counting funerals. Fewer than 180 funerals have been held for Hezbollah fighters--nearly equal to the number killed on the Israeli side. That number may be revised upward: our most recent information from Lebanon says the number of Shi'ite martyr funerals in the south can now be precisely tabulated at 184.

    But by any accounting--whether in rockets, armored vehicles or numbers of dead and wounded--Hezbollah's fight against Israel must be accorded a decisive military and political victory. Even if it were otherwise (and it is clearly not), the full impact of Hezbollah's war with Israel over a period of 34 days in July and August has caused a political earthquake in the region.

    Hezbollah's military defeat of Israel was decisive, but its political defeat of the United States--which unquestioningly sided with Israel during the conflict and refused to bring it to an end--was catastrophic and has had a lasting impact on US prestige in the region.

    In the wake of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, a public poll in Egypt asked a cross-section of that country's citizenry to name the two political leaders they most admired. An overwhelming number named Hassan Nasrallah. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad finished second.

    The poll was a clear repudiation not only of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who had made his views against Hezbollah known at the outset of the conflict, but of those Sunni leaders, including Saudi King Abdullah and Jordan's Abdullah II, who criticized the Shi'ite group in an avowed attempt to turn the Sunni world away from support of Iran.

    "By the end of the war these guys were scrambling for the exits," one US diplomat from the region said in late August. "You haven't heard much from them lately, have you?"

    Mubarak and the two Abdullahs are not the only ones scrambling for the exits - the United States' foreign policy in the region, even in light of its increasingly dire deployment in Iraq, is in a shambles. "What that means is that all the doors are closed to us, in Cairo, in Amman, in Saudi Arabia," another diplomat averred. "Our access has been curtailed. No one will see us. When we call no one picks up the phone."

    A talisman of this collapse can be seen in the itinerary of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whose inability to persuade President George W Bush to halt the fighting and her remark about the conflict as marking "the birth pangs" of a new Middle East in effect destroyed her credibility.

    The US has made it clear that it will attempt to retrieve its position by backing a yet-to-be-announced Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, but America's continued strangulation of the democratically constituted government of the Palestinian Authority has transformed that pledge into a stillborn political program. The reason for this is now eminently clear. In the midst of the war, a European official in Cairo had this to say about the emotions roiling the Egyptian political environment: "The Egyptian leadership is walking down one side of the street," he said, "and the Egyptian people are walking down the other."

    The catastrophic failure of Israeli arms has buoyed Iran's claim to leadership of the Muslim world in several critical areas.

    First, the Hezbollah victory has shown that Israel - and any modern and technologically sophisticated Western military force - can be defeated in open battle, if the proper military tactics are employed and if they are sustained over a prolonged period. Hezbollah has provided the model for the defeat of a modern army. The tactics are simple: ride out the first wave of a Western air campaign, then deploy rocket forces targeting key military and economic assets of the enemy, then ride out a second and more critical air campaign, and then prolong the conflict for an extended period. At some point, as in the case of Israel's attack on Hezbollah, the enemy will be forced to commit ground troops to accomplish what its air forces could not. It is in this last, and critical, phase that a dedicated, well-trained and well-led force can exact enormous pain on a modern military establishment and defeat it.

    Second, the Hezbollah victory has shown the people of the Muslim world that the strategy employed by Western-allied Arab and Muslim governments - a policy of appeasing US interests in the hopes of gaining substantive political rewards (a recognition of Palestinian rights, fair pricing for Middle Eastern resources, non-interference in the region's political structures, and free, fair and open elections) - cannot and will not work. The Hezbollah victory provides another and different model, of shattering US hegemony and destroying its stature in the region. Of the two most recent events in the Middle East, the invasion of Iraq and the Hezbollah victory over Israel, the latter is by far the most important. Even otherwise anti-Hezbollah groups, including those associated with revolutionary Sunni resistance movements who look on Shi'ites as apostates, have been humbled.

    Third, the Hezbollah victory has had a shattering impact on America's allies in the region. Israeli intelligence officials calculated that Hezbollah could carry on its war for upwards of three months after its end in the middle of August. Hezbollah's calculations reflected Israel's findings, with the caveat that neither the Hezbollah nor Iranian leadership could predict what course to follow after a Hezbollah victory. While Jordan's intelligence services locked down any pro-Hezbollah demonstrations, Egypt's intelligence services were struggling to monitor the growing public dismay over the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon.

    Open support for Hezbollah across the Arab world (including, strangely, portraits of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah carried in the midst of Christian celebrations) has put those Arab rulers closest to the United States on notice: a further erosion in their status could loosen their hold on their own nations. It seems likely that as a result, Mubarak and the two Abdullahs are very unlikely to support any US program calling for economic, political or military pressures on Iran. A future war - perhaps a US military campaign against Iran's nuclear sites - might not unseat the government in Tehran, but it could well unseat the governments of Egypt, Jordan and perhaps Saudi Arabia.

    At a key point in the Israel-Hezbollah contest, toward the end of the war, Islamist party leaders in a number of countries wondered whether they would be able to continue their control over their movements or whether, as they feared, political action would be ceded to street captains and revolutionaries. The singular notion, now common in intelligence circles in the United States, is that it was Israel (and not Hezbollah) that, as of August 10, was looking for a way out of the conflict.

    Fourth, the Hezbollah victory has dangerously weakened the Israeli government. In the wake of Israel's last lost war, in 1973, prime minister Menachem Begin decided to accept a peace proposal from Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. The breakthrough was, in fact, rather modest - as both parties were allies of the United States. No such breakthrough will take place in the wake of the Israel-Hezbollah war.

    Israel believes that it has lost its deterrent capabilities and that they must be retrieved. Some Israeli officials in Washington now confirm that it is not a matter of "if" but of "when" Israel goes to war again. Yet it is difficult to determine how Israel can do that. To fight and win against Hezbollah, Israel will need to retrain and refit its army. Like the United States after the Vietnam debacle, Israel will have to restructure its military leadership and rebuild its intelligence assets. That will take years, not months.

    It may be that Israel will opt, in future operations, for the deployment of ever bigger weapons against ever larger targets. Considering its performance in Lebanon, such uses of ever larger weapons could spell an even more robust response. This is not out of the question. A US attack on Iranian nuclear installations would likely be answered by an Iranian missile attack on Israel's nuclear installations - and on Israeli population centers. No one can predict how Israel would react to such an attack, but it is clear that (given Bush's stance in the recent conflict) the United States would do nothing to stop it. The "glass house" of the Persian Gulf region, targeted by Iranian missiles, would then assuredly come crashing down.

    Fifth, the Hezbollah victory spells the end of any hope of a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at least in the short and medium terms. Even normally "progressive" Israeli political figures undermined their political position with strident calls for more force, more troops and more bombs. In private meetings with his political allies, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas castigated those who cheered on Hezbollah's victory, calling them "Hamas supporters" and "enemies of Israel". Abbas is in a far more tenuous position than Mubarak or the two Abdullahs - his people's support for Hamas continues, as does his slavish agreement with George W Bush, who told him on the sidelines of the United Nations Security Council meeting that he was to end all attempts to form a unity government with his fellow citizens.

    Sixth, the Hezbollah victory has had the very unfortunate consequence of blinding Israel's political leadership to the realities of their geostrategic position. In the midst of the war with Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert adopted Bush's language on the "war on terrorism", reminding his citizenry that Hezbollah was a part of "the axis of evil". His remarks have been reinforced by Bush, whose comments during his address before the UN General Assembly mentioned al-Qaeda once - and Hezbollah and Hamas five times each. The United States and Israel have now lumped Islamist groups willing to participate in the political processes in their own nations with those takfiris and Salafists who are bent on setting the region on fire.

    Nor can Israel now count on its strongest US supporters, that network of neo-conservatives for whom Israel is an island of stability and democracy in the region. These neo-conservatives' disapproval of Israel's performance is almost palpable. With friends like these, who needs enemies? That is to say, the Israeli conflict in Lebanon reflects accurately those experts who see the Israel-Hezbollah conflict as a proxy war. Our colleague Jeff Aronson noted that "if it were up to the US, Israel would still be fighting", and he added: "The United States will fight the war on terrorism to the last drop of Israeli blood."

    The continued weakness of the Israeli political leadership and the fact that it is in denial about the depth of its defeat should be a deep concern for the United States and for every Arab nation. Israel has proved that in times of crisis, it can shape a creative diplomatic strategy and maneuver deftly to retrieve its position. It has also proved that in the wake of a military defeat, it is capable of honest and transparent self-examination. Israel's strength has always been its capacity for public debate, even if such debate questions the most sacrosanct institution - the Israel Defense Forces. At key moments in Israel's history, defeat has led to reflection and not, as now seems likely, an increasingly escalating military offensive against Hamas - the red-headed stepchild of the Middle East - to show just how tough it is.

    "The fact that the Middle East has been radicalized by the Hezbollah victory presents a good case for killing more of them," one Israeli official recently said. That path will lead to disaster. In light of America's inability to pull the levers of change in the Middle East, there is hope among some in Washington that Olmert will show the political courage to begin the long process of finding peace. That process will be painful, it will involve long and difficult discussions, it may mean a break with the US program for the region. But the US does not live in the region, and Israel does. While conducting a political dialogue with its neighbors might be painful, it will prove far less painful than losing a war in Lebanon.

    Seventh, Hezbollah's position in Lebanon has been immeasurably strengthened, as has the position of its most important ally. At the height of the conflict, Lebanese Christians took Hezbollah refugees into their homes. The Christian leader Michel Aoun openly supported Hezbollah's fight. One Hezbollah leader said: "We will never forget what that man did for us, not for an entire generation." Aoun's position is celebrated among the Shi'ites, and his own political position has been enhanced.

    The Sunni leadership, on the other hand, fatally undermined itself with its uncertain stance and its absentee landlord approach to its own community. In the first week of the war, Hezbollah's actions were greeted with widespread skepticism. At the end of the war its support was solid and stretched across Lebanon's political and sectarian divides. The Sunni leadership now has a choice: it can form a unity government with new leaders that will create a more representative government or they can stand for elections. It doesn't take a political genius to understand which choice Saad Hariri, the majority leader in the Lebanese parliament, will make.

    Eighth, Iran's position in Iraq has been significantly enhanced. In the midst of the Lebanon conflict, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld privately worried that the Israeli offensive would have dire consequences for the US military in Iraq, who faced increasing hostility from Shi'ite political leaders and the Shi'ite population. Rice's statement that the pro-Hezbollah demonstrations in Baghdad were planned by Tehran revealed her ignorance of the most fundamental political facts of the region. The US secretaries of state and of defense were simply and unaccountably unaware that the Sadrs of Baghdad bore any relationship to the Sadrs of Lebanon. That Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki would not castigate Hezbollah and side with Israel during the conflict - and in the midst of an official visit to Washington - was viewed as shocking by Washington's political establishment, even though "Hezbollah in Iraq" is one of the parties in the current Iraqi coalition government.

    We have been told that neither the Pentagon nor the State Department understood how the war in Lebanon might effect America's position in Iraq because neither the Pentagon nor the State Department asked for a briefing on the issue from the US intelligence services. The United States spends billions of dollars each year on its intelligence collection and analysis activities. It is money wasted.

    Ninth, Syria's position has been strengthened and the US-French program for Lebanon has failed. There is no prospect that Lebanon will form a government that is avowedly pro-American or anti-Syrian. That Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could, in the wake of the war, suggest a political arrangement with Israel shows his strength, not his weakness. That he might draw the correct conclusions from the conflict and believe that he too might successfully oppose Israel is also possible.

    But aside from these possibilities, recent history shows that those thousands of students and Lebanese patriots who protested Syria's involvement in Lebanon after the death of Rafiq Hariri found it ironic that they took refuge from the Israeli bombing in tent cities established by the Syrian government. Rice is correct on one thing: Syria's willingness to provide refuge for Lebanese refugees was a pure act of political cynicism - and one that the United States seems incapable of replicating. Syria now is confident of its political position. In a previous era, such confidence allowed Israel to shape a political opening with its most intransigent political enemies.

    Tenth, and perhaps most important, it now is clear that a US attack on Iranian nuclear installations would be met with little support in the Muslim world. It would also be met by a military response that would collapse the last vestiges of America's political power in the region. What was thought to be a "given" just a few short weeks ago has been shown to be unlikely. Iran will not be cowed. If the United States launches a military campaign against the Tehran government, it is likely that America's friends will fall by the wayside, the Gulf Arab states will tremble in fear, the 138,000 US soldiers in Iraq will be held hostage by an angered Shi'ite population, and Iran will respond by an attack on Israel. We would now dare say the obvious - if and when such an attack comes, the United States will be defeated.

    Conclusion
    The victory of Hezbollah in its recent conflict with Israel is far more significant than many analysts in the United States and Europe realize. The Hezbollah victory reverses the tide of 1967 - a shattering defeat of Egypt, Syria and Jordan that shifted the region's political plates, putting in place regimes that were bent on recasting their own foreign policy to reflect Israeli and US power. That power now has been sullied and reversed, and a new leadership is emerging in the region.

    The singular lesson of the conflict may well be lost on the upper echelons of Washington's and London's pro-Israel, pro-values, we-are-fighting-for-civilization political elites, but it is not lost in the streets of Cairo, Amman, Ramallah, Baghdad, Damascus or Tehran. It should not be lost among the Israeli political leadership in Jerusalem. The Arab armies of 1967 fought for six days and were defeated. The Hezbollah militia in Lebanon fought for 34 days and won. We saw this with our own eyes when we looked into the cafes of Cairo and Amman, where simple shopkeepers, farmers and workers gazed at television reports, sipped their tea, and silently mouthed the numbers to themselves: "seven", "eight", "nine" ...

    Alastair Crooke and Mark Perry are the co-directors of Conflicts Forum, a London-based group dedicated to providing an opening to political Islam. Crooke is the former Middle East adviser to European Union High Representative Javier Solana and served as a staff member of the Mitchell Commission investigating the causes of the second intifada. Perry is a Washington, DC-based political consultant, author of six books on US history, and a former personal adviser to Yasser Arafat.

    (Research for this article was provided by Madeleine Perry.)

    (Copyright 2006 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

    Austin

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    Found this very interesting stuff of Russian anti-tank weapons used in lebanon war

    Post  Austin on Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:13 pm

    Found this very interesting stuff of Russian anti-tank weapons used in lebanon war

    Losses of armored vehicles in the Second Lebanon War
    Anti-tank weapons of Hezbollah:Trophies Second Lebanon War

    Austin

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    Russian Anti-Armour Weapons and Israeli Tanks in Lebanon

    Post  Austin on Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:20 am

    Russian Anti-Armour Weapons and Israeli Tanks in Lebanon

    Mikhail Barabanov
    http://mdb.cast.ru/mdb/2-2007/

    The military conflict that unfolded from 12 July – 14 August, 2006 between Israel and the Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite Islamist Resistance group, marked the first time in several years that the Israeli army has confronted a well equipped opponent in a large-scale confrontation. Military observers paid particular attention to the use of Israeli armour and the outcome of battles between Israeli main battle tanks and Hezbollah’s anti-tank weaponry.

    All in all, four division headquarters and 17 Israeli Army brigades (six armoured, seven infantry and four airborne) took part in battle, though not all were up to full combat strength. Over 30,000 Israeli servicemen and up to 400 main battle tanks were directly engaged in battle on Lebanese soil, and the tanks were all Merkava models made in Israel. Of the six armoured brigades, two brigades (7th and 847th) were equipped with the Merkava Mk 2 model, three brigades (188th, 434th and 673rd) with the Merkava Mk 3 model, and one brigade (401st) with the most advanced Merkava Mk 4 model. Of the seven infantry brigades, two (1st and 609th) were equipped with Achzarit heavy armoured personnel carriers, converted from Soviet T-55 tanks seized from Arab forces in the wars of 1967 and 1973.

    Since 2000, Hezbollah has turned the expanse between the Israeli border and the Litani river into a heavily fortified line of defence, known as “Nasser.” Practically every settlement was equipped with temporary or permanent fortifications (including concrete bunkers, steel doors, etc), a large number of underground tunnels and heavy camouflage. However, although Hezbollah fighters made use of these fortifications, they did not engage in positional warfare, but mounted mobile military operations. Fighters were mobilized in groups of no more than 20 people (often just five or six), based, as a rule, on detachments of anti-tank missile systems. It appears their strategy was to expose the advancing Israeli units, and tank units in particular, to guided anti-tank missiles fired at a fairly long range, often changing their positions, using a network of tunnels and bunkers.

    Hezbollah deployed up to 2500 fighters, of which a core of a thousand “regular” troops were well trained and equipped to the best western standards. These zealous, professional fighters were well supplied with arms, and strictly followed orders. One could not say that Israel was fighting with “partisan” formations in the conventional sense of the term, but in reality with a well equipped and organized regular army, even if it displayed some peculiar methods of warfare.

    Hezbollah made a special effort to confront Israeli armour with a huge number of anti-tank weapons, including the Soviet Malyutka anti-tank guided—missile complex (NATO code AT-3) with 9M14 series guided—missiles (including licensed Yugoslav versions and the Iranian Raad and Raad—2T tandem warhead “clones,” the Fagot (AT-5), Konkurs (AT-5, including the licensed Iranian Towsan-1 version), the French MILAN, the American TOW (including its Iranian Toophan and tandem warhead Toophan-2 copy), recoilless guns and several versions of the Soviet RPG-7 hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher. Iran and Syria were the main suppliers of these weapons, with some western systems apparently reaching the Shiites from the arsenal of the Lebanese Army.

    Aside from that, Hezbollah used a small number of modern 9K115—2 Metis-M (AT-13) and 9K129 Kornet-E (AT-14) portable anti-tank guided—missile systems, and RPG-29 Vampir anti-tank rocket launchers, delivered by Russia to Syria in 1998—1999. These three new systems penetrated armour exceptionally well thanks to their tandem High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warheads. The close-range Metis-M system have a range of up to 1500 meters and are armed with 9M131 guided—missiles weighing 13.8 kg with wire-guidance. The heavier Kornet-E fires 9M133 laser-guided missiles weighing 29 kg up to 5500 meters. Both systems are made by the Tula Instrument Design Bureau and were equipped with 1PN86V1 Mulat thermal sights. The hand-held RPG‑29 Vampir anti-tank rocket launcher is one of the latest products of Moscow-based Basalt. Weighing 11.5 kg, it fires rocket-propelled grenades that weigh 6.2 kg up to 500 metres from a telescopic pipe.

    Hezbollah’s defences were structured around these anti-tank weapons, which were used in great numbers. According to Israeli estimates, the fighters launched over 500 anti-tank guided—missiles in July alone, and about 1000 through the course of the conflict. Moreover, the anti-tank guided—missiles were used not only against armoured objects, but also against Israeli infantry. The fighters sought generally to employ the weapons from the maximum possible range.

    On the whole, both the scale of Hezbollah’s use of anti-tank systems, as well as their possession of modern systems with superior armour penetration capability, came as a surprise to the Israeli command. Nevertheless, measures to reduce losses of armour were taken from the very beginning. It is indicative that on Lebanese territory the Israelis used only their heavily protected APCs on main battle tank chassis: the Achazarit (on the T‑55 chassis), the Nagmahon, a few of Nemerah prototypes(on the Merkava chassis), the Puma combat engineering vehicle and the Nakpadon, all based on the old British Centurion tank chassis, while the standard M113 APCs, even those modernized with a great deal of extra protection, where hardly used at all, and then only as engineering, support and convoy vehicles.

    According to various Israeli and Western sources, during the course of battle in Lebanon, between 46 and 50 Merkava main battle tanks (of the 400 deployed) and 14 APCs were hit by anti-tank weapons, including 22 incidents where tank armour and 5 cases where APC armour was penetrated. Another six tanks and at least one APC were blown up by mines and IDEs.

    Of those tanks hit by anti-tank weapons, 18 were the newest Merkava Mk 4 version (from the 401st armoured brigade), and six of these had their armour penetrated. Twenty-three tank and five APC crew members were killed. A large number of anti-tank guide-missiles and RPG grenades hit the tanks, but in most cases these did little damage. It was reported that one of the Merkava Mk 4 tanks survived 23 hits from anti-tank guided—missiles before it was finally disabled and its armour penetrated. All penetrations of Merkava armour, according to Israeli statements, were achieved by the Konkurs, Metis-M and Kornet-E anti-tank guided—missiles, and the RPG-29 rocket-propelled grenades. If one considers that 22 of 50 tanks had their armour penetrated, that gives a penetration rate of 44% (and only 33% for the Merkava Mk 4). According to Israeli Army statistics, the penetration rate for tanks during the 1982 Lebanon War was 47%, and 60% during the 1973 War. The crew casualties rate was also much higher in 2006 at 0.5 crew member for each damaged tank, while the rate per disabled tank in 1973 War is one full crew member.

    The number of irrecoverable tank losses among those damaged, according to recent Israeli publications, was five altogether, of which two (a Merkava Mk 2 and Mk 4) were destroyed by IDEs and three tanks were completely burned out after hits by guided anti-tank guided—missiles. This attests to the high degree of protection afforded by the most modern Merkava Mk 4 tanks, which could be damaged only by the most modern anti-tank weapons with powerful tandem HEAT warheads hitting, it would seem, weakened armoured zones.

    The extremely low percentage of missile hits and the low percentage of armour penetration clearly shows that the vast majority of anti-tank guided—missiles were of the old type, most likely the completely obsolete Malyutka (and its many copies), with clumsy guidance systems (manual, on the oldest models), with no modern sights and a relatively small warhead, by modern standards.

    It appears that non-modernized second generation anti-tank guided—missiles produced in the 1970s (Fagot, Konkurs, MILAN, TOW) were used in battle. The Kornet-E and Metis-M systems, with their much higher level of effectiveness, were clearly present in very small numbers, but accounted for the majority of Israeli losses. This allows one to conclude that Israel made an issue of the possession of these new systems by Hezbollah mostly for political, rather than strictly military, reasons. On the other hand, if Hezbollah had a large number of Kornet-E and Metis-M systems, the Israeli tank attack in Lebanon could have been completely repelled. Modern Russian weapons proved to be quite effective against the newest Western equipment.

    The old types of anti-tank guided—missile systems have shown themselves to be extremely ineffective. And since the majority of anti-tank forces in the world are equipped with precisely this old generation of missile systems, the results of recent warfare in Lebanon should sound an alarm, and provoke considered reflection regarding the purchase of modern anti-tank weapons, such as the Kornet-E.

    Nevertheless, from their experience in Lebanon the Israelis themselves concluded that armour itself cannot in principle provide full protection from anti-tank guided—missile systems, and that all of their tanks would be equipped with active protection systems such as the Rafael Trophy and the IMI Iron Fist systems.

    They decided in early 2007 to equip the entire fleet of Merkava tanks and the Nemerah APCs yet to be built with Trophy active protection systems by the end of 2008. Passive electronic countermeasures are also now held in high regard. Apparently, none of the four tanks equipped with experimental electronic countermeasures system was hit by even a single anti-tank guided—missile.

    However, the importance of heavy “conventional” armour (including explosive reactive armour suites) was also proven on the battlefield, and the Israelis decided to continue the production of Merkava Mk 4 main battle tanks, and to launch the serial production of heavily armoured Nemerah APCs on the chassis of these tanks. Two hundred such vehicles have been ordered.

    Thus, the war in Lebanon has proven the Soviet and Russian approach to the development of protection for main battle tanks, as established in the 1970s, to be very well. In the 1980s the USSR created the first comprehensive passive (Shtora) and active (Drozd, Arena) protection systems, which are still being developed today. Israel and the West are only now catching up to Russia. Meanwhile, we can see that the newest Western tanks (included the well-protected Merkava) burn up when hit by modern anti-tank weapons in just the same way as the old Soviet T-72 tanks deployed in Chechnya and Iraq.

    Russia avoided the Western fashion of dismissing heavy armour and explosive reactive armour as “unnecessary” and continued to develop a balanced configuration of armour, including detachable and built-in protection, and in this turned out to be justified. The Lebanese conflict of 2006 and the war in Iraq have once again proven allegations of the obsolescence of the main battle tank to be absurd. The modern MBT with its powerful heavy armour and large combat weight will continue for some time as the core of the land forces.

    As for the tactical application of armour troops, it is clear that the Israelis used their tanks in small groups almost exclusively for immediate support of line infantry. It was precisely this well equipped and trained infantry that played the decisive role in battle. Attempts to use armour troops to achieve a breakthrough without infantry support and reconnaissance inevitably led to senseless losses, as befell the forces of the 401st Israeli armoured brigade at Vadi Saluki on 9 August.

    The tank battalion of this brigade, pushing forward with no infantry, fell into a fire trap of anti-tank guided—missile systems (mostly Kornet-E, according to Israeli sources), losing eleven Mk 4 Merkava tanks damaged and eight crew killed, including the battalion commander. The Israeli armour troops were clearly not well prepared for action against modern anti-tank weapons.

    On the Israeli side, it is also clear that the armoured reserve units were insufficiently prepared, especially in the use of countermeasures (smoke screens, advancing fire to disturb aiming, reverse gear withdrawal, etc). As such, the quality of the training of the armour troops and the ability of the commanders to effectively combine tanks and other forces remain the key elements for the successful use of main battle tanks on the field.
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    Kyo

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    Israeli-Hezbollah conflict

    Post  Kyo on Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:24 pm

    IDF vehicle comes under fire on Lebanon border, 15 Israeli soldiers killed
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    ahmedfire

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    UN peacekeeper, 2 IDF soldiers killed: Israel, Hezbollah exchange fire

    Post  ahmedfire on Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:49 pm

    An anti-tank missile hit an IDF vehicle in the Golan Heights, prompting an exchange of fire between the Israeli army and Hezbollah, which claimed responsibility for the attack. A UN peacekeeper and two IDF soldiers have been killed.

    The Israeli Defense Forces vehicle was struck by an anti-tank missile in Har Dov (also known as Shebaa Farms), an area under Israeli control that borders on Lebanon and Syria, the IDF said.

    In a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, Hezbollah said it resulted in casualties among “enemy ranks.”

    Two Israeli soliders were killed as a result of the attack by the militant group, according to a statement released by the Israeli military. The statement also said that seven soldiers were wounded.

    The official announcement of casualties was delayed for several hours so that the families of the victims could be notified.

    The Hezbollah statement says the attack was carried out by a group calling itself the “heroic martyrs of Quneitra.” Quneitra is a district in the Golan Heights. The name of the group suggests the attack was in retaliation for the January 18 airstrike by Israel on the Golan Heights, which killed six Lebanese Hezbollah fighters along with a senior Iranian general.

    No soldiers were kidnapped in the Lebanon incident, IDF said.

    "The rumor of abduction has been ruled out," Reuters cited Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, who was commenting on Lebanese media reports of a soldier having been kidnapped.

    Israel responded to the attack on the IDF vehicle by firing 25 artillery shells into Lebanon, according to Lebanese security officials cited by Naharnet.

    Mortar bombs launched from Lebanon then hit an Israeli military position in the Golan Heights, the IDF said, Reuters reported.

    A member of the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed in the exchange of fire.

    "One peacekeeper was killed,” Reuters cited Andrea Tenenti, spokesman for UNIFIL, as saying. “We are looking into the circumstances of this tragic incident."

    Residents in the Israel-controlled area have been instructed to stay indoors.

    “All residents are asked to return to their homes and to close all doors and windows until further notice,” the IDF’s Home Front Command said in a text message, cited by the Times of Israel.

    Airports in Chaifa and Rosh Pina have been closed, as well as roads along the borders with Lebanon and Syria. The IDF is holding an emergency meeting on the incident, Israeli media report.

    Lebanese schools in the villages near the border with Israel are being evacuated, according to Al-Arabiya.

    Several hours earlier, Israeli jets struck several targets in Syria in response to Hezbollah rocket fire into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.


    http://rt.com/news/227007-israel-lebanon-missile-idf/
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    nemrod

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    Re: Israeli-Hezbollah conflict

    Post  nemrod on Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:28 pm

    Kyo wrote:IDF vehicle comes under fire on Lebanon border, 15 Israeli soldiers killed

    The evidence offered by this photo showing few hummers completly crushed, burnt  



    implies the figure of deaths and casualities must be high, nevertheless, Israel dare to claim that only two deaths, and few are slightly injured  lol! . If you take a look of this photo, it is impossible to be injured other than badly, or died. It is hard to believe that the figure of causualties does not overpass 10. Saying that only few casualties occured is ridiculous. Hizbollah, asserts that in the group of 9 vehicles, many were hit, and, it seems they were hit from short distance.

    Furthermore, Israelis assert too that Hizbollah used anti-tank missiles, and especially Kornet. Kornet against a poor an unarmored vehicles ?  Whereas simple rpg-7, or Rpg-29 are largelly enough. Do israelis dream of Kornet ? Are they lack of psychologists ? Do they lack of hankies ? Do they lack of diapers ?
    The reality, in Israel, politics as military staff are all completly terraced. If they dare to continue the war, Hizbollah this time has not only very efficients anti tanks missiles, but also anti-aircrafts hardwares, that could complicated seriously the task of Israel air force, accustomed to bomb a defenseless civilians, as poor palestinian entity.
    Hizbollah showed in this operation they can reach every objectives that they want, everywhere, against every army in the world, including Israel army, US Army, Saudi Army, or Jordan Army, or turkish army.
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    flamming_python

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    Re: Israeli-Hezbollah conflict

    Post  flamming_python on Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:45 pm

    nemrod wrote:
    Kyo wrote:IDF vehicle comes under fire on Lebanon border, 15 Israeli soldiers killed

    The evidence offered by this photo showing few hummers completly crushed, burnt  



    implies the figure of deaths and casualities must be high, nevertheless, Israel dare to claim that only two deaths, and few are slightly injured  lol! . If you take a look of this photo, it is impossible to be injured other than badly, or died. It is hard to believe that the figure of causualties does not overpass 10. Saying that only few casualties occured is ridiculous. Hizbollah, asserts that in the group of 9 vehicles, many were hit, and, it seems they were hit from short distance.

    Furthermore, Israelis assert too that Hizbollah used anti-tank missiles, and especially Kornet. Kornet against a poor an unarmored vehicles ?  Whereas simple rpg-7, or Rpg-29 are largelly enough. Do israelis dream of Kornet ? Are they lack of psychologists ? Do they lack of hankies ? Do they lack of diapers ?
    The reality, in Israel, politics as military staff are all completly terraced. If they dare to continue the war, Hizbollah this time has not only very efficients anti tanks missiles, but also anti-aircrafts hardwares, that could complicated seriously the task of Israel air force, accustomed to bomb a defenseless civilians, as poor palestinian entity.
    Hizbollah showed in this operation they can reach every objectives that they want, everywhere, against every army in the world, including Israel army, US Army, Saudi Army, or Jordan Army, or turkish army.

    Hizbullah once again proved that they're not a force to be taken lightly. They have been bombed a few times over the years (since the crisis in Syria started), they've kept away from retaliating, and then were bombed again just recently in an attack that killed an Iranian general - and have now struck back.

    The Hezzies are terrorists though of that there is no doubt. They blew up a bus in Bulgaria full of tourists and did fire indiscriminately against mostly civilian targets in north Israel during the last war.. albeit you can accuse the Israelis of targeting civilian infastructure too in their retaliatory attacks or simply not caring too much about who they hit.
    But what is certain is that they haven't been provoking Israel, they haven't been bombing it or launching any attacks; at least not open ones. Maybe there was a potential threat to Israel from the Iranian paramiltary general and maybe there wasn't.. unfortunately world politics doesn't operate according to premonitions and the Israelis aren't willing to disclose their evidence. So from where I'm standing, it just looks like the Israelis decided to take advantage of an opportunity to settle some scores and weaken Syria and Hezbollah for the hell of it with these airstrikes; but through so doing have been provoking retaliation and now that the Hezzies have retaliated - it should come as a surprise to no-one.

    As for the ambush - if that is the true photo of it then 2 KIA sounds too low. Those vehicles are annihilated and so too would anyone have been who was sitting in them; the initial reports mentioned both IEDs and ATGMs. IED's strike instantly and don't give a chance for anyone to get away, ATGMs you can see coming - but you probably won't see them coming if you're not expecting it, and they travel pretty fast anyway.


    Furthermore, Israelis assert too that Hizbollah used anti-tank missiles, and especially Kornet. Kornet against a poor an unarmored vehicles ?  Whereas simple rpg-7, or Rpg-29 are largelly enough. Do israelis dream of Kornet ? Are they lack of psychologists ? Do they lack of hankies ? Do they lack of diapers ?

    Kornet's sound quite reasonable. True that RPGs would have been enough - but the main difference is that ATGMs are guided, medium-range while RPGs are unguided, short-range. It's a lot easier and safer to set up an ambush against moving vehicles with ATGMs
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    Kyo

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    Re: Israeli-Hezbollah conflict

    Post  Kyo on Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:24 pm

    CIA tested 25 bombs before helping Mossad kill top Hezbollah figure – report
    Published time: January 31, 2015 10:16

    The US helped Mossad assassinate a top Hezbollah figure in Syria in 2008 by lending bomb expertise and surveillance on the ground, Washington Post reported. The joint operation marked CIA’s post-9/11 drift toward modern-day drone killings.

    The death of Imad Mughniyah on February 2008 was initially pinned on the Israelis. Hezbollah’s international operations chief, he was suspected of having a hand in many terrorist attacks, including the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy and the 1994 attack on a Jewish community center, both in Argentina.

    The suspicion that the CIA may have been involved in the assassination arose on several occasions. But now the newspaper Washington Post reports that this indeed was the case, citing five former US intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    The US was instrumental in killing Mughniyah, who was among other things suspected of planning the 1983 bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut, the newspaper said. The CIA provided the bomb, which was planted in a spare tire on the Hezbollah official’s car. An American spotter team in Damascus tracked him down and gave a signal to Mossad agents in Tel Aviv that they could remotely trigger the explosive device.

    “The way it was set up, the US could object and call it off, but it could not execute,” a former US official told the Post.

    The bomb itself was reportedly built by Americans after a series of testing at a CIA facility in North Carolina. The charge was shaped to ensure that no collateral damage would happen – a pledge that the agency allegedly made to US lawmakers during a secret briefing in the lead-up to the operation.

    “We probably blew up 25 bombs to make sure we got it right,” the former official said.



    The newspaper calls the killing of Mughniyah the most high-risk action by US intelligence in recent years, after the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. It also marked a significant shift in how America targeted its enemies triggered by the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

    The Bush administration secured approval from the attorney general, the director of national intelligence, the national security adviser and the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department to carry out the operation, one former official said. Getting them to sign off on it required a legal justification, which was that Mughniyah “was a continuing threat to Americans” due to his organizing of attacks against American troops by Iraqi militias.

    “The decision was we had to have absolute confirmation that it was self-defense,” the official told The Post.

    The assertion apparently was enough to override a Reagan-era prohibition on US intelligence agencies carrying out assassinations established by Executive Order 12333 and to team up with the Israelis to kill Mughniyah in the Syrian capital, far from any battlefield. The same reasoning was later used by Bush and Obama administrations to deliver hundreds of drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen and even kill American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki without a trial in 2011.

    A man walks past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by US drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa, November 13, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)A man walks past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by US drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa, November 13, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

    The Post says that the US determination to kill Mughniyah was voiced to Israelis as early as in 2002. At a secret meeting with the chief of Israeli military intelligence service senior officials from US military’s elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) suggested to discuss such an operation.

    “When we said we would be willing to explore opportunities to target him, they practically fell out of their chairs,” a former US official described the reaction of the Israelis to the suggestion.

    JSOC envisioned a commando raid rather than a clandestine bombing attack and wanted Israeli support for evacuation.

    Eventually the mission to kill Mughniyah became a long term CIA-Mossad effort with at least a year spent on studying the target’s habits to establish a plan for the attack. At one moment the team reportedly had a chance to kill both him and Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, when they met in Damascus, but the Bush administration didn’t give the agents the authority to kill the Iranian.

    After the news of Mughniyah’s death broke, the US hailed it.

    “The world is a better place without this man in it. He was a coldblooded killer, a mass murderer and a terrorist responsible for countless innocent lives lost,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said at the time.
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    George1

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    Re: Israeli-Hezbollah conflict

    Post  George1 on Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:32 am

    Israel Ready to Prevent Hezbollah Expansion Into Syria, Golan Heights

    Israel reportedly expressed readiness to boost its defenses along the border with Lebanon in order to limit Hezbollah's expansion in the Golan Heights region in Syria, the Lebanese news outlet Naharnet reported Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – High-ranking Israeli officials said that Hezbollah would be deemed responsible for any hostile action against Israeli troops or settlements near the Golan Heights, with Israel ready to retaliate to any sign of aggression, Naharnet said referring to Tuesday's edition of al-Liwaa, an Arabic-language Lebanese daily.

    Lebanese and Hezbullah officials are said to have been notified of Israel's warnings.

    Western diplomatic sources of al-Liwaa quoted Israeli officials as saying that offensives in the Golan Heights were planned by Iran, and had direct links to Iran's nuclear program, Naharnet reported.

    Hezbollah, established in the 1980s, is a paramilitary and political organization originating in Lebanon's Shiite population that aimed to end Israel's occupation of Lebanon.

    In January, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that Israel had carried out an airstrike in the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights that killed six Hezbollah militants.

    The toughening of Israel's stance came after a Hezbollah strike in January, which left two Israeli soldiers dead and seven more wounded in the Golan Heights area.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20150303/1018984596.html#ixzz3TJUe5Va5
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    George1

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    Re: Israeli-Hezbollah conflict

    Post  George1 on Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:03 pm

    Is Israel Trying to Disrupt Iran Deal by Waging War Against Hezbollah?


    _________________
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    MonkeymodelBananaRepublic

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    Re: Israeli-Hezbollah conflict

    Post  MonkeymodelBananaRepublic on Tue May 02, 2017 12:16 pm

    Interesting articles where military power is provding a genuine deterrence to war by raising the costs to elite to levels they find unacceptable. Reminds me of north korea and seoul artillery tactic. Seems like hezbollah has found a good stratergy 

    https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/world/middle_east/ten-years-after-last-lebanon-war-israel-warns-next-one-will-be-far-worse/2016/07/23/58d7a6ca-4388-11e6-a76d-3550dba926ac_story.html 

    http://forward.com/opinion/366170/israels-next-big-war/ 

    Its interesting to note how they are intentionally building up urban areas in south lebanon to recreate urban warfare condition to counter israel strengths and play to their own e.g light infantry, 5 years combat experience syria war 

    It sounds like camouflage techniques are something engenuine and would play well against israel in media war

    I like the tactic of going after the ammonia factory and taking out 800 000 people along with electricity stations and water. Cripple the country like what usa and ussr were plannning to do to each other with nukes. No water, no electricity = no manufacturing to resupply / civilian catastrophy to divert resources and raise cost war. Nice change in stratergy by hezbollah, i hope they dont get fooled by success in syria to try and engage israel in conventional war like was tried by all other arab countries - dont play to their strengths play to their weakness like last time

    par far

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    Israel vs Lebanon/Hezbollah

    Post  par far on Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:15 pm

    "Israeli Army Intensifies Activity In Border Area With Lebanon (Photos, Video)."






    https://southfront.org/israeli-army-intensifies-activity-in-border-area-with-lebanon/




    JohninMK

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    Re: Israeli-Hezbollah conflict

    Post  JohninMK on Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:20 am

    This kinda comes under this subject as Trump seems to be working for Israel's interests. You have to wonder if anyone bothered to tell him what Hezbollah's actual role was in Lebanon of if he just got the Israel party line.


    Ali‏ @Ali_Kourani

    Trump just said Lebanon is on frontline of fighting Hezbollah. Hezbollah heads a coalition that makes up half of the Lebanese parliament.

    Ali‏ @Ali_Kourani 2h2 hours ago
    Replying to @Ali_Kourani

    Trump just called Hezbollah a menace to the Lebanese state.
    The Lebanese president is allied with Hezbollah, its arms are legitimized by Gov

    Ali‏ @Ali_Kourani 2h2 hours ago

    Trump: "Hezbollah exacerbates the human tragedy in Lebanon"

    Hezbollah offers free healthcare to 500k low-income Lebanese citizens.

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    Re: Israeli-Hezbollah conflict

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