|Israel Resource Review
||8th September, 2006
American officials: NEXT HIZBULLAH WAR EXPECTED TO BE FIERCER
Middle East News Line
The next round of Israel's confrontation with Hizbullah
was expected to be more fierce than the 33-day war concluded in August.
U.S. military analysts expect Israeli ground forces to move rapidly to
destroy Hizbullah's short-range rocket arsenal in Lebanon. At the same time, the analysts said Hizbullah would receive greater support from Iran and Syria in any future war.
"Should a second round of fighting occur, it will be more intense,
lethal, and concentrated in time," Jeffrey White, a former Pentagon
intelligence analyst and now a researcher with the Washington Institute,
said. "The outcome will be determined by who is more adaptive."
In an August 25 briefing, White, who visited Israel in the aftermath of
the war, said Israel's faulty tactics and poor command led to Hizbullah's
successes. He said Hizbullah's tactical and operational doctrine was
validated, "due largely to the way Israel fought rather than any intrinsic
superiority of arms or tactics."
"In a second round, Israel will seek an answer to the short-range
missile problem and will hit harder, deeper, and faster, while Hizbullah
will seek to strike deeper, dig-in more deeply, and defend it is high-value assets," White said. "If Hizbullah's military capabilities are seriously degraded, Syria will have to make a decision regarding resupply and perhaps even intervention. [Syrian President] Bashar Al Assad's record to date suggests he may well make the wrong decision -- namely, to get involved."
White said the Israeli-Hizbullah war did not produce a winner. A former
analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, White said Israel was "shackled by its faltering senior military and political command."
"The air force, which was skilled in destroying Hizbullah's medium-range
rocket launchers and claims to have destroyed 90-95 percent of the group's
long-range rockets, was able neither to compel the Lebanese government to
act against Hizbullah nor to disrupt the firing of short-range rockets,"
The analyst said Israel's special operations and other elite units
adapted well to Hizbullah tactics. But he said reserve infantry units were
"ill prepared for the fight."
"Hizbullah's guerilla fighters fought like a well-trained conventional
force and effectively employed mines and antitank guided missiles," White
said. "Hizbullah was surprised by the scope of Israel's action, the destruction of its long-range missiles, Israel's willingness to confront Hizbullah fighters, and the resiliency of northern Israel. Ultimately, this was a contest of wills among Israel, the United States, and Hizbullah."
Chuck Freilich, a senior fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center,
said Israel's failure to defeat Hizbullah stemmed from poor leadership.
Freilich, a former Israeli national security adviser, said the military was
prevented from implementing its plan against Hizbullah.
"Israel must now adopt a realistic deterrent posture with clear red
lines and aggressively implement it in practice at the risk of renewed
hostilities," Freilich said in an analysis for the Jerusalem Center for
Public Affairs. "Israel, not Hizbullah, must dominate the escalation cycle."
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