Posted by: sean | August 15, 2006

The real war starts

Robert Fisk does not seem optimistic. In today’s Independent, he predicts weeks of guerrilla warfare in the south, despite that fact that the roads to the south were already packed with Lebanese trying to get back to their homes and bury their dead:

The real war in Lebanon begins today. The world may believe – and Israel may believe – that the UN ceasefire due to come into effect at 6am today will mark the beginning of the end of the latest dirty war in Lebanon after up to 1,000 Lebanese civilians and more than 30 Israeli civilians have been killed. But the reality is quite different and will suffer no such self-delusion: the Israeli army, reeling under the Hizbollah’s onslaught of the past 24 hours, is now facing the harshest guerrilla war in its history. And it is a war they may well lose.

…From this morning, Hizbollah’s operations will be directed solely against the invasion force. And the Israelis cannot afford to lose 40 men a day. Unable to shoot down the Israeli F-16 aircraft that have laid waste to much of Lebanon, the Hizbollah have, for years, prayed and longed and waited for the moment when they could attack the Israeli army on the ground.

Now they are set to put their long-planned campaign into operation. Thousands of their members remain alive and armed in the ruined hill villages of southern Lebanon for just this moment and, only hours after their leader, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, warned Israel on Saturday that his men were waiting for them on the banks of the Litani river, the Hizbollah sprang their trap, killing more than 20 Israeli soldiers in less than three hours.

…At this fatal juncture in Middle East history – and no one should underestimate this moment’s importance in the region – the Israeli army appears as impotent to protect its country as the Hizbollah clearly is to protect Lebanon.

But if the ceasefire collapses, as seems certain, neither the Israelis nor the Americans appear to have any plans to escape the consequences. The US saw this war as an opportunity to humble Hizbollah’s Iranian and Syrian sponsors but already it seems as if the tables have been turned. The Israeli military appears to be efficient at destroying bridges, power stations, gas stations and apartment blocks – but signally inefficient in crushing the “terrorist” army they swore to liquidate.

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Responses

  1. We will find out how effective Hibullah really is in the next coming weeks. Although both Israel and Hizbullah have declared “victory”, I feel that we should exercise same fine line skepticism until the dust settles down – we will see how far Hizbullah’s strength has really been sapped. Yes, they are good -very very good- but perhaps some reports of their current level of military, civil, and political stength have been exaggerated.

    In my mind, Iran, Syria, US, and Lebanon are the defacto wild cards. These players can throw more fuel to the fire if they choose to do so. If so, the less than optimistic assessments by Fisk may turn out more than accurate, especially if Hizbullah can come out with a vengeance.

    -km

  2. I found this blog surfing.

    That post was one of the smartest on the subject I’ve read.

    Israel has the military capacity, to take down anyone in the Middle East, but not the industrial base, for protracted war.

    Neither side got what they bargained for. Israel surprised Hezbollah with its brutality, and Hezbollah surprized Israel with its resilience.

  3. I’m adding your blog to my blogroll.

  4. Yes, Sean has a keen eye and mind. I often go here to get an update about what’s going on out there.

    As I’m writing this reply, it seems that Hizbullah is very much capitolizing on the reconstruction efforts throughout Lebanon through its great social service capacities.

    Now, here is the question: what will the Lebanese state do with all that US Aid, particularly if it seems that Hizbullah is proving itself so capable in the reconstruction effort?

    -KM


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