Hizbullah 2006 vs Hamas 2009

Pat Lang has some interesting observations back at Sic Semper Tyrannis on the similarities between the IDF’s 2006 massacring of Lebanon and its current onslaught on Gaza, notably its lack of clear objectives and its inability to halt rocket launches: ‘Remember Lebanon in ’06.  We all really know how well that went for the IDF (irony alert).  In the Lebanon case the air power crowd succeeded in persuading the Israeli government that the Lebanese (in general) could be intimidated into accommodating the Likud/neocon/Bush program for Lebanon.  That failed in spite of devastating air attacks on civilian infrastructure targets the length and breath of the country.  Then, there was a half hearted air/ground effort to destroy Hizbullah’s forward positions and rocket firing capability.  That proved impossible to do at any price that Israel was willing to pay.  The net result was that Hizbullah became an exemplar for every Muslim enemy of Israel, an example of how the IDF can be defeated by brave and well prepared men.  Politically, the ultimate result of ’06 was to make Hizbullah, and their Christian allies under General Aoun, the arbiters of events in Lebanon. We have now seen the Israelis run through their target list in Gaza.  Hamas is still firing at Ashkalon and Beersheba.  One wonders just who has who by the testicles in this situation. If the Israelis back away with some sort of unilateral ceasefire, then the ’06 judgment of the Muslims on them will be confirmed in many minds.  Thus far there are not enough ground troops “showing” in what the Israelis have brought to Gaza.  These deployments are a mere threat.  They will have to call forward many more units before the threat of a major ground operation becomes credible. A major ground operation in Gaza may cause Hizbullah to resume hostilities from north of the Litani.  This should be considered as a risk inherent in a ground operation in Gaza.’

As well as this on the lessons Hamas (if not Israel) has learned from that 2006 July war: ‘”According to Israeli officials, Hamas has smuggled 70 tons of high explosives into Gaza since it violently wrested control of the territory from Abbas’ Fatah faction in June. Hamas also has at least 15,000 full-time guerrillas, many of them trained in Iran and Syria. Israel’s army does not want Hamas to acquire the capabilities Hezbollah demonstrated in Lebanon during the summer war in 2006. IDF officials say they cannot wait until Hamas has built up defenses along the Gaza frontier that would make an invasion unbearably costly in terms of Israeli casualties. “Hamas is trying to entrench itself along the Gaza Strip border fence,” Brig. Gen. Moshe Tamir, a senior commander of Israel’s forces outside Gaza, told journalists recently. “They’re digging tunnels beneath, building bunkers, establishing mortar nests, observation posts and escape routes.” Amos Harel of the Ha’aretz daily said Israel feels its natural tactical superiority being eroded by the asymmetrical fighting with Hamas. “Until recently, it was obvious who was winning this confrontation. The Israel Defense Force has an enormous advantage in terms of firepower, observation, control of the air, armored vehicles and troop training,” Harel said. “But in recent months, the efforts by Iran and Hezbollah to improve Hamas’ military capabilities are beginning to be felt. It is not only better weaponry, but also careful study of the lessons of the Second Lebanon War.” (Jewish Arizona)’

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