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Thursday, August 10, 2006

What's really going wrong in Lebanon - MUST READ!

How has Hezbullah been able to hold out against the IDF for a month? It's not just that Hezbullah is well-trained and has modern equipment received from Iran. It's also that the IDF is fighting itself and the government to conduct the war. There was a hint of that yesterday, in the decision to install Moshe Kaplinsky to 'oversee' Udi Adam's conduct of the war in Lebanon. There's more today - much more. This is from a very reliable, non-mainstream source called Israel Insider.

Hat Tip: Harvey in Efrat
Relations between the country's political and military leadership are at the lowest point in the country's history, on the verge of a crisis. In addition, there is a growing lack of confidence between Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, the first CoS to hail from the air force, and many of his general staff colleagues from the ground forces, who say he and his "blue clique" [blue being the color of the air force uniform-ed] do not fully appreciate the nature of ground warfare.

According to informed sources, there is an almost total breakdown in trust and confidence between the General Staff and the PM's office. They have described the situation as "even worse than the crises that followed Ben Gurion's decision to disband the Palmach, and Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan's cynical decision to place all the blame for the Yom Kippur fiasco on the IDF's shoulders.

Senior IDF officers have been saying that the PM bears sole responsibility for the current unfavorable military situation, with Hezbollah still holding out after almost a month of fighting.According to these officers, Olmert was presented with an assiduously prepared and detailed operational plan for the defeat and destruction of Hezbollah within 10-14 days, which the IDF has been formulating for the past 2-3 years.

This plan was supposed to have begun with a surprise air onslaught against the Hezbollah high command in Beirut, before they would have had time to relocate to their underground bunkers. This was to have been followed immediately by large scale airborne and seaborne landing operations, in order to get several divisions on the Litani River line, enabling them to outflank Hezbollah's "Maginot line" in southern Lebanon. This would have surprised Hezbollah, which would have had to come out of its fortifications and confront the IDF in the open, in order to avoid being isolated, hunted down and eventually starved into a humiliating submission.

This was exactly what the IDF senior command wanted, as Israeli military doctrine, based on the Wehrmacht's blitzkrieg doctrine, has traditionally been one of rapid mobile warfare, designed to surprise and outflank an enemy.

According to senior military sources, who have been extensively quoted in both the Hebrew media and online publications with close ties to the country's defense establishment, Olmert nixed the second half of the plan, and authorized only air strikes on southern Lebanon, not initially on Beirut.

Although the Premier has yet to admit his decision, let alone provide a satisfactory explanation, it seems that he hoped futilely for a limited war. A prominent wheeler-dealer attorney-negotiator prior to entering politics, he may have thought that he could succeed by the military option of filing a lawsuit as a negotiating ploy, very useful when you represent the rich and powerful, as he always had. Another motive may have been his desire to limit the economic damage by projecting a limited rather than total war to the international financial powers that be.

Whatever his reasons, the bottom line, according to these military sources, is that he castrated the campaign during the crucial first days. The decision to not bomb Beirut immediately enabled Nasrallah to escape, first to his bunker, subsequently to the Iranian embassy in Beirut.

The decision to cancel the landings on the Litani River and authorize a very limited call up of reserves forced the ground forces to fight under very adverse conditions. Instead of outflanking a heavily fortified area with overwhelming forcers, they had to attack from the direction most expected, with insufficient forces. The result, high casualties and modest achievements.

This is the background of yesterday's surprise effective dismissal of OC northern Command Maj. General Udi Adam. According to various media sources, Olmert was incensed at Adam's remarks that he had not been allowed to fight the war that had been planned. [In other words, the decision came from Olmert and not from Halutz. CiJ] Adam allegedly made these remarks in response to criticism against his running of the war, and the results so far achieved.

Olmert's responsibility for inaction goes much further. The US administration had given Israel the green light to attack Syria. A senior military source has confirmed to Israel Insider that Israel did indeed receive a green light from Washington in this regard, but Olmert nixed it.

The scenario was that Syria, no military match for Israel, would face a rapid defeat, forcing it to run to Iran, with which it has a defense pact, to come to aid.

Iran, which would be significantly contained by the defeat of its sole ally in the region, would have found itself maneuvered between a rock and a hard place. If it chose to honor its commitment to Syria, it would face a war with Israel and the US, both with military capabilities far superior to Iran's. If Teheran opted to default on its commitment to Damascus, it would be construed by the entire region, including the restless Iranian population, as a conspicuous show of weakness by the regime. Fascist regimes such as that of the ayatollahs cannot easily afford to show that kind of weakness.

As previously mentioned, Iran's military capabilities are no match for Israel's. Bottom line, all Iran could do is to launch missiles at and hit Israel's cities, and try and carry out terror attacks. If there is one thing history has shown, it is that such methods do not win wars. Israel would undoubtedly suffer both civilian casualties and economic damage, but these would not be that much more than what we are already experiencing. We have already irreversibly lost an entire tourist season. Any Iranian and Syrian missile offensives would be relatively short, as they are further form Israel, and therefore would have to be carried out by longer range missiles. These, by their very nature are much bigger and more complex weapons than Katyushas. They cannot be hidden underground, and require longer launch preparations, increasing their vulnerability to air operations. In addition it is precisely for such kinds of missiles that the Arrow system was developed.

The end result would be some additional economic damage, and probably around 500 civilian casualties. It may sound cold blooded, but Israel can afford such casualties, which would be less than those sustained in previous wars (for the record, in 1948 Israel lost 6,000, 1% of the entire population, and in 1967 and 1973 we lost respectively 1,000 and 3,000 casualties).

The gains, however, would be significant. The Iranian nuclear threat, the most dangerous existential threat Israel has faced since 1948, would be eliminated. It would also change the momentum, which over the past two decades as been with the ayatollahs. This could also have a major impact on the PA, hastening the demise of the Islamist Hamas administration.

Instead, according to military sources, Israel finds itself getting bogged down by a manifestly inferior enemy, due to the limitations placed on the IDF by the political leadership. This has been construed by the enemy as a clear sign that Israel is in the hands of a leadership not up to the task, lacking the required experience, guts and willpower. In the Middle East this is an invitation to court disaster, as witness by Iran's and Syria's increased boldness in significantly upping the ante of their involvement in the war.
Olmert must go. He is enslaved to his pacifist wife and children and it is costing us lives and our deterrence capability. The part of the article I left out says that the army is using "the C word." Unbelieveable! The question is, can anything be salvaged? And will we have enough time to do it? The JPost is reporting this morning that the reason the operation to reach the Litani has not yet gone ahead is that Olmert is waiting to see what happens in the Security Council. Unbelieveable!

Meanwhile, 160 rockets were fired at Israel on Wednesday. Make that at least 160.

You also may want to see this article by Martin Sherman, a political science professor at - of all places - Tel Aviv University.
Left-wing intellectual bankruptcy has left us unwilling to truly fight the enemy
The minute we leave south Lebanon we will have to erase the word Hizbullah from our vocabulary, because the whole idea of the State of Israel versus Hizbullah was sheer folly from the outset. It most certainly will no longer be relevant when Israel returns to her internationally recognized northern border.
Amos Oz in "Try a Little Tenderness" (Interview) Ha'aretz, March 17, 2000
We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies.
Ehud Olmert Address at Israel Policy Forum, New York, June 9, 2005

Anyone wishing to understand how Israel was led (or rather misled) into the lamentable predicament it finds now itself, need look no further than the foregoing citations. These epitomize the malaise that has afflicted Israel's national fabric for the last two decades – and whose bitter fruits we are now reaping.

The first citation encapsulates the feebleness of mind and failure of judgment of the bon-ton addicts who form the elite of Israel's civil society and who have set the tone of public debate in the country since the 1980s. The second reflects the feebleness of spirit and failure of leadership that has characterized the Israeli polity over the past quarter-century, and allowed the nation to be swept away in torrent of politically-correct drivel.

As a result the country is now confronted with a dismal situation in which the IDF, purportedly the strongest military force in the region, equipped with the most advanced armaments on land, sea and air, is patently unable to neutralize a tiny paramilitary organization, numbering several thousand at most, without a single aircraft, tank or battleship at its disposal.
Read the whole thing.

Read the first article too.

And weep and pray for us. Because all of the scenarios that the right wing warned about are now coming true, R"L (God save us).

7 Comments:

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Vishal said...

US could have attacked Syria itself since Syria aupplies to Iraqi insurgents.
Doesnt Syria has chemical/biological WMD
capability. Syrian capability could exceed
Hezbollah's.
It is not easy to believe Iran is so weak. They most likely have working nukes (perhaps Pakistani nukes).
Israel must also guard against Pakistani danger.

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Syria definitely has chemical capability - Assad's father gassed his own people at Homs (Hama) in the 80's. They are also rumored to have WMD's transferred to them by Saddam before the US invaded. But their other military equipment is rumored to be hopelessly out of date - Hezbullah is better equipped.

Iran doesn't have nukes yet. Which is all the more reason to go after them now before they get them.

I cannot see Pakistan getting involved in this war. Pakistan wants to stay on the US's good side, and cannot afford to fight a war so far away with India - with whom Israel has friendly relations as I am sure you know - on their doorstep.

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger Bret said...

From the first article: "Olmert's responsibility for inaction goes much further. The US administration had given Israel the green light to attack Syria. A senior military source has confirmed to Israel Insider that Israel did indeed receive a green light from Washington in this regard, but Olmert nixed it."

If true, it may turn out that Olmert has performed more of a disservice to western civilization (not to mention Israel) than Neville Chamberlain.

On the other hand, I suppose that you can't really blame Israel/Olmert for not signing up to doing the fighting for the entire West.

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Bret,

I do blame him. Look at the rest of the article. The whole point of attacking Syria was so that Syria would invoke its mutual defense pact with Iran, leaving Iran between a rock and a hard place. That would have given the US a pretext for coming in and destroying Iran's nukes.

 
At 10:24 PM, Blogger Bret said...

Ahhhh. But giving the U.S. a pretext doesn't mean the U.S. would actually have utilized that pretext. And then where would Israel be? You're pretty busy with the news over there, of course, but our hawkish Senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman, just lost in the primary to an anti war candidate.

Israel has an urgent need for action. The U.S. does not and as a result, most of us still have our heads in the sand (or some place else).

Just curious. Is Olmert's ignoring the green light from the U.S. to invade Syria well known throughout Israel? What do Israelis think about that? Can't Olmert be replaced?

 
At 7:42 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Bret,

I feel sorry about Lieberman. His loss proves that there is no place for anyone other than the radical left in the Democratic party and that the likes of Markos "Screw them" Moulitsas is setting their agenda.

It was suspected but not known with certainty until recently that Olmert had a green light to invade Syria.

As to replacing him, see the end of my post on the UN Security Council resolution.

 
At 7:03 AM, Blogger Dave in Pa said...

If those articles are accurate, what an incredible lost opportunity for Israel, for all of Western Civilization, Ehud Olmert has so fecklessly caused.

This could have dealt a death knell to the Assad regime, the Iranian Mullah regime, Hezbollah...and also well nigh crushed Hamas and left the PA neutered. Al Qaeda would have been even more marginalized.

Again with the proviso that those articles are accurate, this is a disaster for Israel, the US and for the West as a whole.

All thanks to Ehud Olmert & Co. Truly comparable to the Neville Chamberlain 1938 Munich fiasco. Awful.

 

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