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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mossad did not understand Hezbullah threat

A story in today's Washington Times claims that the Mossad did not understand the threat posed by Hezbullah:
The Mossad had intelligence about most Hezbollah weapons, including rockets fired into Israel and other hardware. But the service knew little about the military and intelligence side of Hezbollah, a diverse organization made up of Islamic terrorists, conventionally armed militia forces, a charity wing and a political movement.

...

The U.S. official said Mossad's lack of intelligence about Hezbollah dates back to 1998, when the terrorist group began a strategy of conducting clandestine attacks while also seeking public support through charitable work and joining the political process in Lebanon.

The bias regarding Hezbollah's evolving nature had an effect on the activities of Israeli spies and agents in the field, which contributed to misperceptions about the group, the officials said. [In other words, Israeli intelligence - influenced by the country's leftists - didn't believe Hezbullah was a terrorist organization. Unbelieveable! CiJ]

Robert Baer, a former CIA operations officer who is familiar with Mossad, said the Israeli intelligence agency failed to gather good intelligence on Hezbollah, in stark contrast to its very successful efforts against Palestinian terrorists.

...

Dennis Pluchinsky, a former State Department intelligence analyst, said Mossad may have been "counting on the Lebanese population and government to turn on Hezbollah." [I think there's not much question that they were counting on that. CiJ]

Mr. Pluchinsky said the government in Beirut failed to take on the group, and there was a reluctance to "delegitimize Hezbollah."

"I do not believe that the fault lies with Israeli military strategic and tactical failures, as much as a political strategic failure," he said.
But some people fault the political level and not the intelligence:

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney said Mossad knew details three years ago about Hezbollah's Katyusha and other rockets.

"They knew what they had," he said.

He said Israel's war plan was undermined by political leaders, not by a lack of intelligence.

"Israel's plan was that if they were fired upon, they would respond with a [leadership] decapitation program and massive air and ground campaigns into Lebanon," Gen. McInerney said.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not order the decapitation plan and was slow to carry out the ground campaign.

"It was not the intelligence," he said. "There's no question they did not take the heart out of Hezbollah."
Hopefully in the future Israel will know how to identify its enemies.

1 Comments:

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Dave in Pa said...

I'd give great credence to the considered views of Gen. McInerney. He is one of the principle Fox News military analyists and an extremely impressive man.

Possessed of a very keen intellect, thirty years experience as a US Air Force combat flyer and senior staff officer, Lt. General McInerney is a very wise, dispassionate, insightful, erudite and thoughtful man.

What he all but explicitely said is what others-Carl at this blog, Caroline Glick, numerous other commentators and writers, both Israeli and American have been saying. The IDF didn't score a tremendous victory solely because Israel's top political leadership didn't let them.

My overall conclusion is that Western Liberals (e.g. Olmert, Carter, Clinton and others of their stripe) have neither the intellectual clarity nor the moral fortitude to wage war effectively, that's to say-ruthlessly.

 

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