Sunday, July 23, 2006


Yesterday, I judged the Israeli response to Hizbollah's attack to be unfocused. I updated later in the day with a little hedging based on Israel's track record but ultimately came down on the side of Israel screwing the pooch on this campaign.

Well, this article solidifies my opinion:

Israel's defense minister said his country would accept an international force, preferably NATO, on its border after it drives back or weakens Hezbollah. But his troops described the militants they encountered as a smart, well-organized and ruthless guerrilla force whose fighters do not seem afraid to die. ...

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that once the offensive had gotten Hezbollah away from the border, his country would be willing to see an international force move in to help the Lebanese army deploy across the south, where the guerrillas have held sway for years. ...

Peretz said the military would not launch a full-fledged invasion. ...

The top U.N. humanitarian official, Jan Egeland, called for at least $100 million in immediate aid but said billions of dollars would be needed to repair the damage from a conflict that has stunned Lebanon just as it had emerged from reconstruction after years of civil war.

One, Israel's tiny "invasion" force is not smashing Hizbollah.

Two, Lebanese civilian losses from air attacks are losing Israel the time it needs to hurt Hizbollah. Remember that even the Arab League was mad at Hizbollah and Israel blew this tacit support to hurt Iran's proxy Hizbollah.

Three, Israel is now looking for a NATO force to come in to save face after Israel harms Hizbollah enough to agree to the ceasefire without looking like they are losing.

And four, Israel is not going to expand the ground operation enough to do any good.

So my assessment stands. Israel won't crush Hizbollah. Israel has lost this round. They deserve to win but they won't. They can at best hurt Hamas in the confusion of Lebanon while the world is focused on that front to salvage something and prepare for the next round against Hizbollah by resolving to use ground forces decisively from day one focused on Hizbollah in south Lebanon.

The Israelis should take heart. We blew Fallujah in April 2004 but redeemed ourselves in November 2004.