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Week 7 Summary: Hezbollah Capabilities and Advantages in the 2006 Lebanon War MILS 521: Strategy, Tactics, and

the Operational Art American Military University Martin S. Catino, Ph.D.

Here are some of the key points that could/should have been addressed. Again, these are not the only variables for evaluating your essay/posting, but some of them. 1. Hezbollah possessed and extraordinary understanding of Israel's military strategy. This ensued from increased intelligence capacity as well advisement from Iranian military entities, no doubt. 2. Strategic shifts: We as members of the military community talk much about force readiness and Full Spectrum Operations (FSO), but some military strategists note that changing from counterinsurgency (COIN) to conventional warfare is very difficult, if not impossible (I'm not among the pessimists). Nonetheless, the IDF suffered in the switch as they found it very difficult to conduct conventional ground operations in Lebanon, which was markedly different from COIN operations against Palestinian groups during the Intifada. 3. New strategies and the ability to implement and operationalize. Whenever a new strategy is implemented, the strategy should be easy enough for Command to implement it at the tactical level. Strategies that are complex, technology heavy, and politicized often fail at the tactical level as ground commanders cannot readily apply the strategy amid the friction occurring in the Battle Space. Such was the case with Israels strategy.

4. Strategy and the nature of unconventional warfare. What is asymmetrical warfare? It is not just using low risk, low technology, and survival strategies to prolong a war and thereby erode the opponents home front support and will to fight. It simply involves mobilization and operationalizing one's assets to offset the opponent or strike his weak areas most effectively (this sounds a lot like Sun Tzu). Thus using more conventional forces against an opponent oriented toward fighting a counter guerrilla war is indeed asymmetrical. Many of you in your postings aptly gleaned that fact. 5. Strategic vulnerability/psychological vulnerability. Hezbollah rightly knew that no Israeli gov't could stay in power if its people were not protected. The continuity of operations (Indirect Fire) against northern Israel was sustained throughout the brief war, which caused not only many Israelis to deem the IDF incursion a failure, but home front support for the Tel Aviv faltered. Are we surprised that "heads rolled": many IDF and gov't officials resigned and were fired in the wake of the 2006 Lebanon War and the release of the Winograd Report in 2007, which chided Israel's political and military leaders. 6. Tactical agility: use of cover, advanced weapons, survival, and complex operations marked Hezbollah's operations. Advanced training, weapons, and effective Command and Control (C2) also marked its operations. Irans and (to a lesser degree) Syria's role in training Hezbollah were critical. 7. Failure? I am adding this for historical context. Like all modern war, politicizing the issues is common. And the political turmoil in the Knesset (Israels legislature) was heated. There were indeed major failures: a. failure to disrupt the rocket attacks of Hezbollah on northern Israel. b. Failure to decapitate, blind, or paralyze Hezbollah's leadership. c. Failure to prevent the movement and operations of Hezbollah combat units, which operated to a much higher degree and greater freedom than compared to other opponents of the IDF. d. Failure to degrade C2, etc. But there were substantial successes from the IDF campaign including: a. high losses of Hezbollah forces. b. Pushing them out of southern Lebanon (near the border area) c. replacing Hezbollah with UN presence in southern Lebanon d. Less militant activity in the area e. Strategic surprise on Hezbollah, which did not expect such a strong IDF reaction.