Friday 19 December 2008

Lessons of victory

Haaretz reports that Israel had to learn the lessons of the Lebanon war... that's the one they claimed they won, right?. Well not according to the US Army War College:

A new report warns that the American military must learn the lessons of the Second Lebanon War, in which Hezbollah operated more like a conventional army than a guerrilla organization.

The report, "The 2006 Lebanon Campaign and the Future of Warfare: Implications for Army and Defense Policy," warns against placing too heavy an emphasis on classic guerrilla warfare, and raises the possibility of further non-state actors following the Lebanese militant group's example.

"Hezbollah's 2006 campaign in southern Lebanon has been receiving increasing attention as a prominent recent example of a non-state actor fighting a Westernized state. In particular, critics of irregular-warfare transformation often cite the 2006 case as evidence that non-state actors can nevertheless wage conventional warfare in state-like ways."

The authors give a high grade to Hezbollah's performance in the 2006 war, describing it as more effective than that of any Arab army that confronted Israel in the Jewish state's history, and that Hezbollah militants wounded more Israelis per fighter than any previous Arab effort.

Unlike a traditional guerrilla force, however, Hezbollah emphasized holding territory and digging in to bunkers, instead of the usual tactic of hiding among civilian populations. Likewise, the militant organization's discipline and coordination highly resembled those of conventional armies.

Israel seizes 2 men

The AFP newsagency reports:

Israeli soldiers captured two Lebanese civilians on a raid across the border into southern Lebanon on Friday, a Lebanese security official said.

Tarraf Tarraf and his brother Hassan Tarraf, both aged about 50, were taken on Lebanese territory near the border village of Blida, the official said.

Negotiations are under way between the Israeli soldiers and Unifil (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) to free the men, he said.

An Israeli army spokesman said the two men were arrested on Friday morning when they "crossed the border."

Israeli forces have informed Unifil that "they have in custody two Lebanese civilians that appear to be from the area of Blida," Unifil spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane told AFP.

"Unifil is in contact with all parties urging them to exercise restraint while the circumstances of the incident are assertained," she said, without commenting on where the Lebanese official said the capture took place.

In July, a Lebanese shepherd was captured by Israeli soldiers before being handed over to Unifil after a few hours.

Thursday 18 December 2008

Armoured cars and guns... part 3

Now the Russians are jumping into the Lebanese arms fest. According the LA Times:

Russia will give Lebanon 10 Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter jets as a donation and commit to supply the teetering Arab democracy abutting Israel's northern border with more war machines, an official told reporters today, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.

"As a trend toward stabilization of the situation has become visible, Lebanon has decided to intensify military-technological cooperation" with Russia, said Mikhail Dmitriyev, the director of Russia's Federal Service for Military Technological Cooperation.

Dmitriyev also said Russia could soon provide "ground equipment," such as tanks and artillery, to Lebanon.

"We consider the Lebanese army as a key element of political stability within this country and are ready to provide it with arms," he said.