Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ten Years - Reflections on the Second Lebanon War by Jonathan Spyer

...we should be thankful for those who came before us. Lebanon 2006 shows that even at a low point in terms of training and planning, led by an unsuitable chief of staff, with an inexperienced and as it turns out largely corrupt political leadership at the helm, Israel’s armed forces were still of sufficient quality to be capable of delivering a blow to a powerful enemy instructive enough to ensure a period of subsequent silence, which lasts to this day. Broader regional circumstances beyond the control of either Israelis or Lebanese Shias have certainly added to this effect. The main question, though – whether Israeli society and its armed forces have sufficiently internalized and acted on the lessons taught in the burning summer of 2006 – remains a subject of daily relevance to which a final answer can not yet be given.

Jonathan Spyer..
Middle East Analysis and Reportage..
23 June '16..

10 years since the Second Lebanon War. For those of us who took part in it, that war remains, always just in view. Like a suitcase filled with items of vivid memory, waiting quietly in the corner of a room.

It was an entirely inglorious and partially botched and inconclusive affair. A ‘great and grave missed opportunity’ as the second report of the Winograd Committee termed it.

It has also been rapidly forgotten. This, it seems, is the way of the small wars that Israel fights these days. None of them passes into legend, as did the great conflicts of the states’s foundation. Today’s conflicts, after a short time, become largely the private property of those who participated in them.

That’s perhaps not a bad thing. Perhaps it is akin to the rapidity with which Israeli cities clear up and move on after terror attacks. Still, the long quiet that has followed the 2006 war on the northern border has helped to further obscure some of the lessons of that summer. It is worth therefore recalling, in unforgiving focus, some of what took place.

A Cabinet led by individuals with minimal security experience (and a prime minister and president now serving jail terms), and an IDF led by its first chief of staff from the Air Force set out for war with the Iranian proxy Hizballah organization on July 12th, 2006.

It is now evident that no coherent and achievable plan for the conduct of the war had been decided at the rushed and overheated Cabinet meeting that set it in motion.

This problematic, unprepared leadership was in turn commanding an army ill-suited for the war it would need to fight.

There were two reasons for the IDF’s state of unreadiness:

(Continue to Full Article)

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