Friday, July 28, 2006

Israel's actions could have harmed its security, Part 1

I thought I would post a blog on some of the security implications of Israel's actions in the current crisis in the Middle East.

I am coming at this from a realpolitic point of view instead of the point of view of whether their actions are moral, ethical or legal.

Over the last three weeks Israel has committed both tactical and strategic blunders that could significantly reduce its security. This post will deal with the tactical errors and the more local security issues and I will post a blog tomorrow that will deal with its strategic errors and there broader security issues, issues related to Israeli security and security in the broader Middle East.

From a tactical perspective the Israelis attacked Hezbollah too early. It's forces on the border were not sufficient to defeat Hezbollah quickly, especially since I believe Hezbollah had been preparing for just such an attack and hoped to provoke one by capturing those Israeli soldiers.

Despite the fact the IDF had forces on the border that were superior to Hezbollah's in armour, and artillery, Hezbollah has neither; despite the overwhelming air supemacy of the Israeli airforce; they could not defeat Hezbollah's forces quickly and decisively. In fact the exact opposite is true. In addition, Hezbollah is holding its own in a real high intensity fight as opposed to fighting the Israeli army by means of suicide bombers and other such low intensity tactics.

The result is the status of the mighty Israeli army has been tarnished. Its once mythical status as being virtually invincible has taken a hit and that fact will not be lost on all of the other enemies of Israel.

Another more far reaching and more serious security concern is the rise in status of Hezbollah both in Lebanon and in the Arab world. With each passing day its status grows. There will come a point, and that point might have already passed, where the military defeat of Hezbollah will be irrelevant. It's status and influence in the Middle East will be solidified and it will not go away.

With regard to the Lebanese, many more of them may begin to support Hezbollah as a result of their successes on the battlefield, especially when they begin to compare that to the utter impotence of the Lebanese army in protecting Lebanon and its people. As well, as many have pointed out Hezbollah has representation in the Lebanese government. If support for them grows so will their influence in the Lebanese government. As we all know, Iran is one of the chief backers of Hezbollah, so if it gains influence in the Lebanese government so does Iran. It is not good for Israel if Iran manages to increase its influence in a country that shares a border with Israel.

With regard to the Middle East in general there is a danger that Hezbollah will become a major player on the Middle Eastern scene. If it does become a major player it will have influence in parts of the Middle East that heretofore have been relatively peaceful and stable from the Israeli point of view.

There is precedent for such a situation. Despite successive military defeats the status of the PLO continued to rise from the '70s through the '90s to the point where Israel had no choice but to recognise its legitimacy and begin negotiating with it. Now the status of the PLO has wained as has that of Hamas creating a bit of a vacuum, which could be filled by Hezbollah as a result of the current crisis.

Tomorrow I will expand upon the possible security implications of the current crisis as they apply to the strategic security of Israel and the broader security and stability of the Middle East. As well, I will make a suggestion of why Israel finds itself in this predicament.

4 Comments:

Blogger Cherniak_WTF said...

I'm quite sure they have harmed themselves.

Israel is seem as a bully in the region and if the weaker Hezbollah has been able to hold out this long, it can only enforce the notion that Israel is weak.

With bullies it's the fear of violence that works. And if you have to actually back up your "fear", well the actions taken should be overwhelming.
This has not been the case.

Now, Israel is in a no-win situation. They should of negotiated and worked with the Palestinian government to remove the need for Hezbollah in the country. Now they are at greater risk than when this conflict started.

July 28, 2006 9:01 PM  
Blogger Cherniak_WTF said...

I should also add that Hezbollah is not the "official" army - this adds to their street cred....

July 28, 2006 10:11 PM  
Blogger s.b. said...

Ottlib do you actually think you know more about Israel's security than the Israeli defence Dept. and Mossad. That's funny. We know little or nothing about what's really a threat to Israel and what is going ont here and why.

July 29, 2006 8:05 AM  
Blogger ottlib said...

Well Shoshana, both Mossad and the IDF seemed to have dropped the ball on this one. I do not believe that their plan was to ineffectively fight Hezbollah for three weeks and counting and allow them to rain rockets down on Israeli citizens on a daily basis.

The Iraeli government and military believed they could take out Hezbollah in a matter of days but that is not how it is happening. Unfortunately, most commentators in the west and the Middle East believed the same thing so each day Hezbollah exceeds expectations its stock rises within the Arab world.

Tell me Shoshana do you believe that such a situation makes Israel more or less secure?

July 29, 2006 9:31 AM  

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