...the Defense Department has dispatched as many as a dozen teams to interview Israeli officers who fought against Hezbollah. The Army and Marine Corps have sponsored a series of multimillion-dollar war games to test how U.S. forces might fare against a similar foe. "I've organized five major games in the last two years, and all of them have focused on Hezbollah," said Frank Hoffman, a research fellow at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico.Steve Biddle, per usual, has the answer to the question Jaffe is asking:
"The Lebanon war has become a bellwether," said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has advised Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command. "If you are opposed to transforming the military to fight low-intensity wars, it is your bloody sheet. It's discussed in almost coded communication to indicate which side of the argument you are on."Here's the problem with that, though. As Jaffe notes toward the end of the article, the 2006 war is a kind of Rorschach test that does not so much point toward obvious conclusions but rather highlights pre-existing biases on the part of those researchers looking to draw conclusions. Personally, I believe you can take any number of important lessons from the war and can use the war writ large to argue all sides of the ongoing defense debates. If you just look at the war within the 34 days of open fighting, for example, it is clear the Israelis allowed their conventional war-fighting skills to atrophy as they engaged in low-intensity operations in the Palestinian territories between 2000 and 2006. But if you look at the war from the other side of the border -- which few studies have done -- you see the way that, over a span of time beyond the 34 days of open fighting, Hizballah employed non-kinetic lines of operation (to include information operations and the provision of essential services to their population), to virtually ensure that no matter how the Israelis performed operationally, they would have a tough time winning strategically. Or, to put it another way,
"Even if the Israelis had done better operationally, I don't think they would have been victorious in the long run," said Andrew Exum, a former Army officer who has studied the battle from southern Lebanon. "For the Israelis, the war lasted for 34 days. We tend to forget that for Hezbollah, it is infinite."So there are lessons to be found in the 2006 war for Cold Warriors and COINdinistas alike. What we should do, instead, is study the wars we are actually fighting. That will cost guys like me several thousand dollars in consulting fees each year for those war games Frank Hoffman mentions, but it makes a lot more sense to study the wars in which Americans are actually fighting and dying than it does to study a war whose lessons are only vaguely applicable to the future of American war.
A government minister in Sudan is accusing the United States Air Force of killing dozens of people in that north African country this past January – but the semi-official American version of the story is very different.
CBS News national security correspondent David Martin has been told that Israeli aircraft carried out the attack. Israeli intelligence is said to have discovered that weapons were being trucked through Sudan, heading north toward Egypt, whereupon they would cross the Sinai Desert and be smuggled into Hamas-held territory in Gaza.
The Times reported that the Israeli government believes it must spend more money on "hasbara," a Hebrew word that falls somewhere between propaganda and information. It is true that the world media, generally speaking, doesn't like Israel very much, and stacks the deck against it, but good hasbara starts with not allowing soldiers to vandalize Palestinian homes and shoot Palestinian women.Now why do I mention this? Because I'm sticking to my guns -- how you behave tactically has strategic effects on the modern battlefield. My central thesis, I believe, is correct -- whether you're talking about the U.S. military, the IDF, or any other Western military:
In modern conflict against violent nonstate actors like Hamas, Hezbollah or guerrilla groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, it may be in the best interests of the dominant military actor to adhere to rules of engagement that go beyond the laws of land warfare and international conventions. As the United States military has discovered in both Iraq and Afghanistan, civilian casualties have a direct effect on the effectiveness of operations in the strategic sense.I was exchanging emails with Michael Totten about his blog post on Commentary, and he correctly noted that I did not have much space in the Times piece to talk about how Iraq differs from the Palestinian Territories or how American priorities in Iraq differ from Israeli priorities. But leaving Israel aside, can we agree that -- in the age of television and the new media -- decisions made by corporals and sergeants have strategic effect? Is this really controversial?
Last week, while trying out breaking-in tools developed by Chinese hackers, an Israeli Network security company, Applicure, brought down the Hezbollah Web site (hizbollah.tv), using no more than 10 bots, which are computers controlled by hackers.
Reports of hackers taking out Web sites by bombarding them with massive amounts of information commonly appear in the news media. But often it's hard to estimate both the magnitude of the phenomenon and the ease with which even laymen can use existing web tools.
Those attacks geared at bringing down Web sites are know as either denial of service attacks (DOS) or distributed denial of service attacks (DDOS), and make use of Botnet networks - large networks of unsuspecting computer users hijacked by hackers with viruses and Trojan horses. According to Chinese CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team), the threat on China's internal network has multiplied by 20 in 2007.
One of the most surprising things about the software used in order to take down the Lebanese militant organization's site is its interface, which is light years away from the common image of hackers dealing with complex code. The interface is very accessible and is clearly meant for everyday users, as opposed to veteran programmers.
The software enables a choice of attack possibilities, attack speed, and the number of computers the attackers wish to use in order to bring down the Web site's servers.
Applicure's South Korean partners say the price of using the software of the kind that brought down the Hezbollah site starts at about $260 a year, when using a small number of bots. Having 1,000 bots at your disposal can bring the price up to $100 a month.
I wrote this before I had a chance to read some of the disturbing testimonies of Israeli soldiers who fought in Gaza.
The recent Israeli campaign to end rocket fire originating from Gaza left 1,300 Palestinians dead and many wondering about the morality of such seemingly “disproportionate” operations. Questions of morality in warfare, though, are notoriously difficult to referee and inspire more emotion than sober thought.
A related question to ask — and one more accessible to traditional tools of measurement — would be one concerning effectiveness. In pursuing military options that carry with them such a high human cost, did the Israel Defense Force achieve operational successes at the expense of Israel’s long-term strategic interests?
In modern conflict against violent nonstate actors like Hamas, Hezbollah or guerrilla groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, it may be in the best interests of the dominant military actor to adhere to rules of engagement that go beyond the laws of land warfare and international conventions. As the United States military has discovered in both Iraq and Afghanistan, civilian casualties have a direct effect on the effectiveness of operations in the strategic sense.
Traditionally, Israel — much like the United States — has subscribed to a Jominian concept of warfare that privileges the destruction of the enemy’s fighting forces above other considerations. In the Clausewitzian model, though, the supreme question of war has to do with whether or not military force served its purpose in advancing national political aims.The time may arrive when Israel decides that highly kinetic, enemy-centric military operations do not necessarily serve Israel’s longer-term strategic aims. Instead, Israel may want to adopt lessons learned from the United States experience in Iraq and Afghanistan and place a higher emphasis on the prevention of civilian casualties at the expense of lethality and force protection.
What’s great about Gaza — you see a person on a path, he doesn’t have to be armed, you can simply shoot him. In our case it was an old woman on whom I did not see any weapon when I looked. The order was to take down the person, this woman, the minute you see her. There are always warnings, there is always the saying, ‘Maybe he’s a terrorist.’ What I felt was, there was a lot of thirst for blood.Ha'aretz and other Israeli newspapers promise to run more of these stories in the days to come.
[A] reserve officer who looked at the transcript Wednesday said: "This is not the IDF we knew."Okay, I may live to regret this, but take it away, comments section. Please, though, avoid anything that could reasonably be interpreted as anti-Jewish or anti-Arab.* I would very much like to keep this discussion about the issues I discuss in the Times piece -- with a similar level of sobriety -- without descending into hate speech. Thanks.
Quickly - I think some more of how I think on Hizbullah's discourse will be clearer next week when a long essay on Nasrallah is published in the national magazine. Lets see if that makes things clearer vis a vis the party's states goals, aspirations, interpretations. But even without such a line of argument, we need to end this idea once and for all that I am arguing for removing the bleeding wounds - and that with their removal, Hizbullah disarms. I am NOT. The paper I released argues that this would certainly not get the job done. Instead, it is my position that 1) you must view Hizbullah's discourse dialectically as an operation between reason/unreason, totalitarianism/radical democracy and peace/violence. When you do that and then add an analysis of the multitude of constraints which the Party faces in exercising violence towards its goals (which are themselves a dialectical operation as I stressed), you arrive, I believe, at the conclusion that a strategy of using reason, democracy and nonviolence to undermine all that is indeed unreasonable and violent about Hizbullah is the best strategy for serving US interests and, I believe personally, Lebanese interests. That strategy has THREE key parts: 1) Remove the bleeding wounds because these are the areas where conflict might reasonably be sparked in the short term (so remove the likely conflagration points; 2) Credibly arm the LAF to defend Lebanon against Israel and internal threats (and Syria too!). This means, as Aram and I BOTH argue a) the US, Israel and M14 accepts that a strong LAF is not to be used to forcibly disarm Hizbullah (although it can and should protect a credibly constructed state!) and b) the US accepts a recalibration of Israel's QME WITHOUT an a priori peace agreement; and 3) the US begins to help the Lebanese push the process of deconfessionalization and enfranchisement which the Lebanese have already mapped out for themselves (this rests on Bilal Saab's argument that the US should support certain processes rather than parties and figures in Lebanon).
There it is in a nutshell - so please do NOT consider me duped by Nasrallah or an "admirer" which suggests a positive value judgement. I agree with mona and reinoud's point on the military-jihadist core for Hizbullah because they both insist on viewing this DIALECTICALLY....But remember, as i said in the paper, even if you think that Hizbullah operates towards the most extremist, evil ends, they operate within a framework which can be deftly marshalled to deflate violence and build peace. The openings for this is what I am focused on. Sadly though, I have not seen much in the way of good ideas from those who understand this and who then criticize this approach. But let me know, because one should not give up on proposing peaceful options even when you think the actor in question is bent on evildoing - and especially when that other actor is far more complicated than that and faces other actors who hold such a perponderance of power!
Personally, I think Hizballah is a lot more intimidated by Barack Hussein Obama than it ever was by the cartoon villain George W. Bush. It would be like if Iran voted in a moderate president and we still had to deal with the issue that the Iranian population still wants nuclear power and feels they have a right to it. It's all well and good when some cartoonish clown like Ahmadinejad or Bush is in charge. When a conciliatory moderate is in charge but your interests still aren't alligned, that's when you see the real differences -- and you can't blame all your disagreements on the other side.
The leader of Lebanon's Islamist Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, has said his group will never recognise Israel's right to exist.
He was responding to a US suggestion that both Hezbollah and the Palestinian faction Hamas should recognise Israel before expecting any US engagement.
"We reject the American conditions," he said. "As long as Hezbollah exists, it will never recognise Israel."
Israel and Hezbollah's armed wing fought a bloody conflict in 2006.
Mr Nasrallah made the statement rejecting the US conditions for talks said in a speech marking the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.
As Mitch said, it must have been one hell of a party...
A young Israeli woman who works as a stripper was found intoxicated in Ramallah Friday morning, and returned to Israel with the aid of the Palestinian security sources. She was handed over to the police.
Palestinians called the offices of the Civil Administration Friday morning and reported that an Israeli woman in her twenties was seen at the heart of town. "They said that she didn't quite understand what was going on," said Major Shadi Seif of the Ramallah District Coordination Office.
The IDF immediately alerted a police unit to the nearest checkpoint, and within 10 minutes the woman was brought to the place by the Palestinian officers.