November 07, 2007

Blanford and Kaplinsky on Harb Tammuz

Abu Muqawama has been listening this morning to an exchange between Nicholas Blanford, a journalist based in Beirut, and retired IDF Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky. This exchange took place at the Washington Institute's 2007 Weinberg Founders Conference, and it is fair to say the vast majority of the audience was strongly pro-Israel. Nick has been reporting on military affairs in southern Lebanon since the mid-1990s, and though some of Abu Muqawama's fellow Hizbollah-watchers will take issue with his analysis of the political situation in Lebanon and Hizbollah's military preparations, Abu Muqawama thinks he presents a good, dispassionate analysis for this American audience. Nick's reporting on Hizbollah's military capabilities and performance -- for the Christian Science Monitor, The Times of London, and Jane's -- has been the best analysis Abu Muqawama has read in any language.

The real fun begins when Kaplinsky has to explain to this audience how the IDF ended up with egg all over its face in 2006 and then present his analysis of the political situation in Lebanon. Abu Muqawama largely trusts Nick when he talks about what is going on in southern Lebanon today, in 2007. By contrast, Abu Muqawama's three-year old niece probably has a better understanding of southern Lebanon than Moshe Kaplinsky these days. That's too harsh, perhaps, but since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and the collapse of Israel's human intelligence capabilities in southern Lebanon, Israel and the IDF have displayed a remarkable lack of understanding of the internal dynamics at work within Lebanese society and its political system. It is funny, though, that Kaplinsky praises American support for the Lebanese Army, considering the #1 mission of the Lebanese Army is to defend Lebanon against ... Israel!