These musings do make the Israeli strategy a bit more rational. To wit:
what is the most important component of Hezbollah’s power in the south? Again the answer is easy. It is the Hezbollah cadres themselves. Hezbollah’s most precious possession isn’t Katyushas, long-range rockets, night vision goggles or antitank missiles or electronic equipment. It is the trained core of its military force. Equipment can be replaced but Hezbollah’s cadres represent an expensive, almost irreplaceable investment. In them resides the organizational knowledge of Nasrallah’s organization. It embodies man-decades of operational experience against Israel. Rockets can be replaced. The stars of Hezbollah’s operational force are less expendable.
The Hezbollah are doing the single most stupid thing imaginable for a guerilla organization. They are fighting to keep territory. Oh, I know that this will be justified in terms of “inflicting casualties” on the Israelis. But the Hez are probably losing 10 for every Israeli lost. A bad bargain for Israel you say? No. A bad bargain for Hezbollah to trade their terrorist elite for highly trained but nevertheless conventional infantry.
That was why Spartacus’ revolt against the Romans failed as well.
It’s been quite a while now and I haven’t seen any reports of actual conflict between the IDF and the Lebanese military, which would tend to suggest that they’re staying out of it altogether.
For all of the talk of cease fires and peace keeping forces, who would actually do it? The US is busy in Iraq, and the last time we tried that it didn’t work out too well anyway. Most of the available European forces (small in number to start with) are with NATO in Afghanistan. Assuming that part of some eventual deal involves “peace keepers” (technically more peace keepers, there have been a number of ineffectual UN troops there for years.) where would they come from? The Arab countries? China, Russia or India perhaps?
Or will that be a negotiating ploy used to delay a cease fire until the IDF weakens Hezbollah to the point where the Lebanese military takes over, which might be a very long time.
CNN.com has a nice one page history and description of Hezbollah, which is a useful addition to their coverage. Here is some analysis from MSNBC.
We live in interesting times. On the one hand Lebanon was one of the brighter spots of the Arab world. On the other hand, this might be the only time and way to reduce Hezbollah to the past tense. By not occupying any territory Israel can play to it’s technological and organizational strengths, and avoid all of Hezbollahs guerilla tactics (where their talents lie).
Anothr thing to note is that the IDF seems to have avoided striking the Lebanese military, only commerical targets and Hezbollah.
And for anyone keeping score, this is a case of democracies going to war.