[News] Hizbullah Singes Samson's Locks

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 23 08:53:50 EDT 2006


Hizbullah Singes Samson's Locks

By K Gajendra Singh

Al-Jazeerah, August 23, 2006

Here is an in depth article on the HIzbullah 
-Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stand off, with 
the former winning on points , some actual 
fighting ,strengths of Hizbullah and weaknesses 
of   Israeli military and political leadership 
.It is difficult to find out the weaknesses of 
highly secretive Hizbullah based on Shia 
tradition of Taqqiya , which is its strength 
while Israeli democratic politics although 
dominated by military generals and military 
industry , has a relatively lively free media, 
unlike USA ,specially news papers like Haaretz .

I have employed the Biblical story of Samson's 
defeat when his locks of hair were cut after 
being seduced by Philistine bribed Delilah and he 
was deprived of the source of his Herculean strength .

Hizbullah has succeeded in singing the IOF locks 
because of almost total failure of Israeli 
intelligence "corrupted by the long occupation of 
the Palestinian territories. They have got used 
to relying on the thousands of collaborators that 
have been recruited in the course of 39 years by 
torture, bribery and extortion (junkies needing 
drugs, someone begging to be allowed to visit his 
dying mother, someone desiring a chunk from the 
cake of corruption, etc.) Clearly, no 
collaborators were found among the Hizbullah, and 
without them intelligence is blind. "


Writing in 'Foreign Policy In Focus' , Prof 
Stephen Zunes said " The Bush administration and 
an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Congress 
have gone on record defending Israel's assault on 
Lebanon's civilian infrastructure as a means of 
attacking Hizbullah resistance fighters. Unlike 
the major Palestinian Islamic Resistance 
Movements of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah 
resistance fighters haven't killed any Israeli 
civilians for more than a decade. Indeed, a 2002 
Congressional Research Service report noted, in 
its analysis of Hizbullah, that "no major 
"terrorist" attacks have been attributed to it 
since 1994." The most recent State Department 
report on international terrorism also fails to 
note any acts of terrorism by Hizbullah since 
that time except for unsubstantiated claims that 
a Hizbullah member was a participant in a June 
1996 attack on the U.S. Air Force dormitory at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

When Prof Zunes contacted scores of Congressional 
offices after the U.S. House of Representatives 
passed a resolution in March last year by an 
overwhelming 380-3 margin condemning "the 
continuous terrorist attacks perpetrated by 
Hizbullah" , no proof was forthcoming . The House 
resolution had cited the testimony of former CIA 
director George Tenet (who also insisted that the 
case for Iraq having weapons of mass destruction 
was a "slam dunk"), in which he made the bizarre 
accusations that Hizbullah is "an organization 
with the capability and worldwide presence [equal 
to] al-Qaeda, equal if not far more [of a] 
capable organization 
 they're a notch above in 
many respects 
 which puts them in a state 
sponsored category with a potential for lethality 
that's quite great." But then there have been a 
litany of spins and lies by top US leaders on Iraq, Iran and you name it.

More than a militia or conventional army, 
Hezbollah is a social and political movement 
deeply rooted in its society, with a big 
constituency within the Lebanese Shia community 
that comprises about 40 percent of the country's 
4 million people. Hezbollah organizes a welfare 
system providing schools, clinics, daycare 
centers and jobs to hundreds of thousands of poor 
Shias. During the war  Hezbollah chief Sheikh 
Hassan Nassrullah announced that all those whose 
houses and property were damaged by Israeli 
bombings would be compensated. Soon after the 
cease fire there were queues of people being paid 
compensation , much before any other Lebanese or 
foreign organization could muster themselves into action.

Equally important, Hezbollah provides the Shia 
community, historically disadvantaged and 
marginalized in Lebanon, a sense of identity and 
a source of pride. Israel's military targeting of 
Shias will deepen feelings of victimization among 
them and turn them – even further – against 
Israel and the West. Through out history Shia 
Imams were harassed , victimized and even 
assassinated by their Sunni Caliphs and Muslims 
.Such victimization can be still seen in most 
Sunni majority countries ie Pakistan, 
Afghanistan, Turkey , Saudi Arabia and others .

A national poll conducted in Lebanon in early 
August by the Beirut Center for Research and 
Information showed a sharp rise in support for 
Hezbollah since the Israeli invasion: 87 percent 
of respondents supported Hezbollah's military 
response, including 89 percent of Sunnis and 80 
percent of Christians. Five months ago, just 58 
percent supported Hezbollah's right to remain 
armed. Also, 89 percent of the respondents said 
the US was not an honest broker, not responding 
positively to Lebanon's needs and concerns. In 
fact, the bombings and killings of civilians and 
destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure , would aid Hezbollah's recruiting."

The Ibn Khaldun Center in Egypt just released the 
results of a poll of the Egyptian public. It 
found that Hassan Nassrullah, the most popular 
politician in Egypt. In second place comes Khalid 
Mashal, the radical Hamas leader based in 
Damascus and in third place Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In spite of all facts to the contrary US 
leadership led President George Bush and 
corporate media keep on referring to Lebanon's 
national resistance Hezbollah as terrorists 
showing their visceral bias against freedom 
fighters resisting western occupation and 
domination. They are like the Popes in medieval 
times proclaiming that the earth was flat.

Israeli terrorist movements against the British 
occupation of Palestine were led by Begin and 
Shamir , who later became Prime Ministers

Prof .Robert A. Pape, of the University of 
Chicago and author of "Dying to Win: The 
Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, " wrote 
recently that "Evidence of the broad nature of 
Hezbollah's resistance to Israeli occupation can 
be seen in the identity of its suicide attackers. 
Hezbollah conducted a broad campaign of suicide 
bombings against American, French and Israeli 
targets from 1982 to 1986. Altogether, these 
attacks - which included the bombing of the 
Marine barracks in 1983 - involved 41 suicide terrorists.

" In writing my book on suicide attackers, I had 
researchers scour Lebanese sources to collect 
martyr videos, pictures and testimonials and the 
biographies of the Hezbollah bombers. Of the 41, 
we identified the names, birth places and other 
personal data for 38. Shockingly, only eight were 
Islamic fundamentalists. Twenty-seven were from 
leftist political groups like the Lebanese 
Communist Party and the Arab Socialist Union. 
Three were Christians, including a female 
high-school teacher with a college degree. All were born in Lebanon.

" What these suicide attackers - and their heirs 
today - shared was not a religious or political 
ideology but simply a commitment to resisting a 
foreign occupation. Nearly two decades of Israeli 
military presence did not root out Hezbollah. The 
only thing that has proven to end suicide 
attacks, in Lebanon and elsewhere, is withdrawal by the occupying force.

Most Lebanese acknowledge Hezbollah's leading 
role in fighting Israel, but what many Lebanese 
consistently refer to as the "national 
resistance" is a broad coalition that includes 
virtually all of Lebanon's most important 
political forces, including Amal, the other main 
Shi'i movement, the Lebanese Communist Party 
(LCP), other left groups and liberal democrats - 
and even the right-wing Free Patriotic Movement of General Michel Aoun.

"We have a joke that, in the average Lebanese 
family with seven children, four will be with 
Hezbollah, two will be with the communists and 
one will be with Amal - all of them with the 
resistance," says Khaled Hadadeh, secretary 
general of the LCP. According to Hadadeh, at 
least 12 LCP members and supporters died in the fighting.

Like many resistance movements fighting against 
colonialism and foreign occupation , the 
evolution of Lebanese Hezbollah movement from a 
terrorist group to a legal political party has 
been a positive development in the region. "Like 
many radical Islamic parties elsewhere, Hezbollah 
(meaning "Party of God") combines populist 
rhetoric, important social service networks for 
the needy, and a decidedly reactionary and 
chauvinistic interpretation of Islam in its 
approach to contemporary social and political 
issues. In Lebanese parliamentary elections 
earlier last year, Hezbollah ended up with 
fourteen seats outright in the 128-member 
national assembly, and a slate shared with the 
more moderate Shiite party Amal gained an 
additional twenty-three seats. Hezbollah controls 
one ministry in the 24-member cabinet," said Prof Zunes.

As required under UN Security Council resolution 
1559, Hezbollah was negotiating with the Lebanese 
government and other interested Lebanese parties, 
to disband the party's military wing Before the 
Israeli assault, Hezbollah could probably count 
on no more than a thousand active-duty militiamen 
, but the numbers would now mount up.

And what about 1967 UN Resolution 242 and many 
others which Israel refuses to implement since 
decades and others against it which USA keeps on 
vetoing. Even EU polls rate Israel and US as the 
top nations against peace and for violence around 
the world, as seen daily on TV screens.

Fawaz Trabulsi, a Lebanese professor who helped 
lead Palestinian-allied militia forces against 
the Israeli army in 1982, said , "They 
[Hezbollah] have a military and intelligence 
organization totally separated from the political 
organization." A dramatic example of the secrecy 
and careful preparations for conflict with Israel 
was Hezbollah's al-Manar television. The station 
kept broadcasting from hidden studios throughout 
the fighting, despite repeated Israeli air 
strikes against relay towers and antennas across 
the country. Many believed that some of the 
broadcasts seemed to include coded messages to 
Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon.

Nassrullah was able to use al-Manar to make a 
number of speeches rallying his followers and 
explaining his strategy. With his cleric's turban 
and youthful appearance , appearing on the screen 
in pre-taped broadcasts, he was perhaps the 
biggest secret of all, hunted by Israeli 
warplanes and hiding in a location about which Lebanese could only guess.

It was clear that Hezbollah has not been 
penetrated at all ."  I think it's no secret that 
the Israeli military didn't have the intelligence 
on this," said Richard Straus, who publishes the 
Middle East Policy Survey newsletter in 
Washington. "They didn't know what Hezbollah had, 
how it had built up, what it was capable of."

Milt Bearden who serves on the board of directors 
of Conflicts Forum, a U.K. based NGO 
which  fosters dialogue between Islamic groups 
and the West and has talked with Hezbollah 
officials about the group's transition to a more 
politically-focused party, both before and after 
the 2005 Lebanese elections , dismisses the idea 
of knocking out Hezbollah through military 
activity. "The concept of dismantling or 
eliminating Hezbollah is fatally flawed from the 
very start. Hezbollah is an organic part of that 
40 percent of the Lebanese population that is Shia."

And with Hezbollah still standing, he says, a new 
power dynamic has emerged. "There's nothing to 
compare with the Israeli Defense Force in the 
Mideast," he says, but Hezbollah's persistence 
through weeks of air strikes has shown the limits 
of Israel's strength. "We talk about 20 Hezbollah 
fighters killed today, or whatever the new 
numbers are. That's nothing. There are 500 that 
will pick up the weapons behind them now."

Asked about Hezbollah's possible role at the 
bargaining table Bearden said . "They've got a 
lot of very smart people. These are not a bunch 
of wild-eyed fanatics." "But they've always been 
willing to try to broaden the dialogue quietly. 
In the last year I've been in many hours of 
meetings with some of them, to where I can 
guarantee you that they would have welcomed a 
quiet dialogue with the United States, and they 
have repeatedly said they have no great quarrel 
with the United States," he added.

Bearden continued ,"I think we ( West ) have 
probably given up any possible role as honest 
broker, even though there's no one to replace us 
... The concept of a tsunami of democracy (in the 
Middle East) is done for. I think that's ended, 
particularly when the world realizes that the 
first two democratically elected entities ­ Hamas 
and Hezbollah ­ that we have been providing the 
weaponry [to Israel ] to take them down."

If a movement has US blessings does it become 
legitimate and even moral! Many such groups which 
US-led West, Saudi Arabia and other Sheikhdoms in 
the Gulf and even the Chinese , together financed 
,trained and provided arms directly and 
indirectly with Pakistani military intelligence , 
against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan , 
became Jihadis and just terrorists. It is another 
matter that the blowback climaxed in 911 attacks 
on USA and other attacks against western 
interests. Left behind to fester in Afghanistan 
and Pakistan , they continue to create mayhem in 
Pakistan , Afghanistan , India and elsewhere.

What about the various Kurdish militias/guerillas 
in areas under US protection since 1991 and even 
the PKK ,fighting against Turkey since 1984 and 
now ensconced in north Iraq under US control .In 
spite of promises US has done little to disarm or 
inhibit PKK activities inside south eastern 
Turkey. And then of course there are US allies in 
Iraq with their Dawa and other militias led by 
Moqtda-As Sadr , which unlike the militias or 
Jihadis in Afghanistan are Shias like Hezbollah 
.Some double standards .Loose talk   of ' 
spreading liberty and democracy' by western 
leaders have thoroughly prostituted these words. 
George Bush even had the gall to recommend 
democracy as in Iraq ( where in a raging civil 
war , in Baghdad alone a hundred Iraqis a day 
were killed in July ) as a model to Russian 
President Vladimir Putin at a press conference in 
St Petersburg .It only aroused mirth and cynical 
laughter . Americans deserve better leadership.

The Hezbollah –IOF stand off ;

Israeli ministers recalled that Prime Minister 
Ehud Olmert's aides joked about the possibility 
that he would make a victory speech in Bint 
Jubail, the site of Nassrullah's speech after 
Israeli withdrawal in May 2000. It was at Bint 
Jubail on 26 July ,2006 that the Hezbollah 
repulsed the best of Israeli  commandos with 
dozens dead and tanks destroyed . But the mere 
fact that it was discussed is an indication of 
how surrealistic the conversations in Israel 
became among decision makers ie the belief in 
their   Biblical Samson like powers .

Said an expert ,"Apparently Hezbollah had done 
its homework and read the Israeli handbook­in 
Hebrew and was well-prepared for such a 
predictable approach[ an all out attack against 
abduction of Israeli soldiers ]. Indeed, the 
failure to disrupt Hezbollah's field 
communications and authority arguably delayed 
Israeli ground operations and later led to their relative ineffectiveness. "

Hezbollah fighters fought off the modern Israeli 
Occupation Forces (IOF ), the most well equipped 
in the region, for a month in the hills of 
southern Lebanon because of its resilience based 
on extraordinary zeal and secrecy, rigorous 
military training and discipline, and a steady flow of effective weaponry.

"They are the best guerrilla force in the world," 
said a Lebanese specialist who has sifted through 
intelligence on Hezbollah for more than two 
decades and strongly opposes the movement. They 
fight like fish in water. "We are not a regular 
army and we will not fight like a regular army," says Hezbollah.

Based in their own villages Hezbollah protects 
its own people and land in south Lebanon .The 
underground bunkers constructed in secret since 
Israeli withdrawal in 2000 , withstood a 
withering Israeli air campaign and tank-led 
ground assaults could not establish control over 
a border strip or sweep it clear of Hezbollah 
resistance fighters -- one of Israel's main 
declared war aims. In fact IDF attempts to 
conquer Bint Jubail , were repeatedly repulsed 
with stunning loss of the best of IDF commandos 
.Other attempts to take land from Hezbollah were beaten back  too .

Their Islamic faith and intense indoctrination 
reduces their fear of death, giving Hezbollah an 
advantage in close-quarters combat. Hezbollah 
leaders also enhanced fighters' willingness to 
risk death by establishing the Martyr's 
Institute,  that guarantees living stipends and 
education fees for the families of fighters who die on the front.

"If you are waiting for a white flag coming out 
of the Hezbollah bunker, I can assure you it 
won't come," Brig. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, a member 
of the Israeli army's General staff, said in a 
briefing for reporters in the northern Israeli 
village of Gosherim. "They are extremists, they will go all the way."

Hezbollah's military leadership have carefully 
studied military history, including the Vietnam 
War, a Lebanese expert said, and set up a 
training program with help from Iranian 
intelligence and Revolutionary Guards with years 
of experience in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. 
The training was matched with weapons that proved 
effective against Israeli tanks, including the 
famed Merkava main battle tank with advanced 
armor plating. The majority of Israeli combat 
deaths resulted from missile hits on armored 
vehicles -- or on buildings where Israeli 
soldiers set up observation posts or conducted searches.

The antitank missiles could be dragged easily out 
of caches and quickly fired with two- or 
three-man launching teams at distances of 3,200 
yards or more from their targets. One of the most 
effective was the Russian-designed Sagger 2, a 
wire-guided missile with a range of 550 to 3,200 
yards. In one hidden bunker, Israeli soldiers 
discovered night-vision camera equipment 
connected to computers that fed coordinates of 
targets to the Sagger 2 missile, according to Israeli military officials

As antitank missiles could also be used to attack 
helicopters, it limited IDF's use of choppers in 
rescues and other operations.. Hezbollah shot 
down a CH-53 Sikorsky helicopter, killing all 
five crew members as admitted by IDF . But Hezbollah claimed more hits.

It is some irony that the Iraq- Iran war of 1980s 
trained the Iraqis who are leading the resistance 
against US led occupation and Iranians forged in 
that same war , the Iranian revolutionary guards 
were instrumental in establishing and training 
Hezbollah. Tehran's assistance to Hamas today follows a similar pattern.

To give a taste of their own medicine Hezbollah 
continued to fire rockets against north Israeli 
towns and villages, specially its port and 
holiday resort of Haifa , its third largest city 
until the ceasefire . In spite of usual lies by 
western media , Hezbollah started sending rockets 
and missiles into north Israel only after Israel 
began its attack on Lebanese cities and villages 
including on civilians and infrastructure 
.Nassrullah offered to stop if IDF did like wise.

Hezbollah arsenal included thousands of missiles 
and rockets fired ( estimated to be up to 15, 000 
but none is sure ) was paid for by relentless 
fundraising among Shias around the world and 
funds provided by Iran. For the 1980s 'Jihad' 
against Russians in Afghanistan ,not only Sunni 
Saudi Arabia and other Kingdoms and Muslim 
countries and individuals , but most western 
countries led by USA , even China contributed up 
to whopping sum of US $ 6-10 billions.

Shia Islam , which evolved and blossomed in 
Persia was ruled by Arabs, Turks, Mongols and 
Tartars for eight-and-half centuries, before the 
emergence of  the Sufi-origin Persian Safavids, 
who became finally masters of their own land, 
Iran. During the period of foreign occupation and 
domination , mostly by Sunni rulers , to preserve 
their sect and survive, Iranians and Shias have 
developed an uncanny ability not to bring to 
their lips what is on their minds, and have 
institutionalized it as takiyya, ie dissimulation.

In earlier Muslim period  ,most of Shia Imams 
were harassed , tormented and even assassinated 
.Imam Hussein who died for the righteous cause at 
Karbala remains the martyr par excellence and a 
shining example. In Lebanon , a sense of 
solidarity against others among Shias   has been 
there since their beginning as a political force 
in the mid-1970s, when their first organization 
was called the 'Movement of the Deprived'. They 
are like 'Dalits' (Untouchables ) in Hindu 
apartheid like caste system ..Calls by other 
Lebanese to disarm Hezbollah were motivated more 
by a desire to prevent it from becoming powerful 
political party than bringing more ruin from 
Israeli attacks, or to prevent it from aligning 
it with Syria and Iran. Hezbollah took birth and 
was nurtured during the brutal Israeli occupation 
of south Lebanon for two decades.

One story about Syria's ruling Shia Alawaites ( 
12% of population ) , who were also poor and 
deprived , is that only the looked down upon 
military career as foot soldiers was open to them 
in 1940s and 1950s   , when politics, trade and 
industry were cornered by majority Sunni 
population .Soon the Alawaites progressed to 
sergeants level and when there were enough of 
them as generals they took over in 1960s and 
continue to rule , with power sharing with other 
Muslims in a secular set up .Similarly in 
neighbouring Iraq , when it became independent 
after the collapse of the Sunni Ottoman empire 
after the first world war, the former Iraqi Sunni 
Ottoman elite took over . but the Ba'athists were 
secular . Ignorant and arrogant Neo-cons have 
created living hell in Iraq , but the main 
beneficiary of the ouster of Saddam Hussein is 
Iran, providing Tehran with inroads into the 
heart of Iraqi politics at the social, military, 
and religious levels. Today's Iran policy is to 
tolerate 'controlled chaos' as long as the US 
appears to favor regime change in Iran.

Of course US had invaded Iraq against the UN 
Charter and against the wishes of the world 
community for oil as I have written in my 
essay  ;'Mother of all battles , for oil .A 
battle by Anglo-Saxons to control oil for their 
benefit continues its blood strewn path.

Dissensions in Israel;

Unlike western media specially in USA , which 
like its politicians across the political 
spectrum , are dead scared of criticising Israel 
or its policies and are openly controlled by the 
Israeli lobby in USA, Israeli media is relatively 
free , specially newspapers like Haaretz .

Reporter Nahum Barnea, who traveled with an 
Israeli military unit in south Lebanon, compared 
the battle to "the famous Tom and Jerry cartoons" 
with the powerful Israeli military playing the 
role of the cat Tom and the resourceful Hezbollah 
resistance fighters playing the mouse Jerry. "In 
every conflict between them, Jerry wins," Barnea 
wrote. One Israeli plan to use llamas to deliver 
supplies in the rugged terrain of south Lebanon 
turned into an embarrassment when the animals simply sat down.

Israeli newspapers and people, led to believe in 
quick decimation of Hezbollah and a victory 
faster than the 6 day war of 1967 ,have been 
stunned at the failure and are full of complaints 
against their   political and military leaders 
asking them to resign and be punished .

Soldiers say that some reservists weren't even 
issued body armor while other soldiers found 
their equipment either inferior or inappropriate 
for the battlefield conditions. One of the 
petitions circulated and signed by the reserve 
Spearhead Brigade IDF , just back from the 
fighting in Lebanon said , "The 'cold feet' of 
the decision-makers were evident everywhere . " 
"To us the indecisiveness expressed deep 
disrespect for our willingness to join the ranks 
and fight and made us feel as though we had been 
spat at, since it contradicts the principles and 
values of warfare upon which we were trained at the Israel Defense Forces.

"The heavy feeling is that in the echelons above 
us there is nothing but under-preparation, 
insincerity, lack of foresight and inability to 
make rational decisions leads to the question 
[we] were we called up for nothing?"

Channel 2 in Israel disclosed that several top 
military commanders wrote a letter to Lt. Gen. 
Dan Halutz, the chief of staff, criticizing the 
war planning as chaotic and out of line with the 
combat training of the soldiers and officers. The 
outgoing Chief Infantry and Paratroopers Officer 
of the Israel Defense Forces, Brigadier General 
Yossi Heiman, became the first senior officer to 
concede a degree of failure in the Lebanon war. 
"We were guilty of the sin of arrogance."

Wrote Uri Avnery , an Israeli writer and peace 
activist that the strategic and tactical command 
of Hezbollah was decidedly better than that of 
Israeli occupation army (IOF). All along, IOF 
strategy was primitive, brutal and unsophisticated.

" Clearly, Hezbollah has prepared well for this 
war - while the Israeli command has prepared for 
a quite different war.  On the level of 
individual fighters, the Hezbollah are not 
inferior to our soldiers, neither in bravery nor 
in initiative. Halutz with the bluster of an 
Air-Force officer believed that it was possible 
to crush Hezbollah by aerial bombardment, 
supplemented by artillery shelling from land and 
sea. He believed that if he destroyed the towns, 
neighborhoods, roads and ports of Lebanon, the 
Lebanese people would rise and compel their 
government to remove Hezbollah. For a week he 
killed and devastated, until it became clear to 
everybody that this method achieves the opposite 
- strengthens Hezbollah, weakens its opponents 
within Lebanon and throughout the Arab world and 
destroys the world-wide sympathy Israel enjoyed at the beginning of the war.

"When he reached this point, Halutz did not know 
what to do next. For three weeks he sent his 
soldiers into Lebanon on senseless and hopeless 
missions, gaining nothing. Even in the battles 
that were fought in villages right on the border, 
no significant victories were achieved. After the 
fourth week, when he was requested to submit a 
plan to the government, it was unbelievably primitive.

"If the "enemy" had been a regular army, it would 
have been a bad plan. Just pushing the enemy back 
is hardly a strategy at all. But when the other 
side is a guerilla force, this is simply foolish. 
It may cause the death of many soldiers, for no practical result.

Written  at the time of the UN ceasefire ( which 
Bush and Tony Blair inhumanly delayed to give IOF 
time to inflict damage on Lebanon , mostly by 
killing civilians and destruction of Lebanon's 
infrastructure on which the debts incurred on 
re-construction after the long civil war ignited 
by Israel have still not been paid , Avnery writes;

"Now he [Halutz] is trying to achieve a token 
victory, occupying empty space as far from the 
border as possible, after the UN has already 
called for an end to the hostilities. (As in 
almost all previous Israeli wars, this call is 
being ignored, in the hope of snatching some 
gains at the last moment.) Behind this line, 
Hezbollah remains intact in their bunkers. There 
were some talented officers, but the general 
picture is of a senior officers corps that is 
mediocre or worse, grey and unoriginal. Almost 
all the many officers that have appeared on TV 
are unimpressive, uninspiring professionals, 
experts on covering their behinds, repeating empty clichés like parrots.

"The ex-generals, who have been crowding out 
everybody else in the TV and radio studios, have 
also mostly surprised us with their mediocrity, 
limited intelligence and general ignorance. One 
gets the impression that they have not read books 
on military history, and fill the void with empty phrases.

"The intelligence was completely unaware of the 
defense system built by Hezbollah in South 
Lebanon. The complex infrastructure of hidden 
bunkers, stocked with modern equipment and 
stockpiles of food and weapons was a complete 
surprise for the army. It was not ready for these 
bunkers, including those built two or three 
kilometers from the border. They are reminiscent of the tunnels in Vietnam."

Samson seduced by Philistine [Palestinian] softness ;

As for Israeli intelligence "it has also been 
corrupted by the long occupation of the 
Palestinian territories. They have got used to 
relying on the thousands of collaborators that 
have been recruited in the course of 39 years by 
torture, bribery and extortion (junkies needing 
drugs, someone begging to be allowed to visit his 
dying mother, someone desiring a chunk from the 
cake of corruption, etc.) Clearly, no 
collaborators were found among the Hezbollah, and 
without them intelligence is blind.

" The Merkava ("carriage") tank is the pride of 
the army. Its father, General Israel Tal, a 
victorious tank general, did not want only to 
build the world's most advanced tank, but also a 
tank that provided its crew with the best 
possible protection. Now it appears that an 
anti-tank weapon from the late 1980s that is 
available in large quantities, can disable the 
tank, killing or grievously wounding the soldiers inside,"

After the ceasefire was concluded ( but broken by 
IDF commando raids in Beka'a valley on 20 August 
) Uri Avney said that the results of the war were obvious:

* The prisoners, who served as casus belli (or 
pretext) for the war, have not been released. 
They will come back only as a result of an 
exchange of prisoners, exactly as Hassan Nassrullah proposed before the war.

* Hezbollah has remained as it was. It has not 
been destroyed, nor disarmed, nor even removed 
from where it was. Its fighters have proved 
themselves in battle and have even garnered 
compliments from Israeli soldiers. Its command 
and communication structure has continued to 
function to the end. Its TV station is still broadcasting.

* Hassan Nassrullah is alive and kicking. 
Persistent attempts to kill him failed. His 
prestige is sky-high. Everywhere in the Arab 
world, from Morocco to Iraq, songs are being 
composed in his honor and his picture adorns the walls.

* The Lebanese army will be deployed along the 
border, side by side with a large international 
force. That is the only material change that has been achieved.

Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington;

Helena Cobban commented on 18 August in her 
website on a study titled 'Preliminary Lessons of 
Israeli-Hezbollah War' by Anthony Cordesman, of 
the Center for Strategic and International 
Studies in Washington, a well known Middle East 
strategic affairs strategic analyst for US media 
who was invited by the American Jewish Committee 
on a "insider" trip to Israel (Who paid ?) to 
meet senior Israeli officers . His most notable 
finding appears to be that no serving Israeli 
official, intelligence officer, or other military 
officer felt that the Hezbollah acted under the direction of Iran or Syria.

Cordesman stated that Israel had five objectives in going to war:

• Destroy the "Iranian Western Command" [I guess 
this is a reference to Hezbollah's military 
capabilities?] before Iran could go nuclear.

• Restore the credibility of Israeli deterrence 
after the unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon in 
2000 and Gaza in 2005, and countering the image 
that Israel was weak and forced to leave.

• Force Lebanon to become and act as an 
accountable state, and end the status of Hezbollah as a state within a state.

• Damage or cripple Hezbollah, with the 
understanding that it could not be destroyed as a 
military force and would continue to be a major 
political actor in Lebanon. [Yes, well, that was 
fallback position for them, wasn't it. In the 
first few days, there was lots of rhetoric about 
"destroying" Hezbollah's military capability.]

• Bring the two soldiers the Hezbollah had 
captured back alive without major trades in 
prisoners held by Israel­not the thousands 
demanded by Nassrullah and the Hezbollah.

Cordesman then goes on to make cleverly 
obfuscating judgments about what Israel actually 
"achieved" in each of these five areas... though 
the bottom line in each case was still "not very much, at all."

In the end Israel was left facing 20 questions posed by Aluf Benn in Haaretz

1. How and why did Prime Minister Ehud Olmert 
decide to go to war in response to the Hezbollah 
attack and the abduction of two soldiers on July 
12th? Who participated in the decision-making and 
which criteria were taken into account?

2. Did anyone consider the possibility of holding 
negotiations with Hezbollah over a prisoner 
exchange? Was the assessment that the IOF 
operation would pressure Hezbollah to release the 
abducted soldiers, with nothing in return?

3. Why wasn't the event where Hassan Nassrullah 
spoke bombed the same day? Was the possibility considered?

4. Why was the Vice Premier mocked at the cabinet 
meeting when he asked about the stages following the military operation?

5. Did Chief of Staff Dan Halutz give political 
leaders the impression that an air offensive 
would suffice to achieve the goals of the war 
(releasing the prisoners, deploying Lebanese 
forces in the south and disarming Hezbollah)?

6. What did Olmert and Amir Peretz know about the 
levels of IOF preparedness for a confrontation 
with Hezbollah before they decided on war? Were 
they warned of the shortcomings of the army and the home front?

7. Why was the state of alert lifted at the 
Northern Command on the eve of the Hezbollah 
attack? What was wrong with the way in which the 
force reacted to an attack by Hezbollah on July 12th?

8. Why did intelligence fail to locate the hide-out of Hezbollah's leadership?

9. Why was the IOF surprised by Hezbollah's 
anti-ship cruise missiles? And why were the 
defense systems of its advanced warship turned 
off during a mission off the Lebanese coast?

10. What intelligence was there on Hezbollah's 
advanced anti-tank missiles and were tactics developed to counter them?

11. What intelligence was there on the Hezbollah 
order of battle and was this passed on to the Northern Command?

12. Was the air force ordered to target homes 
near rocket-launching sites and, as a result, 
struck civilians in Qana on July 30th?

13. Were restrictions lifted on air force 
targeting, and did this cause further civilian casualties?

14. How was Israel dragged into a halting ground 
offensive in Lebanon, who ordered it and what 
were political leadership's aims and considerations?

15. Why was Bint Jubail targeted? Was it a PR 
exercise? What did we know about Hezbollah forces there?

16. Prior to the decision to go to war, did 
anyone raise the possibility that Hezbollah would 
be able to fire 100-200 rockets on a daily basis into the North, for a month?

17. Who was responsible for taking care of the 
population in the North prior to and during the 
war? Why was no orderly evacuation prepared?

18. How were reservist units deployed with insufficient logistical support?

19. What did the Prime Minister mean in his 
speech on August 1st that the achievements in the war were "unprecedented"?

20. Why did Olmert and Peretz decide to expand 
the ground offensive on Friday - a decision that 
cost the lives of many and damaged Israel's image 
abroad - just as the Security Council approved the cease-fire resolution?

Israelis , and all their leaders have time to 
ponder till the next war .It will come . But 
first the elections and the return of Bibi 
Netanyahu , the new Likud leader ,unless there 
are birth pangs of a new Israeli internal churning .

World Council of Churches accuses Israel of premeditated attack ;

Israel's assault on Lebanon was planned even 
before Hezbollah abducted the soldiers and was 
aimed at driving a wedge between the different 
faiths that have been living in harmony in the 
country, a delegation from the World Council of 
Churches (WCC) said on their return from a visit 
to Beirut and Jerusalem ( but not received by the 
Israeli government ). The WCC represents 348 
Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches 
and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

As for the abduction of Israeli soldiers, the 
first media reports suggested that the incident 
took place in the Lebanese territory .It was 
later changed to Israeli territory by full 
support from corporate news networks and print 
media of the west. Lies and spins is a hoary western tradition.

(K Gajendra Singh, served as Indian Ambassador to 
Turkey and Azerbaijan in1992 -96. Prior to that, 
he served as ambassador to Jordan (during the1990 
- 91Gulf war), Romania and Senegal.  He is 
currently chairman of the Foundation for 
Indo-Turkic Studies.  The views expressed here 
are his own.- Email- <mailto:Gajendrak at hotmail.com)>Gajendrak at hotmail.com)

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