Published 29 August 2006

What are the lessons of the thirty-four day war between Israel and Hezbollah? In a previous discussion we suggested that Israel was unprepared for Hezbollah’s short-range rockets. The Israeli Air Force was very effective againt Hezbollah’s mid- and long-range rockets, destroying about 95 percent of them in the first thirty-six hours of the war. The attacks from the air also inflicted massive damage on the Shi’ia organization’s command and control systems, logistics and supplies, storage and training facilities, and other infrastructure facilities. The Israel Defense Forces also destroyed about 15,000 houses and buildings, and seriously damaged many thousands more. This destruction is painful, certainly to the families whose loved ones were buried in the rubble and whose property was destroyed, but there was no other way to let tens of thousands of Shi’ia families know that there is a steep price to pay for allowing Hezbollah to turn their homes and apartments into launching pads for rockets or storage facilities for weapons. As the rebuilding of Lebanon begins — especially in the Shi’ia south and the Shi’ia areas of south Beirut — it would interesteing to see how many Shi’ia families would allow the organization again to use them as human shield and place them and their possessions in the direct line of fire.


more generally inflicted serious , but it was not effective against the short-range Katyusha rockets. The rocket l one of the lessons shows that the most effective weapons Hezbollah used against the Israel Defense Force (IDF) were a few types of antitank missiles which Russia sold Syria last year. There are three points to note here:

* These are the types of missiles U.S. forces are likely to encounter as they expand offensive gorund operations against terrorists and insurgents in countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa

* Hezbollah cleverly used the anti-tank weapons not only agains tanks, but more broadly against Israeli forces (for example, to collapse buildings in which Israeli soldiers were seeking shelter)

* Russia gave explicit gaurantees to the United States, as did Syria, that the sophisticated antitank systems will not be handed over to Hezbollah, but remain in Syrian hands. Most of these missiles were delivered by Syria directly to Hezbollah in their original Russian crates, with the crates not even opened. Why was the administration even tempted to take these guarantees at face value is an issue for another day, but