First media report of Israeli “quagmire” spotted!

posted at 1:53 pm on July 27, 2006 by Allahpundit

The first one I’ve spotted, anyway. But I guess I’ve been out of the loop.

I wondered the other day if Israel’s offensive was doomed to fail. Let’s just say I’m not feeling any more confident after reading about this morning’s cabinet meeting:

It appears that the army is gradually moving away from its previous tactic of raids targeting specific positions along the border, in favor of one of capturing and temporarily holding a security zone whose aim would be to push the rocket launchers further north.

This strategy will not completely prevent the rocket attacks, but it will limit the scope of the threat against northern Israel.

In other words, they’re not going to destroy Hezbollah, they’re just going to squeeze them further in country so that they’ll have to use longer-range missiles if they want to kill Israelis.

The fighting’s been tougher than expected, with Debka claiming yesterday that “the Olmert government is stunned by the IDF’s setbacks in South Lebanon and the rising casualty figures. Senior ministers cannot agree whether to send in more troops to reinforce the units battling the Hizballah.” The latter issue has since been resolved in favor, no doubt due to what the IDF is learning about Hezbollah’s degree of organization:

The Israelis have confirmed that Hezbollah is fighting like a professional military. Their units are fighting at the company level at the least (Unit size of approximately 100 men), and perhaps in larger formations. Intelligence also confirms there is specialization within the Hezbollah units, including trained infantry, mortar teams, missile squads, and logistical personal. Iran has trained and organized Hezbollah’s army into something far more deadly than a militia force. Hezbollah’s core ‘active’ army is estimated at 3,000 – 5,000, with as many as 50,000 part time militia and support personnel that can be called upon to fight (20,000 is the average estimate).

Intelligence sources also have confirmed that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Qods Force have indeed been killed during the fighting in southern Lebanon.

The Washington Times also says Hezbollah is fighting like an army, which inspires “fear” among the west.

Haaretz says the IDF has intercepted Nasrallah’s communications, but if that were true he’d be dead, not (allegedly) in Damascus, wouldn’t he? Captain Ed thinks Nasrallah fleeing for Syria is evidence of a bug out but I think it’s more like a taunt: Israel claims to have the whole country blockaded, yet public enemy number one is (allegedly) moving freely across the border.

Query: if he’s able to get out, who or what is able to get in?

There’s a new Zawahiri tape out too, which might or might not call for Sunni/Shiite reconciliation in service to the cause of Judenrein. Reuters helpfully ignores the Iran/Syria alliance and feigns shock at the idea. Here’s a still from the video; that’s quite a “cave” he’s got there.


I’ll leave you with the latest peace plan from Lebanon. I haven’t fully thought it through but I think this one has potential.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


Perhaps my memory is failing me, but I don’t recall Israel in similiar situations displaying this sort of tentativeness. Is this a function of the particular leadership or….

A/P: what’s your opionion?

honora on July 27, 2006 at 3:04 PM

I thought the big knock on Israel this time is that they weren’t tentative enough, that they flew off the handle when two soldiers were kidnapped, etc.

I think they’re worried about Syria and Iran coming in. Israel has a great military but they’re not invincible.

Allahpundit on July 27, 2006 at 3:11 PM

You’re right that there was the reaction that Israel responded too aggressively, but isn’t that always the case from some quarters? The Israelis are held to a higher standard for some reason (well we know the reason, it’s why we support them!) My concern is that in the past they seem to have had an “in for a dime in for a dollar” mentality. The big problem is should they appear in any way to back down, H wins enormous credibility.

Off the subject: during World War II, was it called World War II? Or was this nomenclature applied later as with WWI?

honora on July 27, 2006 at 3:28 PM

My concern is that in the past they seem to have had an “in for a dime in for a dollar” mentality.

True, but in the past they were in for a dollar from the word go. It was four or five against one from the outset. This time they can limit things to Lebanon if they play their cards right. I hope.

Allahpundit on July 27, 2006 at 3:35 PM

The question is what happens if Syria and Iran jump in? Does the U.S. automatically jump in? Or do we attempt to solve this another way? I have not heard anything from the administration on this point (or from anybody in the federal government period). Has anybody else heard any soundbites to that effect? Obviously, for Iran to seriously attack Israel, they will have to cross Iraq at some point – I don’t see the U.S. letting them (I sure as hell hope not).

Rick on July 27, 2006 at 3:42 PM

One of the problems that the Israeli’s are having is a reluctance to use air power as ground support.

There was a piece yesterday or the day before in Haaretz or J. Post and they quoted an Israeli officer as saying that the movement through the Lebanese towns was slow because they were not using air power (I suppose a lot of helicopter support but also air to ground missiles) because they were concerned about causing civilian casualties in the residential areas from which the Hezbollah are fighting.

If this is true then I think it’s a bit of a concern. It would signify that the Israelis, apart from trying to act decently, may be more concerned about world reaction than they are about actually getting this thing won.

I just think you do the best you can, within reason, not to kill civilians. The Israelis have sent leaflets. Everyone in Southern Lebanon knows there’s a war on and they should probably get out. If they choose to remain, then there is a risk in staying in a war zone. If they were prevented from leaving by Hezbollah, well then it’s Hezbollah’s fault.

In any event, every time the Israeli’s find a strong point in a house, or a basement or an apartment or a Mosque (does Hezbollah use Mosques as military installations?—-naaaahhh) they should just call in the Air Force, and hit it with whatever missile will best clear it out, then move on to the next.If there are civilian deaths, well, they shouldn’t have been there.

I am really just worried that the Israelis are being a bit too sensitive here (I know this sounds harsh). From my viewpoint, with all the bombing and fighting over the past two weeks, the loss of about 600 Lebanese (INCLUDING Hezbollah) seems a lot lower than anyone might have expected.

Blaise on July 27, 2006 at 3:47 PM

Blaise: I heard just the opposite from some retired uniform on the news: that the problem is that they are reluctant to commit themselves to the kind of door to door, hand to hand combat that excising a guerilla force like H would entail. Perhaps this assumes that air power wouldn’t be an option? Dear God.

honora on July 27, 2006 at 3:55 PM

With a war spanning generations as this Israeli Muslim battle, the war effort is only as good as the next generation of soldiers.

It takes one generation to lose all that had been won before. The question is: have the newest generations of Israelis bought the current dogma that you are not allowed to fight an all-out war even to save your own nation?

This dogma has been generated, of course, by the enemies of Israel, who have been consistant losers in this battle. It certainly goes against human survival instincts.

If the Israelis have bought into the new dogma, then we have only a siege. A seige of nation, not a castle.

entagor on July 27, 2006 at 7:11 PM

Did anyone catch this on You Tube?

UN ambulance picking up fighters in Gaza Strip

venmax on July 27, 2006 at 8:33 PM


Whoa! Why isn’t this all over the place?!

What’s up with this, koffi?

The U.N. is clearly siding with terrorists.

techno_barbarian on July 27, 2006 at 10:13 PM

I found this on SondraK’s website. It’s really an odd mix of politics and culture. A lot of funny and intersting stuff on it all the time…

venmax on July 27, 2006 at 10:46 PM

Urban warfare is perhaps the most challenging form of war there is. Traditionally, a house-by-house fight for a city usally results in staggering high KIA losses for the attacker.

In November 2004, the US Marines led an assault that took down an entire city, Fallujah, a city of 200,000 in November 2004 with loss of 92 KIA. They cleared the entire city of insurgents, killing thousands.

Compared to urban battles of the past, these losses are extremely light.

It took 4 USMC light infrantry battalions, and 2 US Army Armored Cavalry battalions less than 2 weeks to take the city, though the last pockets of resistance were neutralized on 23 December, 2004. When it was over, thousands (some say as many as 6000) Al Qaeda and the Ba’athist insurgents had been destroyed or captured, and Fallujah was no longer the enemy’s fortified “capital” in the Sunni Triangle.

The Army and Marines have trained for the better part of 2 decades in urban warfare tactics, and it paid off at Fallujah. Unlike WWII or even Vietnam, the high casualty rate (25% KIA or more) traditionally incurred in urban warfare was avoided by using tactics evolved by our military and by the IDF.

Which is why I do not understand the IDF’s apparent inability wipe out Hezbollah. The IDF can put enough troops across the border, they have enough armor, and aircraft, to decisively isolate and destroy Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.

I cannot believe that the IDF has lost their edge, no matter how tough Hezbollah is claimed to be.

What is really preventing them from grinding Hezbollah into oatmeal? Is it political? Or is the IDF no longer the sharp spear they used to be?

georgej on July 28, 2006 at 12:57 AM

Israel will be all right. If only one single Hezbollah fighter were left alive, confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, in a vegetative state…the world would still call Israel a loser, their efforts a failure. Because that’s the state of the world.
Do you realize we spend much of our reality fighting against Muslim fantasies?
Such as “Israel is on Palistinian Land!” nope.
“All the world must submit to Allah!” you’re dreaming, Tayeb.
“America is the Great Satan!” America is a country. Full of free people. Happy people. That just kills you, doesn’t it?
You don’t mind our politics/religion as much as our Happiness. We’re happy without Allah-you should try it sometime, Shamir.

Doug on July 28, 2006 at 2:41 AM

From what I’ve seen, the Israelis seem absolutely terrified of taking any casualties whatsoever. The occupation of Southern Lebanon for nearly twenty years, and the KIAs suffered there, really pissed off Israel’s civilian population. The politicians are scared the public will vote them out of office if they reoccupy and/or create a new buffer zone.

It’s foolish to think air strikes alone will put an end to Hezbullah. It’s also foolish to think you can fight a war without taking casualties. We’ve tried that strategy since Vietnam time and time again, and it’s never taken care of the problem the first time around. You need boots on the ground to cure the problem, along with an understanding by the citizens that deaths will occur no matter how well planned the operation.

I thought from the beginning that Israel might have stepped in some you know what. Look at the history–they couldn’t get rid of Hezbullah in 18 years in Southern Lebanon. Why would a few weeks accomplish what couldn’t be done in nearly two decades?

jaleach on July 28, 2006 at 3:34 AM

georgej: well said.

honora on July 28, 2006 at 2:00 PM

I think it is the gang of seven that is responsible for stopping the IDF from going in and cleaning Hezbollahs clock.

They are worried about how the media will portray their actions.They should kick the media out and fight the war.

When it is over they can let the traitors in the MSM back into cover what happened.

ScottyDog on July 28, 2006 at 2:56 PM

Everything is a quagmire to these media morons. Hey Einstein, religeous fanatics armed with AKs and RPGs are shooting at the IDF. Whattaya think is gonna happen? One U.S. Ranger gets wounded in the 1st week of Afghanistan and “It’s a quagmire!” Idiots.

Tony737 on July 28, 2006 at 3:48 PM