Part I: " Know thy enemy"…. Sun Tzu
Having studied each preceding war with its enemy, Hezbollah succeeded in anticipating Israeli tactics, paths of entrance into Lebanon and targeting actions. Israel, not being able to find any, failed to target a single resistance fighter, or to prevent any rocket pads from launching at will. Until the moment the US-Israel requested ceasefire took hold, having been arranged by US Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Hezbollah’s retaliation with Katuysha rockets continued unabated. Israel’s goals were again those noted above. There was one addition, and that was to present Shimon Peres with a military victory to help his election campaign, which was backed by President Clinton and staffed with some key Clinton campaign staff. On May 29, 1996 Peres lost the election and Hezbollah emerged from “Grapes of Wrath” victorious and widely perceived in Washington and Tel Aviv as having exposed Israeli battlefield errors, or what the Resistance called “impotence”.
The May 24, 2000 withdrawal of Israeli forces and the complete collapse of their surrogate collaborationist Lahdist forces
Israel’s notorious prison at Khiam was liberated by villagers and their loved ones freed. This resistance victory was perhaps its sweetest to date. No cheap political deals to help the Zionists save faced. Total defeat as Israeli faces snuck out during one night without even telling their collaborators. A half century after Israel started its inroads into Lebanon, except for some border enclaves like Shebaa, Kfar Kouba and Ghajar that Hezbollah and the Lebanese army aims to recover during the coming war, it was out.
This victory was especially valuable to the Resistance and Lebanon as it demonstrated qualities that will determine the outcome of the next war. It blended a deep belief in God, magnanimous in victory, human treatment of the vanquished, care for the families of martyrs, insistence on dialogue with internal adversaries, confidence in the victory of good over evil, and thorough preparation for future aggressions and acceptance of sacrifice.
The July 2006 War, the mis-named “Second Lebanon War”
The results of the 2006 33-day Israeli aggression are well known and documented, with none of Israel’s stated goals of destroying Hezbollah, a treaty with Lebanon, and breaking popular Lebanese support for the National Lebanese Resistance being achieved. Hezbollah’s victory resulted in a deep sea change in Lebanese sectarian attitude towards Israel, partly because living during the war, all of Lebanon saw through the Hasbara articles produced for cash at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP was set up by AIPAC in 1985), the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Institute, the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and the Foreign Policy Initiative, among several others.
Preparing for the coming war- knowing the enemy
Sometimes Hezbollah members complain to this observer, as one did recently, that “we spend so much time studying every imaginable aspect of the Zionist forces and their corrupt society, from their psychology, strengths and weaknesses on the battle field, every battle and every little encounter over the past 28 years, favorite foods, drugs, and video games. Really, I don’t find them all that interesting. I just want to expel them from the rest of Lebanon and all of Palestine. The sooner the better!”
Among past wars involving Israel that Hezbollah is said to have microscopically studied, in addition to all its own battles during Israeli wars and invasions, are those of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1978, as well as the serial aggressions inside occupied Palestine, including Gaza.
Hezbollah believes Israel will indeed attack Lebanon and that the Zionist battle plan will include the use of the following Israeli units, which Hezbollah has been carefully studying and preparing to confront. Among these are the 91st “Galilee Division”, which Hezbollah believes will be backed by multiple regular and reserve brigades trying to seal Lebanon’s southern border to stop Resistance/Lebanese Army units from moving deep inside occupied Palestine.
Additionally, Hezbollah is preparing to seek out and cripple the 162nd Armored Division, which it damaged regularly during the 2006 war, as well as to confront the 36th Armored Division normally assigned to the Golan Heights (unless Syria fights this time), and at least three reserve armored divisions (Hezbollah sources believe probably the 366th and 319th).
Hezbollah has prepared meticulous plans to destroy the 98th Paratroop Division, the much touted “Special Forces Quality” Golani Infantry Brigade (which Hezbollah reserve forces mauled badly in 2006), the 35th Paratroop Brigade, the 551st “Spearhead” Brigade, the Givati Infantry Brigade, the Alexandroni Reserve Infantry Brigade, the Kfir Infantry Brigade specializing in “Urban Warfare”, the Carmeli Infantry Reserve Brigade, the Sayeret Matkal Reconnaissance Unit, the Sayeret Egoz reconnaissance unit attached to the Golani Brigade, the Shayetet 13 Naval Commando Reconnaissance and Raiding Unit, the Sayeret Yael Engineering Unit, plus a variety of units specializing in combat intelligence, supply, transport and communications.
Both Hezbollah and Israel have declined comment on current rumors coming from concerned Pentagon staff in Washington that Hezbollah intelligence agents inside Israel have provided the Lebanese Resistance with the names, addresses, mobile phone numbers and email addresses of each personnel assigned to every one of the above units to be in its crosshairs when the battle begins.
Is Hezbollah prepared to fight Israeli collaborators on additional fronts?
Lebanese national resistance allies in and around Parliament are claiming that the US is frantically trying to organize a “northern second front” to help Israel in the coming war by enticing right-wing Christian militias, Al Qaeda mixed-bag “Salafists for lease”, and anyone else willing to fight a back door war against the Resistance while Israel kicks in the front door north of Safad and Nahariyah down south. The White House has reportedly vetoed one scheme to bring in Blackwater-type private contractors.
Former MP Nasr Kandil, who is close to Hezbollah, stated on September 30: “Egypt is also training hundreds of young gunmen in military camps in north Lebanon that were set up under the guise of mobile hospitals while Jordan is training more than 700 Sunni militia members” at the behest of the US Embassy in Beirut and Jordan as part of “subversive initiatives against Lebanon for Israel’s benefit”.
These militias are claimed by Kandil and other politicians in Lebanon, including Senior Arab Democratic Party member Rifat Ali Eid, to be Salafi groups with links to Al Qaeda organized by the CIA and Saudi Intelligence Services, similar to the Fatah al Islam group that fought a summer-long battle from the Palestinian camp of Nahr al Bared in 2007, and whose ranks are being replenished in Lebanon.
This week the Lebanese Forces were accused by Hezbollah’s Sheik Naim Qassim, Deputy to SG Hassan Nasrallah, of running new LF militia training camps with speculation that they are being trained on Russian-made BKC machine guns and the American MAG and small mortars. If so, they are not the only ones participating in an arms acquisition frenzy. A weapons run ignited during the May 8, 2008 violence, cooled down over the past two years, but flared up again last month with virtually all political parties and many private citizens buying up available stocks of M4’s (with a launcher $12,000) M16’s ($1,500) and AK47 Kalashnikov’s rifles (ranging between $750-$1,000) out of the back of cars or on road sides and alleys. Truck loads have been reported arriving from Iraq hauling US military supplies ‘shrinkage’.
Some analysts believe that once the Israeli attack date is imminent, northern Sunni militia, being clustered around Tripoli and Akkar and other locations, will attack Shia targets, diverting Hezbollah units and weakening its southern and eastern (Bekaa) resistance.
They expect beefed-up, Saudi-financed, “Security-Plus Inc.”-type units that were attempted in May of 2008. It may be recalled that effort soon fizzled and was ridiculed in Lebanese media as “Security-Minus Inc.”, because when the green recruits got off their buses down in Hamra they quickly defected en masse, deciding they did not want to fight Hezbollah “second team” forces after all.
For the past three years, Israel has been instructing the White House and Congress, as Ehud Barak told Bill Clinton on September 21 at the opening of the Clinton Global Initiative in NYC: “This time Hezbollah must be totally eradicated from Lebanon. We don’t even want to find their residue after the next operation!”
Despite Barak’s instructions, the Pentagon’s J-8 Directorate for Force Structure Resources and Assessment, which among other duties conducts analysis, assessments, and evaluates strategies for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and some special American friends agree with Israeli military planners and Hezbollah on at least one subject: The next Hezbollah-Israel war will not see Israel using many ground forces outside of armored personnel carriers once they enter Lebanon. The reason is that all three agree with the Pentagon’s J-8 Directorates opinion that based on previous battlefield performance, it will likely require 5 Israeli soldiers to offset one Hezbollah defender’s battlefield acumen.
Next: Part II “Know thy self”…. Sun Tzu and Hezbollah Unit Commanders
* Act 6:12 and Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews 20.9.1