JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images
A War Without Precedent
The Next Hizballah-Israel Conflict

There are signs of war on the horizon, and it could be the most destructive one yet.

Published on: September 19, 2017
Michael Eisenstadt is Kahn Fellow and director of the Military and Security Studies Program, and Jeffrey White is a defense fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
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  • Tom

    If Hezbollah does decide to go to war with Israel, I suspect they will find that a first-world military is a rather different proposition from a bunch of undisciplined, barely trained, badly armed fanatics.

    • TecumsehUnfaced

      The war is certainly to start with another Zionist false flag. The Zionists have planned for a very long time to seize the waters of the Litani.

      • Tom

        Right, so, do you have something to add besides unfounded conspiracy theories?

        • TecumsehUnfaced

          Here we go! Another disciple of Allen Dulles, who coined that slur for those pointing out the obvious deficiencies in the lies he was covering up. The Zionists asked for southern Lebanon to the Litani back in 1919 and assaulted Lebanon repeatedly. But Hezbollah drove them out in 2006.

          • Tom

            Your last two sentences are utterly delusional. And you’re obviously a disciple of the Okhrana, so go soak your head.

          • TecumsehUnfaced

            I bet you don’t even know what the Okhrana was, nor what happened at Versailles in 1919.

          • Tom

            The Okhrana: The Tsarist secret police.
            Versailles 1919: The treaty that officially ended WWI was negotiated.
            Next question, idiot?

          • TecumsehUnfaced

            You took a very long time looking that up.

          • Tom

            Some of us have lives outside of comments sections. And you have yet to actually provide evidence.

          • TecumsehUnfaced

            No, you simply can’t learn how to use a search machine. Time waster blocked.

          • Tom

            So…you just conceded that you don’t actually have an argument. Thanks bro!

          • D4x

            Tom: you should flag TU’s comments as Targeted Harrassment. He was hijacking every thread that mentioned Israel at PJM- almost a year ago. Flagging got the PJM moderator’s attention, and TU never showed up again at PJM. I blocked him back then, and do not want to unblock just to flag him here at TAI. Trying to limit my exposure to trolling-hate-speech.
            Nothing will stop him, except a conscious TAI moderator.

          • Tom

            Interesting, thanks for the heads-up. Somehow I’m not surprised–a private profile and a 2:1 comments to upvotes ratio doesn’t speak well of a man.

          • Isaiah6020

            I like TU. I enjoy making fun of crazed anti-Semites. I realize that ridiculing people with obvious mental health problems is not particularly nice, it’s just that I hate people like him so very, very much.

    • Ellen

      Right. And it is interesting that Hezbollah’s performance in the syrian civil war has been rather mediocre. If you actually look at the outcomes of the battles in which they were the major pro-Government militia, they haven’t performed brilliantly. Usually they end up with a draw against the various Sunni militias, which, as you point out, are nothing but rag-tag, undisciplined fanatics. What has made the difference is the Russian airforce and special forces. That is what turned around the losing war effort of the Alawite army and its Shiite mercenaries. It wasn’t the mercenaries, it was the Russians.

  • FriendlyGoat

    I wonder whether the shale boom in America has the effect of generally lessening interest here in any happenings in that whole area of the world. I’m not “saying” that. I’m “wondering” that.

  • QET

    Fascinating.

    But why isn’t it in Russia’s interest to restrain Hizballah? Why is only the US mentioned? What about Germany, France, England, Sweden, and every other peaceful nation? What could they be doing to forestall such a conflict? Is it more important to the ROW (rest of world) to avert war, period, and all of the death and destruction it will bring, or is it more important to ready its diplomatic and press corps in advance, to coordinate with various “NGOs,” to blame and condemn Israel for “disproportionate response”? Why does the Western press give Russia and the ROW a free pass, hold them to no responsibility to avert the impending war, while ruthlessly condemning Israel and the US as the sole responsible parties for the conflict? Why can’t US policy be to go to the UNSC and tell the other nations that they ought to be doing everything in their power to prevent Iran and Hizballah from starting this war? The US President says we will destroy NK in response to their overt threats to destroy us first, and the World gets the vapors. Hizballah and Iran threaten to destroy Israel and the ROW just shrugs and prepares to condemn both Israel and the US for fighting a war Hizballah started?

    Israel can;t win and ought to devastate Hizballah if they start up again, “collateral damage” be damned. The ROW clearly does not care one whit about all of the “collateral damage” they will pretend to care about when blaming Israel after the war starts.

    • Ofer Imanuel

      Europe does not have any influence with Hizballah or Syria, and precious little with Iran. Russia does have influence, and I suspect it may ask Iran and Syria to stop Hizballah. This will likely work, but sometimes mistakes happen. I suspect that if Israel suffers massive civilian casualties, the gloves will come off, and south Lebanon (at least) will be cleansed.

      • TecumsehUnfaced

        But what we need is Palestine being cleansed of the Europeans that invaded and brutally occupied it as a base for assaulting the rest of the Middle East and the rest of the world, such as shown by their 9/11 attack on America and their nuclear-armed submarines.

        • Tom

          (Citation needed)

          • TecumsehUnfaced

            You need to learn how to use a search machine and how to ask better questions. Need help?

          • Tom

            Sorry, I don’t get my news from random whackjobs on Youtube.

          • TecumsehUnfaced

            So YouTube is the only thing you know how to search? Sad!

          • Tom

            Well, that’s the only place I’d find that kind of unhinged ranting.

          • TecumsehUnfaced

            No, you just don’t know how to do use a search engine.

          • Tom

            Hmm, that’s true, I suppose I could also find that kind of unhinged ranting on websites that look like they were created in the early ’90s and involve freak-outs about the lizard people ruling the world.
            Sorry, the burden of proof is on you.

        • Ofer Imanuel

          Right, the Israelis attacked the twin towers. Perhaps they also got some help from little green men.
          As for clieansing of Jews – the Arabs tried it several times, and got their heads handed to them every time. Ultimately, there are 2 reasons not to cleanse: you can’t do it, or it does not look good.

          • TecumsehUnfaced

            You’re lying. The CIA doesn’t have any little green men. Neither did the Arabs ever try to cleanse the ZioNazi thugs who were on the attack for conquest and ethnic cleansing, or are going to pretend that you don’t know the meaning of Zionism and all the ZioNazi leaders were lying about their intentions.

          • Tom

            Right, so, it’s pretty obvious that you missed the Arab invasion that happened on May 15, 1948. I can only conclude that you are actively malicious.

  • J C Miller

    Why doesn’t Israel have an offensive rocket capability equal or greater to Hizballah such that they could project equivalent fire power from their borders?

    • TecumsehUnfaced

      The Iron Dome is a fraud. It’s effective only against tin can rockets out of Gaza that were never meant to hit anything.

    • Pait

      Israel has sufficient attack firepower. The problem is that Israel’s goal is to avoid casualties in Israel, and secondarily to do it in a way that minimizes civilian casualties in Lebanon. Offensive capability doesn’t help achieve those goals.

      Hizbollah on the other hand has the goals of causing casualties among Israelis and also among Lebanese civilians. It’s very hard to fight against such an opponent.

      • J C Miller

        Thanks. The Israelis may have to inflict more civilian casualties. They did so in Gaza.

        • Pait

          Some may wish them to become more like Hezbollah, and perhaps themselves. Not many Israelis do.

          • J C Miller

            Do you know whether Israel has tactical nuclear weapons?

          • Anders Aviel Fahl

            Israel’s long-held doctrine is to not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East, making this point moot. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of circumstances, besides retaliation for an attack by WMDs, that would have Israel use any kind of nukes in a conventional war.

  • Ellen

    The Litani is the natural northern border of Israel, by the way. George Friedman, the geostrategist, wrote an essay last year in which he said 2 interesting things.
    1. The natural eastern border of Israel is the Jordan River (duh, anyone can see that). Thus, there can be no hostile state allowed between Jerusalem/the coastal plain and the Jordan, because it would render all of urban Israel indefensible. This is a historic and geographic analysis, not a political, religious or demographic one. But what it means for the dimwitted peace processors is that Israel is not going to allow an unstable, Muslim, terror entity to be built in the West Bank. The Arab population will be dealt with as necessary – including paying them to emigrate or pushing them out, but there will be no hostile state east of Israel and west of the Jordan.

    2. Likewise in the north. According to Stratfor, the Litani river which demarcates “South Lebanon” is the natural northern border of Israel, and in fact Southern Lebanon was part of the original Land of Israel in the Bible. Read a Bible and look at the map of the land given to the 12 tribes, and you will see this clearly. Hence, there cannot be a hostile state within a state in South Lebanon, for the same reason as with the West Bank. Hence, there will not be in the future. Hezbollah will be destroyed one way or another, including by its own self-destruction.

    One thing that unites all Arab and Iranian haters of Israel, interestingly, is that they are bombastic demagogues who invariably overreach their capacity. Then, they go poof! Nasser did, Saddam did, the Assad family in Syria is now a puppet regime going poof, Arafat died as a failure, and Abbas is on his way to becoming a footnote in history. His only accomplishments will be leading the Palestinians to permanent division and the PA to collapse.

    Israel will end up with stable and defensible borders, and by someone’s providence, they will resemble the Biblical borders of the Land Israel. John Kerry and Obama had messianic fantasies, but were utter failures. No one even talks about their ludicrous “Middle East strategy” anymore or the ludicrous 2-state solution.

    Happy Jewish New Year to all .

    • Pait

      The concept of “natural border” defined by a river is utterly irrelevant when the opponent has rockets and missiles. A river doesn’t make a border defensible.

      • Tom

        A statement obviously made by someone who’s never thought about how difficult it is to cross a body of water while under fire.

        • Pait

          I understand that your preferred mode of argument is personal insult. Nevertheless, a river is quite irrelevant when you expect that the main weapon of a possible war will be missiles.

          • Tom

            When people say things that are obviously foolish, what more is there to say?

          • Anders Aviel Fahl

            It’s not at all irrelevant. Wars are still won on the ground. At the end of the day rockets or air campaigns have failed to lead to decisive outcomes. By your thinking mountain ranges would be almost as useless when in fact they are still quite important. For instance, the topography around the Jordan river makes it quite difficult to invade in any direction, making the river Jordan in fact the natural border.

          • Pait

            I agree that you can classify my use of the word “irrelevant” as hyperbole.

            Nevertheless, in the context of the post – a proposal that Israel engage in a war of conquest of a region that has no connection to the country, with the goal of reaching up to a river, and thus invite lethal attack of various sorts including missiles, “irrelevant” is in relative terms not that much of an exaggeration….

          • Anders Aviel Fahl

            I didn’t take Ellen’s post as a suggestion to go to war in order to reach the Litani river, although I suppose that in a future conflict it will yet again become an objective to relieve northern Israel of short-range rocket attacks. She seems to argue that Israel will end up with some sort of control there, one way or another, that will make Hizballah unable to continue being a state within the state with a presence south of the Litani. While the recurring military objective to push back Hizballah north of the Litani makes sense, I find the last paragraph of her post strangely messianic and unsubstantiated.

  • D4x

    In a good military, and political, analysis of what the next Hizbullah/Israel war will look like, authors Eisenstadt and White include a pair of parentheses: “(in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which defined the terms of the cease fire ending the last round of fighting, and which prohibits arms transfers to Hizballah)”. Not a word that some things have changed in Lebanon, America’s relationship with Lebanon, especially regarding the LAF, and the UN Security Council.

    It would be more interesting if someone would analyze the impact of the unanimous August 30, 2017 UNSC Res 2373 on the likelihood that the Lebanese government might be doing something different.

    “30 August 2017 …Unanimously adopting resolution 2373 (2017),
    the [UN Security] Council, calling for full implementation of resolution 1701 (2006), commended the Force’s
    positive role for having helped to establish, together with the Lebanese Armed Forces, a new strategic environment in southern Lebanon.

    “Welcoming the continued progress towards genuine
    reactivation of the Lebanese state institutions: the election of a President of
    the Republic of Lebanon, the nomination of a President of the Council of
    Ministers, the formation of a national unity government and the adoption of a
    new electoral law as well as the announcement of the upcoming legislative elections in Lebanon,

    “Expressing deep concern at all violations in connection
    with resolution 1701 (2006) in particular the incidents which occurred on 20
    April 2017 as underlined by the Secretary General in his report, commending the
    immediate reaction of the Lebanese authorities and recalling the importance of
    control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory,

    “Emphasizing to all parties the importance of full
    compliance with the prohibition on sales and supply of arms and related
    materiel established by resolution 1701 (2006), …”
    https://www.un.org/press/en/SC/12974.doc.htm

    Apparently, it is a bridge too far for anyone writing for TAI to see change in the conduct of foreign policy since Jan. 20, 2017, especially since July 25, 2017, the date of Lebanon’s PM Hariri’s productive bi-lateral with POTUS Trump. Read the entire transcript, not what the legacy media wrote about it:
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/25/remarks-president-trump-and-prime-minister-hariri-lebanon-joint-press
    I thought TAI wanted to preserve the ‘liberal international order’ institutions like the UnSC. Does not that include signs of real reform, where UNSC Resolutions actually work, especially when the vote is unanimous?

  • D4x

    Really good description of Schumer/HRC/CondeNast/NYT/CNN/BLM/Antifa…#resistance, without the missiles “Made in North Korea for Iran and Hizbullah”:

    “The resistance doctrine exhorts its adherents to stand fast in the face of threats, to push boundaries,
    and to eschew compromise on matters of principle.
    It posits that victory is achieved by imposing costs and by demoralizing the enemy—by relentless psychological warfare,
    terrorizing and bleeding the enemy’s population and military, and denying it battlefield victories.”

  • JamesDrouin

    “The Next Hizballah-Israel Conflict”

    Well, every now and again, people gorge on their breakfast cereal of choice and need to be reminded to not let their alligator mouth overload their hummingbird rectum. I’m reasonably sure the Israelis are more than able to issue that reminder.

  • Very interesting and thoughtful analysis. Anyway you slice it, the next war will be quite extensive and messy. I think it is important to heed Major General Gadi Eisenkot statement that Israel will “cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.” The world must start holding asymmetric actors accountable for the deaths of those who they hide among and attack others from.

    • adk

      Even more: the whole Lebanon, in effect, became a forward operating base (FOB) in the Shia war against Israel and they will suffer the consequences accordingly.

  • Ethan Ellenberg

    Well done. My only caveat Hizballah has no independent volition. It is a proxy. If it is ordered to do, it will attack Israel. If it is not ordered to do so, it won’t.

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