HEZBOLLAH AS A MILITARY FORCE
There's some debate in the military community as how to best categorize Hezbollah as a fighting force. "Normal" guerillas ? 4GW ? A hybrid ? It is a testament to Hezbollah's internal security and operational focus that today we have a far better understanding of al Qaida's structure, capabilities and planning paradigms than we do the inner workings of the military wing of Lebanon's radical Shiite "Party of God".
Here is a survey of Hezbollah military prowess for would be military analysts to chew on, courtesy of The Jamestown Foundation
. An excerpt:
"Hezbollah's military leadership has rethought much of the strategic and tactical doctrine that led to the repeated defeat of Arab regular forces by the IDF. The top-down command structure that inhibited initiative in junior ranks has been reversed. Hezbollah operates with a decentralized command structure that allows for rapid response to any situation by encouraging initiative and avoiding the need to consult with leaders in Beirut. The military wing nevertheless answers directly to Hezbollah's central council of clerics for direction.
The fighters are armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, typically assembling in small teams to avoid concentrations that would draw Israeli attention. The preparation of well-disguised explosive devices has become a specialty of Hezbollah. The uncertainty created by such weapons takes a heavy psychological toll on patrolling soldiers.
Hezbollah has improved its night-vision capabilities, although they do not compare with Israel's state-of-the-art equipment, which includes UAVs, helicopters and jet-fighters equipped for night warfare. Hezbollah fighters are well-trained in the use of complex weapons systems. Air defense units use SA-7 missiles and ZU-23 anti-aircraft guns on flatbed trucks.
The guerrillas rigorously examine the success or failure of each operation after completion. Tactics change constantly and new uses are sought for existing weapons. The use of mortars (81mm and 120mm) has been honed to near perfection. Hezbollah fighters have developed efficient assault tactics for use against armor, with their main anti-tank weapons being AT-3 Saggers and AT-4 Spigot missiles. Four tanks were destroyed in two weeks in 1997 using U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles (these missiles traveled from Israel to Iran as part of the Iran-Contra affair before being supplied to Hezbollah).
Hezbollah leaders believe that their fighters have a perspective on conflict losses that gives them an inherent advantage; according to Naim Kassem, deputy leader of Hezbollah, "[The Israeli] perspective is preservation of life, while our point of departure is preservation of principle and sacrifice. What is the value of a life of humiliation?" (Haaretz, December 15, 1996). With no hope of overwhelming Israel's well-supplied military, Hezbollah fighters concentrate on inflicting Israeli casualties, believing that an inability or unwillingness to absorb steady losses is Israel's strategic weakness.
Read the whole thing here
. ( Hat Tip Small Wars Council
)LINKS:Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett
- "Demonizing Israel will come back to haunt us
"Dr. Chet Richards - Reason interview Ralph Peters - " CAN ISRAEL WIN? : NOT THE WAY IT'S FIGHTING"John Robb
- "THE SECRETS OF HEZBOLLAH'S SUCCESS
- "Welcome to My Parlor
- "IDF setback at Bint Jbeil
- "Israel’s Surprise Raid of Baalbek Is No Panacea for Tactical Ills
I include the last due to it's widely presumed association and status as the unofficial mouthpiece for Israeli intelligence agencies.