Friday, September 01, 2006

Israelis Blame USA For Their Defeat In Lebanon

I'm not joking, they really do. (And I don't know how the hell I missed this article earlier, still better late than never.) Anyway they blame the USA for their defeat. The extract below is from a concerted whinge coupled with a certain amount of nail biting from the "Debka file." Debka is a site used by the Israeli armed forces and their inteligence services to leak information. It's probably best described as their "semi-official" site and if you can stomach wading through the mixture of racism and propaganda well worth visiting you can pick up a lot of useful information there. (Especially when they go into "boasting mode," or as in this article, "whinge mode.")

"The knife-edge threat that caught the Israeli army unprepared was welcomed in Washington. Our sources close to the Bush administration have learned that secretary of state Condoleezza Rice embraced the opening for an Israeli offensive against Hizballah in Lebanon. Vice President Dick Cheney also favored an Israeli air strike but worried about the lack of an Israeli plan for a parallel ground offensive. One of his aides later expressed the view that Olmert and Halutz had been cautioned that air offensives unaccompanied by ground assaults never achieved strategic goals, as the Americans discovered after bombing Baghdad at the start of the Iraq war in 2003.

But the Israeli prime minister and chief of staff insisted that the air force was able to inflict a shock defeat on Hizballah and produce a fast and cheap victory.

US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld was leery about any Israeli military offensive against Hizballah, fearing complications for the US army in Iraq at the peak of a surging sectarian civil war.

But Olmert talked Rice into asking President George W. Bush to back the air offensive. The US president acceded - only laying down two basic conditions: Israel must confine itself to an air campaign; before embarking on a ground offensive, a further American go-ahead would be required. The second was a promise to spare Lebanon's civilian infrastructure and only go for Hizballah's positions and installations.

The conditions when relayed by the secretary of state were accepted by the prime minister. The first explains why Israel's ground forces were held ready in bases for three long weeks rather than being sent into battle - up until the last stage. By then, the air force offensive had proved a long way short of fast and cheap; worse, it had been ineffectual.

The second condition accounts for another of the war's enigmas: Israeli forces were not allowed to destroy buildings known to be occupied by Hizballah teams firing anti-tank rockets because it would have meant destroying Lebanese infrastructure.

This brought Israeli forces into extreme danger; they were forced to come back again and again to repeat cleansing operations in villages and towns close to the Israeli border, such as Maroun a-Ras, Bint Jubeil and Atia a-Chaab. This exposed them to Hizballah's attrition tactics at the cost of painful casualties.

Only in the third week of the war, when the Bush administration saw the Israeli air force had failed to bring Hizballah to collapse, and the campaign would have to be salvaged in a hurry, did Rice give the green light for ground troops to go in en masse to try and finish off the Shiite terrorist group. Then too, an American stipulation was imposed: Israel troops must not reach the Litani River.

The Israel army did embark on a tardy wide-scale push to the LItani River and as far as Nabatia and Arnoun, but was soon cut short in its tracks. American spy satellites spotted the advance and Olmert was cautioned by Washington to hold his horses.

This last disastrous order released the welter of conflicting, incomprehensible orders which stirred up the entire chain of command - from the heads of the IDF's Northern command down to the officers in the field. Operational orders designed to meet tactical combat situations were scrapped in mid-execution and new directives tumbled down the chute from above. Soldiers later complained that in one day, they were jerked into unreasoned actions by four to six contrary instructions.

None of the commanders at any level could explain what was going on because none were party to the backroom decision-making at the prime minister's office. According to our sources, Olmert kept his exchanges with Condoleezza close to his chest and members of his cabinet and high army command firmly out of the process. The prime minister even kept the chief of staff out of the picture and did not explain why he was called on to chop and change tactics in the heat of war.

Olmert's absolute compliance with Rice's directives without fully comprehending their military import threw Israel's entire war campaign into disorder. … … … "

The Full text of "Some Lebanon War Riddles Solved and Their Relevance to Moves on Syria in Jerusalem Explained" can be found here.

It's well worth your while reading the whole thing.


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