More Lebanon Lessons Learned

Today Janes takes look at the Israeli Defense Force's war "post-mortem". It calls the invasion "an indecisive operation, which was conducted ad hoc rather than based on a comprehensive plan, and which revealed a series of flaws within the Israel Defence Force". These include:

* The reserve army, the IDF's main ground force, was exposed in the campaign as an insufficiently trained and equipped force. Years of negligence, due to budgetary constraints, brought highly motivated but sometimes poorly equipped units into Lebanon. "We have been warning for years on the deterioration of the reserve army, through its lack of training," claimed Gen Halutz. There's a consensus among senior IDF officers that the reserves will have to undergo a significant upgrade effort.* The anti-tank threat emerged as the most serious challenge to the IDF. Operating Kornet-E and Metis-M anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), Hizbullah successfully destroyed 14 Israeli Merkava Mk 2, 3 and 4 main battle tanks. In response, the Israeli MoD has ordered Rafael Armament Development Authority to accelerate preparations for production of its Trophy active protection system (APS) for future IDF procurement. Israel Military Industries has also been asked to complete development of its APS, dubbed Iron Fist, for IDF evaluation.* Military intelligence provided information about Hizbullah capabilities, both in artillery rockets and in ATGMs. However, it was not able to provide the IDF with accurate intelligence on the whereabouts of Hizbullah's political and military leadership, which the IDF wished to target. Also, field commanders claimed, information on Hizbullah's ground alignment of tunnels and bunkers in southern Lebanon was insufficient.
(Reuters has more on the Reserve's lack of preparation: "'The government didn't take seriously the lives of our troops,' said Zvi Marek, a reserve infantry soldier at [a recent] demonstration.")Janes, like other prominent publications, predicts a resumption of hostilities:
With Israel fearing that the recent conflict with Hizbullah will not be the last and could also mark the prelude for a future confrontation with Iran, calls are growing for a quick rehabilitation of the IDF to prepare it for what could be the "next round".
That next round could come soon if the U.N. fails to cobble together a worthwhile peacekeeping force, as AFP reports: "Despite intense negotiations since the truce came into effect on August 14 and warnings that it could unravel if more peacekeepers fail to deploy quickly, few European countries have made firm commitments."Meanwhile, on its second front, Israel is stepping up Gaza incursions as it continues to search for kidnapped soldiers.--David Axe
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