Tuesday, July 31, 2007
31/07/2007 This study, prepared by researcher Amir Kulick (Institute for National Security Studies – Tel Aviv University), focuses on preparations and combat techniques used by both Hezbollah and the Israeli army during the July war of 2006. In the first part of this study (published by the Al-Akhbar daily in Beirut), the author concentrates on Hezbollah's methodology and the difference between it and the party's military approach in 1993 and 1996. This second part of the study focuses on Israeli military preparations.
"IDF vs. Hezbollah in the Recent Campaign
The IDF thus entered the recent confrontation with a combat approach that has evolved in previous years, especially in the recourse to Effects Based Operations, but with firepower remaining its dominant component. Within the framework of this approach, the methodology for confronting Hizbollah's rocket array has not changed, nor has it been upgraded since Operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996, relying mainly on pre-launch preemption and destruction of the launcher afterwards. It is safe to assume that certain technological innovations have been introduced and were of some benefit during the July-August war. Nevertheless, IDF operations vs. Hizbollah continued to be based on air and artillery firepower, and while IDF fire may have disrupted Hizbollah operations, it did not significantly undermine or impair the operational logic that dictated Hizbollah activity - waging a prolonged rocket campaign against Israel's home front. Thus the numerous bombardments in Beirut and in the Beka'a seem to have hurt the organization, but they did not substantively change the battle plan it planned to pursue. And indeed, throughout the fighting the IDF could not reduce the volume of rocket launches by even a narrow margin, although it was successful in targeting the mid-range rocket array deployed south of the Litani.....
Furthermore, the ceasefire apparently left a major part of the organization's capabilities intact (mainly in the region beyond the narrow strip where the IDF was concentrated for most of the ground combat). Thus in the absence of a sound combat approach, the IDF's combat achievements on the operational level were fairly limited.....
Hizbollah's Preparations for the Next Campaign: Initial Conclusions
It may be possible to sketch in general terms Hizbollah's expected preparations in the coming years for the next round of fighting. It seems that these preparations will be centered around artillery and rocket arrays, with most of the organization's fighting concentrated into attacks on Israel's home front, though at longer range and more intensively than before. In view of the considerable operational success of the short range rocket array, this formation is likely to be reinforced. The IDF's systematic elimination of mid-range rocket launchers in the region south of the Litani and the (somewhat more limited) damage to the long range rocket array north of the river may push Hizbollah to build a massive infrastructure for arrays north of the Litani, possibly even in Beka'a and north of Beirut. The objective will be to saturate the area with rockets (based on the same logic that has guided Hizbollah in setting up the short range rocket array) in order to compel the air force to operate in multiple areas and thereby increase the array's survivability.
It is likely that from Hizbollah's perspective the mid-range rocket array did not achieve the optimal result. The psychological effect of rocket attacks in Haifa and further south did not materially alter Israel's conduct. From here the organization may draw two operational conclusions: one, to abandon the long range rocket array and focus on the short range rockets; the other, more likely conclusion is that Hizbollah leaders may decide that in order to obtain the desired effect in the future, they should significantly expand and fortify the mid- and long range rocket arrays. The goal of the next campaign would be to launch intensive volleys towards Tel Aviv and its surroundings, which Hizbollah perceives as the nerve center of the Zionist entity. From the command and control aspect, the massive bombardment of the Dahiya quarter of Beirut where, according to IDF reports, Hizbollah command posts were centered, may prompt Hizbollah to disperse its offices and operational command posts across different areas of Beirut and outside Beirut (for example, in Christian quarters that from an international standpoint may be more difficult to attack)......"