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Hezbollah's Survival: Lessons Learned By: Micah Halpern
MicahHalpern.com | Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The conflict between Hezbollah and Israel is over. At least on paper and in the corridors of the United Nations it's over. Now comes the next step in the process - the analysis, the Monday morning quarterbacking, the lessons learned.

So how will The Battle Between Israel and Hezbollah play out in history books and military manuals? What lessons have the interested parties in this conflict learned? What plans do those people who proudly claim that Hezbollah was the clear and obvious victor in this battle have for future interactions with Israel?

Bashar Assad, the ruler of Syria, learned an important lesson from this conflict and now sees things very clearly. Because of the success that Hezbollah had against Israel, the Syrians will now establish their own set of guerilla forces to fight against Israel. Assad's stated purpose in creating this new guerilla fighting unit is to free the Sheba from Israel. Sheba is a 200 square yard swath of land. Assad says that he is taking a page out of the play book of the pros, he says that Hezbollah was so overwhelmingly successful in the method of guerilla war against Israel that Syria will employ the same methods.

Count on it, Bashar Assad is a man of his word.

Hamas has drawn several important lessons from Hezbollah. Hamas has said that they will fight like Hezbollah. Hamas says that Hezbollah was successful in their battle against the infidel Israelis because of the blessing of Allah. They are convinced that the Israeli army was defeated because it is filled with homosexuals, because their soldiers are corrupt and because their fighting methods are old fashioned.

There is no point in disputing ideology or prejudice. Let us concentrate on the essential point in this analysis by Hamas. The essential descriptive evaluation here is related to Hamas' perception that the Israeli style of fighting is just plain old fashioned. Hamas truly believes that today's wars are not won with computers and laser-guided smart bombs. Hamas believes that the way to fight a modern-day war is with myriad labyrinth underground tunnels and a civilian communal backdrop that hides and protects your fighters. Truly.

The al Aksa Brigades leadership says that the most important lesson they have learned from this conflict is the lesson of the Katyusha missiles. This group, a branch of Fatah, is a highly developed terrorist force operating in the West Bank. Now they are entertaining the idea of shooting missiles right into the center of Israel from their home turf on the West Bank.

The al Aksa Brigades is learning lessons and cribbing not only from Hezbollah, but from their nemesis Hamas. Just the way Qassam rockets are shot from Gaza into Israel on a daily basis, the plan that the al Aksa Brigades has formulated is to open another front, assaulting the West Bank with a daily barrage of Katyusha missiles. The al Aksa Brigades clearly understands that rockets being shot from the West Bank cities of Jenin and Ramallah would paralyze the very sensitive under belly of Israel. They know that those Katyushas would land in clear range of the vast majority of the Israeli public and Israel's major cities. All that is left is for them to take the plan off paper and put it into action.

The Palestinians have learned the lesson of just how terrorizing rockets can be. Even rockets that do not fly straight. Even rudimentary rockets that just go up and come down. Rockets, rockets, rockets, as long as they are rockets they will terrorize.

If the Palestinians wanted to do to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem what Hezbollah did to Haifa and the Galilee they would use their homemade rockets. Fall where they may, the people of Israel would be terrorized.

Now, what about countries not so convinced that Hezbollah was the clear victor in this conflict? What lessons have those countries learned?

Nothing really. Nothing that will alter the way in which the Western world approaches the prospect of terror and future conflicts in the Middle East.

We can sum up what the West has learned by a comment made by Condi Rice. The secretary of state of the most powerful nation in the West said: "If Hezbollah resists international community demands to disarm one would have to assume that there will be others who are willing to call Hezbollah what we are willing to call it, which is a terrorist organization."

Hardly a scary prospect. Hardly a deterrent for countries that outwardly support and promote terror. Hardly a lesson learned.

Syria, Hamas, the al Aksa Brigades, the Palestinians - they might be perfecting their techniques, but they are not changing their attitudes. What I find more disturbing, even scarier, than the lessons learned by the Arab world is the lack of lessons learned by the Western world.

What a shame. What a missed educational opportunity.

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Micah Halpern maintains The Micah Report.

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