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Cost of Conflict, Regular and Irregular Wars in the Middle East, an Israel’s Perspective

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Israeli Theory of Regular Warfare and Victory


In 1948 and 1967 Israeli theory of Blitzkrieg appalled the Arabs, Israel aboriginal concept in the Middle East, fast-moving armoured columns. Before Arabs recognized it, Israel attained its objectives. The War of Attrition affected the Arabs belligerents, loss of Saini by Egypt and Golan Heights by Syria. This anomalous warfare put a lot of queries on Arabs’ competencies. Arabs had the numbers’ superiority over Israel. The strategic damage on the Arab side was not reckonable in terms of the cost of conflict, which is one aspect, and losing territory is a larger phase. Israel after two wins now on the calming side. Arabs gained a lot of lessons from defeats, but there were still cracks in Arabs military doctrine. A military doctrine comprises props. There are 8 unofficial fundamentals or philosophies of regular war in this respect, which are:

  1. Training, Experience, Maintenance, and Repairs
  2. Direction, Objectives, and Doctrine
  3. Administration, Unity of Command, and Control
  4. Interoperability
  5. Economy of Effort
  6. Flexibility
  7. Strategy, Tactics, and Mobility
  8. Element of Surprise

In 1973, Egyptians turned the tides by just a little crossing of the Suez and Syrians’ try to retaking the Golan Heights for a moment. Now the surprising side is Israel. Israel astonished the tide by the same counter move. Just crossed the Suez and encircling the Egyptians and pushed the Syrians toward Damascus. Egypt paid a heavy price by establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. The outrageous Arab countries were against Anwar Sadat’s decision to form diplomatic relations with Israel. On Palestine’s matter, the Arabs and The Israelis both are Bigot. So chances of clash always there. From 1979 to 1980, the situation between Arabs and Israel was blistering. The catastrophic circumstances evidently showed war. In the 1982 first Lebanon’s’ war, Israel shows its superiority over PLO and the Syrian army. Reasons, because Israel heavily invested in the above 8 points of regular warfare. From training to the element of surprise, Israel proves its superiority. Israel defeated a semi-irregular organization. Israel pushed the PLO out of Lebanon. The removal of PLO and sack of Southern Lebanon with the help of its allies, Lebanese Front, Phalange, al-Tanzim, all Christian’s allies called the Free Lebanese Army the Israeli efficacious have immense strategic effects. It is a huge tactical victory. The cost of conflict is the investment of an administration to build its ability to handle a conflict, and after every conflict, Israel invested more and also upgraded the capacity. Israel’s tactical victory visible here, but it is a strategic blunder. The gap of power, in non-appearance of PLO occupied by Hezbollah. All strategic advantages and victories which Israel earns in the hardship of wars are slowly exposed by a proxy or guerrilla organization.

Israeli Military Doctrine and Irregular Warfare Dilemma

In all regular wars, Israeli success was the victory of the western doctrine of war. But now a new category of warfare in front of Israel. The irregular war is a novel concept for which Israel was not ready. It twitches with a suicide bomb attack on IDF headquarter in Tyre, South Lebanon. The disorganized militants slowly merged. The major slip-up that regular armies made is the oversimplification of conflict as invasion, clean up, post a poppet administration which is one of their hand. Even it was a civil war, but it united the Muslim portion of Arabs against Israel. In all irregular wars, the invading party ignores the political and ideological background of defenders. After establishing a security zone in south Lebanon, Israel accumulated the allies’ ability toward combatant effectiveness. With each passing day, Hezbollah strengthens its roots in Lebanon. In irregular warfare, the political aspect main diameter covers all elements of war. Even your strategic goals also depend on political and psychological supremacy. Here Israel was losing its grounds. Following are the aspects on which irregular warfare based:

  1. Political
  2. Psychological
  3. Strategic
  4. Geographical
  5. Economical

It always starts with an economical aspect, as the cost of conflict raised and Israel losing superiority over proxies. Israeli Blitzkrieg concept is not ready for such a slow pace and Herculean strategy of conflict. The proxies have never a shortage of arms and manpower. They have abundance and abundance of them. The famous Afghan quote “you may have the watches but we have the time”. Time is the economy, time is the cost of conflict, and time is victory and defeat that is a reality of irregular warfare and regular warfare. Israel losing time in South Lebanon, day by day cost of conflict increased and this converted into psychological and then political pressure. In 1997 a chopper accident occurred and Hezbollah’s constant attacks put a huge political burden on the Israeli establishment. The political aspect can’t remote from the economic aspect. It is transformed into a psychological dilemma. The pressure is also an opportunity, whether the government took advantage of the opposition. Benjamin Netanyahu proved to be Laodicea and Ehud Barak outmatched him by announcing withdrawal policy. The political pressure of the public, the psychological stress of IDF, and the cost of conflict changed the lightning victory into Pyrrhic victory and then defeat. The principal purpose of the sack of South Lebanon is to protect Israeli lands, the purpose was controversial. From 1985 to 2000, dozens of confrontations happened between Hezbollah and IDF. Israel never able to save its territory from insurgents’ attacks, so Israel slowly spent money on advanced technology but advanced technology never helped in irregular warfare, simply waste economic resources, engaging the enemy diplomatically, the diplomatic solutions also have cost. Ehud Barak was showing his intentions of pushing back IDF from South Lebanon, but not without an agreement with Syria. In 1999. Ehud Barak announced withdrawal and in 2000 Hezbollah killed South Lebanon Army’s commander. The defeat was written on the wall. Now, the first step of the cost of the conflict was IDF military’s structures and establishments, and the second is the establishments of SLA both were wasted. The Iranian backed Hezbollah’s achievement actuated the other proxies in the region. The Afghan war and its Alchemy were alimentary for irregular warfare over the globe. The hit-and-run tactics were baleful for Israeli strategy. Holding South Lebanon was a disaster because of the ambiguous outcome of the campaign and irregular warfare is amorphous. Hezbollah was moving from attack to harassing the IDF. Even Hezbollah harassed out-posts of IDF in South Lebanon. As Israeli withdrawal completed SLA collapse. In irregular warfare, you cannot identify your enemy, and vice versa in your case identification of the enemy is the major aim in the proxy war. Hezbollah sensed the Israeli weakness. Now Hezbollah’s strategic game started. Hezbollah managed a border raid and abducted three Israeli soldiers. Two months cross border skirmishes and then Israel kneeled. Releasing 450 Lebanese prisoners against 3 prisoners. Israel completely loses its superiority edge over Arabs. Hezbollah gained ideological grounds brocade with psychological and ideological gains. Israel burdened with another cast of war which is 10000 South Lebanese Christians fled to Israel. Israeli candor with South Lebanon paid the heavy price.

Palestinian Situation and Transfer of Expertise to Allies

The first Intifada, the Palestinian uprising Israel tried to suppress it and again result in the establishment of Palestinian Authority so, Israel every time fight with a proxy a step back. In the second Intifada, Israel learned and suppress the uprising but did not eradicate or kept the tendency at the low level of the uprising. Then 2006 incident occurred, again the Hezbollah border raid kill three Israeli soldiers and captured two. Hezbollah’s invitation of war and Israel never disappointed the call. It is the best measurement by Hezbollah of Israeli psychological strength, not even superiority. Hezbollah psychologically ditches Israel, and this is not the end of the story, the experience transferred to the Gaza Strip. In 2008-09 Israel launched an operation against Hamas to clean up the Hamas rocket launching sites. Israel successfully did the task. The rocket’s attacks reduce but began sooner. In 2012 again, Israel launched another operation against Hamas’s rocket launching sites and again, victory as a ripe fruit falls into the jolly. The immune system of proxies is very impressive and strong. Hamas recovered within 2 years and again challenges Israel. Again, it started with the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and killing them, and launching rockets on Israeli border towns. Israel started a counter-terrorism operation against Hamas duration about 7 weeks. Peace in the Middle East can’t last long. Israeli cost of conflict includes the following aspect:

  1. Strategic Cost
  2. Territorial Cost
  3. Economic Cost
  4. Psychological Cost

The strategic cost is that weakness that is discovered by a couple of proxies, not even an army. Israel never able to defeat them with power, even intelligence operations were conducted, but what is the gain? A few high-value targets and then space is filled by fresh blood of proxies. Israel moved into enemy territory but came back with short-term outcomes. Territorial cost, losing buffer zone which is during the timeline of 1982-2000, again Israel withdraw its forces and Israeli areas under constant attacks. Economic cost, relentless cost Israel 240 billion dollars from advanced weapons to protecting citizens, and losses of wars are also included. Psychological cost, fighting too many wars and you are still under constant threat of another war, even with a lower end force a proxy. Psychological pressure present that you fought well against Elephant but lose against an Ant.


Advanced Technology Vs. Irregular Warfare

Israel invested in modern technology, deploying state the art Air Defense System as American Patriot and homemade Iron Dome, both incredibly efficient systems, but these systems have limits. Compared with proxies’ tactics, these are efficient, accurate but heavily costly as Hamas or Hezbollah fire a rocket cost 800-2000 dollars against an Iron Dome missile, which cost 40000 dollars means you just wasted 38000 dollars. In the comparison of weapons’ three points must be in mind:

  1. Cost
  2. Accuracy, Efficiency, and Effectiveness
  3. Impact, technical and psychological

Israeli weapons are superior to proxies, the question is the psychological impact on the victims and cost of weapons. The cost of such sophisticated weapons systems in millions. But the technological and technical impact is shown not here. Because technological superiority against a poor enemy never is a wise answer, it is actually a waste of economic resources in irregular warfare. The famous irregular wars of that time were Vietnam War and Soviet-Afghan War showed the outcomes. The Hind or Mig-24 chopper vs. Stinger Missile same as a million dollars tank vs. a hundred dollars IED. Lots and lots of wastage of economic resources. So the technological profits are visible to the buyers like India, Azerbaijan, so Israel recovers the cost from sales. Israeli strategic goals in regular wars are vibrant, but in irregular wars they are vague. Israel is a fast learner, so he learned fast. How? Another question.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 nomi haider

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