History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Determining Who Won... by Firing First

    The Cease Fire that exists now between Hizb'allah and Israel is at best tentative. It may not hold for very long, and I doubt there will be too many who will be surprised if it does break. However, the timing of its end is useful to the question of who won the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hizb'allah.

    I believe that the timing of the violation of the cease-fire, as well as who breaks it, will reveal just who thinks that they won the latest round.

    If Hizb'allah lost, or thinks it lost, the recent fight with Israel, then it is not going to break the cease-fire in the short-term. Or rather, its going to abstain from actions which will prompt Israel to declare the cease-fire dead. After all, what does Hizb'allah hope to gain from further fighting if it thinks it lost the latest round? Nothing has really changed since the cease-fire went into place. It hasn't received substantial reinforcements or resupply. It has lost hundreds of fighters, considerable amounts of equipment, and much of its infrastructure. What advantage is there to bringing on more of the same? On the other hand, if Hizb'allah thinks that it won the war, then it might very well have an incentive to end the cease-fire sooner rather than later. That way Israel won't have the time it needs to change is operational directives, along with political leadership. If the latest exchange was seen as beneficial, then Hizb'allah probably will benefit from keeping it going.

    What about Israel? Well, if Israel came out behind in the recent exchange, then it will also likely abstain from further action, at least for the time being. The Israeli leadership will want to go over what went wrong, and take the time to set about fixing any problems to their strategy and tactics, as well as increase training if needed. However, if the Israeli leadership thinks that maybe things weren't going so bad as they seem, then it might be beneficial to to go after Hizb'allah again sooner rather than later. So why the short break in fighting then? I mean, if the Israeli's think that they won, why accept the cease-fire? Well, it will take a while for Hizb'allah to fully replace its loses, both men and materiale. Meanwhile, the Israeli military can go over how the fight went, and put into place changes in doctrine fairly quickly. They can also use the time to shift troops around, give the IDF soldiers time to rest, and can probably go back in before Hizb'allah manages to recover significantly, much less partially.

    Of course, that is all conjecture. Once again, its entirely possible that both sides come to the conclusion that they lost. Remember, when there is no clear cut victory, perception is everything.

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