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We Were Caught Unprepared: The 2006 Hezbollah-Israeli War
Matt M. Matthews (au); Timothy R. Reese (fr)
The fact that the outcome of the 2006 Hezbollah-Israeli War was, at best, a stalemate for Israel has confounded military analysts throughout the world. Long considered the most professional and powerful army in the Middle East, with a history of impressive military victories against its enemies, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) emerged from the campaign with its enemies undefeated and its prestige severely tarnished. This historical analysis of the war includes an examination of IDF and Hezbollah doctrine prior to the war, as well as an overview of the operational and tactical problems encountered by the IDF during the war. The author’s research convincingly argues that the Israeli reliance on poorly understood and controversial Effects-Based Operations (EBO) and Systemic Operational Design (SOD) warfighting theories, and a nearly singular dependence on air power, were root causes of Israeli problems. Additionally, after years of counterinsurgency (COIN) operations in the Gaza Strip and West Bank territories, IDF ground forces were tactically unprepared and untrained to fight against a determined Hezbollah force that conducted what was, in many ways, a conventional, fixed-position defense. The author interviewed several prominent IDF officers and other experts in the field, many of whom had not previously been interviewed. The result is an insightful, comprehensive examination of the war. Inasmuch as the US Army has focused almost exclusively on irregular warfare since 2001, the lessons offered in this analysis are particularly relevant. Figures.
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