If Obama orders a missile strike on Syria, there will be blowback. This article describes it.
Hafez, the 11-year old son of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, reportedly posted a blistering taunt of President Obama on Facebook. Despite being deliberately antagonistic, his strategic analysis of the situation is remarkably cogent and pointed (suggesting an 11-year old might not have actually written it). What hasn’t received much attention is an important analogy he makes between an American war with Syria and Israel’s 2006 Summer War against Hezbollah, which Israel lost.
Hafez is right to make this comparison. Hezbollah is viewed by much of the world as having defeated Israel simply by surviving Israel’s bombardment and limited ground offensive in Lebanon, thus bringing into question the overall legitimacy of the operation itself.
Israel used the military targeting philosophy of Effects Based Operations (EBO), which taught that striking measurable targets could accomplish strategic military victory over the minds of the enemy leadership and military. EBO was the doctrine we were employing in own war efforts at the time, and Israel had learned it from us.
Hezbollah presented a difficult problem for Israel; it had come to control the Lebanese state’s infrastructure over a long period of time, such that even though it did not formally own the state of Lebanon, it completely controlled it. Israel believed, and stated, that if it bombed Lebanon it would force the Lebanese to expel Hezbollah.
Quite the opposite happened. Israel destroyed a significant amount of Lebanese infrastructure without corresponding damage to Hezbollah. Hezbollah had planned ahead. They knew that Israel was using America’s EBO military doctrine, so they adopted the strategy of swarming, which Red Team commander Marine Gen. Paul Van Riper had employed to defeat the American military in the massive 2002 Millennium Challenge war game, the most expensive war game in U.S. history up until that time. Van Riper was so effective that he was slapped with extra rules to prevent his success as the war game cycle progressed.
Hezbollah used the same strategy by hiding in tunnels during the preparatory and supporting Israeli strikes and emerging in swarms around invading Israeli forces, mitigating their decisive potential, and then retreating to safety.
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