A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
July 12 , 2007 One Year Anniversary of the Second Lebanon War
It has been one year since the beginning of the Second Lebanon War. The two Israeli soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were kidnapped a year ago today, have now not been heard from for 365 days. Their fate is unknown to the Israeli government, and of course, to their families. The families have traveled around the world in an attempt to gain support to pressure Hezbollah. It has not helped. Tonight they held a rally to keep the images of the kidnapped soldiers in everyone's minds
Today Prime Minister Olmert surveyed the northern Israel. He stated that going to war was the right decision. He might be right, the question was not whether Israel should have gone to war, it is when and what should have been done. When asked about the Winograd Commission's report, which is to be released in the near future, he stated they are looking back and not forward.
It would seem that Olmert is putting his hopes on lawyers who are trying to convince the commission that they need to send out warning letters if their recommendations are going to include a call for Olmert's resignation. Those legal letters would have the effect of delaying the final report for more than a year. Olmert desperately wants that time, since it is becoming clear that despite his recent successful political actions, the report is likely to begin a tsunami that will wash Olmert out of office.
Meanwhile, on the Lebanese side things, Hezbollah is not doing so well a year later. The Lebanese political system has come to a complete standstill with a stalemate in place. In the meantime the tourists have been staying away, and the reconstruction promised by the Hezbollah with Iranian money has been going very slowly. Neither the southern Lebanon nor buildings in Beirut have been rebuilt yet. While support for Hezbollah remains strong, there are many who are willing to speak out and question the organization's actions.
I watched an interview today with the Shia Iman of Tripoli. He stated that the idea that Hezbollah was victorious last summer is absurd. Yes, they put up a valiant fight and were able to hold back the IDF for a period of time, but eventually they were forced to pull back- that is not victory. He went on to say that there are people who claim that the Arabs won the Six Day War or the October War (Yom Kippur War) and that is equally absurd.
While Hezbollah did not win the war, neither did the IDF. The fact that the IDF was not able to stop the rocket fire and had great difficulty capturing Hezbollah positions, seriously undermined Israel's deterrent capacity. The IDF has spent the year learning the lessons. Some of the lessons have clearly been realized. The IDF has spent the year with intensive training maneuvers. The stockpiles of equipment are slowly being replaced and new armament systems are being developed and purchased, both to protect tanks and to provide an answer to missiles. To implement the lessons of the war is a multiyear project and Israel can only hope that a few years will be available to completely ready both the military and the home front. Perhaps if everyone is prepared properly, Israel's readiness will never actually have to be tested or proven.