For example Hassan Nasrallah and his deputy Naeem Kasam were surprised by the scope and intenstity of the israeli reaction to the Hezbollah cross border raid.
"We were surprised by the size and strength of the Israeli reaction. We expected that the IDF would bomb areas close to the border for several days and only cause minimal damage," Kasam said in an interview with Lebanese newspaper A-Nahar. --> Full Post
This makes one to immediately start wondering if the lebanese have daily news programs, CNN or at least some newspapers in their country. Its hard to believe that Lebanon lives in blissfull unawareness of what s going on in the region around them.
Because if the lebanese got some of these for sure they have been watching Gaza where on the next day after Shalit abduction the IDF took out bridges and the only power plant. A few days later Gaza was invaded by hundeds of soldiers using tanks and massive firepower.
Nasrallah and his friends got at least ten days before the raid to watch the IDF assault on Gaza proceeding unabated. Ten days is more than enough for a person of average intelectual ability to be sure about the consequences of his actions.
If anything Hezbollah should have been surprised by the fact that the IDF has limited itself with air attacks for so long instead of massively invading Lebanon on the third day of the war.
It appears that many lebanese themselves were shocked by the IDF addiction to destroying the lebanese infrastructure. I find it absolutely incomprehensible that anybody in Lebanon should be surprised by this. In my memory all confrontations between Hezbollah and Israel were accompanied by attacks on the lebanese infrastructure.
For example when Israel killed Abas Musawi, the confrontation was proceeding in the following manner. Hezbollah retaliated with katyusha attacks on Kiriat Shmone and other places. Israel announced to the south lebanese that they should flee their villages. The sea blockade was imposed. Then ground forces invaded Lebanon. Power plants and bridges were targeted. Then, as always, israeli pilots misidentified their target in Kana killing about a hundred of unarmed civilians and the international community demanded an immediate ceasefire. I am not sure that the sequence of events was exactly like this but one thing is clear - there was nothing particularly surprising about the basic pattern of this war. It was more or less the same as the previous ones. Even the names of places and targets are the same.
Some people expressed surprise that it was actually Olmert and Peretz who inflicted the most devastating war on Lebanon.
Peretz is well known for his anti war activism during the 1982 war. During that war he joined other protesters shouting 'Sharon. Sharon. How many babies you murdered today'.
Neigher Olmert has ever been known as a military leader. In fact he campaigned during the last elections with his isolationist disengagement plan.
But this surprise is absolutely unfounded. Lebanon was devastated precisely for the reason that the current israeli leadership was very reluctant to fight this war.
The military elite was reluctant to proceed with the ground offensive prefering to satisfy itself with air attacks. After running three times thru the same list of targets there was very little left to bomb but katyusha attacks continued as if nothing happened. This made IAF desperate. In this desperation IAF destroyed bridges, roads , targeted the airport and killed an undetermined number of fleeing civilians in an attempt to hunt down Hezbollah soldiers who were also supposed to be using cars to move themselves across South Lebanon.
In fact were the ground offensive started shortly after the beginning of hostilities the IDF would not have been in such a desperation to stop supplies to Hezbollah from Syria by destroying the whole of Lebanon's transportation infrastructure. In short if the lebanese are thinking that they paid a high price for confrontation with an extremely tough and agressive israeli leadership they are wrong. Just the opposite is true.
Actually the deliberate targeting of the lebanese infrastructure worked very well in the previous wars. But the reason for this was most probably the syrian de-facto control of Lebanon. With thousands of syrians working in Lebanon and with Hariri allied with Syria, Asads had no interest in having the lebanese economy destroyed.
This time it was different because Syria was out of Lebanon. Its very possible that the syrians were actually interested that the lebanese would see what the war with Israel means without the syrian presence in the country and so were deliberately instigating Hezbolah. So Israel has been bombing Lebanon for four weeks running and inflicted an enormous damage on the lebanese economy, but Olmert and Peretz apparently did nt notice that there was nobody in Lebanon both able and interested to prevent escalation. They apparently did nt notice that Syria has left Lebanon a while ago. Another surprise.
Finally some people are surprised by the recent behavior of the syrian president who is now openly threatening Israel with war. That the arab media would be insanely celebrating the percieved Hezbollah's victory is not surprising. But the syrian president is supposed to be surrounded by generals who should have explained to him why Hezbollah's surving the IDF assault says very little in practical terms about the Syria's ability to reproduce a similar 'victory' on the nationwide scale.
Many find it surprising that the syrian president has indeed convinced himself as a result of this war that Israel is no more than a spiderweb, as Nasrallah claims it to be. But once again Bashar Asad is ophtalmatologist by training, his understanding of military matters is probably very limited and so there is nothing surprising about this.
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