Flipside of the COIN: Israel's Lebanese Incursion Between 1982-2000
Occasional paper no. 21
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS COMBAT STUDIES INST
Pagination or Media Count:
This is a paper on war and violence. It seeks to explain why the modern state of Israel, which had won numerous wars, was unable to defeat militarily inferior foes during its involvement in Lebanon from 1978 to 2000. I approach the study of Israels invasion of Lebanon through the perspective of strategic studies. The vital assumption will be an acceptance that war is not solely an act of policy, the master war theorist Carl Von Clausewitzs most oft-cited phrase. Rather, it is composed, as Clausewitz understood, of passion, probability, and policy. Without a fundamental understanding of the effects of passion, probability, and policy within the bounds of a conflict, it is likely that the conflict itself has not been well understood. Using a basic understanding of how states with conventionally powerful militaries operate, I have chosen Israels invasion of Lebanon to explore why these states may lose wars to seemingly inferior foes. The general research question I pose is Why are conventionally powerful states unable to achieve political goals through war against conventionally inferior foes given the asymmetry in military capability My general hypothesis is that asymmetric war poses a political challenge to conventional military powers that can rarely be resolved by the powerful actors resort to war. The specific research question I will explore in the case study presented in this paper is From 1978 to 2000, why was the conventionally powerful Israeli state unable to achieve its political goals through war in Lebanon against militarily inferior Palestinian and Lebanese Shiite foes My specific hypothesis is that Palestinian and Lebanese Shiite militants resort to asymmetric war conflated political goals and military means, thereby preventing Israel from imposing a political solution through resort to conventional war in Lebanon.
- Government and Political Science
- Unconventional Warfare