Monitor Mideast

The ‘Curse of Lebanon’

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Lebanese news sources have reported that the Israeli military force that infiltrated 400 meters into the Labbouneh border-area of Southern Lebanon a week ago, was an elite commando unit comprised of 100 soldiers. However, the elite unit was ambushed by Hezbollah, causing Israel to later admit that four of its soldiers were injured. Coincidentally, this ambush occurred during the early days of August, days during which elite forces of the IDF, such as the Egoz and Golani brigades, suffered a similar, larger-scale military defeat by the Lebanese movement 7 years ago. In 2006, Israeli forces were compelled to withdraw from their confrontation with Hezbollah without having acquired the war objectives outlined by then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.


What were the objectives in 2006? To return the two captured soldiers – this was more the pretext used for the war rather than being a primary objective; to stop the missile fire from Southern Lebanon onto Israel – again, this was an important, but nevertheless secondary goal; to eliminate Hezbollah’s military power, or at the very least, to significantly weaken it in order to remove the movement from the equations of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This proved to be the inevitable objective of Israel’s war on Lebanon in 2006.


However, Israel failed to return its two kidnapped soldiers; Hezbollah continued to fire hundreds of missiles on Israel on a daily basis, and this was maintained until the very last day; and finally, the movement in Lebanon is considered to be more powerful today than at any other time in its 33-year history. Some analysts suggest that the Labbouneh operation was meant to test the readiness and capabilities of Hezbollah in light of the party’s increasing involvement in Syria – a test that the movement has apparently passed with flying colors.


Yet another powerful message was sent as well: a reminder about the ‘Curse from Lebanon’, which was conceived of by the Israelis as a result of their traumatizing experience in Southern Lebanon from 1982 to 2000, and heightened by Israel’s memorable collapse at the hands of Hezbollah in 2006. The curse from Lebanon, emanating from Hezbollah’s ability to continuously embarrass Israel’s efforts on various levels, continues to haunt the Israeli political and military apparatuses, in addition to Israeli society in general, which had grown accustomed to their ‘invincible army’ subduing its Arab opponents over the past six decades.



From our contributor H. Kobeissi