Hardly had fierce battles come to their end in Lebanon when Israel started clearing up details of its current ground operation. The military operation, which Israel has been running for 35 days already, has become one of the most unsuccessful ones in the history of the Israeli army. As a matter of fact, Israel did not manage to achieve any of the goals. As it usually happens under such circumstances, Israeli officials started looking for a scapegoat.
The supreme military command of the Israeli army has been accused of unprofessional and poor activities in the warfare. It is not only journalists and common citizens that blame the Israeli defense command for that, but also soldiers and officers who took a direct part in the battles.
The intelligence command was criticized for missing out the time when Hezbollah strengthened its positions in Southern Lebanon. The rear services were accused of causing mess and poor maintenance of military units on the front line. The Israeli Air Force was attacked for the fact that it did not keep its promise to destroy the guerrilla missile stock within several days. The list goes on and on .
While Israeli defense officials are thinking about different ways to justify their great failure in Lebanon, the political administration of Israel thought that it would be best to lay the entire blame on Russia. Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peres has recently stated that the Lebanese terrorists succeeded in the battles with Israel with the help of up-to-date anti-tank Vampire systems of the Russian production. The minister added that the militants were receiving the systems from Russia via Syria’s territory. “We were promised that the systems would not find themselves at Hezbollah’s disposal. Nowadays they are using them against Israeli soldiers in Lebanon,” Peres stated last week at a meeting with German Foreign Affairs Minister. Israeli officials believe that this is the reason why Hezbollah gunmen managed to destroy dozens of Merkava tanks which are considered one of the most sophisticated defense machines.
Nevertheless, Israel has no evidence to prove the use of Russian-made Vampire anti-tank systems in Lebanon. Israel’s attempts to find an excuse for its considerable losses in the war look more than just strange. It is worthy of note that the command of the Israeli army was certain during the military campaign in Iraq that Saddam Hussein’s forces were also using Russian weapons. The campaign ended quickly and the discussion was eventually pushed into the background and forgotten. No one proved that it was the weaponry of the Russian production crushing US-made tanks in Iraq. Russian defense enterprises received free advertising instead.
It seems that history repeats itself now. Even if Hezbollah gunmen used Vampire anti-tank complexes against Israeli soldiers it may not serve a serious fact to justify Israel’s military failures in the war. Israeli officials made similar statements at the end of 2005 claiming that Hezbollah fighters were using Vampire systems during their attacks against Israeli posts. It seems strange that Israel has done nothing during six months to minimize the damage which they say was caused by the Russian-made weapon.
An expert with the Institute of Strategic Estimations and Analysis, Sergei Demidenko, said that the Israeli army failed to conduct a successful military campaign in Southern Lebanon because of three basic reasons. First off, Hezbollah was deliberately preparing for military actions against Israel during the recent six years, as its leader Hassan Nasrallah said. Secondly, the gunmen managed to impose the close combat tactics on the Israeli army, which the latter did not expect at all. Israel hoped to win with the help of massive air strikes, but every hope of success was dashed. Finally, Israel has not been conducting any large-scale military operations since 1982. Analogues with operations on the territory of the Palestinian Authority are inadequate at this point. The specialist does not think that the truce between Israel and Lebanon is going to last long. “The two sides simply decided to take a break to regroup their troops and save more energy. New clashes are inevitable,” Sergei Demidenko believes.
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