Author Topic: Lessons from the IDF in Lebanon  (Read 5570 times)

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Offline PanaEng

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Lessons from the IDF in Lebanon
« on: July 28, 2008, 12:34:34 »
I just read the following link:
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,58460.msg539229.html#msg539229

and the interview highlights some of the problems encountered.

However, at the tactical level, is there anything we can take from this experience and apply it in Afgh?
Given that Iran supports Hezbollah in material and trg. and that there is some evidence of Iranian help to insurgents in Iraq, was there any similarity in the tactics used?
And, since Iran seems to be interested in putting its hands in Afghanistan, have we seen any similarities cropping up in Afghanistan?

cheers,
F
Now I am SAS or SWAT dude ;-)
see:
Quote from: RHFC_piper ink=topic=51916.msg617784#msg617784 date=1190404708

The 'pana" is a play on the Greek 'pan' meaning 'all' or 'encompassing' - not quite but similar to UBIQUE
some think I just misspelled "para" :-)

Offline PanaEng

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Re: Lessons from the IDF in Lebanon
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2008, 13:06:24 »
Good points.
I'll look up some open source links tonight after work (lunch brake is almost over) and I will update my post. I am sure I have seen many articles detailing the information alluded - in google we trust...
and no, no papers; although I enjoy academic discussions and work, I don't have the time to pursue that at this stage in my life. However, as a former member, I am very interested in all developments, tactical, strategic and political, in relation to our armed forces.

However, the bait is thrown. If you or anyone else have some comments in the meantime, feel free to pipe in.

cheers,
Frank

Chimo!
Now I am SAS or SWAT dude ;-)
see:
Quote from: RHFC_piper ink=topic=51916.msg617784#msg617784 date=1190404708

The 'pana" is a play on the Greek 'pan' meaning 'all' or 'encompassing' - not quite but similar to UBIQUE
some think I just misspelled "para" :-)

Offline PanaEng

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Re: Lessons from the IDF in Lebanon
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2008, 19:18:37 »
Alright, I've been busy and distracted with other things...

Well, what do you think - is there?  Throw us up some thoughts.
I've been out of the army for 10yrs; I have no idea what we are teaching our troops about the enemy.

Quote
Given, well known and publicized.
Source?  Conjecture unless you have some facts.
Given, well known and publicized. Just google it.
http://www.google.ca/search?q=iran+supporting+insurgency+in+iraq&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
Quote
Where?  Whose tactics?  Hezbollah?  Fedayeen?
Between those (fedayeen is actually a very generic term, "freedom fighter(s)" claimed by many groups sunni and shi'ite) and the shi'ite insurgents.

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  When?  Similarity to what?

The last year or two. Similarity between the tactics used by Hezbollah and by the tb or foreign insurgents in RCS area. 

Quote
And again, what do you think?
I think that it is very likely that the tb, by way of the foreign insurgents, may be learning and applying new tactics that seemed to work against IDF armour. In contrast to what the IDF member states many opinions have been expressed in the media claiming that Hezbollah succeeded in slowing the IDF advance. In fact Hezbollah "was able to project itself as the winner in its confrontation with Israel" (http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=2&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.brandeis.edu%2Fcrown%2Fpublications%2Fmeb%2FMEB10.pdf&ei=8SCSSOC_IJy0hAKu1JEu&usg=AFQjCNHgJ4s3EkkwmQQqcNFXZcTlm1ukOA&sig2=kZyBltExQD7ty0F0MDJWpw)
even though it suffered heavy casualties. But they still control much of Lebanon and their status (politically) is even higher than before the war. They gained credibility by surviving the Israeli tanks and troops. If I was an insurgent somewhere, I would try to emulate them seek their advice and copy their tactics.
also: http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=8&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.csis.org%2Fmedia%2Fcsis%2Fpubs%2F060817_isr_hez_lessons.pdf&ei=8SCSSOC_IJy0hAKu1JEu&usg=AFQjCNF3hYxvlbyqYtq4WnJ0GBjSbenisQ&sig2=ywLgXWcX5PrWTUHVzFav-w
The first article linked on my first post and this last one point that the problems were more a fault of Israel's strategic and tactical mistakes and not from Hezbollah's prowess as a fighting force. Still, the perception (for the anti-western/anti-Israeli population) is that Hezbollah has improved and is a force to be reckoned with.

About Iran meddling in Afghanistan...
Quote
Source?  Evidence?
http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2370239
http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?issue_id=2960
http://www.pinr.com/report.php?ac=view_report&report_id=644&language_id=1
http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/summary_0199-1508288_ITM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/12/22/do2202.xml
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/programguide/stories/200710/s2056467.htm
http://www.afghanistanwatch.org/2007/06/police_commande.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/asiaCrisis/idUSISL224819

Not authoritative but where there's smoke, there's fire.

The link seems clear. So now, Is there a difference in fighting style/tactics between hezbollah/fedayeen and tb? and what can the soldiers do to respond if they notice a change?
Again, I am not interested in an academic/political discussion, just information that can help our grunts. As you may have seen in my profile I am a computer eng type not a poli/sci or mil/history guy - and it is reflected in my writings - and I am not interested in going to school for it - but I am still interested in the subject.
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Possible OPSEC.
sure, so generalize. Our soldiers are smart enough to pick good solutions once they know what is happening.
Quote
Again, though, on open source material, what do you think?
I don't know; that's why I am asking!

I'll promise to comment more as I learn - lots of info to read.

cheers,
Frank
Now I am SAS or SWAT dude ;-)
see:
Quote from: RHFC_piper ink=topic=51916.msg617784#msg617784 date=1190404708

The 'pana" is a play on the Greek 'pan' meaning 'all' or 'encompassing' - not quite but similar to UBIQUE
some think I just misspelled "para" :-)

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Lessons from the IDF in Lebanon
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2008, 09:45:33 »
Here is an article which stresses the importance of Signals security, PERSEC and OPSEC. I do not believe the Hezbollah had the ability to decrypt secure comms, but on the other hand, it would be relatively easy to monitor radio emissions and get a good idea where units were located and determine if the unit was active (i.e. sending a lot of traffic) or passive (in a defensive position, awaiting supply or orders etc.), and plan accordingly.

newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/ny-wocode184896831sep18,0,3091818.story

Quote
Hezbollah cracked the code
Technology likely supplied by Iran allowed guerrillas to stop Israeli tank assaults
BY MOHAMAD BAZZI

Newsday Middle East Correspondent

September 18, 2006

AITA SHAAB, Lebanon

Hezbollah guerrillas were able to hack into Israeli radio communications during last month's battles in south Lebanon, an intelligence breakthrough that helped them thwart Israeli tank assaults, according to Hezbollah and Lebanese officials.

Using technology most likely supplied by Iran, special Hezbollah teams monitored the constantly changing radio frequencies of Israeli troops on the ground. That gave guerrillas a picture of Israeli movements, casualty reports and supply routes. It also allowed Hezbollah anti-tank units to more effectively target advancing Israeli armor, according to the officials.

"We were able to monitor Israeli communications, and we used this information to adjust our planning," said a Hezbollah commander involved in the battles, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The official refused to detail how Hezbollah was able to intercept and decipher Israeli transmissions. He acknowledged that guerrillas were not able to hack into Israeli communications around the clock.

The Israeli military refused to comment on whether its radio communications were compromised, citing security concerns. But a former Israeli general, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Hezbollah's ability to secretly hack into military transmissions had "disastrous" consequences for the Israeli offensive.

"Israel's military leaders clearly underestimated the enemy and this is just one example," he said.

Dodging the efforts

Like most modern militaries, Israeli forces use a practice known as "frequency-hopping" - rapidly switching among dozens of frequencies per second - to prevent radio messages from being jammed or intercepted. It also uses encryption devices to make it difficult for enemy forces to decipher transmissions even if they are intercepted. The Israelis mostly rely on a U.S.-designed communication system called the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System.

Hezbollah's ability to intercept and decode Israeli transmissions underscores how the Shia group had higher military capabilities than many Israeli and U.S. officials thought.

Much of Hezbollah's capability is believed to have come from its two main backers, Iran and Syria.

During 34 days of fighting, which ended Aug. 14 under a cease-fire brokered by the United Nations, Hezbollah repeatedly surprised Israel by deploying new types of missiles and battlefield tactics.

"The Israelis did not realize that they were facing a guerrilla force with the capabilities of a regular army," said a senior Lebanese security official who asked not to be identified. "Hezbollah invested a lot of resources into eavesdropping and signals interception."

Besides radio transmissions, the official said Hezbollah also monitored cell phone calls among Israeli troops. But cell phones are usually easier to intercept than military radio, and officials said Israeli forces were under strict orders not to divulge sensitive information over the phone.

Hezbollah eavesdropping teams had trained Hebrew speakers who could quickly translate intercepted Israeli transmissions and relay the information to local commanders, the Hezbollah official said. Even before the war, the group had dozens of translators working in its southern Beirut offices to monitor Israeli media and phone intercepts.

Mistakes happen

With frequency-hopping and encryption, most radio communications become very difficult to hack. But troops in the battlefield sometimes make mistakes in following secure radio procedures and can give an enemy a way to break into the frequency-hopping patterns. That might have happened during some battles between Israel and Hezbollah, according to the Lebanese official. Hezbollah teams likely also had sophisticated reconnaissance devices that could intercept radio signals even while they were frequency-hopping.

During one raid in southern Lebanon, Israeli special forces said they found a Hezbollah office equipped with jamming and eavesdropping devices. Israeli officials said the base also had detailed maps of northern Israel, lists of Israeli patrols along the border and cell phone numbers for Israeli commanders.

That raid highlighted the ongoing spy war between Hezbollah and Israel. Since Israeli troops withdrew from southern Lebanon in May 2000 - after an 18-year occupation and guerrilla war with Hezbollah - the militia has stepped up its espionage efforts against Israel. According to Israeli military officials, a special Hezbollah unit recruits Israeli Arabs and others to spy for it. The agents are assigned to obtain maps, monitor Israeli patrols, gather cell phone numbers and photograph military facilities. This information is used to draw up detailed maps and files that could be used to direct Hezbollah's rocket and missile attacks.

"After the Israeli withdrawal in 2000, each side competed to spy on the other," said Nizar Qader, a retired Lebanese army general who is now an independent military analyst. "This intelligence-gathering was essential to fighting a war ... Hezbollah appears to have collected better information than the Israelis."

After Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12, Israel launched its most intense attack since it invaded Lebanon in 1982. The offensive crippled the country's infrastructure, displaced 1 million people, cut off Lebanon from the world and killed more than 1,200 Lebanese - the majority of them civilians. Hezbollah fired nearly 4,000 rockets at Israel, killing 43 civilians. Of the 119 Israeli soldiers killed, the majority were killed by anti-tank missiles.

Hezbollah's ability to hack into Israeli communications made its arsenal of anti-tank missiles even more deadly by improving the targeting. Throughout the ground war, Hezbollah deployed well-trained anti-tank teams to transport these missiles and fire them in ways that would inflict heavy casualties on Israeli forces. The units were made up of four to six fighters who moved around mostly on foot.

The militia used four kinds of sophisticated missiles that enabled it to disable - and, in some cases, destroy - Israel's most powerful armor: Merkava tanks. The Merkava is reinforced with several tons of armor, a virtual fortress on tracks intended to ensure its crew's survival on the battlefield.

All the missiles used by Hezbollah are relatively easy to transport and can be fired by a single guerrilla or a two-person team. They all rely on armor-piercing warheads. The most prevalent of Hezbollah's anti-tank weapons is the Russian made RPG-29, a powerful variation on a standard rocket-propelled grenade. The RPG-29 has a range of 500 yards.

Using all their capabilities

Hezbollah also used three other potent anti-tank missiles, according to Israeli and Lebanese officials: the Russian-made Metis, which has a range of 1 mile and can carry high-explosive warheads; the Russian-built Kornet, which has a range of 3 miles and thermal sights for tracking the heat signatures of tanks, and the European-built MILAN (a French acronym for Anti-Tank Light Infantry Missile), which has a range of 1.2 miles, a guidance system and the ability to be fired at night.

Israeli officials say the Kornet and RPG-29 were provided to Hezbollah by Syria, which bought them from Russia in the late 1990s. Russian officials are investigating whether Syria violated an agreement that these weapons would not be transferred to a third party.

Analysts say Hezbollah used all its capabilities - eavesdropping, anti-tank missiles and guerrilla fighting skills - to maximum effect.

"The information collected by signals intercepts was being used to help direct fighters on the battlefield," Qader said. "These are tactics of a modern army."


Sonia Verma contributed to this story from Jerusalem.

Key events

July 12. Hezbollah kidnaps two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid.

July 13. Israel begins bombing the runways at Beirut's airport and imposes a naval blockade of Lebanon. Hezbollah rocket attacks strike the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

July 18. The United States, others step up evacuations of their citizens from Lebanon.

July 22. Israeli ground troops enter Lebanon.

Aug. 6. Hezbollah rocket attacks kill 12 Israeli soldiers and 3 others in deadliest day for Israel in nearly 4 weeks of war.

Aug. 12. The UN Security Council approves a resolution calling for a "full cessation of hostilities."

Aug. 14. Cease-fire takes effect.

Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.
 
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