Israel Lost its 4GW with Hezbollah

The always interesting TDAXP thinks Israel won the recent 4GW War with Hezbollah.

I do not agree.

He writes:

Israel recognizes that isolation leads to defeat, so she
attempts to maximize her connectivity while minimizing the connectivity of her enemy, Hezbollah.

And elsewhere in the comments:

4GW is warfare based on Orientation state, very similar to
John Boyd’s Moral Warfare. I described the 4GW model to Dr. Nexon in a previous thread [1], but the short version is that 4GW is that it aims at removing an enemy’s desire to fight.

This started out as a comment on his post, but it was getting to long…now it is a post here.

I had not blogged about the outcome of the war, as I wanted to know more before I did.

My gut tells me that Israel lost – their position is not better off and Hezbollah position is not worse off.

The messages Israel created were that the IDF was not that prepared (message of weakness), its government leadership was not top notch (message of weakness, signal of opportunity for others), and that Hezbollah is a credible military / political force worthy of support by the Islamic world and respect by the fence sitters.

The information war was clearly lost by Israel.

I think the Israel desire to fight has been reduced (or at least the perception of it).

The enemy (Hezbollah) and its supporters have been emboldened by their victory (survival) and are already planning for round two.

The information war was lost in that almost all potential fence sitters came down on the Hezbollah side (calling for reduced action by Israel, calling for and supporting a hudna). The Western media was complacent in staging and spreading Hezbollah propaganda, and while the blogosphere debunked it…most of the world doesn’t read blogs. Leftists NGO’s are following up with Lawfare attacks to distract/divert Israel and give comfort to its enemies.

I believe Israel was further separated from the rest civilization while their enemies are feeling a bit cocky/confident and are already talking about another round.

The attention of the US and West was diverted from Iran. Potential allies on the Iran issue have moved them stronger fence sitting
positions instead.

Israel did not succeed in disconnecting Hezbollah from the rest of the world. Instead it increased its moral importance. The Islamic world, and the anti-anti-islamofascists are increasing connections to it.

Also, Hezbollah is a creation of Iran and still acts to some (unknown) degree its proxy. Iran was able to use the Hezbollah war to wedge
Israel a bit more from the west and increase discord among USA allies and potential allies. In essence, they successfully attacked the USA’s alliances.

7 Responses

  1. As a military excersize against Hezbollah, Israel’s action failed. Israel lost the “war within the context of war” to Hezbollah. Hezbollah needed to do more than just survive, and Hezbollah accomplished more than just survive. Hezbollah prevented Israel from holding almost anything, and Hezbollah’s indegenous SysAdmin will ensure its strength in Lebanon’s Shia community.

    That said, Israel is a State and Hezbollah is a group. A victory for one is not necessarily a defeat for another. Israel’s action was a failure against Hezbollah, but in one way both Israel and Hezbollah improved their correlation of forces by weakening Syria.

    Hezbollah demonstrated to Iran that it, and not Syria, is capabale of offensive and defensive military actions. For years Hezbollah has been a group “sponsored” by Iran and Syria. Hezbollah’s victory shows that Hezbollah is an ally at least on par with Syria, in Iran’s eyes. Hezbollah does not want its actions limited by a National-Secularist regime, as Hezbollah’s aims are much closer to Tehran’s than Damascus’s.

    Here is Israel’s silver lining, too. Israel is in the last days of defeating a 4GW by the Arab National-Secularists. It may be that the most lasting effect of this Hezbollah war is to further divorce Syria from Lebanon. Israel may calculate that a Lebanon contested between pro-global and pro-Shia forces is preferable to a Lebanon controlled by the Arab National-Secularists. The international forces in Lebanon are of course useless as Hezbollah. They are a pretty good guaranteer of Lebabon’s security from Syria, though. (Especially combined with hopeful reports that the troops may double as border guards on Syria, and that Syria may finally recognize Lebanon as well.)

    Not a slam dunk for Israel, definitely. But perhaps not a loss either. At least not in the context of everything else.

  2. Dan,

    I am doubting your neat demarcation between ‘states’ and ‘groups,’ especially in the ‘context of everything else.’ It is a too-neat, intellectualized abstract distinction; but when viewed in the context of everything else — where either state or organized group can provide security for supporters, sysadmin functions, ideological compass, etc. — the differences between Israel and Hezbollah become much less significant. One potential weakness for the ‘state’ is the fact that it must protect etc. even its detractors within the populace who will continue to sow seeds of dissension weakening the effectiveness of state action. This is not so much a problem for Hezbollah.

    However, I think that your ideas about Hezbollah and Iran are spot-on. Israel’s success or failure in this latest war is yet to be determined, and much will depend on the actions of Hez. and Iran and others hostile to Israel in the region. If I were to diagram the present dynamics in the region according to the Bar-Yam method, I’d say that Israel has fallen from a position near the top (hierarchical authority) and must now contend within the shifting soup of a more ‘network’ determined order which they no longer control or strongly influence.

  3. Afterthought. The distinction between this ‘state’ and that ‘group’ is most profound vis-a-vis the issue of dissension and action. In a reasonably democratic state, the state is always on the position of having to change itself in order to move forward and make progress, or act. In the case of this war, Israel opted to move forward at the beginning, with a sizable majority of favorable public opinion; but having failed in the military action, it is forced to come home and alter its own subprocesses. But a group like Hezbollah may focus more on altering its environment in such a way to change detractors and bring them to the Hez. flag — not necessarily having to greatly change itself. Thus, the Hez 4GW/5GW position of strength in a world that will be determined more and more by such activity. No effector can be successful w/ 4GW/5GW as long as it must continually focus more attention on changing itself…since changing detractors and opponents is the major function of a 4GW/5GW course of action.

  4. Curtis,

    You’re right to doubt a neat demarcation between state and group, because none exists.. Both are vehicles for coalitionary violence. In generally, the farther apart two entities are in the levels of analysis the easier mutual-subversion becomes, but it’s not a hard and fast rule.

    “States-Within-States” with rogue foreign policies are by no means new, or limited to the Middle East. From the Orders of Knights to the California-Britain agreement, they are common.

    Thanks for the kind words on Hezbollah and Iran.

    I disagree, though, on the belief that a state must protect its detractors or that non-democratic groups are free from friction from internal dissension. One can make broad categorizations, like democracies produce more friction but are less brittle, however.

  5. Dan, what is the “California-Britain agreement”?

  6. BTW, I am mulling over the whole “defeating a 4GW by the Arab National-Secularist” idea. I have had time to think it over much or give a thoughtful reply. I am not at at the moment convinced by the argument, but I have only considered it on the surface.

  7. Schwarzenegger, Blair ink green pact.

    I’m looking forward to your extension/criticism…

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