"The outcome of the war, still a matter of perceptions, reveals both the strengths and weaknesses of Hezbollah, perhaps the world’s best-organized guerrilla group. The movement, even by the admission of its leaders, misjudged the Israeli response. But by virtue of its complex infrastructure and preparations — years spent digging tunnels, positioning weapons, upgrading its arsenal and carrying out surveillance along the border — Hezbollah survived.
"We were always prepared because we always knew that the day would come when we have to fight this war," said Hussein Hajj Hassan, a Hezbollah member of parliament. "We also knew that God was with us. He was with us."
Timur Goksel, a former spokesman and adviser to the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, put it more bluntly: "Hezbollah did not expect this response, but they were ready for it."" Anthony Shadid/Washpost
A bit of trivia – Nizar Abd el-Khadir who is mentioned in the article was my classmate at the US Army War College in 1984-85.
Apologists for Israel’s failure in this campaign will try to spin the surprise suffered by Hizbullah to mean defeat.
It is nothing like that. In fact, the surprise of the ferocity and persistence of the Israeli riposte makes even more significant the Hizbullah recovery under extreme pressure and the quality of the defense they mounted.
Claims for Israeli "victory" in the Lebanon campaign continue to puzzle me:
– Strategic Victory? Israel did not force the Lebanese government to carry out the "tasks" that it had in mind for it. It is not disarming Hizbullah. It is not preventing re-supply of Hizbullah.
– Diplomatic Victory? The multinational force is there, but doing little that the Israelis would want. This time the French have brought tanks with them. Do you think it is the Lebanese Army or Hizbullah that inspired that deployment? No. The French have long experience of what the IDF has done with tanks vis a vis UN Forces.
– Operational Level Victory? (campaign level) The Hizbullahis still have a lot of rockets and are still in southern Lebanon where they could start shooting into the Galilee. The Hizbullahis fired more rockets into Israel on the last day of the war than on any previous day. Conclusion: The Israelis did not succeed in stopping rocket fire into Israel.
– Tactical Victory? Where?