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Falcon’s Against the Jihad

Israeli Airpower and Coercive Diplomacy in Southern Lebanon

 

by Kenneth C. Schow jr, Lt Col, USAF

 

THESIS PRESENTED TO THE FACULTY OF THE

SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIRPOWER STUDIES,

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, ALABAMA,

FOR COMPLETION OF GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS,

ACADEMIC YEAR 1993-94

 

June 1994

 

Disclaimer

This publication was produced in the Department of Defense School environment in the interest of academic freedom and the advancement of national defense-related concepts. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the United States Government.

This publication has been reviewed by security and policy review authorities and is cleared for public releases

 

About the Author

Lt Col Kenneth C. Schow Jr (BS, United States Air Force Academy; MAS, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University) is an F-16 pilot currently assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, Korea. A recent graduate of the School of Advanced Airpower Studies at Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB), Lt Col Schow also attended the Air Command and Staff College and Squadron Officer School. An experienced fighter pilot, Lt Col Schow flew 47 combat missions in the F-16 during Operation Dessert Storm, was an Instructor in the F-5 Fighter Weapons School at Williams AFB, Arizona and an Aircraft Commander and Instructor Pilot in the A-10 at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina. His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster.

 

Abstract

From the dust filled skies over Northern Iraq to the fog covered valleys of Bosnia, American airmen are finding themselves at the center of U.S. efforts to solve the problems of a increasingly fragmented world. Airpower’s new role as the "tool of choice" for United States policy makers confronts the Air Force with challenges never envisioned during the cold war. Among these: non-state actors, ethnic hatred, nationalist tensions, and an increasing array of regional conflicts. If our experiences in Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti, and North Korea are any indication, the United States is moving toward a general policy of coercive diplomacy to deal with regional conflicts and the challenges they present. Accordingly, USAF planners will continue to find themselves asked to use airpower to support the strategy of coercive diplomacy.

Given that the Air Force has focused on supporting cold war strategies for the last 40 years, it is reasonable to expect that planners would look to the experiences of other Air Forces to help develop our own coercive strategies. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) presents an ideal candidate for this type of evaluation. Since its creation in 1948, the IAF has had a long history of supporting coercive strategies employed by Israeli leaders to deal with threats posed by the surrounding Arab states. A particularly effective period to evaluate, is the experience of the Israeli Air Force in Lebanon between January 1983 - June 1985. This period is significant for USAF planners because Lebanon confronted the IAF with an environment which one RAND analyst concluded is likely to be representative of armed conflict worldwide in the last quarter of the twentieth century: a mixture of conventional warfare, classic guerrilla warfare and campaigns of terrorism."

During the Lebanon conflict, the Israeli Air Force employed the most advanced combat aircraft in the world to attack targets in Southern Lebanon in an effort to compel PLO and Shi’ite forces to reduce the frequency of guerrilla attacks against Israeli ground troops. This paper evaluated the effectiveness of those air raids in supporting the Israeli coercive strategy.

The analysis of this subject begins by demonstrating that Israeli air strikes in lebanon supported a strategy of coercive diplomacy - an approach adopted when Israeli ground efforts proved unable to reduce the number of guerrilla attacks. In the course of this effort, the Israeli Air Force executed 28 air raids, all of which would have little effect on the decision calculus of the Palestinians and Shi’ite organizations in southern Lebanon. The most interesting aspect of this strategy is the fact 90% of the Israeli air strikes were directed against the Palestinian organizations while the evidence shows that the Shi’ites in southern Lebanon were responsible for many of guerilla attacks against the IDF ground troops. The study concluded that the decision to minimize air attacks against the Shi’ites was an effort on the part of senior Israeli leaders to gain long term security on their northern border by "signaling" their willingness to work with Nabih Berri and other Amal leaders. In addition to this, Israeli leaders were concerned that massive raids on organizations like Hizballah would have little impact on their willingness of attack the IDF, or worse yet, would inspire them to even greater violence.

In light of these "political realities" the Israelis focused the air attacks on the radical Palestinian groups. Although the Israelis had an extensive intelligence "base" built up on the Palestinian organizations to assist them is developing their attack plans, the Israeli air strikes failed to effect the PLO. As a result they combined with an increasingly angry Shi’ite population to execute a succession of guerrilla attacks against the IDF which eroded the will of the Israeli leadership to stay in Lebanon.

The study contends there were two reasons for this failure. First, the asymmetry of motivation favored the Shi’ites, which negated the effectiveness of air strikes as a "carrot". Second the air strikes were unable to create a realistic fear of escalation for the targets. This was caused by two factors: the Lebanese environment, and the inability of the air strikes to add significantly to the costs of the target organizations.

The lesson in this experience for American policy makers is that even though the Israelis possessed the most advanced aircraft in the world, capable of delivering an impressive array of technologically advanced weapons, these advantages meant little when it came to coercing the Palestinians and the Shi’ites. This was because the Israeli strategy was based on the assumption that air strikes could inflict such pain on the target organizations that they would give in to Israeli demands rather than suffer at the hands of Israeli airmen. What the Israelis did not count on was the fact that the PLO and Shi’ites were already paying tremendous costs, and neither Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs) or iron bombs could add to these costs in any significant manner.

Given that many experts believe the United States will face similar situations in the future, United States policy makers must understand that the ability to destroy targets with surgical accuracy, does not automatically translate into the ability to inflict "significant pain" on an adversary. Consequently, we must be selective in choosing where we employ our "shrinking" Air Forces, or risk squandering the few advantages we enjoy.

 

 

Chapter 1

Introduction

From the dust filled skies over Northern Iraq to the fog covered valleys of Bosnia, American airmen are finding themselves at the center of U.S. efforts to solve the problems of a increasingly fragmented world. Airpower’s new role as the "tool of choice" for United States policy makers confronts the Air Force with challenges never envisioned during the cold war. Among these: non-state actors, ethnic hatred, nationalist tensions, and an increasing array of regional conflicts. If our experiences in Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti, and North Korea are any indication, the United States is moving toward a general policy of coercive diplomacy to deal with regional conflicts and the challenges they present. Accordingly, USAF planners will continue to find themselves asked to use airpower to support the strategy of coercive diplomacy.

Since the Air Force has focused on supporting cold war strategies for the last 40 years, it is reasonable to expect that planners would look to the experiences of other Air Forces to help develop our own coercive strategies. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) presents an ideal candidate for this type of evaluation. Since its creation in 1948, the IAF has had a long history of supporting coercive strategies employed by Israeli leaders to deal with threats posed by the surrounding Arab states. A particularly effective period to evaluate, would be the experience of the Israeli Air Force in Lebanon between January 1983 - June 1985. This period is significant for USAF planners because Lebanon confronted the IAF with an environment which one RAND analyst concluded is likely to be "representative of armed conflict worldwide in the last quarter of the twentieth century: a mixture of conventional warfare, classic guerrilla warfare and campaigns of terrorism."

During the Lebanon conflict, the Israeli Air Force employed the most advanced combat aircraft in the world to attack targets in Southern Lebanon in support of a coercive strategy designed to compel PLO and Shi’ite forces to reduce the frequency of guerrilla attacks against Israeli ground troops. This paper wll evaluate the effectiveness of those air raids in supporting the Israeli coercive strategy.

Overview

The analysis of this subject begins in Chapter 2 with a description of the "Lebanese Period": focusing on Israeli and PLO/Shi’ite objectives, events leading up to the use of airpower, and specifics on the Israeli application of airpower. Chapter 3 follows by discussing the coercive airpower strategy employed by the Israelis in Lebanon. This discussion will show that the Israeli use of airpower between January 1983 and June 1985 is consistent with the tenets of Coercive Diplomacy as defined by Alexander George.

Chapter 4 identifies factors which influenced the execution of the Israeli’s coercive strategy. Here, the study concluded that the decision to minimize air attacks against the Shi’ites was an effort on the part of senior Israeli leaders to gain long term security on their northern border by "signaling" their willingness to work with Nabih Berri and other Amal leaders. In addition to this, Israeli leaders were concerned that massive raids on organizations like Hizballah would have little impact on their willingness to attack the IDF, or worse yet, would inspire them to even greater violence. In light of these "political realities" the Israelis focused the air attacks on the radical Palestinian groups.

Chapter 5 uses data gathered from the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) and the Journal of Palestine Studies (JPS) to evaluate the effectiveness of airpower in controlling the behavior of Shi’ite and Palestinian resistance forces. This analysis involves a comparison of the total number of air attacks by the Israeli Air Force against Palestinian and Lebanese targets to the total number of attacks by those actors against Israeli military personnel. Results of this analysis led to the conclusion that Israeli air strikes, flown between November 1983 and June 1985, had little impact on reducing the willingness of these non state actors to attack the IDF in Lebanon.

Chapter 6 follows with insights into why the air raids failed to support the objectives of the Israeli coercive strategy. It contends there were two reasons for this failure. First, the asymmetry of motivation favored the Shi’ites in southern Lebanon, which negated the effectiveness of airstrikes as a "carrot". Second the air strikes were unable to create a realistic fear of escalation for the target organizations: a dilemma brought on by the Lebanese environment, and the inability of the air strikes to add significantly to the costs of the target organizations..

Chapter 7 concludes the study by summarizing the evidence, identifying key lessons from the IAF experience in Lebanon, and providing recommendations for Air Force planners facing similar situations.

 

Chapter 2

The Lebanon Period

Israeli Objectives

When Israel decided to invade Lebanon its primary purpose was to "destroy the terrorist organizations in Lebanon in such a way that they (would) not be able to rebuild their military and political base." To accomplish this objective, the Israelis turned to their military. Under the guidance of Israel’s hawkish Defense Minister, Aerial Sharon, plans were developed for a large scale military invasion of Lebanon designed to crush the PLO forces in the region. Final approval for this plan was given on 5 June, 1982, and Israeli forces were sent into Lebanon the next day. Although there had been some concern about the level of PLO resistance, the three pronged attack into Lebanon succeeded far better than Sharon had expected. Within two days Israeli forces reached their objective; a line 45 KM north of Israel. Although they were supposed to stop at this point, Sharon convinced senior Israeli leaders that the only way to create a final solution to the terrorist problem was to allow Israeli forces press all the way to Beirut. Within six days of this decision Israeli forces were at the doorsteps of the city.

From a tactical viewpoint, the Israeli invasion was a huge success: they had driven much of the PLO from Lebanon, inflicted a devastating defeat on the Syrian Air Force, and now controlled large portions of Lebanon. From strategic viewpoint the invasion would prove to be a failure. Although the IDF had forced the PLO out of Lebanon, a large portion of their forces were allowed to escape to Tunis under UN protection. Those who did not escape to Tunis, had fled to Syria, where they regrouped and continued operations against the Israelis from the sanctuary provided by Hafez Assad. Worse yet, the Israeli invasion ignited the hatred of the Shi’ite population in Lebanon, who turned to terrorism and guerrilla warfare against the Israeli troops.

The Israelis quickly discovered that the long term security they so desperately sought would be not be gained by a short term invasion. To ensure the security of their northern border Israel was forced to keep 15,000 to 20,000 troops deployed as far north as the Beirut-Damascus highway. These troops were to "serve as a buffer between the terrorists and the civilian population" The problem with this approach was that the "buffer forces" quickly became the object of terrorist attacks. In September 1982 Lebanese and Palestinian terrorists began a "rearguard war" against the IDF forces in Southern Lebanon.

The purpose of the terrorist attacks was clear: to make life so intolerable for the Israeli soldiers in Lebanon that Israel would be pressured into a unilateral withdrawal from the country. Yasser Arafat described the strategy as follows:

"In accordance with the resolution of the PLO Military Council and the Palestine National Council (PNC), we have not only succeeded in escalating our military attacks on the Israeli forces in Lebanon, but in coordination with the Lebanese resistance, we have turned these attacks into a war of attrition against the Israeli presence in Lebanon...Thus, what they thought was going to be a three-to-five day journey into Lebanon against our forces has become a trap against their continued presence in Lebanon."

To counter these attacks the Israelis relied on a coercive strategy based on a combination of retaliation and preemptive measures. This strategy was rooted in the concept that every act of violence committed against an Israeli soldier would be met with a quick and often violent response. The objective of the Israeli policy was to create an environment in which the cost of attacking Israeli troops would be far greater than the return. Between October 1982 and November 1983 the primary tool for executing this policy were the Israeli ground forces. During this period Israeli foot patrols, using "techniques developed in the Jordan valley and the Gaza Strip", began a campaign of arrests, reprisals, and curfews, designed to uncover "terrorists" and disrupt the resistance organizations.

Rather than reducing the determination of the Palestinians and Lebanese, the coercive tactics only incited them to greater violence. The "concrete" indicator of Palestinian and Shiite determination was the dramatic rise in the number of attacks against the IDF forces in Southern Lebanon. In the first seven months of 1983 the number of attacks against the IDF almost doubled. These figures would prompt Israeli military correspondent Shmu’el Tal to report "Despite the effort the IDF devotes to security in southern Lebanon, the terrorist effort to attack IDF soldiers are increasing and their actions are daily becoming more sophisticated and daring."

As the number of casualties increased, pressure began to build on Israeli political leaders to bring the troops home. For the first time in Israel there were massive anti-war protests organized by groups with such names as Peace Now, No To the War Medal, and Parents for the Withdrawal from Lebanon. To bring the message home to the Israeli leadership, one group began a daily march outside Prime minister Begin’s home in which they would carry a scoreboard updating the death toll in Lebanon. Theses protests clearly had an effect on the Israeli leadership. In June 1983, Prime minister Begin would observe "Every soldier who falls tears one’s heart." while Foreign Minister Yitzak Shamir would state "the effort of every cabinet member...must be devoted to (overcoming) the difficulties the terrorist organization rearguard (war) is causing us." The casualty figures also galvanized the Israeli cabinet, who "firmly demanded an explanation of the defense establishment’s plans to prevent continued casualties among the IDF soldiers in Lebanon."

Although Israeli leaders wanted to remove their troops from Lebanon, they feared a pull out would allow "terrorist elements" to begin the cycle of attacks against northern settlements which prompted the June invasion. In an effort to reduce their casualties, yet still retain control over South Lebanon, the IDF pulled back in August 1983 to the Al-Awali river. Once there they set up observation posts, dug trenches, built bunkers and set up a sophisticated communications and electronic system along the high ridges of valley. This, in combination with mobile patrols and a system of roadblocks was used to strictly control the flow of traffic in and out of the region.

Even before the move was complete there were those within the IDF who doubted its ability to reduce casualties. IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Levy would state that he did not expect a major reduction in casualties, adding that the redeployment to the Awali river was driven by political rather than military considerations. Palestinian journalist Yezid Sayigh would predict in the Fall 1983 edition of the Journal of Palestine Studies that "the temptation to use the air force and artillery...will grow if the IDF redeployment (to the Awali River) fails to reduce casualties." True to Levy’s prediction, the Awali line did little to stem the rising tide of attacks against the IDF: and as the number of attacks continued to rise so did the calls for "a more aggressive retaliatory policy". A central feature of these calls was a request that the IDF "use the air force and artillery...as they were used against Jordan in 1968 to 1970."

Airpower’s Role

True to Sayigh’s prediction, on November 3, 1983, two months after the redepolyment to the Awali river failed to reduce the number of IDF casualties, the Israeli’s launched their first airstrikes in over a year against "terrorist" targets in Alley, Bhamdoun and Sofar. This raid would mark the beginning of Israel’s use of airpower to support their efforts to control the behavior of the Palestinian and Lebanese organizations during this period.

In making this decision Israeli leaders were not making a "radical" change to their air power doctrine. Israel had first introduced airpower as a countermeasure to terrorist/guerrilla attacks in 1966, and since that time it has played an integral role in their efforts to reduce attacks against Israeli personnel. This was especially true of their counter terrorism effort, where for every act of Palestinian terrorism committed both inside and outside the boundaries of the State of Israel, an IAF retaliatory air raid has become an expected occurrence. Massive air raids against terrorist headquarters, training camps and installations had followed such terrorist incidents as the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, the May 1974 Ma’alot massacre and the June 1982 attempted assassination of Ambassador Shlomo Argov in London.

The air raids developed for Lebanon involved the IAF’s principle combat aircraft: the A-4 Skyhawk, the F-4E Phantom, the F-15, F-16, and the Kfir. Each air raid was designed as a quick surgical stroke meant to destroy vital terrorist targets while preventing large scale civilian casualties. During this period Israeli fighters would fly 28 air raids against "terrorist" targets in southern Lebanon (See Apdx 1). Twenty five of these missions were directed against Palestinian targets and three were against the Shi’ites.

Israeli leaders designed these raids to operate as both a carrot and a stick. Their primary aim was to act as a "stick": coercing the radical PLO and Shi’ite organizations to reduce the frequency of guerrilla attacks by destroying resources deemed vital to the execution of those attacks. These air raids would also "create a situation of uncertainty for the terrorists so that they (could not) feel safe in perpetrating their attacks" This would reduce the frequency of attacks by forcing the terrorists to expend energy and resources on defensive precautions, rather than on offensive strikes against Israeli targets. Many of these raids also involved overt and implicit retaliation. In these cases air raids were directed at specific organizations in response to attacks against the IDF. These raids were designed to increase the psychological "costs" for the targeted organizations by sending a clear message that "we know who you are and we know where to find you" They were also attempts to signal the PLO/Shi’ites that they were approaching the limits which Israel would tolerate in the conflict.

While Israeli leaders used the destructive power of the Israeli air raids as a "stick" against the radical PLO and Shi’ite organizations, their ability to withhold these strikes was used as a "carrot" against the moderate ones. This was the case with Nabih Berri’s Amal organization. During this period, Berri’s organization was not targeted by the IAF. As Chapter 5 will point out, evidence indicates that the decision to limit IAF attacks against Amal organization was a result of Israeli leaders were trying to "signal" their willingness to work with Nabih Berri.

Although military leaders designed the tactics, the Israeli Prime Minister and his Cabinet selected the targets and were the final approval authority for all the air raids. When selecting these targets Israeli leaders sought maximum coercive effects by attempting to focus the air attacks directly at the "parties involved", while structuring them so as to minimize the political costs to Israel. In the case of retaliation raids this meant selecting targets which were both proportional and "directly connected" to specific terrorist actions.

To assist the senior leaders in making their decisions, Israeli intelligence compiled comprehensive target lists for each one of the terrorist groups believed to be operating against Israel. Included with these lists would be an assessment of the value of each of the targets to the organizations. When one of the terrorist groups would conduct and attack in Lebanon, the Prime Minister and the cabinet would select an appropriate target from the list. The target would then be sent down to IAF headquarters where Air Force planners would determine the aircraft and weapon best suited for the mission.

The missions themselves involved small packages of A-4, Kfir, or F-16 ground attack aircraft escorted by F-15’s. Most of these missions did not require defense suppression since the greatest threat was from small arms fire and shoulder fired SAMS. The F-15’s were brought along to prevent interference with the missions by Syrian MIGs. The choice of weapons on these missions would vary depending on the nature of the target. By 1983 the Israelis had a variety of precision guided munitions (Laser Guided Bombs and TOW missiles) provided by the US. The increased accuracy and reduced collateral damage promised by the weapons expanded the list of targets which could be struck on these retaliatory raids. This became especially important in Lebanon since the terrorists tended to located their strategic targets (HQ, Communications, Weapons storage) inside heavily populated areas.

In addition to the problems involved in minimizing collateral damage, one of the greatest challenges facing IAF pilots was achieving the element of surprise. As one IAF pilot put it "if (the terrorists) hear you they will run. If they are running out into the bushes you can’t hit them." To maximize the element of surprise the IAF increasingly turned to night operations in executing their reprisal raids in Lebanon. These attacks not only minimized the threat of ground fire to the crews but also reduced the ability of the targets to "run away."

The desire to achieve the element of surprise also spurred the use of helicopters. With their nap of the earth flying capability the AH-1S Cobra and Hughes 500 MD Defender, allowed IAF pilots to "sneak up" on their targets, or even wait by the roadside to ambush selected vehicles. Helicopters also had the advantage of not being tied to an airfield. This allowed the IAF to keep a number of helicopters "forward deployed" in alert positions, where they could respond quickly to requests for reprisal or counterforce raids from Israeli leaders who wanted to "punish" those who attacked the IDF.

The helicopters were also used to support "special" raids. During these raids, one or two platoons of paratroopers were inserted by helicopter near a guerrilla/terrorist base. The troops would then approach on foot, attack the camp with automatic fire, propelled grenades, and mortars, then be withdrawn by helicopter again. This form of attack, along with selective air strikes, was designed to maintain pressure on the Israel’s enemies and to keep them off balance.

 

Chapter 3

The Israeli Strategy

Defining The Israeli Strategy

The premise of this paper is that air raids executed by Israeli fighters were part of a strategy of coercive diplomacy designed to influence the behavior of Arab non state actors. This strategy was based on the assumption that airpower could be used to undermine the will of PLO and Shi’ite organizations to execute guerrilla attacks against Israeli ground forces in Southern Lebanon. An effective way to interpret this strategy is through the theories of Alexander George.

In "The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy " George identified two strategies for using military force as an instrument of foreign policy: The Quick Decisive Strategy and Coercive Diplomacy. According to George, in the Quick Decisive Strategy, military force is used to:

"destroy a significant portion of the opponent’s military capability to contest what is at stake. Accordingly, this strategy largely dispenses with threats, diplomacy, or subtle modes of persuasion to alter the opponents policy. It relies rather on military force to provide a "war winning" strategy."

 

Under this strategy, military force renders the opponent incapable of resisting the demands of the attacker. In contrast to this approach, the strategy of coercive diplomacy uses "just enough force...to demonstrate resolution to protect well-defined interests and also to demonstrate the credibility of ones’ determination to use more force if necessary." It is a strategy which uses military force "in discrete and controlled increments, to induce the opponent to revise his calculations and agree to a mutually acceptable termination of the conflict." As Blechman noted, it is a distinction between violence used to attain an objective directly and violence used as a form of bargaining.

An important aspect of Coercive Diplomacy is communication between the attacker and target. In contrast to the Quick, Decisive Military strategy, where communication between the attacker and the opponent only occurs "after the effort to apply force", in Coercive Diplomacy the attacker communicates with the target throughout the application of military force. Communication between the two adversaries allows the attacker to demonstrate his "resolution to protect well-defined interests and to establish the credibility of his determination to use more force if necessary." According to George, this communication is the distinctive aspect of Coercive Diplomacy which makes it "a much more flexible, refined, (and) psychological instrument of policy."

In explaining the concept of coercive diplomacy George identified two variants of the strategy. Known as the Try and See approach (the weaker version) and the Tacit-Ultimatum (the strongest version), these variants represent "the endpoints of a continuum" with "intermediate variants also possible."

In the Try and See Approach:

"the defending power, in an attempt to persuade its opponent to call off or curtail its encroachment, takes only one step at a time. It deliberately postpones the decision to take additional action until it becomes clear whether the steps already taken will have a sufficient coercive impact on the opponent."

Under this strategy the attacker may make demands on the opponent but he does not "create a sense of urgency for his compliance with the demand." In contrast to this approach, the Tacit-Ultimatum combines the threat of future punishment with a time limit. Under this variant "at the same time the defending power takes its initial actions, it communicates to the opponent that other, more damaging steps will follow in short order if he does not comply with the demand made on him" According to George the Tacit-Ultimatum uses "all three elements of a classical ultimatum:

  1. A specific demand on the opponent

  2. a time limit (explicit or implicit) for compliance

  3. a threat of punishment for non-compliance that is sufficiently strong and credible.

The Israeli Airpower Strategy.

The Israeli use of airpower between January 1983 and June 1985 is consistent with the tenets of Coercive Diplomacy as defined by Alexander George. To begin with, the execution of IAF air raids met George’s requirement that the application of military force be both "discreet and controlled" This becomes evident when comparing the use of airpower Lebanon with its employment during the 1967 War, which George describes as an example of the Quick Decisive Military Strategy.

During the 1967 war, the Israeli Air Force executed a series of decisive strikes designed to incapacitate the Egyptian Air Force in a short period. This effort required hundreds of sorties and was completed in less than four days. By comparison, during the Lebanon period evaluated in this study, the Israeli Air Force would fly four to eight missions per month, followed by "lulls" in which none or only one airstrike was flow. The total number of missions flown in Lebanon January 1983 and June 1985 was less than that flown during the first day of the 1967 war.

Further indication that airpower was supporting a strategy of coercive diplomacy in Lebanon comes from the fact that Israeli air raids were often "proceeded, accompanied, or followed by appropriate communications to the opponent." For example, the first series of airstrikes against Palestinian and Shi’ite targets in southern Lebanon, was followed by the pronouncement from Prime Minister Yitzhaq Shamir that "Middle East peoples should realize that if Israel is provoked, the hand extended in peace will turn into an iron fist that will strike at terrorism to the bitter end." This is consistent with George’s statement that the central task of a coercive strategy is to. "create in the opponent the expectation of unacceptable costs of sufficient magnitude to erode his motivation to continue what he is doing."

As to the question of which variant of the strategy was being used: The Israeli decision to avoid executing any air strikes against the PLO and Shi’ites for over a year (Oct 1982 - Oct 1983) indicates that the Israeli’s were engaged in a Try and See Approach. Further support for this view comes from the periodic lulls in air attacks. Between Jan 1983 and June 1985 there were 3 months in which the Israeli Air Force did not execute any air strikes against targets in Southern Lebanon (See Table ). These lulls could be the result of Israeli leaders waiting to see whether the air strikes were having the desired effect on the PLO and Shiites. This is consistent with the Try and See approach, in which the coercing power "deliberately postpones the decision to take additional action until it becomes clear whether the steps already taken will have sufficient coercive impact on the opponent."

Although evidence indicates that the strategy used by the Israelis in Lebanon was a weak variant of coercive diplomacy, other aspects of the strategy show that it was not the "weakest" variant of the Try and See Approach. Of the three elements which indicate the strength of a particular variant, the Israeli use of airpower during this period possesses two of the three: a specific demand and the threat of punishment for non compliance. Both elements are present in the statement made by Prime Minister Shamir after the air strikes against the PLO and Shi’ites in November 1983. In that statement Shamir declares "if Israel is provoked, the hand extended in peace will turn into an iron fist that will strike at terrorism to the bitter end." Since the air strikes which preceded this announcement were executed in "retaliation" for the bombing of IDF headquarters in Tyre, the assumption is that the "provocation" Shamir refers to are terrorist attacks against the IDF. The implied message is that should the target organization continue to "provoke" Israel by continuing to attack the IDF, Israel will respond with "punishment" delivered by the "Iron Fist". This approach is consistent with George’s view that the coercing power "may not need to state a specific time limit or define the threat of punishment for non-compliance to reinforce the demand on the opponent. Either or both may be sufficiently implicit in the structure of a situation"(Italics added).

 

Chapter 4

Factors Influencing the Airpower Strategy

As stated in the previous section, although the Shi’ites were responsible for many of the attacks against the IDF, almost all the Israeli air attacks were directed at the PLO - and in particular the hard-line, pro Syrian organizations located in the Bekka Valley. The choice of Palestinians as the primary targets was a matter of "political reality". As Yitzak Shamir would state in a 1984 interview, "The Lebanon issue, is not a matter of principle...it is a matter of determining what is the most effective means of attaining security for the north"

Figure 1: Palestinian Targets of IAF Air Strikes

PFLP

DFLP

ABU

MOUSSA

PFLP-GC

PPSF

SAIQA

*NOT

SPECIFIED

TOTAL

4

4

2

2

1

1

11

25

*In these cases there was enough information to determine that an air attack was flown against a Palestinian group, but not enough to determine which organization.

The Shi’ites and Long Term Security

With the Shi’ites comprising half of Lebanon’s 3 million people, and 60 percent of those living in the south, Israeli leaders felt they could not afford to risk making the whole community its implacable enemy if Israel was to have any hope of coming to a long term solution with Lebanon on security arrangements for its northern border. As Defense Minister Rabin would say, "If as a result of the war in Lebanon we will have succeeded in eliminating to a large extent the PLO terrorists, but will have brought about Shi’ite terrorism, one would have to think twice about what really proved to be the results of this war."

In an effort to remove their troops from southern Lebanon without jeopardizing the security of their settlements, the Israeli’s attempted to get Amal to accept responsibility for ensuring the security of their northern border. Unfortunately, the political environment in South Lebanon prevented this from happening. Augustus Norton framed the situation as follows:

"If Amal provided the overt security assurances sought by Israel, it would jeopardize its competitive position vis-à-vis Hizb Alla, with which Amal (was) compet(ing) for the political heart of the Shi’i community."

With "overt" assurances a "political impossibility" the Israelis attempted to engage the Shi’ite in a "tacit" agreement. In an effort to signal their willingness to "co exist" with Nabih Berri’s Amal organization, Israeli leaders forced the IDF to exercise restraint in reacting to Shi’ite attacks. Under a policy described as the "velvet glove" Rabin and other cabinet member would issue occasional threats that Israel would not cease fighting terrorism, and Israeli agencies would continue to gather information about Shi’ite networks and organizations, but the IDF in southern Lebanon was forced to react defensively rather than offensively to the guerrilla attacks. Limiting IAF attacks against Amal seems to have been another of the "signals" being sent by the Israeli leadership to the Shi’ites. In article which appears to reflect the thinking of Israeli leaders, Journalist Hirsh Goodman noted: "The danger with (the Israeli policy of automatic retaliation) is that the IDF could find itself retaliating against precisely the people we want to be our allies in the southern security zone"

Hizballah and the PLO

In addition to minimizing attacks against Amal, the IAF also did not execute many attacks against the radical Hizballah organization. This appears to have been the result of limitations imposed on the IAF because of the nature of the Hizballah organization. Unlike other organizations in Lebanon, Hizballah was a popular movement based on Islamic teaching, not a political party with a fixed address. This made it difficult for the Israelis to pinpoint and attack individuals responsible for carrying out attacks against the IDF. It was this same problem which prevented the United States from launching reprisal attacks against Hizballah after the bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut. The Israelis were also concerned that massive raids on radical Shi’ites might not reduce their willingness of attack the IDF, and might even inspire them to even greater violence. As early as 1983 members of the Hizballah organization, mindful of the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammed’s son, had shown themselves quiet willing to die for their cause. The Israeli’s were well aware of this fact and it seems to have been reflected in their targeting strategy.

With attacks against the Shi’ites largely ruled out for political and practical reasons, the IAF was left to focus on the Palestinian organizations who had returned to Lebanon and were operating out of bases in Syrian controlled territory. Interestingly, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization was largely excluded from these attacks. This was because six months before the first air attack, Arafat had been driven out of Lebanon by a group of Pro Syrian hard liners led by A’akid Muhamad Sa’id Musa (Abu Moussa). This reduced Arafat’s stature in the PLO during this period and seems to have made him a non factor in Israeli eyes.

The hard line organizations on the other hand presented a threat. Abu Muossa and the other PLO forces (PFLP, PFLP-GC, DFLP, al-Saiqa, PSF, PLF) who had returned to Lebanon included the most violent anti-Israel factions within the PLO. Unlike Arafat, they were opposed to any compromise with Israel and advocated violence as the sole means of achieving a solution to the Palestinian question. These forces were heavily supported by the Syrians and were executing attacks against the IDF from bases behind Syrian lines in the Bekka Valley. Since the location of these bases made it very difficult for Israeli ground forces to attack them the Israelis turned to airpower, which provided a safer method to "reach" these bases.

 

Notes

Chapter 5

Effectiveness of IAF Reprisal Raids

 

Figure 2: Guerrilla Attacks Against IDF in Southern Lebanon: (6 month intervals)

 

Period 1

Period 2

Period 3

Period 4

 

May 83 -
 Oct 83

*Nov 83 -
 Apr 84

May 84 -
 Oct 84

Nov 84 -
 May 85

Attacks against the IDF

60

60

74

157

 IAF Air Attacks

0

14

7

6

*IAF Air Strikes Begin

In terms of sorties flown and material destroyed the retaliation raids were termed a "success" by the Israeli spokesman. In terms of the one measure of merit which really mattered - stemming the rising tide of terrorist violence against Israeli troops - they were a failure. In the six months prior to the initiation of airstrikes (Period 1: May 83 - October 83), there had been 60 attacks against IDF personnel in southern Lebanon. Following this period, the IAF would fly 14 air raids against Palestinian targets and Shi’ite targets. The effect on the target organizations during this period appears negligible. In fact, the number of guerrilla attacks against the IDF during six months in which there were no air raids against the PLO and Shi’ites (Period 1) was exactly the same as the first six month period (Period 2) in which no air raids were flown against them. Results during Periods 3 and 4 bring the effectiveness of the air raids further into question. During these periods the number of attacks against the IDF sky rocketed - from 74 attacks during Period 3 ( May 84 - October 84) to 157 attacks during Period 4 (November 84 - May 85). These increases occurred despite the fact that the IAF continued to execute air raids against the PLO and Shi’ites. This evidence seems to indicate that the air strikes did not reduce the willingness of the PLO and Shi’ites to execute these attacks.

Although an argument can be made that the rise in guerrilla attacks following Period 2 occurs because the IAF reduced the number of air attacks it flew during subsequent periods (3 and 4), an equally effective argument can be made against this view. To begin with, air attacks flown during these periods were designed to prevent future attacks on the IDF. To accomplish this the IAF focused on destroying resources which the target organizations needed to execute future attacks. The destruction of these resources was designed to inflict "pain" on the target organizations - followed by "signals" from Israeli leaders that to avoid further pain (i.e. air strikes) the target organizations need only stop attacking the IDF. If the airstrikes flown during period 2 had been effective at destroying critical resources, or inflicting great pain on the target organizations, one would expect to see a reduction in the number of guerrilla attacks in period 3. The data shows that this did not occur. This same argument can be applied to Periods 3 and 4. During these two periods the number of air attacks remained relatively equal, yet the number of guerrilla attacks in Period 4 is more than double those in Period 3.

While this evidence does not prove that by flying more air attacks against the PLO and Shi’ites the Israelis might not have been able to affect the willingness of the target organizations to attack the IDF, it seems to conclusively prove that the air raids which were flown during this period did not reduce the number of attacks against the IDF. The Shi’ite response to the Israeli "Iron Fist" policy in early 1985 adds further credence to this view. During this period IDF ground forces inflicted a degree of suffering on the Shi’ite population of southern Lebanon, comparable to that of large scale air strikes. Despite the brutal punishment inflicted on the Shi’ites by the "Iron Fist", the number of guerrilla/terrorist attacks the number of guerrilla attacks against the IDF more than doubles during this period. Based on this experience it is hard to imagine how even directing all 28 air strikes against the Shi’ites would have caused them to react differently.

As a result of airpower’s inability to coerce the Shi’ites and Palestinians, these forces continued to engage in a relentless "battle of attrition" which eventually eroded all domestic support for the occupation of Lebanon. By the summer of 1984, the press began referring to Lebanon as "Israel’s Vietnam", public opinion polls showed that a majority of Israelis no longer supported the war, and many in both the right and the left wing of Israel’s political parties were calling for an immediate pullout. By the time Israel’s national unity government was elected in August 1984, it became clear that one of its main functions would be to extricate Israel from the Lebanese quagmire. On January 18, 1985 the Peres led government took the first steps in this direction when it Announced a three stage withdrawal plan from Lebanon. Six months after this announcement the last Israeli troops returned home.

 

Chapter 6

Why the Airstrikes Failed

The question which hangs over the Lebanese experience is "How could air raids, which were so successful in destroying their assigned targets, be so unsuccessful in reducing the number of attacks against the IDF? The short answer to this question is that while the air strikes were successful, the strategy failed. The Israeli strategy was based on the assumption that the destruction of resources vital to the execution of guerrilla attacks and the "psychological costs" of the air strikes could undermine the will of the PLO and Shi’ite organizations to attack the IDF. This strategy failed for two reasons. First, the asymmetry of motivation favored the Shi’ites, which negated the effectiveness of air strikes as a "carrot". Second the air strikes were unable to create a realistic fear of escalation for the targets. This resulted from two factors: the Lebanese environment, and the inability of the air strikes to add significantly to the costs of the target organizations.

 

 Figure 3: IAF Air Attacks in Southern Lebanon: (6 month intervals)

May 83 - Oct 83

Nov 83 - Apr 84

May 84 - Oct 84

Nov 84 - May 85

Total

0

14

7

7

28

Figure 4: Targets of Israeli Air Attacks

Total Number of Air Attacks

Air Attacks Against

Palestinians

Air Attacks Against Shi’ite

28

25

3

 

Asymmetry of Motivation

When the Israelis invaded Lebanon in the summer of 1982 many of the 500,000 Shi’ites in the south greeted them as liberators - it was a situation which would quickly change. As one Israeli journalist would state

"It is a fact that with the conquest of the villages and hamlets of southern Lebanon, we were received with rice and flowers. Now we are received with grenades and explosives. Something has happened to the Shi’a sect. The joy about our arrival as people liberating them from the terrorist burden has changed with time into burning hatred. This is not something to be surprised about: We have behaved as a military government, with all that involves, and caused much suffering to the population"

As outlined in the previous chapter Israel initially responded to the Shi’ite attacks by forcing the IDF to react "defensively", which appears to have included preventing the IAF from attacking them. This was an attempt by the Israeli leadership to "signal" their willingness to work with moderate Shi’ite leaders like Nabih Berri. In effect, airpower was being used as a "carrot". Based on the Shi’ite response the "carrot" clearly was not effective.

The failure of airpower to act as an effective "carrot" occurred because an "asymmetry of motivation" existed between the Israeli’s and the Shi’ites. According to George, the motivation of the coercing power and his opponent are key variables which effect the outcome of coercive diplomacy. He contends that the motivation of the coercer dictates the nature of the demand made on the opponent, which in turn effects the motivation of the opponent to resist. He goes on to say "The chances that coercive diplomacy will be successful will be appreciably greater if the objective selected-and the demand made-by the coercing power reflects only the most important of interests that are at stake, for this is more likely to create an asymmetry of motivation favoring the coercing power." The situation in southern Lebanon appears to have favored the Shi’ites rather than the Israelis.

As chapter 2 pointed out, the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon was born of a desire to enhance the security of their northern border. While one would expect this to provide Israel with a high degree of motivation, this is not the case. Although it was true that maintaining their security was a matter of national interest for Israel, the country and its leaders were divided as to whether the occupation of Lebanon was an effective method for maintaining that security. Rather than creating a strong consensus within Israel, the occupation provoked much dissent within the country, robbing its leaders of the motivation needed to prevail in coercive diplomacy.

Israeli efforts were not helped by their mis-estimation of Shi’ite resentment to the Israeli occupation. The Israelis mistook the warm welcome they received from the Shi’ites in the summer of 1982 as a willingness on the part of the Shi’ite population to tolerate an extended IDF presence in south Lebanon. In reality the politically "awakened" Shi’ite community was unwilling to tolerate domination by any foreign power, Arab or Israeli. As Augustus Norton observed "Having begun to throw off the shackles of the PLO presence, the Shi’i community was not about to wrap itself in the chains of Israel’s occupation"

The depth of Shi’ite commitment was evident in their willingness to endure the "Iron Fist". Augustus Norton observed: "As the occupation of the South wore on, with debilitating effects for the economy and political stability of the area, moderation was discredited and extremism was validated. As a result, Israeli officials found that no significant Shi’i leader was even willing to respond to their quiet advances." In the face of this asymmetry of motivation, the Israeli effort to coerce the moderate Shi’ite forces using the "carrot" of airpower was an exercise in futility.

Inability to Create Fear of Unacceptable Escalation

The second factor which undermined the effectiveness of Israeli airpower was the inability of the air strikes to create fear in the minds of the Palestinians and Shi’ites that unacceptable escalation could occur. According to George "coercive diplomacy is enhanced if the initial small steps taken against the opponent begin to arouse his fear of unacceptable levels of warfare." During this period Israeli air strikes did not create that fear in the minds of the Palestinians and Shi’ites: therefore the coercive value of the air strikes was eroded. In examining the situation one can identify two causes for this failure. The first was the Lebanese environment, which limited the ability of the IAF to attack the guerrillas, and the second was the inability of the air strikes to significantly raise the costs for the target organizations.

Lebanon Environment

The coercive value of the Israeli air attacks was undermined by the environment in Lebanon - which made it easy for the guerrillas to attack the IDF but difficult for the IAF to respond. As Clifford Wright observed: "With its high population density and hilly terrain, Lebanon was perfectly suited to the "hit and run" tactics employed by the terrorists" It allowed small groups of guerrillas to strike their targets and merge quickly back into the population. This made it difficult for the Israelis to determine which groups or individuals were responsible for the attacks. Further confounding the Israeli effort was the fact that "the population of South Lebanon (was) far more politicized, organized and armed than populations of the surrounding Arab states." Consequently they were more than willing to provide support and assistance to the various guerrilla factions. In addition to this, the structure of the resistance organizations made it difficult for the Israeli intelligence agencies to gather information needed to execute air attacks against particular organizations. This was especially true of the Shi’ites, who tended to be made up of "small, hard to penetrate, locally based cells of militant youths" A final complication for the IAF was the fact that the PLO and Shi’ites often put high value targets, such as supply depots and Headquarters, in high density areas. The political sensitivity to collateral damage caused by airstrikes sometimes reduced the willingness of Israeli leaders to use airpower against these targets.

Israeli Air Strikes Could Not Increase Costs on Attackers

Even when airpower could locate and destroying the terrorist targets, it did not significantly increase the "cost of doing business" for the Palestinians and Shi’ites. The Israeli strategy aimed to destroy resources vital to the Palestinian and Shi’ite "war of attrition", imposing extreme costs on the target organizations which would undermine their will to continue. Evaluation of this strategy depends on whether the targets destroyed by air attacks significantly increased the costs which the Palestinians and Shi’ites had to pay. By this criterion, the Israeli strategy had little hope of success.

The basic problem was that the Palestinians and Shi’ites were already paying a tremendous price in blood to evict the Israelis from southern Lebanon. Before the first airstrike in November 1983, the Shi’ites had already lost 19,000 people at the hands of the Israeli invaders, while the PLO suffered 1000 killed and "several thousand" fighters captured during the Israeli invasion./ Furthermore, during the first year of their occupation, Israeli efforts to control the Shi’ite and Palestinian population decimated the economy of south Lebanon. The local population suffered even further when Israel abandoned its "defensive" efforts in dealing with the Shi’ites and adopted a ruthless "Iron Fist" policy.

The air strikes failed to coerce the PLO and Shi’ites because they added little to the costs already being endured by the resistance groups in southern Lebanon. First, the air strikes did not cause many additional casualties. Second, even though the air attacks were successful in destroying resources needed to conduct the guerrilla war, both the Shi’ites and Palestinians had the capability to replace these resources. In the case of the PLO their annual budget during this period included 100 million dollars for military operations and 200 million dollars to ease the suffering of Palestinians living in Lebanon. While subsidies from Syria and Iran were not this generous, they easily allowed the Shi’ites to replace equipment and facilities destroyed by the Israeli raids. Money also helped ensure that both the organizations had little difficulty replacing manpower losses. This was especially true for the Shi’ites, where as a result of the horrendous economic climate of south Lebanon, the salary paid a Shi’ite militiaman was often his families only available source of income. Even the deaths inflicted by the IAF did not increase the level of pain. In study on the effectiveness of Israeli terrorist countermeasures Hanan Alon would observe "There is no proof that the strikes reduced the willingness of the Palestinians to join the organizations and to die for their cause. One may assume that, on the contrary, the strikes led to rage which may have encouraged (emphasis added) joining terror organizations and taking part in their operations." The same case appears to have held true in Lebanon.

 

Chapter 7

Conclusions

Summary of Findings

This study has followed a trail which ended with the failure of Israeli air strikes to reduce the willingness of PLO and Shi’ite resistance fighters to execute attacks against the IDF. The analysis began by demonstrating that Israeli air strikes during this period supported a strategy of coercive diplomacy - an approach adopted when Israeli ground efforts proved unable to reduce the number of guerrilla attacks. In the course of this effort, the Israeli Air Force executed 28 air raids, all of which would have little effect on the decision calculus of the Palestinians and Shi’ite organizations in southern Lebanon. The study contends there were two reasons for this failure: First, the asymmetry of motivation favored the Shi’ites, which negated the effectiveness of air strikes as a "carrot". Second the air strikes were unable to create a realistic fear of escalation for the targets. This resulted from two factors. The first of these was the "Lebanese environment", which severely limited the ability of airpower to target the Shi’ite and PLO organizations. In this case the combination of terrain "perfectly suited to "hit and run" tactics, a highly politicized population willing to provide aid and assistance to the resistance forces, "small, hard to penetrate, resistance cells" and targets located in high density areas, made it difficult to gather the intelligence information needed to execute air strikes. The second was the fact that when the IAF was able to execute air strikes, the damage inflicted by these strikes did not significantly increase the costs the Palestinians and Shi’ites had to pay for attacking the IDF.

In addition to the reasons why the strategy failed, the paper also identified factors which influenced the Israelis to select this strategy. Here the study concluded that the decision to minimize air attacks against the Shi’ites was an effort on the part of senior Israeli leaders to gain long term security on their northern border by "signaling" their willingness to work with Nabih Berri and other Amal leaders. In addition to this, Israeli leaders were concerned that massive raids on organizations like Hizballah would have little impact on their willingness of attack the IDF, or worse yet, would inspire them to even greater violence.

In light of these "political realities" the Israelis focused the air attacks on the radical Palestinian groups. This decision may have been influenced by the fact that the Israelis had an extensive intelligence "base" already built up on the Palestinian organizations, and that PLO camps in the Bekka Valley were difficult to attack with ground power. Ultimately, the Israeli air strikes failed to effect the PLO, who then combined with an increasingly angry Shi’ite population to execute an endless succession of guerrilla attacks which eroded the will of the Israeli leadership to stay in Lebanon.

Key Lessons

Clifford Wright would observe in an article published in the Journal of Palestine Studies: "The fact that a state-organized military apparatus of massive proportions waged war against a non-state guerrilla group was, as one American analyst put it, like "the Wehrmacht against the Apaches". The irony of this observation is that the Palestinian and Shi’ite "Apaches" won. With no air force, no navy, and no mobile armor to support them, Palestinian and Lebanese fighters were successful in forcing one of the world’s largest military powers to bend to their will. There is a valuable lesson in this for American policy makers who seem ever willing to use American airpower to deal with similar situations. Simply stated, that lesson is: Technology and size does not guarantee "coercive" victories.

Even though the Israelis possessed the most advanced aircraft in the world, capable of delivering an impressive array of technologically advanced weapons, these advantages meant little when it came to coercing the Palestinians and the Shi’ites. This was because Israeli strategy was based on the assumption that air strikes could inflict such pain on the target organizations that they would give in to Israeli demands rather than suffer at the hands of Israeli airmen. What the Israelis did not count on was the fact that the PLO and Shi’ites were already paying tremendous costs, and Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs) and iron bombs could not add to these costs in any significant manner. In fact, as stated Chapter 3, even if all 28 air strikes had been directed at the Shi’ites (who were causing most of the damage against the IDF) it probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

One factor which clouded Israeli thinking was an over reliance on technology. This was identified by one Israeli analyst, who conceded "...the tendency of the (Israel Defense Force) IDF to concentrate on technological solutions, at the expense of tactical originality that constituted its traditional forte, led to a relative decline in the quality of its performance against the Arabs." This is an important lesson for the United States - a country which currently possess the most technologically advanced Air Force in the world, and appears ever willing to use it make recalcitrant non state actors conform to internationally established codes of behavior. Our experiences in Somalia and Bosnia appear to reinforce the IAF "lessons" from Lebanon - that massive technological advantages do not translate into coercive victory.

Given that many experts believe we will face more, not less, of these situations in the future, United States policy makers must understand that the ability to destroy targets with surgical accuracy, does not automatically translate into the ability to inflict "significant pain" on an adversary. We must be selective in choosing where we employ our "shrinking" Air Forces, or risk squandering the few advantages we enjoy. The bottom line is that "high tech aircraft and weapons" can never substitute for sound thinking and clear judgment. Recently, it seems as if the success airpower enjoyed in the Gulf War, and the feeling that "we have the technology so we must use it", have clouded our judgment about where we want to commit our air forces, and what they can do for us once they get there. Giving in to these urges, without first establishing a clearly defined strategy, is a recipe for disaster which allows "the apaches" to win every time.

 

Appendix 1

Data Analysis

Data Characterization

Data analyzed during this study fell into two categories:

  1. Air Attacks by Israeli fixed wing aircraft and helicopters aircraft against Palestinian and Shi’ite targets in Southern Lebanon

  2. Attacks by Palestinian and Shi’ite resistance forces against Israeli Defense Force (IDF) ground troops in southern Lebanon. Weapons and tactics used these attacks included:

  1. Hand grenades,

  2. Bazookas

  3. Rocket propelled grenades

  4. Kaytusha rockets

  5. Shootings

  6. Ambushes

  7. Mine incidents which resulted in IDF casualties

  8. Car Bombs

Data Sources

Data included in this study was derived from two sources:

1. The Chronology of the Israeli War in Lebanon

This chronology was produced by the "Journal of Palestine Studies" to catalogue events which occurred the Israeli invasion and subsequent occupation of Lebanon. This chronology is compiled by reviewing articles from over 80 publications, including the major US, European, Israeli and Arab English-language press. The data gathered for this study was contained in sequential editions of the Journal of Palestine Studies from Summer/Fall 1982 up to Fall 1985.

2. The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS)

The Foreign Broadcast Information service is compiled by reviewing articles from a variety of publications, including the major US, European, Israeli and Arab English-language press. The data gathered for this study was contained in sequential editions of the Middle East section of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service between 30 October 19082 and 30 June 1985.

 

Methodology

All attacks were recorded by date in a data base using Microsoft Excel 5. These attacks were grouped into "IAF Air Attacks" and "Palestinian/Shi’ite Guerrilla Attacks". The number of attacks were totaled using the Excel "Countif" formula.

Table 1:

All IAF Air Attacks were indexed by: date of attack, the organization they were directed against, the Location of the attack, the type of attack (retaliation or counterforce), and the Asset used. An air attack was classified as a "retaliation" attack when a representative of the Israeli government publicly claimed that the attack was executed in response to, or in retaliation for, an attack by Palestinian or Lebanese resistance forces against IDF troops in southern Lebanon. Attacks not labeled as "retaliation" were classified as "counterforce."

Charts 1-3:

IAF air attacks were then grouped, by month of occurrence, into three general categories:

Shi’ite: Attacks directed against Shi’ite organizations

  • Specified Palestinians: Attacks in which it was possible (based on the information in the two data sources) to determine the specific Palestinian organization being targeted.

  • Unspecified Palestinian: Attacks in which it was possible to determine (based on the information in the two data sources) that a Palestinian organization was the target of the attack, but it was not possible to determine the specific organization.

  •  

    Chart 4-6:

    These charts present the number of IAF Air Attacks and the number of and "Palestinian/Shi’ite Guerrilla Attacks" which occurred in each month between January 1, 1983 and June 30, 1985.

    Uncertainties

    The uncertainties involved in the investigation originate from two sources. First, most of the source literature is distinctly partisan. This results not only in differing interpretations of the significance of events, but at times, in disputes as to whether specific events actually occurred or not. Secondly, as the Middle East Conflict remains an active issue, much of the source material remains the subject of governmental or individual censorship. This problem is particularly significant with regard to military interactions.

    Because of this fact the author was not allowed access to material which would have made the study more comprehensive. This was the case for source material requested from Israel, The U.S. State Department, and the Rand Corp. Inquiries to the Israeli embassy about of Israeli Air Force flight records, planning materials, and Israeli Defense force casualty figures did not evoke a positive response. Similar requests to the U.S. State Department, and the RAND Corp. regarding the number of Middle East terrorist attacks during this period and information regarding counter terrorist policies also met with negative responses.

    In lieu of these central sources, the writer constructed a set of data representing the military inter actions between Israel and the Lebanese and Palestinian forces by using the Foreign Broadcast Information File (FBIS) and the Chronology of the Lebanon War and the Israeli Palestine Conflict produced by the Journal of Palestine Studies (JPS). These two sources comb unclassified sources (newspapers, magazines, etc.) to create a daily record of significant events occurring in the Middle East. Because of source limitations involved with FBIS and JPS this data set is incomplete.

    This is especially true in regard to the number of attacks against IDF and Israeli personnel. All sources, including FBIS and JPS are to a large extent dependent upon the whims of the nations involved for their information. Thus, minor events, particularly those not involving casualties, could or could not be reported depending upon the then current wishes of the pertinent governments and organizations. As a result, one encounters a phenomena associated with conditions of unstable equilibrium. That is, as hostilities increase each nation/organization, tends to report a larger fraction of minor incidents, thus making hostilities appear to increase at an even greater rate. This study attempted to alleviate that problem by reporting only those incidents in which casualties were sustained. The assumption was made that causality figures are less vulnerable to reporting variability than simple incident frequencies. The fact that casualties are sustained indicates a minimum level of incident seriousness which generally leads to inclusion of the even in the news, media and consequently in the data set. In all cases substantial efforts have been made to uncover all views on issuers for which uncertainties exist and particular efforts have been extended to avoid any implications of partisanship in the analysis.

     

     

    Attack Data





     

    Figure 5: IAF Air Attacks

    Date

    Target

    Location

    Type of Attack

    Asset Used

    1. 4 Nov 83

    PFLP HQ

    Aley, Bhamdoun, & Sofar

    Reprisal (Bombing of IDF HQ, Tyre)

    Aircraft

    2. 16 Nov 83

    Islamic Amal & Hizballah Training Camps, Ammo Dump

    Nabih Chit (near Baalbek)

    Reprisal (Bombing of IDF HQ, Tyre)

    Aircraft

    3. 20 Nov 83

    Sa’iqa, Syrian Bath Party, PFLP-GC Guerrilla Bases

    Sofar, Falougha, & Bhamdoun

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    4. 6 Dec 83

    DFLP Bases

    Near Beirut

    Reprisal (IDF soldier killed in S Lebanon)

    Aircraft

    5. 19 Dec 83

    Palestinian Terrorist Base

    South Lebanon

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    6. 21 Dec 83

    Iran Backed Terrorist Base

    South Lebanon

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    7. 3 Jan 84

    PLO Command Ctr

    Bhamdoun

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    8. 4 Jan 84

    PLO Terrorist Base

    Baalbek

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    9. 10 Feb 84

    PLO Terrorist Base

    Bhamdoun, Mansuriya, Baalchmay

    Reprisal

    Aircraft

    10. 19 Feb 84

    PLO Terrorist Base

    Bhamdoun, Mansuriya, Baalchmay

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    11. 21 Feb 84

    PLO Terrorist Base

    Bhamdoun, Ain al-Jadida, Bikh Shtay & Mansuriya

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    12. 23 Feb 84

    PLO Terrorist Base

    Bhamdoun & Mansuriya, Rweisat

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    13. 5 Mar 84

    PLO Terrorist Base

    Aly

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    14. 7 Apr 84

    PLO Terrorist Base

    Bhamdoun

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    15. 21 May 84

    Shi’ite Villages

    Janta & Deir al-Ghazal

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    16. 24 May 84

    PFLP

    Bar Elias

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    17. 28 Jun 84

    PLO Terrorist Base

    Nakhl Island (near Tripoli)

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    18. 1 Aug 84

    PLO Terrorist Camp

    Nahr al-Bared

    Counterforce

    Helicopters & Aircraft

    19. 16 Aug 84

    PFLP-GC

    Bar Elias

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    20. 28 Aug 84

    PFLP

    Majdal Anjar

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    21. 10 Sep 84

    DFLP Base

    Bhamdoun

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    22. 27 Nov 84

    DFLP Base

    Qubb Elias

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    23. 9 Jan 85

    Abu Moussa & Popular Struggle Front Bases

    Mar Elias & al-Marj

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    24. 10 Feb 85

    DFLP Base

    Ta’lbaya

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    25. 11 Feb 85

    Abu Moussa HQ

    Ta’lbaya

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    26. 13 Mar 85

    Sa’iqa Base

    Bar Elias

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    27. 9 Apr 85

    Popular Struggle Front Base

    Shamlan

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

    28. 17 Apr 85

    DFLP Base

    Bar Elias

    Counterforce

    Aircraft

     

     

    Bibiography

     Articles

    • Al-Wazir, Khalil. "The 17th Palestine National Council: Interview With Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad)." Journal of Palestine Studies (Winter 1985): XIV.

    • Arafat, Yasser. "Inteview With Yasser Arafat." Journal of Palestine Studies (Fall 1983): XIII.

    • Fadlallah, Muhammad Husayn. "The Palestinians, the Shi’a, and South Lebanon (Interview)." Journal of Palestine Studies (Winter 1987): XVI.

    • Khalidi, Rashid. "The Palestinian Dilemma: PLO Policy After Lebanon." Journal of Palestine Studies (Autum 1985): XV.

    • Mcleod, Scott M. "Israel’s Iron Fist - Deterrence or Revenge?", Middle East International, March 8, 1985.

    • Sayigh, Yezid, "Israel’s Military Performance in Lebanon, Jun 1982", Journal of Palestine Studies, (Fall 1983), Vol XIII

    • Sayigh, Yezid. "Palestinian Military Performance in the 1982 War." Journal of Palestine Studies (Summer 1983): XII.

    • Wieseltier, Leon. "The Wrong War: Israel Meets Iran in Lebanon." The New Republic, 8 April 1985, 9.

    • Wright, Clifford, "The Israeli War Machine in Lebanon" Journal of Palestine Studies, (Winter 1983), Vol. XII, 52

    • Zamir, Yisre’el. "The Bluff Called Security Arrangements," ‘al Hamishar, February 23, 1984

     

    Books

    • Blechman, Barry M, The Consequence of the Israeli Reprisals: An Assessment. PHD thesis submitted for Georgetown School of Government, 1971.

    • Blechman, Barry M. and Kaplan, Stephen, S. Force Without War: U.S. Armed Forces as a Political Instrument. Washington D.C: The Brookings Institution, 1978.

    • Burns, E.L.M. Between Arab and Israeli. Beirut: The Institute for Palestine Studies, 1969.

    • Dobson, Christopher and Payne, Ronald. The Never Ending War: Terrorism in the 80’s. New York: Facts on File Publications, 1987.

    • Evron, Yair. War and Intervention in Lebanon: The Israeli-Syrian Deterrence Dialogue.

    • Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987.

    • Gabriel, Richard A. Operation Peace for Galilee: The Israeli PLO War in Lebanon. New York: Hill and Wang, 1984.

    • George, Alexander L., Hall, David k., and Simons, William. The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy: Laos, Cuba, Vietnam. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1971.

    • Hiro, Dilip. Lebanon Fire and Embers: A History of the Lebanese Civil War. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992.

    • Katz, Samuel M. Israel Versus Jibril: The Thirty Year War Against A Master Terrorist. New York: Paragon House, 1993.

    • Katz, Samuel. Guards Without Frontiers: Israel’s War Against Terrorism. London, Arms and Armour Press, 1990.

    • Khalidi, Rashid. Under Siege: P.L.O. Decisionmaking During the 1982 War. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986.

    • Livingstone, Neil C. and Halevy, David. Inside the PLO: Covert Units, Secret Funds, and the War Against Israel and the United States. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1990

    • Lopez, George A. and Stohl, Michael. Terrible Beyond Endurance?: The Foreign Policy of State Terrorism. New York: Greenwood Press, 1987

    • Nordeen, Lon. Fighters Over Israel. New York: Orion Books, 1990

    • Norton, Augustus Richard and Greenberg, Martin H, ed. The International Relations of the Palestine Organization. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989.

    • Norton, Augustus Richard, Amal and The Shi’a: Struggle for the Soul of Lebanon. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987.

    • Peri, Yoram. Between Battles and Ballots: Israeli Military in Politics. London: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

    • Rabinovich, Itamar. The War for Lebanon, 1970-1985. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984.

    • Sahliyeh, Emile, F. The PLO After the Lebanon War. Colorado: Westview Press, 1986.

    • Shiff, Ze’ev and Ya’ari, Ehud, "Israel’s Lebanon War", (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1984)

    • Yonay, Ehud. No Margin For Error: The Making of the Israeli Air Force. New York: Pantheon Books, 1993.

     

    FBIS

    • "IDF Commander in Lebanon on Anti-Terrorist Battle", FBIS, IDF Radio, 15 June 83

    • Foreign Brodcast Information Service (FBIS), 4 November 1983, ii

    • Interview with Arens, FBIS, 16 June 83

    • "Arens on Terrorist Attacks in Lebanon, Withdrawal", FBIS, 12 June 1983

    • "IDF Commander in Lebanon on Anti-Terrorist Battle", FBIS, 15 June 83

    • FBIS, 4 May 83

    • "Interview with Shamir", FBIS, 11 June 83

    • "Schiffler Asses Cabinet Meeting", FBIS, 12 Jun 83

     

    Lectures

    • Hoffman, Bruce. "Recent Trends in Palestinian Terrorism." Air University Library Document No. M-30352-16-U. Paper presented before the "Symposium On International Terrorism" held at Ankara University, Ankara, Turky on 17-18 April 1984.

    • Hoffman, Bruce. "An Agenda For Rresearch On Terrorism And LIC In The 1990s." Air University Library Document No. M-39349-6. Paper Presented at the 5th Annual Conflict Studies Converence, "Low Intensity Conflict: The New Face of Battle?" Centre for Conflict Studies, University of New Brunswidck, Canada, 27-28 September 1991.

     

    Studies

    • Alon, Hanan. Countering Palestinian Terrorism in Israel: Toward A Policy Analysis of Countermeasures. Santa Monica: Rand Corp, 1980.

    • Hoffman, Bruce. British Air Power in Peripheral Conflict, 1919-1976. Santa Monica, Rand Corp., 1989; Reprint, Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air University Document No. M-394391-U no. 3302. A Project AIR FORCE report prepared for the United States Air Force

    • Jenkins, Brian M. International Terrorism: The Other World War. Santa Monica: Rand Corp., 1985; Reprint, Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air University Document No. M-30352-1-U no. 3302

    • Jenkins, Brian. International Terrorism: New Modes of Conflict. Santa Monica, Rand Corp., 1983; Reprint, Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air University Document No. M-30352-1-U no. 3302

    • Perl, Rahpael F. and Wooten, James. "Anti Terrorism Policy: A Pro-Con Discussion of Retaliation and Deterence Options." 1985; Reprint, Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air University Document No. M-429531-1-U no. 85-832F

     

     

     
     
     
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