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The Israel defense forces in the Second Lebanon War: Why the poor performance?

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Whereas in the past, Israeli successes on the battlefield compensated for deterrence and/or early warning failures, in the Second Lebanon War serious problems in Israeli military capabilities and conduct of war were exposed. The article offers explanations for the poor performance of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF): A late perception that it was war; adherence to post-heroic warfare under circumstances that rather required a different approach; the erosion of the IDF's fighting standards due to policing missions which had become its main task since the outbreak of the first Intifada in 1987; false Revolution in Military Affairs-inspired concepts; the adoption of the notion of controlling instead of capturing territory; a centralized logistic system; poor generalship; a hesitant and inexperienced political leadership, and IDF dominance in decisions on military matters.
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Keywords: Israeli military doctrine; Revolution in military affairs; Second Lebanon War

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Studies and, BESA Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Publication date: 01 February 2008

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