As Israel celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, more shortcomings of the Israeli military are surfacing and seem to be centred on the lack of readiness and communication between army factions and intelligence services.
Fifteen years after the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War, the Israeli public opinion still has a resounding feeling of failure after the Israeli army was unsuccessful in winning the battle.
As a result of the military movements in that war, a mutual deterrence balance has been developed between Israel and Hezbollah. Hence, both sides seem uninterested in a large-scale confrontation at this time, but there's reason to believe that the fight may erupt at any time.
The upcoming Lebanese war will not be like previous conflicts due to the updated operational plans, the training of troops, the use of modern equipment and the up-to-date intelligence available in real-time, after the issue of missing intelligence surfaced in every probe after the summer of 2006.
The 2006 Lebanon War revealed the lack of professionalism of the Israeli army and its ineffectiveness in fighting ground battles. The Israeli military has been forced to change as a result. Thus, the occupation forces initiated routine training of combat and multi-force battalions to prepare for joint battles with the Air Force.
Today, the Israeli army pays a lot of attention to the next confrontation by enhancing its defence along the borders with Lebanon, as Hezbollah's mode of operation has changed. In recent years, the Lebanese movement has threatened to occupy the Galilee, in reference to specific raids along the Israeli borders, despite the army's realisation that if Hezbollah's victory in the past was achieved through firing missiles until the last day of confrontations and attacking the army continuously, today it will launch pre-emptive attacks.
The last assaults on Gaza in 2021 and 2014 constituted a prototype of the upcoming war in the north, the two attacks prompted the Israeli army to prepare for a very strong defence along the border, although the main question to be asked is whether today's ground army, which has not operated in a widescale attack, is sufficiently ready, given its repeated reluctance to engage in manoeuvres and its complementary activities, while being satisfied only with the Air Force's achievements.
The Israeli military and political elite are also very afraid of engaging the ground forces in battle, as their efficiency has not been proven in recent years; and the army has continuously been developing the capacity of the Air Force. Hence, if on the eve of the Second Lebanon War Israel has hundreds of targets for its airstrikes, the army's target bank today has procured thousands of new targets.
In the next confrontation with Lebanon, the Israeli front will be targeted by 4,000 missiles and shells per day. It is true that the Iron Dome will provide protection from the attacks, but contrary to Israeli expectations, it will not be able to intercept all the missiles, which leaves the army very concerned.
Another weakness is related to information. Recent wars revealed a gap between the quality of intelligence, and the result of the army's failure to obtain it or update it in real-time, in addition to concerns over the decline of intelligence efforts, because even if the Israeli army wins the next war at the tactical and strategic levels, it will not be meaningful and it may generate the same sense of defeat that occurred in 2006.
From a 15-year perspective, the salient advantage of that war is the absolute and unprecedented calm it has brought to the northern border; and at the same time, the biggest drawback of that war is that Hezbollah has accumulated its military strength.
The Israeli army entered the 2006 war unprepared, and its plans were drawn up in Lebanon. The Israelis searched in vain for a resemblance of victory but did not achieve it.
The current balance of deterrence between Hezbollah and Israel on both sides of the border has come to include unprecedented destruction and loss. This is why Hezbollah does not want to see buildings collapse in cities, or the people of southern Lebanon pouring into the north in search of refuge. Likewise, Israel seems keen not to have its internal front subject to unprecedented missile attacks, which would leave it completely exposed.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.