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Israel's Long War with Hezbollah: Military Innovation and Adaptation Under Fire

by Raphael D Marcus Georgetown Univ Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 320 pages
AU$83.00 NZ$86.09
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The ongoing conflict between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is now in its fourth decade and shows no signs of ending. Raphael D. Marcus examines this conflict since the formation of Hezbollah during Israel's occupation of Lebanon in the early 1980s. He critically evaluates events including Israel's long counterguerrilla campaign throughout the 1990s, the Israeli withdrawal in 2000, the 2006 summer war, and concludes with an assessment of current tensions on the border between Israel and Lebanon related to the Syrian civil war.


Israel's Long War with Hezbollah is both the first complete military history of this decades-long conflict and an analysis of military innovation and adaptation. The book is based on unique fieldwork in Israel and Lebanon, extensive research into Hebrew and Arabic primary sources, and dozens of interviews Marcus conducted with Israeli defense officials, high-ranking military officers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), United Nations personnel, a Hezbollah official, and Western diplomats. As an expert on organizational learning, Marcus analyzes an ongoing process of strategic and operational innovation and adaptation by both the IDF and Hezbollah during the long guerrilla conflict. His conclusions illustrate the complexity of military adaptation under fire.


With Hezbollah playing an ongoing role in the civil war in Syria and the simmering hostilities on the Israel-Lebanon border, students, scholars, diplomats, and military practitioners with an interest in Middle Eastern security issues, Israeli military history, and military innovation and adaptation can ill afford to neglect this book.

Table of ContentsContentsAcknowledgmentsList of AbbreviationsIntroduction

Part I: Strategic AdaptationIntroduction to Part IChapter 1: IDF "Routine Security" and the Evolution of Hezbollah (1985-92)Chapter 2: Deterrence, Guerrilla Warfare, and the Establishment of the "Rules of the Game" (1993-99)Chapter 3: A Change in the Strategic Equation: The IDF Withdrawal from Lebanon (2000)Chapter 4: The Erosion of Deterrence, the 2006 War, and the Dahiya Doctrine (2000-17)Conclusion to Part I

Part II: Operational AdaptationIntroduction to Part IIChapter 5: The Origins of the RMA in IsraelChapter 6: The RMA in Action: IDF Operations in Lebanon and Hezbollah's Adaptation in the 1990sChapter 7: The Rise of the IDF's Operational Theory Research Institute and Systemic Operational Design Chapter 8: The 2006 Lebanon War: Military Adaptation and CounteradaptationChapter 9: The Blame Game: A Reappraisal of the IDF's 2006 Operational ConceptConclusion to Part II

ConclusionsAfterword: Back to the Future: IDF Force Planning and Hezbollah's Military Adaptation in Syria ChronologySelected BibliographyIndexAbout the Author

"This is a timely book that thoroughly investigates how the IDF learned and adapted based on its extensive operational and tactical experience. Israel's Long War with Hezbollah fills a hole in the field by developing an evidence-based approach to exploring how wartime innovation and adaptation occurs in very practical terms. Marcus has produced an accessible and readable account of Israeli efforts that has application beyond that country's context. This is an invaluable addition to the field and is essential to anyone interested in military culture, organizational learning, and military effectiveness." - Frank Hoffman, Distinguished Research Fellow, National Defense University, Washington DC

Raphael D. Marcus is a nonresident fellow at the Insurgency Research Group in the Department of War Studies, King's College London, where he received his PhD. His research interests include Middle East security issues, terrorism, military affairs, and organizational learning. He is currently working as an intelligence and counterterrorism analyst at a law-enforcement agency.