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Policy Analysis

Policy Focus 60

Lessons and Implications of the Israel-Hizballah War: A Preliminary Assessment

David Makovsky and Jeffrey White

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October 2006


In the wake of Israel's inconclusive summer war with Hizballah, many unanswered questions remain about the conduct and implications of the conflict. For example, were Israel's military achievements worth the apparent costs, including a weakened overall deterrence posture and the shelving of further unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank? And how will the changes wrought to the regional status quo affect Iran and Hizballah's previously favorable standing in Lebanon? Will the absence of clear, robust measures to prevent smuggling of weapons to Hizballah lead to even more lethal fighting than that seen this summer, with the potential for escalation outside Lebanon?

In this new Washington Institute Policy Focus, David Makovsky and Jeffrey White tackle these questions head on, assessing the potential for renewed conflict and other outcomes. Drawing from their recent field research in the region and employing a broad array of tables and graphs, the authors approach the war from two directions, outlining the various lessons it holds for Israel as well as its wider regional military implications. In doing so, they offer a detailed status report on an area they deem a possible setting for future Arab-Israeli hostilities.

  • 64 pages