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Policy Analysis

Policy Focus 106

If War Comes: Israel vs. Hizballah and Its Allies

Jeffrey White

Also available in العربية

September 2010

The next war on Israel's northern border will bear little resemblance to the 2006 confrontation between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hizballah in Lebanon. This conflict is likely to be broader and much more intense, certainly Israel's most serious since 1973, with the potential to transform the wider region both militarily and politically.

In this new Washington Institute Policy Focus, Jeffrey White offers not a prediction of war, but rather an estimation of what renewed hostilities between Israel and Hizballah might look like. In a meticulously calculated forecast of the future battlefield -- supplemented by original maps and graphics -- White outlines the capabilities and operational objectives of the two sides, the potentially game-changing roles played by Syria and Iran, and the possible impact on the region's postconflict military and political environments.

White concludes that this is the war the IDF must win. For the losers -- and for the region -- the consequences may be fateful, and Washington should be developing its own concrete plans and preparatory steps now.

Downloadable Maps


Jeffrey White is a defense fellow at The Washington Institute, specializing in the military and security affairs of the Levant, Iraq, and Iran. A thirty-four-year veteran of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), he participated in DIA operational and policy planning and wrote extensively for senior defense officials, including the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Mr. White's work includes extensive analysis of the Gaza conflict, Hizballah, the Iraqi insurgency, and the Iranian nuclear program. He is sought out as a commentator on these issues and has authored several Washington Institute publications, including Hamas in Combat: the Military Performance of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (2009, with Yoram Cohen), Lessons and Implications of the Israel-Hizballah War: A Preliminary Assessment (2006, with David Makovsky), and An Adaptive Insurgency: Confronting Adversary Networks in Iraq (2006).

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