A War Of Attrition In Lebanon

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It's been called Israel's Vietnam: a deathtrap of guerilla warfare, un-winnable and unpopular.

For eighteen years, Israel has been fighting Islamic Hezbollah guerillas in southern Lebanon. It has been a war of attrition to protect northern Israel from attack -- with a high price. Almost a thousand Israeli soldiers have died there, reports CBS News Correspondent Richard Roth.

Israelis today are divided between those willing to give up the Golan Heights for peace with Syria and others who would chain themselves to the territory Syria wants to reclaim.

But there's far less argument about getting out of Lebanon. When Prime Minister Ehud Barak promised to bring the troops home, Israelis cheered.

But how and when that happens is tied to the talks in the U.S., because Syria calls the shots in Lebanon, even when Hezbollah guerillas pull the triggers.

The Israeli army says it has a plan to pullout of its security zone in southern Lebanon without endangering civilian settlements strung along the border.

The idea is that technology provides the security once territory is given up -- that intelligence and high-tech sensors and even improved border fences take the place of Israeli soldiers in the security zone.

New tactics, depending more on sophisticated weaponry and intelligence, have already reduced casualties. And Hezbollah's hinted attacks would stop once Israeli soldiers leave Lebanon. But while the army says it can make Israel secure, making peace depends on the politicians.

And on the last shooting front in the Arab-Israeli conflict, it's still a waiting game.


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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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