Israel to Halt Lebanon War Monday Morning

Israel has announced it will end its war in Lebanon early Monday morning.

Israel will halt its war in Lebanon at 7 a.m. Monday (midnight EDT Sunday night), a senior Israeli government official said Saturday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly on the sensitive matter. Israel’s Cabinet was to endorse the U.N. cease-fire resolution later Sunday.

Israeli helicopters, meanwhile, flew hundreds of commandos into the Hezbollah heartland, and some army units reached the Litani River on Saturday as both sides indicated they would accept the U.N. cease-fire plan to stop heavy fighting still raging in southern Lebanon.

It’s a very eerie thing to both announce a specific endpoint for a war and continue the killing in the nonce. This isn’t a criticism of Israel, just an observation on the nature of things.

As regular readers know, I was an MLRS (rocket artillery) platoon leader during Desert Storm. We got word late the evening of February 27 that the war would end at noon local time the next day. Obviously, we were ecstatic. Around nine the next morning, though, we were ordered to prepare for one last fire mission, which would have lobbed hundreds of additional rounds–each containing 744 644 dual purpose improved conventional munition mini-grenades–onto unspecified targets. Given that we’d already won the war, it struck me as macabre, indeed. Thankfully, for reasons I do not know until this day, the mission was called off.

OTB News

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Terrorism, United Nations, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    At this point the fighting is pretty pointless. Israel is trying to reach geographical objectives to strengthen its bargaining position in the next round, and Hezbollah will try to cause as much casualty for the Israelis as possible.

  2. Bill Faith says:

    Can’t speak to Desert Storm — I was too busy stewing over a failed marriage to pay much attention — but I do recall that the shooting in WW1 didn’t stop till right up to the minute the Armistace was signed, so the situation isn’t without precedent. In this case it makes perectly good sense for Israel to do as much damage as possible to Hezbollah’s fighting capabilities, including taking as much ground and killing as many of the enemy as possible right up to the last moment.

  3. Reminds me a bit of 1948, when a UN cease fire was going to “confirm positions in place”, so fighting went on to establish key positions (such as the Israelis opening up a make shift road to connect Jerusalem with the rest of Israel.

    It actually makes sense to have the 48 hours or so until a cease fire. While Israel probably has sufficient command, control and professionalism to stop fighting on a few hours notice, I doubt Hezbollah is at that level. So if Israel insisted on a “cease fire in four hours” they would be setting Hezbollah up to violate the cease fire simply because not all of Hezbollah would get the word or because they haven’t brought the local Hezbollah commander under control yet.

  4. DL says:

    You are correct. It’s a very scary thing to announce a specific endpoint for the war and continue fighting.

    Seems to me this writer was seventeen in a place called Korea when we did that once before. We are paying now for that mistake. I still wonder where we would be had MacArthur followed the Chinese into Manchuria – but Truman stopped him, and now they both have missles loaded with Nukes aimed at us..

  5. DC Loser says:

    YAJ – I think Hezbullah’s coordinated rocket salvos demonstrated unequivocally its command and control capabilities.

  6. DCLoser,

    Not sure what you mean. It is one thing for Hezbollah to issue a “shoot at Israel” rocket launch command. The rockets are unguided. There really is no aiming point, just fire as many as you have or until you are taken out. You would also get some spontaneous joining in. A guy with rockets sees some rockets fly, so he starts firing his.

    There would also be a strong desire to follow a rocket launch command (unless you were calculating the odds of survival and valued your skin). I don’t think the ceasefire will be as enthusiastically obeyed (“What do you mean I can’t shoot at the Zionist pigs?”).

    I could be wrong. A month of air strikes could have done no damage to the Hezbollah command, communication and control. They could all be coordinated down to the second with each ready to obey any order given no matter their personal feeling or if they think the order makes sense. But that isn’t the way I would bet.

  7. DC Loser says:

    YAJ – Hezbollah demonstrated C2 by the timing of its launches, sometimes getting 60-100 off in an hour (according to Haaretz). It’s even been speculate they have spotters on the ground in Haifa who call back when the people leave the shelters to try to catch them in the open. Also, following the Qana attack, with the IAF imposed the moratorium, Hezbollah suspended its launches for 48 hours and then resumed them when the moratorium expired. That’s all examples of an intact C2 network.

  8. A minor nit to pick – the MLRS rocket used in ODS contained 644, not 744, submunitions. Like I said, though, minor nit.

    The armistice ending WWI was signed at 5 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. The ceasefire time of 11 a.m. was agreed to by the Germans and the Allies because all sides agreed that it would take six hours to inform all the combat units. The peace treaty formally ending the war itself was not signed until 1921.

  9. James Joyner says:

    Don: Right you are. I meant to look that up for verification purposes but forgot.

  10. DC loser,

    It is looking like it is a bit moot. The Lebanese cabinet is held a meeting on accepting the cease fire, Hezbollah was objecting to the “disarm” part, they delayed until they could see if the Israeli cabinet would accept, and now are waiting for more negotiation with Hezbollah. So it looks now like the question the state of the CCC may not be tested because they don’t get to the part about issuing orders.

    Also, there is a big difference between getting some units to do what they want to do (fire at Israel) and getting all units to do what they don’t want to do (stop firing at Israel). I think your cease fire example is a good one to prove my point. The number of attacks did drop dramatically for 48 hours, but they didn’t cease. 6 on July 31 and 9 on August 1.

  11. DC Loser says:

    YAJ – it was in direct correlation to the Israeli ceasefire. The IAF kept on bombing. Are you then suggesting IAF C2 was just as bad?

  12. DC Loser says:

    Another thing….listen to Nasrallah. He has been pretty true to his word. He says the rockets will stop when the IAF stops the bombing. Let’s see if the Israelis will call his bluff.

  13. Herb says:

    If anyone thinks this war will end had better wake up to reality. For Israel to stop is the same as committing suicide for the entire of Israel. The UN resolution was and is a big joke and was passed in order to make everyone think the UN was doing a good job.

    Everyone had better look to Syria and Iran to get more or heavily involved before this thing will ever be close to being over. The US and every citizen would be wise to get on board to go after Iran and Syria sooner rather than later when it would be to late for every American.

    Iran has been giving the US a rash of crap for over 25 years and it is time to put a stop to it and turn Iran into glass if necessary.