Elias Murr advised U.S. diplomats on how Israel could 'clean out' Hezbollah from southern Lebanon
by Haaretz

Lebanon's Defense Minister offered advice on how Israel could defeat Hezbollah if a new war erupted on Israel's northern border, a classified U.S. diplomatic cable shows...

In the run-up to an invasion, the Israel Defense Forces should also take care not to enter a United Nations-controlled buffer zone along the border, Murr said. He said Hezbollah would use any Israeli violation of UN Security Council 1701, which brought an end to the 2006 war, to "flood" the area with fighters and weapons.

...Murr said that if war broke out, his main concern would be to keep the Lebanese Army out of the fighting.

Israeli tank in Lebanon 2006"Murr was especially concerned for members of the 1st and 8th Brigades in the Beka'a valley. Murr thinks that these units will be cut off from HQ support while Israel is conducting operations against Hezbollah," the diplomat reported.

"They will have to turn to the local populace for food, water etc. Since the populace is mainly Hizballah supporters, Murr is afraid that these two units could be dragged into the fight, the ultimate disaster Murr hopes to avoid."

...The defense minister also said he had told the army's commander at the time, Michel Sleiman – currently Lebanon's president – to keep out of the fighting "when Israel comes".

For Murr, the army's strategic objective was to survive a three week war "completely intact" and able to take over once Hizballah's militia has been destroyed, the report said.

Full article in Haaretz 03 December 2010