Here’s an old trick I’ve pulled out before to analyze current events. Look up pertinent facts from the CIA World Factbook and apply them to current events.
Manpower availability: 4.36 million
Manpower fit for service: 3.45 million
Manpower reaching military age annually: 225,113
Military Expenditures: $858 million (FY2000 est.)
Manpower availability: 974,363
Manpower fit for service: 821,762
Manpower reaching military age annually: ?
Military Expenditures: $540.6 million (2004)
Manpower availability: 1.49 million
Manpower fit for service: 1.26 million
Manpower reaching military age annually: 53,760
Military Expenditures: $9.45 billion (2005 est.)
So in other words, Israel has an essentially 1:1 manpower ratio against Lebanon, roughly, but they outspend them nearly 20:1 when buying guns. And since they buy primarily from us, they get the gee-gawsh wiz-BANG doodads that multiply their effectiveness well beyond their number. In other words, it should come as no surprise that Israel is kicking and taking, since they have a vast effective numerical superiority. You can say the same when measuring them against Syria, as their main military equipment is not nearly as effective as Israel’s.
But all this gets much more muddy when Iran comes into the picture.
Manpower availability: 18.32 million
Manpower fit for service: 15.67 million
Manpower reaching military age annually: 862,056
Military Expenditures: $4.3 billion (2003 est.)
The big question is: how much of that $4.3 billion are they funneling into Hezbollah? And how much of it are they willing to send to Israel directly, once they get a rocket that can deliver it? These are questions well above my pay grade, but we can be sure of a few things.
No matter how they deliver it (referring to arms by proxy, not arms delivered directly by Iran), it has to cross the Lebanese and/or Syrian border. To get into Lebanon it must cross the borders of either Syria (which would be acceptable to the Syrians) Israel (obviously not going to happen) or the Mediterranean (not going to happen because of the Naval blockade). The easiest way to prevent arms from getting into Syria, and therefore Lebanon, is to seal off Iraq’s borders with Syria and Iran, since that is the most likely transit path from Iran to Lebanon. Of course, that won’t stop the war, but it will cut off the Iranian logistics line.
What’s the old line? Oh, yes: Amateurs study battles. Professionals study logistics…