• Hiding the ’ratio’ : Israel conceals 200+ troop deaths on Lebanon front

    Des chiffres (invérifiables mais crédibles) sur les pertes israéliennes sur le front Nord.


    Since 8 October, more than 230 Israeli soldiers have been killed by Hezbollah fighters in cross-border operations against the occupation state, according to field data obtained by The Cradle.

    This suggests that the Lebanese resistance has achieved parity in the number of forces killed by both sides during the past six months of military clashes.

    This feat is as significant as it is impressive, given that “relatively poorly armed and usually outnumbered popular resistance forces never achieve a 1:1 ratio against high-tech, heavily weaponized colonialist and neo-colonialist forces,” as noted by one analyst in the aftermath of Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon.

    Hezbollah’s new ’targets ratio’

    While Hezbollah honors the martyrdoms of its fallen fighters by disclosing both name and number, the Israeli military tightly controls its casualty information flow, masking the true extent of its losses and downplaying the significance of crucial Israeli installations struck by Hezbollah drones and missiles in the country’s northern front.

    Recent reports suggest 258 Hezbollah fighters have been killed since 8 October, while Israel has claimed only 10 fatalities among its forces - a highly improbable figure given Hezbollah’s extensive dissemination of war footage showing its Israeli troop targeting operations.

    In comparison, during Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon, which lasted only 34 days, Hezbollah’s losses are estimated to be around 250 dead fighters versus Israel’s declared 121 troops deaths, although that number is believed to be significantly higher. Ten Israeli deaths on the Lebanese border after six months of ferocious clashes makes little sense in this context.

    Arab ’cannon fodder’ and foreign mercenaries

    Tel Aviv adds to this “fog of war” by employing Bedouin and Druze troops on its frontlines to make concealing army deaths easier.

    For instance, Israel provides a “material allowance” to the families of soldiers from the Bedouin “Qasasi al-Athar” unit, which is deployed to a number of Israel’s borders - Lebanon, Gaza, Egypt - with a focus on preventing cross-border infiltrations, particularly during times of conflict.

    Field estimates indicate that the largest number of Israeli deaths occurred in the ranks of this unit.

    In recent years, Israel has launched a series of military propaganda campaigns to showcase the diversity in its ranks. Deputy Army Spokesman “Captain Ayla,” an Arab Jew, organized a 2020 tour at the Lebanese–Palestinian border with a Qasasi al-Athar unit officer named Ali Falah, who works within the Northern Brigade, to highlight the perilous nature of their work at point zero.

    It seems that the Israeli military employs the same strategies – paying off the families of dead Bedouin troops – with soldiers from the Arab Druze community, who are part of individual formations and battalions or so-called ’local defense’ in villages near the Lebanese border.

    For instance, 70 percent of the 299th Battalion, which is stationed in the Hurfaish area – four kilometers from the Lebanese border – are members of the Druze community. The battalion has incurred casualties on the deadly front, but Israel has only reported one loss to date.

    As with many armies facing decline, mercenaries have become a fixture within the ranks of the Israeli armed forces and are active in the combat units of the Israeli army. Many of these enlisted during the Gaza aggression and have been subsequently deployed to the border with Lebanon.

    Despite the active involvement of mercenaries, their deaths often go unacknowledged, and their bodies are quietly repatriated without official recognition as fallen soldiers. Evidence suggests that a significant number of them have perished on the border frontlines.

    (...) Ratio: quality over depth

    In exchange for obscuring its losses, the occupation army seeks to project an image of strength by launching air force raids deep inside Lebanon. These are intended to deter Hezbollah, along with threats by top Israeli officials, such as Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, who proclaimed in November: “What we’re doing in Gaza, we can also do in Beirut.”

    Having already established a ’kill ratio’ in this war, it is suggested that Hezbollah may be aiming to establish a new ’qualitative ratio’ in its fight with Israel. This involves Hezbollah carefully selecting qualitative targets such as Israeli barracks and command centers – rather than merely matching Israel’s ’depth strikes’ in Lebanon – to deter the enemy and achieve its objectives.

    To counter Israel’s depth approach, Hezbollah has reframed the equation: it has prioritized ’qualitative Israeli targets’ over mere geographical distance. This strategic shift was noted in the aftermath of Israel’s attack on the southern suburb of Beirut to assassinate Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau.

    In response, the Lebanese resistance targeted a significant and sensitive site near the border – the Meron multi-mission air surveillance base – dealing a substantial blow to its functionality.

    Hezbollah’s strategic maneuvers have placed Tel Aviv in a difficult predicament. The resistance’s evolving tactics disrupt the occupation army’s operations, causing confusion and threatening to escalate strikes on quality targets in the event that the war expands.

    Strikes targeting specific installations – such as the volley of over 100 rockets against strategic sites in the Golan Heights in return for an Israeli attack on Baalbeck earlier this month – carry profound security implications for Israel.

    Hezbollah’s deliberate and rapid retaliation underscores its readiness to confront any incursions into sensitive territories, rewrite the rules of engagement at will, and maintain the delicate balance of power along the border.