The siege mentality in Beirut: an historical analogy between the British in Palestine and the Americans in Lebanon

by Bruce Hoffman


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This paper recounts experiences of the British Army in 1947 in Palestine, where they were, like the U.S. Marines during 1983 in Lebanon, deployed in urban areas and subjected to hit-and-run attacks by an anonymous adversary. The response of the British then to repeated attacks, like that proposed in Washington in 1983, was to increase fortifications. The author suggests that the British experience is relevant for the U.S. Marines in Lebanon: Determined adversaries are likely to find a way to undermine the defenses of what may be regarded as even the most impregnable installation.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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