Department of Uh-Oh, a continuing series

Hezbollah seems to be a rather cheap organization — the highest estimate I can find is $400 million per year, about the cost of a single F/A-22 Raptor.

That is from Matt Yglesias.

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Comments

But does that estimate include how much Iran spends on Hezbollah?

Unfortunately, I don't think we can just be Coasian and pay them $500 million to disarm and chill out.

Guerilla warfare *is* cheap, and the motivation usually excellent.

Is that really cheap? On a simple "kill-the-other-guy" basis, that $400MM has purchased approximately 100 Israeli casualties and minimal damage to Israeli infrastructure. Leaving aside the infrastructure for the moment, we're talking $4MM per dead Israeli. The IDF's budget is what, about $35 billion shekels? At and exchange rate of 4.4=$1, we're talking a budget of about $8 billion, or $8MM per Lebanese casualty. On that basis, Hezbollah is efficient, but not spectacularly so. Include the massive damage to infrastructure and the on-going losses to incomes in southern Lebanon, which are matched only in a relatively thin zone of Israel, and I think Hezbollah doesn't look like much of a bargain.

This doesn't take into account political goals, of course, or each organization's relative ability to bring about their fruition, which is probably a more accurate measure of "cheapness".

Their weapons have been purchased over many years and they have been using very little till now. Also if you have a dedicated work force your labor costs are cheap.

When you compare the deal Israel could have gotten in Rome more than 2 weeks ago with what it will probably end up with when a cease fire is finally called, it looks like Tyler dollar game is going full tilt.

The general idea is that carrots and sticks work better than sticks alone.

America bought Egypt off in 1978 for $2 billion per year in public transfers. Jordan has been cheaper, with most payments, I presume, going privately to big shots' Swiss bank accounts. Syria is defintely not a rich country, nor a transparent one. It seems like there's a possibility it could be bribed away from its Iranian alliance.

At least one of the 911 hijackers was motivated by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. And he was Lebanese, too. Which new set of terrorists get their motivation from this year's invasion?

"Which new set of terrorists get their motivation from this year's invasion?"

Hopefully the ones that already got killed. :^)

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