"Hezbollah possesses the Katyusha-122 rocket, which has a range of 29 km (18 mi) and carries a 15-kg (33-lb) warhead. Hezbollah also possesses about 100 long-range missiles. They include the Iranian-made Fajr-3 and Fajr-5, the latter with a range of 75 km (47 mi), enabling it to strike the Israeli port of Haifa, and the Zelzal-1, with an estimated 150 km (93 mi) range, which can reach Tel Aviv. Fajr-3 missiles have a range of 40 km (25 mi) and a 45-kg (99-lb) warhead, and Fajr-5 missiles, which extend to 72 km (45 mi), also hold 45-kg (99-lb) warheads. It was reported that Hezbollah is in possession of Scud missiles that were provided to them by Syria. The reports were denied by Syria.["
Wiki on Hezbollah.
Natanyahu has made it clear that if rocket (not guided missile) fire out of Gaza does not end, there will be a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. IMO this will be a large search and destroy operation employing a lot of infantry supported armor that will be heavily provided with artillery and air support. IMO a decision to conduct such an operation in an area that contains 1.6 million people, most of them civilians, is a decision to inflict mass casualties on that population. IMO that decision is motivated by a desire to destroy the unity government now in effect in the Palestinian Authority. Is this not a war crime?
In a ground attack the IDf will find that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have studied the lessons of the 2006 war against Lebanon.
There has now been rocket fire out of Lebanon. This is Hizbullah fire. HB possesses an impressive inventory of rockets and guided missiles as well as many hardened positions from which to fire. They also have a large inventory of antiaircraft weapons. There is little love lost between Hamas (Sunni) and HB (Shia) but the provocation being offered by Israeli bombardment and the coming invasion may be too much for HB to accept. A combination of Hamas and HB rocketry and guided missiles would have range fans that would cover most of Israel. These weapons are admittedly inaccurate, but if they fire enough of them they will swamp Iron Dome and a lot will get through the defense. There would be significant Israeli civilian casualties in that combination of events. IMO these first rockets from Lebanon are a shot across Israel's bow.
Ben Gurion airport is the best counter value target in Israel. The Dimona nuclear complex is too deeply buried to be accessible to the primitive rocketry available to either Hamas or HB. Look to see the "Aghabs" shoot at the airport in an effort to hurt Israel's economy. pl
""We have suspended our government business," said minister Hoshiyar Zebari, who is a Kurd.
Zebari said that Kurdish ministers were suspending their day-to-day involvement in the foreign, trade, migration and health ministries and the deputy premiership. On Thursday, Kurdish leaders announced they were canceling their participation in cabinet meetings.
Zebari said ministers will continue to attend the parliament, elected on April 30, which is seeking to form a new government in the face of a Sunni insurgency that has seized large sections of northern and western Iraq.
Zebari said Iraq risked falling apart if a new inclusive government was not formed soon as "the country is now divided literally into three states...Kurdish; a black state (IS) and Baghdad." He urged Iraq's political blocs to form a government quickly." al-jazeera.com
I remember Zebari laughing at me at a conference in Kuwait in 2005 when I told him that the Iraq that Bremer as built was truly a house of cards that would disappear with the departure of the Americans. He was as confident then as were many semi-westernized Egyptians after Mubarak's government fell to the mob in Tahrir Square.
IMO it is "all over" for the political mess that we Americans left behind in Iraq. This "government" was based on the neocon/neo-wilsonian fantasy that dreamt of an Iraq in which the disparate peoples of Iraq would stop being disparate. That was nover going to happen.
The Kurds will watch the circus act in the Iraqi Parliament and then vote themselves out of Iraq. They will have to fight the IS to keep their lands but they can do that if they try hard.
The only real question is whether IS will try to take Baghdad once it has finished the business of consolidating its position in the lands of what they see as Caliph Ibrahim's 'umma. pl
"“The ISF are capable of limited defensive actions. And in some areas they are capable of limited but not sustained counter attacks,” says Jim Dubik, a senior fellow of the Institute for the Study of War and, in 2007, the US lieutenant general in charge of overseeing the training and development of the ISF. “But what they are totally incapable of planning, preparing or conducting is a counter offensive of any kind against Isis that will push them back and retake territory from the insurgency.”
Mr Dubik’s view is shared by many military analysts and current military officers.
In the next few days, six assessment teams dispatched by the Pentagon to Baghdad and Erbil will report on their assessment of the ISF’s disposition and capabilities. The picture will be “grim” says one Nato military intelligence officer.
In three operational areas the ISF has seen its capabilities degraded, according to Mr Dubik: “The systems that supply and support the combat soldiers – intelligence, logistics and personnel management – have atrophied.”" FT
This FT article is well worth reading. I don't know Dubik but he knows the Iraqi forces well and is a seasoned officer. ISW analysis of Syria and Iraq has generally been worthless but perhaps Dubik will fix that. The underlined text above is literally the "crack of doom' for Maliki's Iraq.
The Malta Times reports that an IS force has seized the military base in Muqdadiya, Diyala Province 60 kilometers NE of Baghdad. It is reported that many of the rebels went into the attack in armored personnel carriers (APC) or riding atop tanks. So much for the idea that they are too primitive to use captured equipment. pl