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23 January 2010

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Eliot

Colonel Lang,

Does the Israeli political leadership want a new war with Hezbollah? Is there any appetite for one in the IDF?

Patrick Lang

Eliot

"Cast Lead" did nothing to restore the image of the IDF. PL

N. M. Salamon

Another genocidal war [by countraventing all areas of the Geneva Conventions and the laws of war] by Israel [even if they win, which is doubtful] will finally force major international push against a country which depends on international trade for her survival. Were the USA support this invasion, the aftershock from Islam and other areas of the world might be too much to bear.

The USA GDP does not IN THE LONG TERM benefit from the armament industries [major supplier of Israel] for the wastage of diminishing natural resources [oil, alloy metals, rare earth groups, etc] is counterproductive to necessary effort to rebuild the national economy in light of Peak oil and Global Warming.

What the USA does not need is another oil price shock, which is entirely possible with more wars in ME land [the StrategiC Oil can opnly be withdrawn at 4 M bbl per day, far short of the needed import requirement.

That the USA never enforced the legal requirement that USA made weapons be used for DEFENCE ONLY, and allowing Israel to attack a sovereign stae, might not be what the USA Foreign Policy rewuires to positively effect the minds of ME land.

One Should recall that the Saudi Royalty backed the present Government structure of Lebanon, has made peace with Syria, and that Turkey is getting further and further from por-USA foreign policy. Thes are not good omens for Uncle Sam in case of Proxy war with Lebanon!

Jose

A war in the rainy season?

"Cast Lead" did nothing to restore the image of the IDF. PL

Maybe tarnish it?

Does anybody know if Hezbollah has gotten any advance anti-aircraft missiles?

Bibi must really be feeling the pressure to do something, anything, but think about the consequences.

Patrick Lang

Jose

"A war in the rainy season?" You think they will melt? The IDF can't fly in the rain? I don't think they have any problem. Advanced anti-aircraft systems? They don't need them. The basic stuff will do. pl

ServingPatriot

Hmmm... I thought the little bombing run in the middle of the night against a building in Eastern Syria in Sept 2007 restored Israel's deterrent.

At least that's what Olmert told his people.

SP

Patrick Lang

SP

Olmert was wrong. They look beatable by anyone serious. They are Gucci soldiers. pl

J

Israel's war with Lebanon is all about control of the Litani water along with land grabbing. The Israeli IDF 'Gucci soldiers' expend mass amounts of military ordinances just to kill 3 Palestinians or 5 Hezbollah. And their IAF uses 5 F16s to kill 3 small kids who are using sling shots in Gaza.

Hezbollah will have some 'fun' with the IDF 'Gucci soldiers' when they cross the lines into Lebanon. What does the IDF do for U.S. except be just one big pain in our U.S.'s sides!

How much of that $800 million U.S. military cache that has been placed on Israeli soil for U.S. purposes will the IDF pilfer for their Lebanon adventures?

not a vampire squid

does Hezbollah accept volunteers ??

mo

"They are Gucci soldiers"

Which is why there will be no war in the rainy season. The IDF would be foolish to throw their pampered brigades into battle in bad weather against people whose day jobs are menial and outdoors.

Plus, while the IDF can fly in any weather, they are notorious for using "visual targeting".

But the main reason there wont be war in the rainy season is that the talking heads beating the drums of war are still the small fry.

This is just a tester; They want to see exactly how much the Massachusetts loss has tied the hands of Obama, esp. on foreign policy. Any or no response to this will dictate whether the calls carry on up the leadership (the response will probably be private though).

Sarkozy has already told Hariri this week that France will only become involved in an Israeli attack on Lebanon on a diplomatic level (and France has the 2nd highest contingent in UNIFIL).

So any Lebanese pinning their hopes on being defended by UN soldiers will as disappointed as they were in 06, 96 and 82 (although the 518 Turkish soldiers there could make for an interesting story).

There is no doubt that the Israelis cannot feel comfortable with a military force on its borders that has, if one is charitable, held them off and done so in the longest war in Israels history.

There is no doubt that they would like to see them gone. They would prefer that they are removed diplomatically or politically (which isn't going to happen) as that would eliminate the need of risking the IDF's much vaunted reputation.

So is it 2006 redux?

Well there are rules to this game.

Firstly, Israel needs a pre-text, no matter how flimsy, to base its pr drive on. Unlike the Palestinians or Al Qaida, there are no Hizballah linked groups that can do something that can be pinned on Hizballah itself.

Furthermore, Hizballah has never shied away from accepting responsibility for their actions so any "pre-text" cannot be believably concocted.

So for an Israeli attack to happen Hizballah are going to have to "do something". And I think that something can come from two things.

First, and the less likely, is that Israel attacks Iran and Hizballah retaliate on Iran's behalf.

That won't happen.

Hizballah will only become involved if Israel and Iran actually become involved in a war. Considering the distances and countries in between that's a very unlikely scenario.

The second and more likely scenario is a revenge attack for the murder of Mughniyeh.

For the past few years, especially after the May 2008 problems, Hizballah's hands have been tied by internal considerations. Their actions had to be moderated especially to protect their Christian allies in Lebanon, whose support can dwindle if they feel Hizballah is acting against Lebanon's interests.

Now that the elections are over, they will be more free to act.

And they are renowned for their reciprocity. The target will not be civilians; And assuming the target is high profile enough, that will definitely be enough of a pre-text.

However, it won't be 2006 redux if we take Nasrallah's words as truth (and he is a man that frankly lets the Arab side down with his lack of bluster, false promises and empty threats).

Nasrallah has said that another conflict with Israel will be a game changer. He has said that there is a "surprise" awaiting the Israelis should they attack.

And there is a definite feeling you sense that Hizballah feel that the next war will, one way or another, be the last war. Take from that what you will.

Charles I

Hmm, you twit me and then cite my previous cite.

J, its not pilfering, the supplies are explicitly available in an "emergency", which I would define as I'm near running out and still have targets left. Maybe the $800m arms cache was delivered in anticipation of increasing political isolation.

I think another attack would be a political game changer w/r/t western public opinion, that a viable sanctions/disinvestment campaign in lieu of US or UN restraint on Israel would be possible.

But what else have they got?


R Whitman

Does the presence of a large amount of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon affect Hizbollah thinking? I am sure they would like to dump these people back in Northern Israel.

They would have the thanks and allegiance of all Lebanese citizens if they were able to do that.

William R. Cumming

Is there any recognition by Israel publicly that they "lost" big in 2006?

Have both sides made adjustments to that conflict and how?

Since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 the premise of the nation-state system has been that organized violence is the "exclusive progative of the state." Should that premise be reconstructed now in the 21st Century under International Law? De Jure not de facto as has occurred since 9/11/01. The Bush doctrine of "If you are not with US you are against US" has been modified how by President Obama? How about the doctrine that nation-states harboring "terrorists" will be held accountable for that fact?

As always a fool may ask more questions than a wise man could or can answer?

MY question is subtract the "oil" factor which I know is almost impossible and how does US policy towards Islam change or differ for the nation-states that are majority Islam (like Nigeria)? By some counts there are 52 Nation States with significant Islamic populations including Russia with 15% so how has that fact been accomodated by foreign policy elites and military elites in the US? Recommended reading lists answering any of the above are always welcome.

David Habakkuk

mo,

Nasrallah has said that another conflict with Israel will be a game changer. He has said that there is a "surprise" awaiting the Israelis should they attack.

And there is a definite feeling you sense that Hizballah feel that the next war will, one way or another, be the last war. Take from that what you will.

It would somewhat surprise me if Nasrallah really did think that the next war would be the 'one way or another, the last war' -- as I cannot see what rational grounds there would be for such a belief, and Nasrallah does seem eminently rational in his planning.

What I do think is that the quite genuine 'existential threat' which both Hizballah and Iran pose to Israel is increasing -- that posed by the fact that as Israel becomes more vulnerable to attack, the propensity of the educated elites on which the state depends to decamp for safer places, already visible, is liable to increase.

Here, the capability that Hizballah demonstrated in 2006 to target Israeli cities and go on doing so despite all the Israelis could throw at them is crucial.

In the Haaretz article, the IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is quoted as having warned that Hezbollah guerrillas possess 'tens of thousands of rockets, some capable of reaching up to 300 kilometers within Israel.' These capabilities, the article points out, 'would put Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, as well cities much further south, into rocket range.'

Is there any hard information available on whether there has been significant improvement in the range, destructive power, and above all accuracy, of the missiles to Hizballah?

pim van den berg

"Lebanon is the only country in the world which has a military organization, Hezbollah, that operates independently of the government and is supported by two foreign countries, while being part of the cabinet,"

Confusing, after all Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government. Besides that, almost all political parties in Lebanon have their own armed militias...

different clue

David Habbakuk explained better something I had recently read a referrence to. That being that some Israeli polling organizations had done some internal polling and discovered that if Iran goes weaponizably nuclear, about 30% of Israelis will leave. And that probably would be the most valuable state-and-economy-running 30% of the population.

I was always mystified by referrences to Israel wanting to take water out of the Litani River because it looked so far away from Israel (relatively speaking) on maps. But then I looked at a closer-focus map of the area around the upstream reaches of the Litani River and I saw where it goes south and then makes a right angle going west. That L-bend appears to be about 12 miles(?) from the Israeli border. So I still don't see how Israel could take any water from it. They would either have to dry blasting an overland canal or laying overland pipe over that heavily corrugated hill, ridge, and valley terrain against ferocious opposition. Or they could try using a tunnel-boring machine to drill straight through 12 miles of hard rock and resurface right near the river. That would generate all kinds of underground vibration which any sensitive seismic device could pick up, allowing for aggressive shut-down of the project. So unless Israel is thinking of diverting surface water currently under its occupation from reaching the Greater Litani Watershed to begin with; I still don't see how Israel could get water from the Litani River, even at the L-bend.

Wouldn't it be simpler for Israel to simply turn over its occupied half of that village? That would still leave Shebaa Farms (spelling?) as a three-way bone of contention. I remember reading that the UN had declared itself to feel that Israel had completely de-occupied Southern Lebanon, but still occupied Shebaa Farms and considered it to be part of Syria. Then the Lebanese Government declared Shebaa Farms to be occupied Lebanese territory. So if Israel hands it to Syria, then Lebanon can accuse Israel of cheating Lebanon out of its Shebaa Farms. If Israel hands it to Lebanon, then Syria can accuse Israel of betraying and doublecrossing Syria's proper interest. The way for Israel to get out of that forked stick would be to silently stealth-evacuate Shebaa Farms in the dead of night, allowing Lebanon and Syria to discover that Shebaa Farms has become an "open area" and allowing Syria and Lebanon to solve among themselves the question of which country Shebaa Farms
is part of. Such an evacuation would also demonstrate that Israel has no material interest in extracting water from Shebaa Farms, which would hopefully relieve some of the concern over Israel's interest in the Litani River.

mo

David,
Based on the last war there would be no rational grounds for such thinking - But one of the main reasons behind Hizballahs success is that they have always planned for the next war, not fought the last one. How rational such thinking is depends entirely on what it is they have up their sleeve.

It may be as simple as the belief that they believe they can now neutralise Israeli air power while employing superior ground forces.

As you say, Israel's Achilles heel is not in its military but its people. Hizballah may not feel it needs to win a war. It may feel that simply taking the battle into Israel itself, especially on the ground, would make the neighborhood so unpalatable to those with alternatives that the nation simply shrivels in on itself - A military threat coupled with the severe water problem may be a compelling argument for many to leave.

Hard information on Hizballahs arsenal? If there is I know every intelligence service in the world would love to know where it is.

The only piece of information I can give you is the musings of a Lebanese journalist who had until last year spent years assailing the Resistance, not because he was against them but because he felt their fight was futile in that they could never realistically take on Israel outside of a defensive scenario. So Hizballah invited him to a private view of something. Since then he has said that while he cannot divulge anything that he saw, he no longer believes that the their fight is futile.

toto

Simple question: if the Hizb decides to sprinkle Israel with rockets again, is there anything the IDF can (reasonably) do to stop them?

Phil Giraldi

I really don't get it. We are relying on an Israeli assessment of Hezbollah's rearmament, which is almost certainly skewed to make the group appear to be the second coming of Satan. And even if Hezbollah is actually armed to the teeth if it does not actually threaten Israel, which it does not, why would Tel Aviv want to go to war to disarm it? And if Israel were to attack Lebanon again the US would get sucked into it as an Israeli accomplice just like they did last time... I would love to see Obama declare publicly that the US will no longer allow itself to get drawn into Israeli military adventures, but that, of course, is not likely to happen.

J

It's all about Israel's lack of water supplies and their 'need' to 'steal' the Lebanese's Litani river's fresh water supplies. As well as another land grab to expand Israel through 'easement' of Lebanon.

As long as Israel continues to funnel/launder/re-route U.S. taxpayer and other U.S. private funds to pay-off/buy U.S. Congress persons to ensure the continuing feed of U.S. Military/Financial/Trade aid all courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers and U.S. military personnel whom Israel's government sacrifices at every given opportunity. We the U.S. citizenry are screwed by the Israelis, literally.

walrus

Mo:

"So Hizballah invited him to a private view of something. Since then he has said that while he cannot divulge anything that he saw, he no longer believes that the their fight is futile."

One thing that has amazed me for at least the last Ten to Fifteen years is the apparent absence of Man portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS)from the terrorist arsenal. I often speculate that there must be some sort of "gentleman's agreement" between the major powers regarding these items, or perhaps there is a simpler reason I just don't get.

I wonder if possession of such weaponry in quantity might be Hesbollahs game changer?

Patrick Lang

Walrus

I think the MANPADS ARE the answer. pl

Eliot

The Soviet aircrews argued that the Stingers were never as effective as Washington claimed. Part of that was certainly defensive rhetoric but I'm not sure they weren't being honest. What did change though was doctrine. You simply couldn't operate as freely after the introduction of MANPADS.

I'd be interested if something similar played out in Lebanon. The Israelis really can't afford to risk their attack helicopters and fighter aircraft.

What are the potential repercussions though? In Lebanon the Israelis can't use artillery as freely as they like do to concerns for civilian casualties. The ground make tanks unsuitable at best and at worst just rolling targets for Kornet teams. I imagine Hezbollah doubled down on those after 06. Airpower, that's the one tool the Israelis have that up until now was untouchable. It's also capable of targeting defensive fortifications with reasonable precision. What does the IDF do when they lose that?

Patrick Lang

Eliot

You are quite right. The Stingers forced a critical change in behavior, i.e., they forced the helicopters into low level flight in which they were susceptible to heavy machine guns.

Aircrew are not as dependable when they feel vulnerable, shaky hands, etc.

Look to see intense organization of the ground, lots of anti-tank missiles, etc. pl

Eliot

Colonel Lang,

I saw an old Janes article which suggested that Hezbollah was offered the SA-7, SA-14, SA-16, and the Iranian version of the QW-1 after the July War.

How vulnerable is the IAF to that older MANPAD technology? Can raw firing volume make up for technological limitations?

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