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04 November 2017


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The Hariris are more Saudi than Lebanese and have always been wholly owned properties of the Saudi royal family. Hariri's resignation was almost certainly on order from Riyadh. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Alternatively, Velayati read him the riot act and he bolted.

Babak Makkinejad

Likely, per that Saudi official's boasting of an imminent and spectacular display of sound and fury last week, Iranians sent Velayati to warn every actor in Lebanon.


How was the interception handled, must have been slower intermediate-range missile? Does SA have equipment similar to Iron Dome? The interception was apparently effective?
As a single missile is largely a symbolic act from Yemen designed to send a message, what is that message? Not seeing any way this makes sense yet.


"This would serve as a convenient casus belli for an Israeli attack on Hizbullah"

How would they sell that? Would they claim the need to "stabilize" the situation in Lebanon? Thus far, Israel has shown itself to be extremely hesitant to attack Hezbollah themselves. Might they try to use Lebanon's Sunnis or the Lebanese army to attack Hezbollah?

I can't imagine this will work. The Lebanese have not forgotten 2006 or their civil war.

I wonder if Syria, Iran or Russia have updated Hezbollah's mostly non existent air defenses.

blue peacock

Col. Lang

Do you believe Netanyahu will attempt this takedown of Hezbollah on his own with only the help of the young Saudi king in waiting, or do you think the mukhtar has been roped in with Kelly, Mattis and McMaster providing all the positive reinforcement and the plans?

My first exposure to your analysis was your brilliant Tabouleh Line write-ups. I was an entry level oil analyst then and your notes really helped me get a more realistic sense of the military action.

It would seem if this attack happens it will not come as a surprise to Nasrallah and R+6. If rockets rain down on Haifa and Tel Aviv as a consequence of an attack by the IDF, will the mukhtar be left with no choice but to send in the bunker busters? Clearly our MSM and political-governmental establishment will be all hysterical and the tomtoms will be beating hard. What are the odds that Putin sits this one out?


blue peacock
I don't know how much Bibi thinks he has obtained US support either moral support or actual physical support. Bibi believes that Trump is unpredictable and unreliable and may think that his action would force Trump's hand. pl



Lebanese sovereignty would be claimed to be threatened. People do strange things when they think themselves mortally threatened. I did not say that an Israeli attack would achieve anything but a lot of dead people. Beware relying on the rational actor model. pl

The Beaver


Meanwhile there is a house ( correction a kingdom ) cleaning currently going on inside KSA.
Ministers and Princes being arrested as well as order to Civil Authority to prevent all private & royal planes from taking off to prevent any suspects from fleeing


Open Israeli attack would tend to unify the Lebanese in defense, and Iran would say, "See why we need to provide weapons to these poor people, to protect their homes!"

It would backfire against Israel in a big way... these guys are not stupid they wouldn't do it. Not openly anyhow.

They might find more subtle ways to undermine Hezbollah, trying to provoke internal Lebanese fighting would be more likely IMHO. Not that it takes much to provoke the Lebanese.



you greatly exaggerate the wisdom and acumen of the Israelis. pl



Ah, the rational actor fallacy again. for the Yemenis symbolic acts are very important especially in the context of the present war. for them t is a bit like the Sioux counting coup on an enemy. pl



i hesitate to cite CNN but things seem to be getting rather interesting and quickly. Headline is: Saudi Arabia intercepts ballistic missile over capital.

Saudi Capital attacked? Claims and counterclaims abound.

ME Gulf of Tonkin incident?



"Odds of an Israeli attack? IMO - 50%."

I agree. The Israelis would like very much like to do an attack on Lebanon to destabilize it.

But the big problem I see here for the Israelis is how to attack Lebanon.

The Israelis have the air above Lebanon, so they could air strike Hezbollah strongholds in south Lebsnon and Beirut almost as much as they want. But what would that accomplish? I doubt, Israel can split the population from Hezbollah with air power.

Besides that Israel could also use ground forces to strike Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon and try to move forward into Lebanon. But would that accomplish any more than Israel accomplished 2006? I doubt it.

So what else can Israel do against Lebanon, besides the common propaganda and false flag terror, of course? I don't see much there.



GoT ME? Why? The Hoouthis are capable of doing this. pl


Imagine said...

"As a single missile is largely a symbolic act from Yemen designed to send a message, what is that message? .

sound and fury in Lebanon, backfires in SA.

Account Deleted


If this is the best casus belli they can come up with, it seems another good indicator of the level of desperation in the Gulf/Israeli coalition.

As Alastair Crooke says in his excellent piece referenced by @outthere in the previous post, "crunch time" is approaching. I'd agree with Alastair's assessment that full US involvement is by no means likely, given the trifecta doesn't want war with Iran and the CIC is otherwise occupied.

Instead of mass retaliation, what are the odds of Nasrallah going full rational actor and instead choosing restraint in the face of an Israeli onslaught? Denying Bibi his war might now be the smart way to ultimately defeat him (i.e. IFO a less bellicose replacement). Likud is down in the polls and it's coalition in jeopardy. Bibi himself is threatened with indictment. And Iran's strategic position grows stronger daily - time is on their side as things stand.

A further demonstration of Russian statesmanship in Lebanon in helping to avoid a conflagration would also be greatly to their benefit. The coup de grâce would be Putin getting Mr Xi to choose now to act on his CPC National Congress promise to involve China more in international affairs and show a unified front with Russia and it's allies, for sanity in the ME.

Time for the grown ups to take over, or wishful thinking?


My first thought is: "How confident are the Israelis in their US financed missile defence system?" I tend to think that the simple economics of using a $40,000 guided missile to knock down a Grad artillery rocket make the situation basically impossible for the defender. And anti-missile systems have been expensive, unworkable boondoggles every previous time they've been tried. Still, the Israelis aren't actually paying full price, and 10 years is a long time for computer guidance systems, so maybe they've cracked it.

I also recall one of the critiques of ABM is that they'd work well enough to encourage dangerously reckless behaviour, but not well enough to prevent at least a few cities from being incinerated if there ever was a nuclear exchange. Much lower stakes here, but a similar worry.


Its interception was so successful that it landed on the airport. Iron dome is against short range rockets and artillery but Saudi Arabia has patriots who shot more rockets down.

The message is don't blow up civilians. (SA attacked a market or something like that a few days ago) It is IMHO purely political but that is often highly effective military.


Iran now make their own manpads and SAMs. They didn't in 2006


How much of Hizb's strength is in south Lebanon and how much on R+6 duty far away. Might Israel think they are depleted and vulnerable?


FourthAndLong -

CNN and the rest of the press must have been asleep at the wheel back in July when the Houthis used the same type missile to attack a Saudi refinery in Yanbu.


There have been many others also. In May it is said they tried to take out Trump when he visited Riyadh, or at least give him a welcome.


FourthAndLong, fellow outposters,

I noticed the coverage on CNN had not only mentioned the missile attack, but went on to provide background/commentary on the US-Saudi arms deal in connection with humanitarian conditions on the ground. A US domestic counter-Saudi seems to be set in motion. The notion that the CNN puppeteers will try to hang the horrors in Yemen on the Trump admin's deal with the house of Saud is an interesting dynamic. Sen. Chris Murphy of CT says in an interview that the US is an indispensable partner to Saudi bombardment. He is moving to have Congress block further arms deliveries to the Saudi Air Force. And social media puts a face on Yemen, in the form of a young girl bombing victim who can't open her eyes without using her fingers, hashtag #buthaina.

Is this relevant to the Israel-Lebanon topic? Perhaps indirectly, yet the events of the day as noted in this thread all seem to converge on Saudi regional influence.

And yes, this is the most CNN I have watched in years.



There's been a purge by the Saudi heir-apparent. Rooted out were those who are considered soft on Iran. The Saudi heir's next targets are the radicals in the Mosques who he suspects are working with Iran.

Those purged are

Waleed Bin Talal

Prince Mitaab bin Abdullah

Prince Turki bin Abdullah

Prince Turki bin Nasser

Waleed Ibrahim

Khaled Al-Turwaijri

Adel Faquih

Omer Dabbagh

Saleh Kamel

Saud Al-Tobaishi

Ibrahim Al-Assaf

Bakr Bin Ladin

Saud Al-Dawish

Khaled Al-Mulhem


I have wondered about that as well. First Hezbollah have relatively few troops in R+6. But if those are their elite troops then the forces in Lebanon could be seriously weakened. However, if those troops in Syria are rotated often then it could mean that Hezbollah is now stronger than before given the defenders in Lebanon will have had combat experience and are battle hardened. If Israel attacks they will be with either green troops or those who are only conditioned to terrorize Palestinian civilians who can't shoot back.

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