The End of Hezbollah

From what I’m reading, Israel is going to invade Lebanon and literally destroy Hezbollah once and for all. Here’s an article:

Tuesday, 18, July, 2006 (22, Jumada al-Thani, 1427)

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US Think-Tank Predicts Full-Scale Israeli Invasion of Lebanon
Siraj Wahab, Arab News

JEDDAH, 18 July 2006 — An independent intelligence think-tank in the United States is predicting a full-scale Israeli invasion of Lebanon to root out Hezbollah, a move that could extend as far as southern Beirut.

The report was released on July 13 by the Texas-based Strategic Forecasting Inc. (Stratfor), a private company that provides global intelligence information to the business world. The report says that Israel is ultimately gearing up for a “major, sustained assault into southern Lebanon to eliminate Hezbollah”.

(Yesterday, Israeli ground troops entered Lebanon briefly to attack Hezbollah bases, but withdrew back into Israel after conducting the operations. Israeli government spokesman, Asaf Shariv, said the Israeli army chief of staff confirmed that ground troops had gone into Lebanon, if only briefly.)

Stratfor analysts say at the minimum the incursion would extend to the Litani River — the first natural barrier, roughly 20 miles into Lebanon — and perhaps all the way to southern Beirut. (The Litani River, called Nahr Al-Litani in Arabic, is an important waterway in southern Lebanon. It rises in the Bekaa Valley and empties in the Mediterranean Sea north of Tyre. Exceeding 140 km, it is the longest river that originates and flows entirely within the borders of Lebanon.)

“The advance might have been intended for July 16, when the reservists of the Israeli Northern Command who were just activated will have had 72 hours to spin up. However, since rockets fired from Lebanon hit Israel’s port city of Haifa on July 13, Israel’s 7th Armored, Golani and Barak Brigades might push ahead as far as the Litani and let the reservists catch up later,” said the report.

“If the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) makes this push into Lebanon, the Golani Brigade likely will advance in the east, along the Syrian border to the Bekaa Valley. Its advance probably will be accompanied by air assaults delivering infantry units to the villages at the valley’s base. Penetrating the more populated areas further up the valley will involve difficult, urban fighting,” said the report.

According to the report, the Barak Brigade, which received the state-of-the-art Merkava Mark 3 tank last year, will advance up the coast along a difficult and potentially mined highway. A Merkava tank, the report noted, was destroyed on July 12 by a mine containing a powerful charge that could have been shaped to penetrate heavy armor.

“The 7th Armored Brigade will advance up the middle, ready to reinforce either the left or right flank. It also could encounter mines. Besides anti-tank mines, Hezbollah is thought to possess anti-tank missiles more advanced than the 1970s-era Soviet AT-3 Sagger anti-tank missile. If Hezbollah’s arsenal is sufficiently advanced and properly employed, it could effectively challenge Israeli armor,” the report continued.

The report also noted that the longer the Israelis wait to begin the invasion, the more brigades it will have mustered to assist in the advance and the increase of a likelihood of a push to southern Beirut.

Stratfor report also presented possible responses to a variety of scenarios if Syria were to be involved in the conflict. The report says Israel would go for devices to jam Syrian air defense radars and then launch an all-out onslaught to destroy Syria’s 80 MiG-29 and 10 SU-27 fighter aircraft.

“Syria has always crumbled when facing the IDF, and its air defense and pilot training regiments are certainly below par,” the report pointed out. “But nevertheless, Syria’s air defense network extends over much of southern Lebanon and poses a very real danger to IAF (Israeli Air Force) operations over Lebanon. Israel successfully devastated this air force in 1982 in a pre-emptive strike.”

If the Israelis decide that Syria may resist their efforts in Lebanon, the report says, “Israel will not hesitate to take the network out. (To the Israelis) a devastating pre-emptive strike is preferable to a protracted engagement with the whole air defense network at full alert — a much more complex endeavor that would detract from operations in Lebanon. As long as the Israelis leave Syrian assets intact, they fight with an exposed right flank.”

However, the report emphasized that Israel would welcome Syrian restraint and would not widen the conflict unless provoked.

“The near future will almost certainly see small firefights,” said the report, “as Israeli special forces reconnaissance units take up more positions inside Lebanon. Of course, the bulk of these units will go undetected. IDF shelling and airstrikes will continue unabated. Depending on Hezbollah’s endurance and survivability, their rockets will continue to fly as well.”

The Stratfor report also noted that the target of the assault was Hezbollah. If the substance of the report is accurate, it appears that Israel hopes to rout Hezbollah in Lebanon once and for all.

So far, however, Hezbollah has been able to withstand the Israeli air onslaught but fundamentally the ones to lose out at the end of the invasion will be the innocent elderly, children and women on both sides.

Barry Rubin, an Israeli columnist, said Israel was having trouble defending against Hezbollah attacks “because the Hezbollah offensive is based on surprise and mobility.”

“Hezbollah can hit where and when it wishes. Even military effectiveness is not important since they are satisfied if a missile hits anything in Israel,” he wrote in his latest column. “The missiles are the hardest, most sensitive problem. Hezbollah has many missiles that are easily moved and quickly fired.”

According to Rubin, the (Hezbollah) missiles’ high mobility make them hard to hit before firing and almost impossible to intercept in the air. “Their flight path is so fast, short, and low that defensive missiles — useful against those fired from further away (like from Iraq in 1991) — cannot work,” he added.

I’d wait and see. There are more pundits than you can shake a stick at, and the idea that Israel is willing to re-occupy Lebanon (which will certainly be required to do this, at least for the short term) despite the absolute disasters that happened the last time, isn’t something I’d take on faith.

Well, it looks like Israel is indeed gearing up for an invasion. However, in all likelihood, Hezbollah will survive this. Which is unfortunately, since all they really have to do win is keep surviving.

Hezbollah will keep surviving because it’s funded, economically and spiritually, by Iran. As long as Iran keeps up its holy war against Israel and the West, they’ll be back. On the plus side, Arab states are also starting to get fed up with Iran.

To be specific, though, Israel is not interested in occupying Lebanon like it did in 1982. It’d rather have the actual Lebanese army there.


Not sure whar’ll happen. I can only hope America is not pulled into this, we’ve got enough problems with Iran and North Korea.

America’s already voiced their support for Israel. Hezbollah is a terrorist group and the current administration won’t give any support to them.

True, but what I meant was sending in our troops to the front.

Hardly. You can’t destroy terrorist organisations with weapons alone.

If there’s anything that we should have learned by now (you’d think we’d have learned it after Vietnam, or at least Iraq) it’s that all the weapons in the U.S. army won’t be enough to ‘beat’ terrorist groups that rely on guerilla strikes, function in small groups, and only need to survive to win. Especially when we’re in their territory.

Survive to win, that sounds like a something we used to be good at!

Once we got rich, we lost that.

No, weapons won’t beat them - but neither will diplomacy, certainly not in this case, where their only “demand” is that Israel cease to exist. Frankly, nothing has ever worked against terrorism, i.e. has actually caused terrorists to shut down, which is why Israel is content to destroy their infrastructure, which should at least give them a bit of a respite from rocket attacks. Unfortunately it looks like Israel’s severely underestimated Hezbollah’s work in the last six years, and they’re way more dug in than they expected. They’re making noises towards an EU peacekeeping force now.

That could be suicide. Give the terrorists and Iran more foothold to plan things.

Israel’s primary goal is to diminish the effect and support of Hezbollah. Having Israeli forces front and centre is the last thing Israel wants, especially considering the morass that was 1982-2000. It was hoping to just decimate them, but it looks like that won’t be possible without a huge, protracted battle which will completely decimate most of Lebanon. Israel never considered (to the best of my knowledge) putting Israeli forces in Lebanon. This is unfortunately probably the best option out of the many really bad ones available for Israel.

Howver we know that over the top punishment breeds new extremist movements, like Hezbollah or Hamas or even the practice of suicide bombing. And asking the army to bomb ten buildings for each rocket that hits Israel or this doesn’t really help things.

Does Israel diminish the support of Hezbollah by creating half a million internal refugees? I’d say it’s severely boosting it.

Like I said, Israel is in a very bad position. It’s faced with an enemy which enjoys popular support, which only desires an impossible goal - the destruction of Israel. You can’t use any sort of diplomacy with them because they have no realistic demands. You can’t fight them because they hide amongst civilians - and even though the Geneva Convention emphatically puts the blame of those civilian deaths on the people hiding amongst them, the world doesn’t see it that way. You can’t get people to stop supporting them, because they’re supported by Iran’s petro-dollars and by lots of other Arabs who like the idea of beating up on big bad Israel. So there’s very little that will reduce Hezbollah’s support. Israel has to just cut its losses and try to do as best it can to at least reduce Hezbollah’s efficiency - and to at least try to send a message that support for Hezbollah results in bad things happening. It can’t reduce support all that much, but a prolonged invasion would increase support far more than the largely aerial sorties that it’s doing now.

I am still of the opinion that prolonged strikes, which cause more suffering among ordinary folk than Hezbollah (50% of the victims are children), raise support for extremism rather than reduce it. As a side effect the whole area gets boiling again (Saudi/Syrian/Iranian comments toward possible escalation). This reduces Israel’s image in the Arabic world to zero.

I think barring diplomacy beforehand is the greatest mistake of Israel. As long as it receives support from the U.S. , owing to geopolitical reasons, Israel can hold its position by fighting. What may happen when the oil in the area runs out or becomes unimportant in 40/50 years? Personally, I’d hate to see Israel destroyed because of its mistakes.Diplomacy can help it, as it helped Europe.

The Arab world’s opinion of Israel was already at 0%. Israel’s not in this to make la-di-la-di-da friends with Syria and Jordan and all the others, so that their citizens can get together and make paper cut-out friends while they dance around in hippy circles to a drumbeat. It’s out to make Hezbollah stop firing ROCKETS into its territory. I don’t think it’s quite getting through to you that Hezbollah isn’t the type of organization Israel can honestly negotiate with, and the fault of that does not lie with Israel. Israel’s history for the past fifteen years shows exactly why cutting deals with groups whose purpose is the destruction of Israel does not work.

I mean, what diplomacy do you want? The only solution is to have SOMEBODY’s troops ensure that Hezbollah stops firing rockets, and Lebanon wasn’t willing to do that, nor was the UN. Perhaps now that Israel’s showing why it’s a bad idea for your government to harbor terrorists one or the other will be more willing to step in. But really, until they do, try to offer a solution other than the empty “happy love love diplomacy will solve all problems!” approach.

Exactly what kind of diplomacy can you have with a group that wants you gone? “Well, let’s compromise: Instead of committing suicide, I’ll just cut off both my arms.” Somebody is going to have to go after them.