"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

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Hezbollah’s Iwo Jima Delusion

Michael Lopez-Calderon at American Thinker has an interesting analysis of why Israel is not charging into Lebanon and instead is staying close to its border.
Hezbollah’s strategy appears geared for a massive Israeli armor and infantry incursion up to and perhaps beyond the Litani River.

Hezbollah was counting on a twofold IDF tactic of digging out the entrenched fighters in a costly war of attrition while also moving rapidly into Lebanon, leaving its lines of communications vulnerable to guerrilla ambushes in the rear. The Israelis thus far have not taken the bait.

Hezbollah apparently banked on Israel falling for a “rope-the-dope” strategy. Instead, it is Hezbollah that is trapped, like the Japanese Imperial Army on Iwo Jima, in a delusion of its own making.
For a full read of this insightful article, click here.

IDF Begins Ground Assault into Lebanon

Reuters courtesy of Yahoo reports that Israeli forces have crossed into Lebanon in the East at Kafr Kila and in the central sector at Aita al-Shaab where artillery bombardment is occurring.

DEBKAfile reports of a three-pronged attack into Lebanon along the west, central, and eastern zones.

More to follow as the situation updates.

Update - Israel's Mindset - Stalemate or Major Offensive?


Haaretz.com is reporting that the Security Cabinet approved the IDF to execute a major ground offensive and allow the Army to call up an addtional 15,000 reservists.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a speech stated,

"We will stop the war when the [rocket] threat is removed..., our captive soldiers return home in peace, and you are able to live in safety and security," Olmert said, addressing the mayors of northern towns.

He also warned that Israel still faced "no small number of days of
fighting." "We should be ready for pain, tears and blood," he said. "Missiles and rockets will still land in Israel in the coming days."

"We could not let the terror organization on our border get stronger, let them get more missiles," he said. "If we had held off, the day would have arrived soon when they would have caused unprecedented damage."

He said that even as he spoke, Israeli forces continued fighting in the air, from the sea and on the ground in Lebanon. "We are determined to succeed in this struggle," he said. "We will not give up on our goal to live a life free of terror."

The prime minister expressed regret for the attack in the southern Lebanon village of Qana on Sunday, which
killed 56 people,
among them 37 children.

"I am sorry from bottom of heart for all deaths of children or women in Qana," Olmert said. "We did not search them out... they were not our enemies and we did not look for them."

Addressing the people of Lebanon, he told them that they were not Israel's enemy, but rather Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah - whom he accused of carrying out the policies of Syria and Iran - was."

We are not fighting against the Lebanese people. We are not fighting against its government. We are fighting terrorism and we will not stop the fight against them until we push them away from our borders," he said.
This sounds like a man preparing his country for all out war. The entire speech can be read at Vital Prespective.

Original Post:

I am going to go out on a limb here and state that Israel is planning a major offensive into Lebanon in the next week or so. There is the bold statement, now let me support it with evidence.

  1. This war was started by Hezbollah kidnapping 2 Soldiers and killing 3 Soldiers in a cross-border raid. An additional 5 Soldiers were killed by mines and booby-traps as Israeli forces moved north towards Lebanon to save its Soldiers. This level of sophistication by Hezbollah was not typical of their past kidnapping actions. It pointed to a higher level of strategy than typical terrorists attacks.
  2. The Irsaeli ship, a Saar-5 Corvette class, was hit by a C-802 guided missile. Again, this attack pointed to a higher level of sophistication than Hezbollah typically was able to muster in the past.
  3. Unlike previous kidnappings, Israel struck Hezbollah (and Hamas) rather violently. Mahmoud Komati, the deputy chief of the Hezbollah politburo, in fact stated, "Israeli responses to Hezbollah actions had included sending commandos into Lebanon and kidnapping Hezbollah officials or briefly targeting specific Hezbollah strongholds in southern Lebanon." Israel's reaction, or counter-attack, was meant to steal the initiative from Hezbollah to put them on the defensive and gain the offensive for Israel. This succeeded.
  4. Israel seems to have had its nose bloodied in the battle of Bint Jbeil with nine dead. Its ground offensive has ground to a halt, loosing the offensive initiative they had gained earlier with air strikes. As Paul from Powerline points out in the 1980's Israel suffered a hundred dead in the same town. I do not think Israel, knowing what is at stake in this war, would turn tail with such a small number dead given prior losses. More likely, this is a tactical pause.
  5. What Israel accomplished with the Golani Battalion 51 in Bint Jbeil was to update intelligence by executing a reconnaissance by fire or a movement to contact. Israel has been out of Lebanon for over five years. Much changes in five years. Reports of complex underground bunkers is just one of the changes. The Golani Battalion 51 allowed Israel to update intelligence of the level of sophistication of ground forces given their surprises in levels of sophistication of surface-to-surface missiles and anti-tank missiles. It is now time for Israel to keep up the air strikes while gaining time to analyze updated intelligence to better protect its Soldiers.
  6. Soldiers of the Golani Battalion has been in continuous combat for almost two weeks in Lebanon and prior to that were in Gaza, severely taking a toll on its Soldiers and equipment.
  7. Israel is getting better precision-guided munitions from the United States to not only limit civilian casualties, but also to better effectively allow air support for ground troops in close in battle like Bint Jbeil in the future. These munitions have proven extremely effective in Iraq at limiting civilian casualties while greatly enhancing close air support to ground troops.
  8. Israeli's Security Cabinet approved the activation of 30,000 reservists or three Israeli Divisions. This fact, more than anything, can be seen as buying Israel time to build up combat power for a subsequent ground invasion into Lebanon while maintaining forces to continue the fight in Gaza and providing a follow-on reserve as needed. The activation of this many troops also brings Israel the logistic capability to support continuous combat operations far away from friendly borders.
  9. Israeli's Security Cabinet did not disapprove of a widening of the ground attack according to General Halutz, "We did not request approval for a ground operation today, so the cabinet did not approve a ground operation," he said. "We asked for the right to prepare the reserves for a time when we might need them, and we got that from the government."
  10. Given the surprises that Hezbollah has brought to the table in this conflict, it would not be tactically smart for Israel to show their cards at this time, therefore, all Israel is saying is that they are not widening the war at this time. That does not prevent them from planning and rehearsing and coming back later after Hezbollah is softened up more from air strikes to request a larger ground attack.
  11. Hamas has signalled its intent to accept a ceasefire. A ceasefire over the next week, would allow Israel to focus all combat power on Hezbollah. Without a ceasefire, Israel can still fight and economy of force effort against Hamas.

All of these factors lead me to believe that the activation/call-up of 30,000 reservists will allow Israel the tactical time needed to match these Soldiers with their equipment; integrate lessoned learned about Hezbollah's tactics and new capabilities; and allow them to develop, deliver, and rehearse offensive orders for future ground attacks into Lebanon.

Only time will tell. But, I cannot believe, given the unique circumstances of moderate Arab governments actually not demanding an immediate ceasefire and blaming Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran for the current crisis, that Israel will settle for the current stalemate and not execute all out war to defeat Hezbollah, and in turn severely harm Syrian and Iranian influence in the Middle East for some time to come.

However, if Israel decides on a stalemate, it will solely bear the responsibility for future attacks.