Friday, July 21, 2006

Expect Calls for a Cease-Fire... begin in earnest, with preparations for an Israeli invasion of Lebanon clearly underway. AP reports that Israeli troops and armor are massing along the northern border, in preparation for an invasion Lebanon.

As we noted when this crisis began, an Israeli invasion of Lebanon would come only when the IDF had mobilized sufficient numbers of reservists to carry out the operation. The Israeli Army relies heavily on reserves to flesh out its ranks in wartime; their mobilization process is quite efficient, but it still takes time to call activate and deploy the number of battalions and brigades needed for the Lebanon operation.

If Hizballah follows the usual script for Arab-Israeli Wars, their next major ploy will be the expected call for a cease-fire. As their military capabilities steadily erode, Hizballah will attempt to preserve what's left of its rocket arsenal, and its fighters in the field. Terrorist propaganda may talk about a "fight to the death," but Hizballah does not want to suffer the crushing blow that would come with an Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

Iran and Syria will also press for some sort of negotiated settlement. Their war-by-proxy has created serious problems for their arch foe (Israel), at no cost to Damascus and Tehran. If the diplomats can work out something soon, both Syria and Iran can claim a significant victory over Israel, and reaffirm their leadership of the state-sponsored jihadist movement. From their perspective, it's time to consolidate their gains in the diplomatic and propaganda wars--and avoid a major defeat for their terrorist allies who are actually fighting the Israelis.

If this pattern sounds a bit familiar, it should. Arab leaders began calling for a cease-fire almost from the start of the 1967 Seven-Day War, largely because the Israeli blitzkrieg caught them by surprise, and crushed their military forces. Similar calls were made in 1973, but only after the tide of battle shifted. When the Israeli Army counter-attacked across the Suez Canal (trapping an entire Egyptian Army), and pushed back the Syrians on the Golan Heights, Cairo and Damascus were more than happy to let the diplomats do their job.

As the diplomatic planets begin to align, the Bush Administration should continue to avoid this easy trap. Secretary of State Condolezza Rice has shown remarkable restraint by not rushing to the region, and making an early effort at shuttle diplomacy. She apparently understands the pattern of recent regional conflicts, and appears willing to let the Israelis take the necessary military steps, including a major incursion into Lebanon, creation of a new buffer zone, and denial of potential rocket launch sites to Hizballah. As the conflict enters a potentially decisive phase, both Washington and Tel Aviv must be careful, and avoid substituting a premature "settlement" for a military victory.

Distressingly, Washington now seems to be bowing to international pressure. Latest media reports suggest that she will travel to the Middle East as early as next week, and unveil a U.S. peace plan.


Joe Buzz said...

Spook, I know this is OT but thought you would enjoy nonetheless:
Google Earth.. Chinese Terrain model

Mrs. Davis said...

This offensive has been a long time starting. A couple of possible reasons:

1) Modern war uses prodigious amounts of material. Rather than go to JIT delivery as in prior wars, Israel is building up supplies so that it can finish the job without being pressured by its prime supplier, the U. S.

2) Israel has discovered that because of the Hezb'Allah's defensive positions this will be a very different kind of war and has had to adjust tactics as a result of early reconnaissance.

Is this being very well thought out? Or is Israel at a loss and afraid to sustain casualties?

Mrs. Davis said...

Of course it's being well thought out. What I meant to ask is, has the magnitude of the challenge of Hezb'Allah's defense caused a lot more time to be spent on planning?

Unknown said...

Mrs. Davis--

All your points are well-taken. The Israelis understand the need for logistical preparation and proper operational planning. Having an Air Force capable of keeping Hizballah engaged gives them the time required to properly plan (and execute) the ground attack.

Papa Ray said...

The situation north of the border reminds me of us chasing the VC in Nam. They had miles and miles of underground facilities and tunnels. We would blow up the ones we found and all the while, like little moles, they were digging new ones and repairing, expanding the old ones.

Most of course, we never found. It was only when they came out and started fighting toe to toe during TET that we were able to kill them by the thousands.

Of course, they had years to develop these underground networks, just like the Hiz. has.

I don't envy the IDF one bit. Its going to be hell, tanks and arty are of no use against this type of defense.

They don't need just a few weeks, they need months, many months depending on how many men they can put up there and how much food and water the Hiz. has secured in their underground hideouts.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Abe Bird said...

"Washington and Tel Aviv"?

I prefer to call that alliance "Washington and Jerusalem"... just to be more realistic accurate...

Abe Bird said...

Papa Ray

You're totally right when you mention the similarity of the Hizbollah underground facilities and tunnels to the V-Nams. But their is one big differese, Shouthern Labanon is a vast rocky hard soil mountain which not make let people dip there easily for long distance. We might suggest that there are lot of mainly facilities and road/side-bombs that make the Hizbollah terrorists to stay within their shelters until proper time to come out and start action. That's why the IDF is bombarding every house and hill that picked up from the intelligence sources they have preparing to clean the area as much as possible before the infantry entrance.

3dc said...

Israel doesn't appear to have a properly functioning counterbattery system. Turn around time is reported to take over 15 mins for counter battery fire and that's far too long to supress it. (They have run by that time.)

They are using air spotters to find rocket firing sites too. That's not good. You can fake that out lots of ways and turn around time is too long.

FoxNews was reporting merkava tanks obliterated by IEDs many times larger than those in Iraq. Hezb has had 10+ years to plan and emplace them.

There are lots of other issues.
Oldspook points out that Israel has not fought a real war since 73. Their land forces are designed for terrorist fighting now. But, with the Hezb rockets and fighting style they would do better with a regular army structure.

They just might have the wrong army to fight this war.

Pray I am wrong.