Troops are lined up at the border (via Captain's Quarters), Condoleezza Rice won't arrive until next week, and anyway the U.S. isn't interested in slowing Israel down just yet, and it looks like an invasion into Lebanon is coming. Sunrise in Israel is just over three hours from now, so we'll see what happens then.
Ed Morrissey describes what might result from an invasion, but at Boli-Nica, a reminder that there have been prior such invasions without a general conflagration breaking out. But there is no cold war tension to restrain the interested parties. He also discusses just how effective an organization Hezbollah really is. The temptation with Hezbollah is to compare them to other modern Arab armies and terrorist rings, competent only at throwing soldiers at invading tanks, armies that march well but break under serious stress. The bunkers, defenses, and arsenal of Hezbollah suggests they may different. They may also receive support from the Lebanese regular army, swelling their numbers and securing their position in Lebanon. Peace is never so distant as when each warring party thinks victory is near. Hezbollah has no reason to believe that they will fail to rebuff an Israeli invasion.
It's the strength of Hezbollah, the desperation of its supporters, especially Syria, and the absence of a controlling diplomatic structure that threaten to make this invasion incendiary and a larger war inevitable.
The IDF has said their mission in south Lebanon will be limited in scope, but at the same time say the mission will last weeks. It's a little hard to square the two.
I posted some links to maps of Lebanon a few days ago, but none were quite so informative as a map of Gaza I posted shortly after the Israelis commenced operations to suppress Hamas terrorism. Since then, I took some time to develop some better Lebanon maps. UPDATE: Satellite photos here.
First, here's a map of southern Lebanon derived from this PDF showing U.N. peacekeeper positions.
The PDF is quite detailed as far as places and U.N. locations in the south, but it has no topographical value. This map, a portion of which is zoomed below, is smaller but better for that purpose (from Perry-Castaneda).
UPDATE 7:43 pm CDT: The EU refuses to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, much less as a terrorist pseudo-state, the effective government of southern Lebanon:
"We have not analysed the list of terrorist activities or terrorist organisations in the last period of time and we have no intent in the foreseeable future to look into that again," [EU foreign policy chief Javier] Solana said.
"It would be perceived as blindly following Israel's and the U.S.'s demands," one EU diplomat said. Another official noted it would close off a possible channel of communication.
Hezbollah is an illegal private army that staged an armed assault against an Israeli military patrol, retained two prisoners from that exchange as hostages, and has fired missiles indiscriminately at Jewish cities. If the EU cannot call such an organization a terrorist organization, then it cannot be called on any level a friend of the United States.
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