Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Israel To Push To The Litani

Israel has decided to expand ground operations, and yet has decided not to. They're planning to give diplomacy a few more days, though the military now has the authority to push as far as the Litani river.

The fighting has been brutal. 15 IDF troops were killed, mostly by anti-tank missiles supplied to Hassan Nasrallah's illegal, private army by Syria and Iran. The fighting is mostly in villages west of Bint Jbeil and maybe 1/3 to 1/2 the distance to the Litani.

Nasrallah continues to bluster like the little Nazi he is: he says south Lebanon will become Israel's graveyard. More likely, south Lebanon will become Lebanon's graveyard, but it's not like Nasrallah cares. What Israel needs to do to defeat Hezbollah is to be carefully brutal. That's how such an army is defeated. They need to be relentless and unafraid to expend excessive ordinance on single positions. Frankly, that's what any army that wishes to deal with Hezbollah needs to do. The virtue of a regular army is that can, if persistent, defeat a guerrilla force. The defeats guerrillas have inflicted on regular armies can't properly be called military defeats; their victories consist of regular armies giving up and going home. When those armies don't give up, the guerrillas usually find themselves either dead or defanged, so I think the war is right now in Israel's hands.

However, the trouble with the expansion of the ground campaign is that the Litani may not be far enough to protect parts of Israel. This map at Hashmonean shows that a good portion of northern Israel is still vulnerable to attack even from behind the Litani (via A-C-E).

The diplomats still bicker at the U.N., but now Nasrallah has made his opinion know: he welcomes the Lebanese army alongside the UNIFIL forces, but rejects any other force, including a multinational force. That basically means the U.S. suspicions are correct: the Lebanese aren't up to the job. The tyrant of south Lebanon wouldn't so easily accept their presence if he didn't think they could be bullied or bribed into joining his war against Israel.


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