Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lebanese Dust-Up Round-Up

The situation in the Levant this morning appears to be as follows:

The Jerusalem Post, citing the IDF Chief of Staff, says that the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by the Hezbollah terrorists are still alive. Their names are Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

The Israeli Air Force has bombed the Beirut airport. The Jerusalem Post piece says that Israel means to “restore Israel's deterrent capability” against Hezbollah, “…who thought the IDF was irrelevant…” Haaretz reports that the IAF also bombed a Lebanese Army Air Corps base at Rayak in eastern Lebanon, as well as the military airport at Qulayaat, in north Lebanon. A blockade, proclaimed or not, is in effect: the Beirut Daily Star and Haaretz both say that the Israeli Navy is turning away shipping bound for Lebanese ports.

In addition to Beirut and the airports, the IAF, so says, has attacked in at least 30 places in southern Lebanon, including “several bridges” apparently “with the purpose of making it harder for Hezbollah to take its prisoners out of the area.” The bridges are unspecified, but my guess is that the spans over the Litani are getting some attention.

Hezbollah has fired a barrage of at least 60 rockets into northern Israel. Haaretz reports the rockets were “Katyushas” (small, artillery type rockets, between 80 and 140mm, range of about 13 miles) – and that one person in northern Israel was killed in the barrage. “Dozens” have been hurt, Haaretz reports.

The Lebanese foreign ministry is demanding a “comprehensive cease-fire now.” The IDF spokesman says that the Lebanese government needs to do something about Hezbollah. The Israeli Defense Minister, Mr. Amir Peretz, quoted by Agence France Presse, says that: "[i]f the government of Lebanon fails to deploy its forces, as is expected of a sovereign government, we shall not allow Hezbollah forces to remain any further on the borders of the state of Israel."

President Bush has urged Syria to use its influence on Hezbollah to obtain the liberation of the kidnapped soldiers.

The AFP article notes that the Europeans have, of course, criticized Israel for its “disproportionate use of force."

My appreciation of the situation remains basically identical to that of yesterday: the extent of reserve call-ups and the nature of the political and military problem tells me that Israel is going to re-occupy southern Lebanon for a short time, in the same manner as it did in Operation Litani in 1978. The border raid must be avenged and the military ascendancy of the IDF reestablished, and the Katyusha firings must be stopped.

Selected targets throughout Lebanon will receive aerial, naval and commando attention. Syria will be left, militarily speaking, alone, except for such of its forces as may be present in, or enter into Lebanon, unless matters escalate further.
UPDATE 12:47 p.m. 13 July. May need to revise that Katyusha range figure. Carl from Jerusalem reports that two Katyushas fired from somewhere in Lebanon hit Haifa this morning. Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the country's largest port, about 26 miles from the Lebanon border. I wonder if the rockets that landed in Haifa are the usual Katyushas, or if they are instead Iranian Fajr-5's ? The Fajr-5 has a range of about 45 miles, and is believed to be in the possession of Iran's Hezbollah clients.
Hezbollah has just demonstrated an ability to hit major Israeli cities. Hezbollah is in Iran's pocket -- the specific pocket is that of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC -- Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Islami). I really do not think that Hezbollah would fire on Haifa without an okay from the IGRC command. Is this whole business Iran's response to what is going on in the UN as to the Iranian nuclear program ?
When the Iranians have a nuclear warhead for the Hezbollah's missiles, Mahmoud "Mad Jad" Ahmadinejad's threats -- and those of the mullahocracy generally -- to destroy Israel will no longer be idle bluster. All the relevant players know this...
The chances of general Middle East War have, today, increased exponentially.


louielouie said...

one other item that could be considered is to deflect the conversations away from the iran nukes to the m/e flare up at the g-8 meetings.

i can't understand why russia was allowed to join this organization.
because the world has gone to hexx in someones handbasket.

off topic comment:
i listened to your gov. rick perry, well......not your excellency's gov., i meant the gov. of texas, speak to the shuttle astronauts today. i must have missed your conversation with them. sorry.

El Jefe Maximo said...

When has the world NOT been there in someobdy's handbasket ?

As for the shuttle astronauts, the question is, which conversation did you miss ? After all, I talk with the shuttle astronauts give them the benefits of El Jefe's wisdom and some general inspiration, and advice on wine, scotch and cigar selections, and which Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition was the all round best.

The G-8 meetings are usually harmless. All they do is discuss decisions that are already made, and posture as needed for domestic political consumption.