Is Israel about to attack Hizballah?
Is Israel laying the ground for pre-emptive air strikes against targets belonging to the militant Shi’ite group Hizballah in Lebanon?
Tensions have been building along the Lebanon-Israel border in recent days. The Israeli army was engaged last week in large-scale military exercises in northern Israel, close to the border with Lebanon, putting into practice the lessons learned from last year’s 34-day war against Hizballah. The exercises took place at the same time as Israeli jets conducted a growing number of mock air raids and overflights in Lebanese airspace. Israeli aircraft fly in Lebanese airspace on a near daily basis, but last week Lebanese army anti-aircraft units fired at the jets for the first time since the end of the war.
Hizballah, too, is reported to have carried out over the weekend its largest ever military manouevers in south Lebanon. According to a report Monday in Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper, Hizballah’s three-day exercise was a response to the Israeli army’s own maneuvers and was intended, according to quoted Hizballah sources, to “deter the enemy from undertaking any further Lebanese adventures.” [complete article]
I am a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, and I’m doing my thesis on the impact of the Israeli use of force on resistance identities.
If Israel wants a disarmed Hizbullah, than military exercises and fly-overs are the worst thing they could be doing. Threatening South Lebanon strengthens Hizbullah’s legitimacy both within their Shiite social base and beyond. History shows us that the more force Israel exerts in Lebanon, the powerful Hizbullah becomes politically. If Israel wants a Lebanon with Hizbullah militias, they must tone down the war drums and begin to address the standing grievances.
The Israeli generals belief that Hezbollah is some how unable to defend itself properly if Israel preamptively attacked them seems foolish. It is true that because of the political conflict In Lebanon Hezbollah seems unlikely to attack themselves, but that has nothing to do with military readyness, and the IDF attacking first should give Hezbollah all the political cover it would need. It seems very likely that such an attack would be part of broader US/Israel attack on Iran. This is one more worrying sign of another foolish war in the not so distant future. Lets hope it is all bluff.
I have yet to figure out what the Israeli end-game strategy is for either the 2006 attack or the current threats of attack. Do they think the air force can destroy Hizbullah? When has the Israeli strategy of assassination and bombardment of resistance groups ever worked?
To have a hope crushing Hezbollah Israel would have to attack on a similar scale as that of 1982. I don’t know if they can really afford this. Probably in this case Hezbollah would go back to pure gurrilla tactics, instead of the half semi-conventional tactics of last summer. Then what can Israel do? Re-occupy south Lebanon? With such a large UN force there it could get pretty crowded. Even though Israel has no problem shooting at UN forces they still like deniability. I think a major offensive might be difficult, just for this reason alone.
Haven’t read all the other comment, so forgive the repetition, but any Israeli attack will coincide with US attacks on Iran…
This article, BTW, was interesting until it neatly dropped from report to opinion. No mention, for example, of the defensive posture of Hizbullah forces.