Monday, July 24, 2006

Good Enough for Government Work

Israel lacks the time or desire to commit the ground forces to smash Hizbollah this round. The Israelis have screwed up by killing too many Lebanese and destroying too much Lebanese infrastructure without affecting Hizbollah or their immediate Syrian or distant Iranian sponsors.

Well, I think we have a candidate for an objective that the Israelis will capture and say is a tangible victory:

Fierce fighting raged as Israeli troops moved deeper into Lebanon to besiege Bint Jbail, dubbed the "capital of the resistance" due to its intense support of Hezbollah during Israel's 1982-2000 occupation of the south.

Israeli artillery barrages sent plumes of smoke into the air and the military said soldiers took control of the area around Bint Jbail but did not capture the town, about 2 1/2 miles from the border.

Ten Israeli soldiers were wounded in the attack, the military said.

Hezbollah claimed to have caused Israeli casualties in hits on five tanks moving on the road to Bint Jbail and around Maroun al-Ras, a hilltop village closer to the border that Israeli ground forces seized in heavy fighting over the weekend.

Bint Jbail holds a strong symbolism for Hezbollah. A day after Israel troops ended their occupation in 2000, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah went straight to Bint Jbail for his first celebration rally.

So capturing Bint Jbail will give Israel the excuse to give in to the growing demands for a cease fire by declaring a victory. This will be within the capabilities of the very small Israeli ground forces committed to this fight.

And then everyone will prepare for the next round. One that will feature a massive Israeli ground effort from day one.