Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Preparing for War

It looks like Israel is honing their skills in case they need to operate over and in the mountains of Lebanon:

Israel and Greece have been conducting military helicopter exercises in Greece. The exercises included mountain operations with transport and attack helicopters.

Which could mean that Israel won't be as foolish as they were in 2006 when they essentially made a shallow frontal assault on Hizbollah prepared positions along the border with Lebanon. Two years ago, the Israelis concluded that they failed on the ground. This exercise fits with the idea that the Israelis learned their lesson.

This time, Israel will go for deep penetrations to fully disrupt the enemy and seek to crush Hezbollah ground forces with their own ground offensive rather than relying on air power. Dropping troops deep behind the lines implies--to me--fast moving mechanized forces that penetrate enemy lines and link up with isolated airborne elements.

The next round, there will be no question that Israel will defeat Hezbollah, if Hezbollah wants to argue that surviving means they won.

UPDATE: Oh, and I assume that any war will be a multi-division push north of the Litani that will take advantage of the fact that Hezbollah, after 2006, wrongly believes it can go toe-to-toe with Israeli troops and so will fight as light infantry rather than as insurgents. For a while, Israel will be able to really pound Hizbollah ground forces as the Israelis take over rocket-launch sites and armories with troops.

Further, I'd guess the Israelis will push rapidly into the Bekaa Valley as far as Baalbek to tear up Hezbollah's rear area to slow down rearmament after the war is over. Air strikes would take place north of that, if necessary, I'd guess.

And a good portion of Israeli mechanized forces will stand ready to deter the Syrians from jumping in. The threat to drive on Damascus should be a powerful inducement to stay quiet even if Iran wants Assad to fight to the last Arab.