Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No Speed Bumps

Israel is preparing the battlefield in southern Lebanon.

If the Israelis hit Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, they'll use ground forced early and won't use cluster munitions:

Israel would use a lot fewer cluster munitions in any future war with Hezbollah than it did in their 2006 conflict, even though it would go into southern Lebanon earlier and harder, a senior Israeli military officer said on Monday.

And deeper, too, unless I miss my guess (quoting a 2010 post of mine):

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.

Going deeper would provide a practical reason for declining to use cluster munitions against Hezbollah:

We no longer really need them. Precision weapons mean a single warhead can take out targets that previously needed the larger impact area for less-accurate warheads.

And the dud rate--essentially creating a thin mine field--made it a problem for our forces advancing into an area that we hit with cluster munitions (mostly our multiple rocket launchers).

If Israeli mechanized forces expect to drive north early, hard, and deep, they won't want their own mine fields slowing them down.

Which leaves the question of a trigger for such a war in doubt. Would Hezbollah take a spear for the team if Iran asks them to fight Israel?

Is Israel's comment an attempt to influence Hezbollah to say "no" to Iran?