Tuesday, August 01, 2017

When Near, Appear Medium to Long Term

It is difficult to really hide what an entire army is doing. So it is best to convince an enemy that what they see is different from what is. That's why military exercises like Zapad 2017 are dangerous. If we see a safe exercise but Russia intends it as mobilization as a prelude to attack, we are in a world of hurt. So what am I to make of Israeli preparations to fight?

If I am to believe this, Israel is preparing for a conventional threat in 5-10 years:

Israel is enjoying a period of relative calm, but in five to ten years, its strategic environment will likely be significantly more complex and challenging than it is today. For that reason, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has, under the Gideon multi-year working plan, placed combat training and war readiness at the top of its agenda.

The IDF General Staff has identified the objective of attaining a good state of war readiness, and keeping this readiness high, as a crucial objective for Israel in the medium to long term.

And to add to the fun, Israel wants to deter potential enemies, including Hezbollah and Hamas.

Who is the medium to long term conventional threat?

Egypt? Jordan? Unlikely. They are allied to the West and have enemies in common with Israel.

Syria? If the multi-war is over by then, they'll still be recovering. And they were quiet on the conventional front even before that war.

Iraq? Too far and with too much American influence despite Iran's subversion.

Iran? They are a future nuclear but not a conventional threat.

Then we have Hezbollah and Hamas.

Israel can already handle Hamas on the ground as they have demonstrated already (and if they stay long enough to rip up infrastructure).

And then there is Hezbollah, bled by 2,000 KIA fighting for Assad and with a 100,000+ rocket arsenal in southern Lebanon and rear areas deep inside Lebanon.

Israel doesn't need to deter parasitic sub-state Hezbollah which doesn't care about the health of its Lebanon host body. Let Israel pound it! Why would Hezbollah care?

My view is that Israel would like to pound Hezbollah while it is still committed in Syria. That requires a military prepared for mobile warfare prepared to drive north all the way to Baalbek to really tear up Hezbollah infrastructure--from border fortifications and rockets to rear area office, production, and storage facilities--and kill Hezbollah gunmen and bureaucrats while the cream of Hezbollah's troops are in Syria.

And killing those Syria-based troops from the air while they rush back to Lebanon will add to the pain Hezbollah will endure.

If I wanted to rip Hezbollah a new one, I'd want them to think my preparations that can't be completely hidden are for the medium to long term, and that my intent is to deter conflict and sit on the defensive along the border.

But maybe that's just me.

UPDATE: If Lebanon deploys Land Border Regiments to the Israeli border as planned, they will not control Hezbollah there and simply serve as a shield against Israeli military action against Hezbollah.

So I don't like this idea right now.

On the other hand, if Israel rips apart Hezbollah and disperses Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and harms their ability to regenerate by ripping up rear areas all the way to the Bekaa Valley, the Lebanese government would have an opportunity to impose national control on the southern region.

That might have a chance of working. We know the UN won't work, after all.