Thursday, April 12, 2018

In, Down, Up, and Out

I've noted that an Israeli operation to dig Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon makes sense. I've been writing that since the failed 2006 war. And I've noted that the winding down of the Syria multi-war is the time to strike when Hezbollah has suffered maximum casualties in Syria fighting for Assad. Lately, it seems like there is more chatter about an Israeli attack, which I envision as essentially a giant ground raid.

And it really seems like the Israelis are serious about literally digging Hezbollah out of their positions:

In the last few years Israel has modified its infantry training to put more emphasis on dealing with an enemy that uses a lot of tunnels and militarizes high-rise buildings, often including keeping some of the civilian residents of these apartment towers for use as human shields.

The tunnel anxiety began in 2014 as an after-effect of the mid-year “50-Day War” between Hamas and Israel in Gaza. The discovery of how much Israel had underestimated the Hamas tunnel system led to some immediate changes in infantry training. ... To facilitate the training of over 100,000 active duty and reserve troops the army spent several million dollars to build ten tunnel training facilities. In addition to realistic sections of tunnel, where troops can also use their weapons, there is also a highly detailed computer simulator for planning and carrying out a combat operation against an enemy tunnel.

The 2014 Gaza war in some ways seems more like a live-fire exercise for a war against the far bigger threat of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

But then again, I've thought other wars with Gaza could be the same thing. Unless the Hezbollah objective is big enough to try again and again to refine tactics in Gaza against the smaller foe of Hamas in a smaller area.

And if I read this correctly, Hezbollah is expecting a ground war rather than even more aerial bombardment than what they experienced in 2006:

Iran has apparently ordered Hezbollah to make preparations for war with Israel. This can be seen by recent Hezbollah moves to take control of Lebanese Army forces on the Israeli border and to push the UN peacekeepers (who are supposed to prevent this sort of thing) out of the way. Hezbollah is building a new line of fortifications and anti-tank obstacles closer to the Israeli border.

Fortifications implies ground fighting positions rather than mere bomb shelters. Anti-tank obstacles are self-evidently aimed at stopping ground attacks.

Of course, Hezbollah might not expect how deep Israel will advance when war starts.

Also note that Hezbollah is strong enough to push aside the national army and the UN force in southern Lebanon.

That Strategypage post about Hezbollah preparations also includes this:

The coming war involves Israel invading Lebanon, Syria and Gaza to stop the massive rocket attacks.

The main effort will be against Hezbollah. I honestly doubt Syria will be targeted with ground forces, especially given Russia's presence. And I suspect Israel will try to leave Gaza alone unless Hamas joins the fight--and only then would a major Israeli ground effort go after Gaza.