Saturday, June 13, 2015

Target of Opportunity

Is Israel getting ready for an Assad defeat by preparing to hit Hezbollah as it retreats from their Syria expedition?

Israel has ordered a lot of precision bomb equipment:

Israel recently ordered $1.9 billion worth of smart bombs from the U.S. This order mainly consists of JDAM (22,000 kits for 500, 1,000 and 2,000 pound bombs). Nearly half the JDAMs are for 500 pound bombs. Also included are 1,500 Paveway laser guided bomb kits. These kits are added to an unguided bomb to create a GPS guided JDAM smart bomb. A number of non-kit smart bombs were also ordered including 4,100 SDBs (Small Diameter Bomb) and 3,000 Hellfire missiles. Also included were 250 AMRAAM air-to-air radar guided missiles and sundry test and maintenance equipment for all these smart bombs. This order is for expanding the Israeli Air Force war reserve and meant to cope mainly with a massive rocket attack by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah is prepared for a bigger and better effort to kill Israeli civilians with rockets fired from southern Lebanon.

Although much of Hezbollah's claims of death and destruction are just bravado concealing worry about a sudden two-front war, Israel can't just sit and take it, for the simple reason that their Iron Dome defenses can't stop a barrage longer than Hezbollah can sustain it. Israel must stop the launches before they run out of Iron Dome ammunition.

My question on achieving this is whether the Israelis just want a faster version of their 2006-style air-only failed strategy by turning the dial to 11; or whether their improved air power is to support a ground drive all the way to Baalbek, Lebanon, to really tear up Hezbollah.

While fear of jihadis taking over large segments of Syria could deter an attack against this pillar of Assad's defenses, should Assad start to go down, Israel would have nothing to deter them from hammering Hezbollah just as they are reeling from Assad's collapse.

Perhaps a revitalized Lebanese army could then help contain jihadis if the Israelis take out Hezbollah's state-within-a-state that denies Lebanon 

And as long as Israel can support non-jihadi rebels along the Israeli and Jordanian borders, the direct threat to Israel would be contained a bit until a coalition can be formed to take on an ISIL-run Damascus.