Monday, December 24, 2018


Israel is filling in four cross-border tunnels that Hezbollah dug. Is this the last defensive step before Israel launches an offensive?

The Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah, which increasingly dominates the formal state of Lebanon, lost an attack option:

The Israeli military on Thursday began to seal off four tunnels that it said had been dug by the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah under the border from Lebanon. ...

Israel has called for UNIFIL to deal with the tunnels on the Lebanese side of the border. The Israeli military has said it holds the Beirut government responsible for breaching Security Council resolution 1701, which ended a 2006 war with Hezbollah.

Israel has demonstrated that Hezbollah violated the ceasefire and that neither UNIFIL nor the formal state of Lebanon is able to control Hezbollah.

Israel is paying a lot of attention to their northern border.

Is this the last step--assuming Israel is confident it has identified all the tunnels--before transforming Northern Shield into Northern Sword for a deep ground attack that pushes all the way to the Baalbek region to seriously tear up Hezbollah's terror infrastructure (facilities and rear echelon support personnel) while Hezbollah fighters are still deployed in Syria even as that war's phase for control of territory in the west winds down?

Filling in the tunnels and the construction of border walls on the Lebanese border provides a barrier to protect northern Israel while the Israelis push north. And provides a line to defend after the ground forces return to Israeli territory.

And the timing of this could be very good for Netanyahu if what is planned is a multi-month operation that returns to the border at the conclusion of the mission after destroying Hezbollah infrastructure, killing terrorists, and grabbing intelligence:

Israel will hold an early general election in April, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, after members of his governing coalition met to discuss differences over legislation.

I've been looking for such a campaign--essentially a large ground raid--for a long time based on the failure of the 2006 air campaign and based on the idea that it makes sense for Israel to hit Hezbollah hard after it has been bloodied and staggered from their major role in Syria. But Israel would need to do that before Hezbollah can return their fighters to Lebanon and recover from the bloodletting they endured on behalf of Assad and Iran and build on that combat experience.

So I could continue to be wrong about the dots that I think should be connected. But I believe my reasoning is solid.

UPDATE: Interesting:

In the south Israel carried out air strikes against three targets outside Damascus that were apparently Iranian or Hezbollah bases or warehouses. One of the targets was a meeting of senior Hezbollah leaders that left several of those Hezbollah commanders dead, or not. The Hezbollah leaders may have flown off to Iran shortly before the attack. Half an hour before the airstrikes an Iranian B-747 freighter aircraft left Damascus after making a delivery from Iran that was believed to be weapons because the 747 belonged to the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps).

Was that a pre-H Hour attempt to decapitate Hezbollah leadership? Is having the leadership off in Iran good enough in the short run?

Or was this just a routine attempt to harm Hezbollah that means nothing more than that?

UPDATE: I guess it may be a problem to determine when Israel has the tunnel threat locked down:

Israel's army said Wednesday it had located a fifth Hezbollah attack tunnel crossing into its territory from Lebanon and destroyed it with explosives.

Is there a deadline for locking down the tunnel threat? Netanyahu says the mission is nearly complete.