Hezbollah Rocket Barrages:
- Over 56 Israeli civilians wounded, one tragically killed in the coastal city of Naharyia.
- Safed, the old city home of Jewish mysticism bombarded mercilessly, over 30 injured some critically.
- Katyusha rocket strikes impacting Israel clear across the Northern border, East to West.
The IDF has revealed a taste of things to come in a blistering opening bombing campaign. IDF spokes people have made one fact abundantly clear. Lebanon is being held responsible & accountable, as such ALL of Lebanon is open for target, not just southern Hezbollah occupied Lebanon, not just the heavily influenced Syrian border areas, but the North, Beirut, Tyre, are all legitimate targets and will be struck as deemed necessary by military, not political considerations. Beirut has already called for a 'cease fire'. That will not be good enough..
First order of business, cutting transportation lines & links:
- Beirut Airport, some runways have been pocketed no flight operations.
- 2 Military airports targeted, Riak in the Beka'a Valley off Syria, & Kuliyat in the North of Lebanon.
- Reports that major bridges and access points, over 20 of them according to the Lebanese have been ironed.
- Numerous storage depots, munitions bases belonging to the Hezbollah have been bombed, some deep in Lebanon, others in the Beka'a valley bordering Syria, and the south.
- The Israeli Navy is establishing blockades outside Key Lebanese ports
It is likely the IDF will soften up targets in this manner and build up pressure for the opening 48 hours of this campaign. IDF reserve units have been called up for immediate deployment in the North of Israel. Once civilian populations in the South of Lebanon smart enough to leave have moved due to the opening pressure, if the IDF decides to press on the full range of IDF Artillery will likely bombard the area with abandon, followed by armored penetration into the south to clear the Hezbollah nests.
The goal is apparently not to deter at this point, but destroy the terrorist infrastructure and push Hezbollah way back off the borders of Israel into the arms of their Lebanese brothers.
Historical precedents: PLO / Hezbollah
The most interesting way to measure this campaign will be historically. These terrorists, are following an old play book and the parallels are most illuminating..
Both these terrorist organizations have now played this game with Israel. Hezbollah is parked in the south of Lebanon just as the PLO was in the late 70's & early 80's. The same threat of terrorist attack, the same threat of bombardment & shelling to Israel's northern communities, and the same ideological goal of destroying Israel. Just as before, terrorist actions have pushed Israel over the boiling point, here's a look at what happened then to the PLO & Lebanon, to better understand what may happen now.
PLO, Jordan & Black September:
Jordan in the outset of the 70's was one of the most prolific spots for terrorist organizations anywhere in the World. From the numerous Palestinian groups that make up the PLO, to utlra left communist guerrilla groups, to the German Bhader-Meinhoff.. These groups found common cause in Jordan, and more importantly open range. The results of which was the birth of modern terrorism as we know it today. Examples such as the hijacking of numerous civilian airliners initiated by Palestinian groups, the first of their kind pushed Jordan's King Hussein into a crisis.
70% Palestinian in population, attempts on the King's life and general chaos (similar to what we see under the Hamas in Gaza / WB) threatened to topple out right the King's Hashemite dynasty in Jordan. His response would set the tone in Jordan, for the terrorists it would be remembered as Black September. Sept, 1970 the Jordanian army engaged the PLO and terror groups with shelling, infantry and armor. Clearing the PLO house to house and killing large numbers of militants & civilians. The resulting agreement hammered out under force, saw the PLO, Yasser Arafat and his terrorists rousted from Jordan. They took up residence en mass in Lebanon. The PLO had attempted to take over Jordan by force, but their brutality was pale in comparison to the war they would bring their new home.
PLO in Lebanon
The horror story that is the Palestinians obsession with terrorism follows to Lebanon. 1976, the year of the Munich Olympic massacre and the killing of Israeli athletes by the PLO & associated groups, already saw the PLO as a serious player in the already fractured Lebanese civil war between Christian Maronites & Muslims. During the next few years, the savagery of Beirut during the civil war would become legendary. This is the time period in which groups such as Hezbollah are formed, radical Islamic terror groups savagely murdering with no regard for anything. Beirut would be smoldering and piled with rubble before all was said & done.
The IDF / Christian Maronite alliance
Israel intent on stopping the never ending terrorism from emanating from Lebanon and establishing a buffer within Lebanon itself, the Christians seeking a powerful military ally with which to smash their Islamic enemies, formed an alliance. Israel's invasion to push the Palestinian terror groups would see IDF forces laying siege to the Capitol Beirut itself.
Over 9 weeks of massive bombardment & fierce fighting. Many of the tools & targets of the IDF today are the same ones used in the earlier Beirut conflict, the targeting of Palestinian terrorist leaders, weapon storehouses, heavy weapons, training camps, offices, etc. The resulting combat saw Beirut being flattened in the fighting..
Lebanon eventually came to the conclusion that harboring, sheltering & supporting a terrorist group / political party within Lebanon was simply too high a price to pay, and the Lebanese (Muslims included) ordered the PLO out. About 15,000 PLO fighters, the bulk of the PLO were forced to leave Lebanon to Tunis, over 2000 kilometers away. Arafat and his terrorists remained exiled out in the middle of nowhere in Tunis until the Oslo 'Peace' Accords, when he was allowed to return to the territories by Israel in return for the peace that never came.
Israel itself retained a buffer zone in the South of Lebanon until six years ago, before withdrawing to UN recognized lines. Israel fulfilled its end of the bargain, but Lebanon has remained a base of terror. Hezbollah now holds seats in the Lebanese parliament playing the dual role politics & terror, just like the radical Islamic terrorist organization of Hamas on the southern front of this war in Gaza & the West Bank.
Hezbollah in Lebanon
During the six year span since Israel's withdrawal (2000), Hizbullah has filled the vacuum. They now rule the South of Lebanon as a quasi Islamic terror state, cut off from the Lebanese Army, funded by Iran & Syria. Just like the PLO they have pushed the terror envelope and invited Israel's response. Are they aware of the painful lesson history taught the PLO, and will they bring total ruin to the country of Lebanon? Beirut has rebuilt since its civil war, but apparently not learned the lessons of the past. Hezbollah must be disarmed, or we may very well see them driven from Lebanon just as the PLO was, by the IDF.
Identical factors are playing out in Gaza. Hamas has taken up a political seat, yet refused to disarm and give up terrorism their chief purpose. In both instances a withdrawal from territory, an opportunity for the Islamists to lead with dignity, and then the reality which is terrorist warfare. This has nothing to do with occupation, this has to do with destroying Israel. It has to do with a gobal radical Islamic Jihad.
The plain reality that the war & fighting will need to be taken to the enemies borders, not those of Israel is also dawning. Whatever the case may be in this regional explosion now underway. A new political reality has been acknoweldged in Israel regarding Lebanon, & Gaza. The Status Quo of Israel absorbing attack after attack with limited responses comprising of tough words & endless restraint is now finished.
Hezbollah Wikipedia entry - Good information overall, be mindfull of the requisite whitewashing.