Back in the trench
I was away from my blog this past week but I'm glad to be back. From the look of things this past day in Israel the IDF are also back in the trenches and the real ground war has begun.
I'll be posting about IDF operations later once I get my groove on and catch up with my email and blogs, in the mean time I'll pretend that this expanded operation started weeks ago as it should have and refrain from making many negative comments regarding the Israeli security cabinet and their previous meetings which jeopardized the IDF operation in my opinion, severely.
Instead, let's look at results.
There were big gains by the IDF announced yesterday;
- 2/3 of the Iranian Zelzal long range missile threats in Hezbollah hands is estimated to have been targeted.
- Large components of the medium to long range FAJR-3 and FAJR-5 are believed to have been negated for now.
- The bulk of the short range katyusha threat remains intact, these make up most of the mass of the rockets hitting Israel, on avg of more than 100 a day.
- A few hundred Hezbollah fighters are believed to have been killed, there's no definite intelligence on numbers.
These are indeed substantial gains, but clearly for three weeks of round the clock aerial bombing and special forces operations these gains are not nearly solid enough to ensure a measure of sustainability on the ground in Lebanon. If the fighting were to end right now it would be dubious to quantify the engagement as successful despite the losses for Hezbollah, they would bounce back quickly in the vacuum before any stabilization forces could even attempt to control south Lebanon. This assuming the rocket attacks on Israel stopped as well, which they wouldn't making international talk of stopping the operation now sheer nonsense.
There are more ways than one into the Bog
The original IDF proposals from two weeks ago are now being put into effect, and the push to the Litani river is on. These were rejected nearly two weeks ago by the Israeli security cabinet on the opposition of two or three key Labor party ministers. In their rush to avoid getting 'bogged down' again in Lebanon, by denying the operation the oxygen it needed in the form of troops and rules of engagement on the ground - Ministers effectively 'bogged down' again in Lebanon.
There was a small decision making / leadership breakdown, but it appears Olmert is on track for now thank the lord. After just 4 days of initial operations the Army was plain spoken that the air campaign and special forces alone would not be able to get the job done or meet objectives.. Hopefully the IDF can adeptly counter and regain strong momentum as it pushes forward finally armed with the numbers and rules (we'll see what they are definitively soon) it needs.
The circus known as the UN Security council will be active this week trying to immediately impose the EU ideal of a one sided cease fire deal, good luck to them and those that believe that such a call will halt the fighting. Israel faces a strategic threat from the Hezbollah rockets and unless the International community has a solution on the ground in the next 96 hours they can keep on pontificating for the media with little result.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Israel's decision to step up military action in Lebanon is unacceptable and will only stoke extremism in the Middle East, European Union president Finland said on Tuesday.
Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, who will chair an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers on the crisis later on Tuesday, told reporters the 25-nation bloc must take a united stance at the risk of making clear its difference with the United States, which backs Israel. "It is unacceptable for Israel to continue with its current policy," he said before briefing European Parliament leaders.
"The words of Mr (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert and his plans for further military attacks is concerning and we have this message to him: it is unlikely to bring military success, it will only fuel the support for Hizbollah and other extremists in the region."
Not nearly as unacceptable as the UN & Lebanese failures over the past 2 decades Mr. Tuomioja resulting in thousands of rocket attacks on Israeli citizens, as such please start preparing to live with dejection. The facts remain that it takes 3-4 days to mount a large scale incursion of this nature in preparation and ramp, that has now passed. Another 3 days to deploy initially and begin securing ground even one or two kilometers in, and only then does the actual advance happen which will take a least another 5 days minimum probably longer.
Equally, you don't halt these operations in mid-stream with ease. Disengaging safely from Lebanon alone if such a call were issued immediately would take at least a few days in of itself. As such there's at least 10 days of active ground operations left in my estimation before the ground operation switches to suppression within Lebanon and the awaiting of any other military, Lebanese or international to take the baton and secure Lebanon for any duration.
Endless UN Failure / Double standards brought us here
Most enlightening in all of this is the endless UN failure which bears a strong measure of responsibility for the conflict. The ground operations will unroll precisely and exactly into the UN controlled South Lebanon zones monitored by UNIFIL, the international force in place there since 1978 'Observing'. That zone ends at the Litani river as well, in other words the IDF is going in to do the failed job of the UN & Lebanon to the tee..
On the big map courtesy of Al-Reuters, the demarked current UNIFIL zone in the south is hashed. This is where the IDF will be operating. Of the EU Council I would ask simply, 1978 to 2006 equals 28 YEARS. So you and your pishers had your opportunity for 28 years Mr. Tuomioja!?
Now, you'll just have to swallow the 'unacceptable' I guess and observe for a few weeks how things are done in the Middle East as opposed to fantasy land in Finland.. that's right observe – just like your UN sanctioned UNIFIL force for the last 28 years.
Compared to how long you & your cronies managed to accomplish absolutely nothing, a few weeks for Israel to defend itself seems just dandy by me.
When one takes into account the approximate 20 kilometer zone, and how tiny it is in reality as evidenced on the map. I'm left wondering after 3 weeks of endless leaflet & radio warnings & a war why people calling themselves civilians are still in this area perpetuating the 'crisis'?
They may be humans but their ability to shield Hezbollah is dubious to say the least. Qana was the big story yesterday getting endless air play. When a tour bus goes off a ravine killing 60 seniors you might see a blurb about it somewhere, I know because plenty of such tour buses have done just that. Apparently when 60 people including seniors & children sadly are killed in a building collapse in a warzone shielding a terrorist organization, it is much bigger news.
Of course the numbers killed are seemingly much lower now judging from initial recovery efforts, but where's the surprise? Only 28 corpses have been recovered according to the Red Cross (YNET, Hat Tip LGF), far from the 60 Lebanon has claimed in the PR..
UPDATE: The EU Council 'Emergency' statement calling for immediate halt & cease fire fails; Germany, Czechs, & UK say eventual cease fire needed (Haaretz).
EU states clash over call for immediate cease-fire in Lebanon
By News Agencies
Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic on Tuesday resisted European Union efforts to call for an immediate cease-fire in the fighting in Lebanon, diplomats said.
The three countries, at emergency EU foreign ministers' talks, offered an alternative draft calling for an eventual "cessation of hostilities," with no time frame given.
The original draft, circulated as ministers from the 25-nation bloc began a rare August meeting, also warned of breaches of international law in the three-week-old fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.
"The Council called for an immediate cease-fire," the draft statement said. "Disregard for necessary precautions to avoid loss of civilian life constitutes a severe breach of international humanitarian law."
The bloc had been divided over whether to demand an immediate cease-fire and a united call spells out a difference with the United States, which has refrained from urging an immediate halt to the violence. Earlier in the day, EU president Finland branded Israel's decision to step up military action against Hezbollah guerrillas unacceptable. [...]