Israel prepared to step it up – On all fronts

I was less than enthused yesterday by some leaks and reports coming out of some of the more dovish members of Israel's political echelon which seemed resigned to failure.

Today, Olmert & Peretz met with the IDF in the Northern Command and were singing an altogether different tune in regards to defending Israel, should more pressure be needed and the current diplomacy track not produce REAL results.. 

Haaretz: Cabinet to meet over expansion of ground operations

Olmert met Monday with Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and other senior military and Military Intelligence officials who presented him with their plan for taking control of areas used by Hezbollah to fire its short-range rockets.

Under the plan, the IDF will take control of the area south of the Litani
River. The military officials also presented Olmert with a plan for an operation north of the Litani, in the area of Ramat Nabatiyeh where rockets were launched into Kiryat Shmona. The operation in Ramat Nabatiyeh, however, is likely to be put off for a later stage if necessary.

Olmert gave the military the go-ahead to present the plan to the cabinet, but refrained from expressing his views on it. General Staff officers believe that the political leadership will approve an expansion of the ground offensive in the near future. Nevertheless, the officers are waiting to see how the new initiative by the Lebanese government to deploy 15,000 soldiers in the south will be welcomed.

Olmert said Monday that the Israel Defense Forces would have no limitations in the fight against rocket fire in the north, saying it was unacceptable that so many people were forced to exist in bomb shelters. "We have to stop the rockets," Olmert said during a visit to the Northern Command. "We cannot have a million residents living in shelters. On this matter, there will be no limitations on the army. This war has involved fatalities, which hurts and is traumatic. This we know, but at the moment we have to cope with it, both on the battlefield and the home front. I will give you every strength and support, we are not stopping [the fight]."

GOC Northern Command, Major General Udi Adam told reporters Monday that the military is prepared for an expansion of the ground operation in southern Lebanon. "We are ready for this, and the minute we get the signal we will move to reach the launch sites and end the Katyusha fire," he said. "The military leadership has plans, and I expect that there are other considerations," Adam said regarding a possible IDF advance across the Litani River, 20km inside southern Lebanon. "There is a readiness for such a move should the talks between the U.S., France and Lebanon fail." [...]

During the visit they met with dozens of IDF reservist officers and were presented with a number of military assessments. The prime minister's bureau, said that the officers asked Peretz and Olmert to step up the fight until the enemy had been defeated. The officers said that the soldiers' motivation is high and they are ready to fight to bring quiet to the home front. [...]

Who doesn't want to avoid bloodshed? 

Sorry for the long block of text up there, but these things need to be clarified and thankfully Olmert & CO. did so today. Yes they are hoping for a diplomatic solution, banking on perhaps a resolution but the international will does not appear to be there, suggestions like UNIFIL show this clearly.

There is also the situation where 150+ rockets are smashing into Israel a day. Those rockets need to be taken out, either by military force or diplomacy, but simply having the 'cease firing' of those rockets is not a solution.

Balance of Power: The Day After

These rockets have been a massive deterrent, now they are flying & this is the one and only opportunity to alter the strategic picture in the region and with it the balance of power. If the Govt believes the diplomacy track at this stage maybe can bring about this result that is wonderful, but many questions remain and this fighting is still far from over. Israel's political will must match the will of the IDF and the public, watered down solutions are a great danger and this is indeed a pivotal time.

Lebanese Army

Declarations today that the Lebanese Cabinet is prepared to deploy its army to the south are a good start, however the conditions are simply not conducive to the disarming of Hezbollah. Half measures will not work & no other force will be able to subdue the rocket threat, only Israel. The State has had ample time, made gains, hurt Hezbollah enough that they want a cease fire – but on their terms which is the return to status quo.

Iran has no interest in seeing Israel advance to the Litani to subdue their proxy defanging it. That fact alone is a very strong impetus in my opinion to be skeptical & cynical regarding diplomacy at this stage which favors Iran & Hezbollah. Now is not the time to settle for less, would the public even allow it? It clearly would be a strategic error..

The diplomatic track

The manner in which this conflict has unrolled the past 25 days fairly demands this track at this point. The tactics employed have made gains but no one is under any illusions. Full Objectives have not been met and they do need to be met.. We are not seeing any big results in the diplomacy as it stands right now, perhaps that will change over the next 48 hours.

Israel is committed, finish it 

Round one was not fully effective. I trust Olmert will be strong, he will need to continue leading the State of Israel because the pressure is only beginning. Olmert & Peretz may be exhausted, the IDF may have been fighting hard, but the real test is only now just starting.

I am not sold personally on the notion that the strategic picture has changed because it has not. Circumstances may dictate a pause in any expansion for diplomacy and continued weakening of Hezbollah, but we need to pray & support Israel now more than ever.

  • goesh

    One (1) Syrian air base needs to be destroyed as a warning to them to quit supplying arms to hizbullah. If this is not heeded, then a second air base needs to be taken out along with their intelligence headquarters building. Sufficient evidence needs to be assembled to justify the strike on Syria and presented to the Israeli people who can then force the politicians to approve the attack.This is just a precursor to the coming Western assault on Iran. Once Iran is attacked, IDF needs to devastate Syria at the same time. The Shi'ite and Sunni differences are always set aside when it comes to aggression against Israel and  this equation must be destroyed. This arab hatred of Jews is pathological and only force of arms can assure Israel's survival. Cowards, fools and profit-mongers are the ones that want diplomacy and negotiations with people who want all Jews dead. Don't listen to them.

  • wolf terner

    Olmert is aw eak prime minister and a political hack! His artiste wife probably makes his life miserable by continuously telling him to stop the bad, bad IDF from killing those poor, poor Lebanese. Woe unto Israel!

  • Papa Ray

    I disagree that Syrian Military bases or personel should be the first targets. I think that hitting Syrian Government facilities and even their personal homes should be the first strikes. Think about that for a minute, who is the enemy here? Papa Ray

  • goesh

    Papa Ray makes a convincing argument. Over at the Belmont Club blog, Wretchard's post addressed terrorist groups taking on nation states with some degree of success. I commented that terrorist groups can take on nation states only because nation states continue to wring their hands over civilian deaths in the enemy camp. I seriously doubt anyone could give an accurate count of all the bombs that have been detonated against civilians all over the world by islamofacists since 9/11. (since 1948?) How many do you think, and this would include the many bombs in Iraqi civilian centers? What IDF is allowed to accomplish in Lebanon will shape forever what will happen to the islamic fundamentalists and the future of the free and civilized world. It is a moment in history none of us could anticipate or necessarily want, but it is here. If Western democracies will not allow the destruction of hizbullah then  the same nation states will not be able to prevent Iran from obaining nuclear weapons, and in but a few short years we will know war and horrors that will make the current situation in Lebanon seem like a minor, trivial skirmish. They brought us to this situation – our fate and future is clearly in our hands.

  • Goesh writes: "What IDF is allowed to accomplish in Lebanon will shape forever what will happen to the islamic fundamentalists and the future of the free and civilized world."

    This is the heart of the matter. I do not want to say it, but if this mission fails the drive to stop a nuclear Iran will also fail, this is not about Hezbollah this is about the coming century and all of our safety.

    If this is not stopped here, the Jihad WILL breach, they will get the weapons we fear, and we will see what real civilian casualties are all about, entire western cities comprising millions will be targeted and not with rockets.

    There can be no move against Syria or Iran it is too late at the international level for this, too many international actors let too much slide for too long and now Israel with not enough support despite the massive American backing cannot be thrust to handle this alone in that manner.

    There are weapons of great danger that will enter the conflict if what is suggested is enacted, on Israel on US forces in Iraq, and in the USA. If you are suggesting this then a joint NATO mission is needed, a full decapitation attempt on both state actors, in Iran comprising of the entire theocracy at the top. Such an event would require the use of tactical nuclear weapons for sub-terranean bunker use as well as hundreds of thousands of soldiers to deal with the aftermath. There is no public will for this, this would require the same unification (Europe) as World War II – Those allies are long gone in the public.

    Your thoughts?

    The Belmont Club mentioned is now up in the sidebar here at the Hashmonean for reading.

  • Meir Kahane

    I tried to tell you about these people but who listens to dead people or their ghosts these days?? 

  • goesh

    In confronting a thug, one can either put them on the ground and force them to submit, or kill them as they stand. Muslim-type dictatorships do not make for good military commanders and tacticians – they listen too much to God -  the need to cripple their nuclear capability would supercede the need to devastate the nation. "They shall have no helper", if I might be so bold as to quote from al qu'ran here, because no nation will join in to defend Iran once it is attacked. The above ground nuclear resources are to be taken out with stealth assets and if they then want to fight, their 'eyes and ears' will be taken out leaving their air power vulnerable and command and control infrastructure, as well as their navy and energy production capability. If there is to be a fight, their  private residences will be hit, as suggested by  a previous commentator. With this civilian population, they will know less death because of Iran's military positioning of forces and tactical lay-out. The mullahs will have as well a very serious internal threat to deal with if they focus their power solely on an external threat and choose to fight.

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  • Interesting Goesh, but the spectre of WMD is always there. The Iranians are big on the notion of sacrificing even millions. They have stated: In a nuclear showdown Iran wins by default, Israel will be destroyed, millions of Iranians would die, but Iran would survive.

    I fear the use of WMD in any confrontation. That is the reason I believe there must be a fully crippling strike against Iran that decapitates the regime, Israel while the regional power is not capable of this type of strike alone..

  • goesh

    The US with a couple of allies will do the job in Iran – just keep IDF ready to decimate Syrian infrastructure. That is all we will expect of you.

  • goesh

    trust in your Arrow missles – it has been known for some time that Iran will launch on Israel and though most of their long range assets can be taken out at the initial strike, some will get into the air against you. The real power brokers in Iran want to stay alive and they know Israel can unleash its nukes as the last resort.