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Sunday, December 23, 2012

What worked against Hamas won't work against Hezbullah

Yaakov Lappin explains why what stopped Hamas is not likely to stop Hezbullah.
Iron Dome has proven that an active defense system, in the service of devastating air power, can cow Hamas. But the same formula will not be effective against Hezbollah.

On the one hand, Israel is developing the David's Sling missile defense system (also referred to as Magic Wand), which is designed to deal with Hezbollah's arsenal of 50,000 rockets and missiles including those with medium- and long-ranges that place the whole of Israel in danger.

David's Sling fills gap between by Iron Dome and the Arrow 2 missile defense system, by intercepting projectiles with ranges that exceed 45 miles. Hezbollah has missiles that can hit targets up 125 miles away from their launch sites and carry warheads that are much larger than those carried by the Grads and Fajrs fired from Gaza in November.

Yet, David's Sling won't be operational until 2014, by which time a conflict with Hezbollah is a possibility.

Furthermore, even if David's Sling was operational now, military planners doubt it could stop an onslaught by Hezbollah as effectively as Iron Dome did the barrages from Gaza, as this would require a large number of batteries deployed across the whole of the country, costing an extravagant sum of money. Israel does not have infinite funds to invest in missile and rocket defense systems, and hence, much of the country would likely remain exposed to Hezbollah's attacks in a future clash.

And some of those rocket attacks could demolish entire buildings.

Additionally, active defense systems cannot prevent the need to set off air raid sirens, which disrupt daily life and can send millions of people running for cover several times a day. If that kind of situation went on for a prolonged period, ordinary life becomes untenable.

For all of those reasons, active defense is playing a secondary role in Israel's combat doctrine against Hezbollah.

Any future conflict with Hezbollah will therefore be characterized by overwhelming Israeli offensive capabilities. The IAF has been undergoing a technological transformation in recent years, allowing it to strike many times more targets that it could in the past.

For example, had it wanted to, the IAF could have hit all of the 1,500 targets it struck in Gaza within 24 hours rather than over the eight days in which it carried out Operation Pillar of Defense. Major progress being made in fighter jet weapons delivery systems is behind these remarkable abilities.

A pilot can now press a button and hit four targets at the same time from long distance, meaning that one plane can do what many were needed to do in the past.

Israeli intelligence has mapped out Hezbollah's rocket stockpiles, underground bases, and posts across southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah is more vulnerable than ever to Israel's offensive capabilities. Military sources have made it clear that the Gaza conflict was a small-scale version of the damage the IDF would inflict on Hezbollah in the event of a conflict with the Shi'ite terror organization.
Read the whole thing

As far as I am concerned, the biggest problem is that we keep letting the terror organizations live to fight another day. As long as that is true, nothing is going to change.

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