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Monday, April 20, 2015

Our 'other' problem

Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens writes that Hezbullah is a more immediate threat to Israel than is Iran.
A nuclear weapon in the hands of the Iranians would have a large-scale, negative geopolitical effect on the Middle East, but the probability that the weapon would actually be used is extremely small. However, the physical damage caused if it were to be used is essentially infinite. With the withdrawal from Sinai, Israel became a point target for a nuclear bomb. The product of the probability and damage incurred is, therefore, incalculable.
The probability of Hezbollah launching its reservoir of missiles and rockets against Israel is substantial. The theories discussed about our ability to deter them from taking such an action are not on very solid ground. Multiplying such a subjective probability by the damage that is likely to be incurred produces a result, which although indefinite, should be of grave concern to all.
Whereas the Iranian nuclear threat has been occupying our civilian and military leadership these past years – and constant efforts have been made to slow down the Iranian nuclear program – excepting civil defense programs conducted by the Israel Defense Forces Home Front, Israel’s answer to the Hezbollah rocket and missile threat has been limited to a reliance on a dubious theory of deterrence. The opportunity to destroy Hamas’ rocket capability in Gaza was missed during Operation Protective Edge last summer.
From year to year, Hezbollah’s rocket and missile threat has grown in numbers, range and accuracy. Despite the efforts that were made over the years to interfere with the supply of weapons to Hezbollah from Iran and Syria, the Shi’ite group’s capabilities to cause severe damage to Israel’s civilian population and infrastructure has continued to grow. It should be clear the hope that Israel will be able to deter Hezbollah from utilizing this capability cannot be considered an adequate strategy for Israel.
In other news from our northern front, 'our friends, the Saudis' have arranged for the Lebanese army to receive its first shipment of some $3 billion in weapons that the Saudis are purchasing for Lebanon from France.
Lebanon received the first installment of $3 billion worth of French weapons paid for by Saudi Arabia on Monday, part of a four-year plan to help arm Beirut in its battle against jihadi groups.
The handover ceremony held at Beirut's international airport was attended by Lebanese and French defense ministers and top army officers.
The deal aims to boost Lebanon's military as it struggles to contain a rising tide of violence linked to the civil war in neighboring Syria.
Iran also wishes to arm the Lebanese army.
Lebanon announced the surprise $3 billion grant from Saudi Arabia in December 2013. Since then, Riyadh's regional rival, Iran, also has said it is ready to provide aid to the Lebanese army. Many Lebanese view these offers as part of a competition for influence over their tiny country, which is riven by sectarian fissures.
The Lebanese army is generally seen as a unifying force in Lebanon, and draws its ranks from all of the country's sects.
Those 'sects' include Hezbullah (which is an Iranian proxy - makes you wonder why the Saudis are arming the Lebanese Armed Forces). In fact, Hezbullah is the dominant force in the LAF, and the IDF has been telling people that for years. You might recall that in the summer of 2010, the LAF murdered an IDF officer.

What could go wrong?

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At 8:57 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

Israel needs to publish a usage doctrine that asserts that an attack by Hezbollah is an attack by Iran and Israel will therefore respond in kind to both Hezbollah and Iran.

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Ben Jacobs said...

I don't think they would quiver in their proverbial boots, Empress. The point is that Israel is defenseless. If it attacks Iran, it will be demolished by Hizbollah. If it attacks Hizbollah, it will be nuked by Iran.

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Ben Jacobs said...

I don't think that will scare them, Empress. Israel is essentially defenseless. If it attacks Iran, it will be demolished by Hizbollah. If it attacks Hizbollah, it will be nuked by Iran.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Ben G. said...

In Gaza, the IDF had its hands tied by claims of "disproportionality." If Hezbullah were to start an effective all-out attack (not just cheapo rockets falling in fields and parking lots), presumably Israel could launch a no-holds-barred retaliation, trying to persuade Hezullah to call it quits.

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Hi Ben G,

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you aren't old enough to remember 1967 or 1973.

In 1967, the Egyptians claimed they were winning ... until they begged for a Security Council session, which stopped Israel.

In 1973, Israel came very close to being wiped out, but the World sat in silence until the tide was turned. Once again, the Security Council prevented an Israeli victory (try Googling "Ariel Sharon, Third Army Sinai).

Sadly, it's highly unlikely Israel will be allowed to execute a no holds barred retaliation even if Hezbullah does attack us first.


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