Israel sent her warplanes into Syria this past weekend in order to intercept yet another attempted shipment of weapons potentially including advanced anti-aircraft missiles into Lebanon arming further the Hezballah terrorists who rule the Bekaa Valley and most of Lebanon south of the Litani River. Hezballah has already taken control of most of Lebanon and has indirect, more like reviewing rights of any actions or laws, of the Lebanese government, an improvement of sorts over the direct rule they held a few years back. Apparently trying to rule and fight wars with Israel was taking too great a threat of Israel holding Lebanon responsible. Now Lebanon has been afforded plausible deniable for Hezballah military actions which has not helped much with the events across the border and within their borders with Syria. The length of the reach by Hezballah included their required approval of choice for the new Prime Minister when the new government was formed. Full display of both Lebanon’s difficulty and the threat to Israel are obvious in the map below. Syria will try to drag Israel into the war once again so they can claim to be fighting a holy war against the Zionist entity and will use all of Hezballah’s abilities if need be to accomplish this. That makes the weapons Hezballah already possess and any they are able to smuggle all the more important and why Israel must prevent certain weapons systems of ever being smuggled into Lebanon and to Hezballah forces there. That was the reason for the raid and why there may be more in the future with each one presenting the same difficulties.
Israeli sources including Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman reported the raid was a success and that all planes returned and were undamaged. The Syrians reported things differently claiming to have shot down one Israel aircraft and damaging another. No pictures of the destroyed Israeli plane were provided to back the Syrian claims and they have made similar claims on previous occasions including once against American aircraft under President Obama’s brief attempt at a Syrian campaign against Islamic State. The Syrians also fired four missiles into Israel with one being intercepted by the Arrow III system which was the first real world use of the system which operated well in all aspects. The remaining three landed in open areas, two in the Israel area of the Jordan Valley and the final one landed in Jordan reportedly causing no damage or loss of life. The attempt by Syria to provide their Hezballah ally with rockets is far from new and Israel has taken to only intercepting weapon systems which would provide Hezballah with additional capabilities with the most serious being anti-aircraft missiles and anti-ship missiles. The Iranians have been attempting to provide the Hezballah terrorists with the Chinese C803 anti-ship missiles as well as SAM missile batteries of a more advanced series than those in the Bekaa Valley already. This probably requires an update on the extent to which Hezballah has been rearmed since the United Nations, United States and European Union guaranteed after the Second Lebanon War as part of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 and the doubling the size of the UNIFIL forces who were assigned to prevent Hezballah from rebuilding their tunnel and bunker systems and rearming with rockets, let alone missiles.
The UNIFIL forces have been photographed allowing and even assisting in loading their trucks to move Hezballah munitions, armaments, rockets and personnel around in southern Lebanon south of the Litani River, the area where they are presumably tasked to prevent Hezballah from accomplishing such minor details. Hezballah had completely restructured their tunnel systems, underground bunkers, and massively extended these systems and improved their command and control as well as their communications systems and networks. This will have massive positive effect on their abilities and lethality should there ever be a need for Israel to attempt to blunt their threat to Israeli existence. Before the Second Lebanon War Hezballah was suspected of having stocks reaching as high as thirty-five-thousand rockets of which a very small percentage were of the larger varieties able of reaching beyond Haifa and even fewer which had any guidance whatsoever. This had vastly changed. Their current armaments include tens of thousands of missiles with ranges reaching the entire length of Israel carrying as high as five-hundred kilo warheads which also makes the nuclear arms capable. The various names are easy to remember and they are with their range, diameter and payloads as follows:
Katyusha approx. 132mm diameter range 10 kilometer with a 5 kg payloads
FAJR-3 approx. 240mm diameter range of 43 kilometer with a 45 kg payload
FAJR-5 approx. 233mm diameter range of 75 kilometer with a 175 kg payload
Fateh-110/M-600 approx. 0.61 m diameter range of 300 kilometer with a 500-650 kg payload
Zelzal-2 approx. 610 mm diameter range of 210 kilometer with a 600 kg payload
SKUD-D approx. 0.88 m diameter range of 700 kilometer with a 1000 kg payload
The map below indicates the ranges as they pertain to Israel and the danger becomes evident, very evident. This is one of many reasons that Israel has developed the world’s most advanced layered missile defense systems and is working on secondary and triple level means of intercepting all varieties of indirect weaponry including missiles, rockets, artillery and mortars. Israelis are thankful as many lives have been saved and apparently more will need these systems in the future, which is unfortunate.
Hezballah has not just tens of thousands of rockets and missiles but somewhere approaching two-hundred-thousand of varying sizes and capabilities. Additionally, there have been reports that through captured weaponry from various Syrian rebel groups that Hezballah has come into possession of a limited number of American MANPAD anti-aircraft weapons as well as similar systems designed from Russian and Chinese types of anti-aircraft weapons of a similar nature. These anti-aircraft and any anti-ship missiles which the Iranians have managed to provide to Hezballah are amongst the most dangerous should another war break out. The last war already provided ample indications that Hezballah has received numerous effective anti-tank rockets and have developed very effective tactics for their deployment. This was one area which the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) needed to develop some form of countermeasures. The greatest threat is to the Israeli public as Hezballah’s numbers of missiles are sufficient to use for swarm attacks as they can lose large numbers to interception providing they are able to get some percentage through the Israeli defenses. The numbers of missiles makes air superiority a necessity which is why Israel cannot allow large numbers or advanced air defenses to be provided to Hezballah as only through air superiority can Israel successfully destroy the stores of missiles and their launchers before they are sent in numbers over Israeli cities such as Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba and numerous others.
The difference between Hezballah and Israel is a familiar one but still important to mention while we are on the subject. First, Hezballah uses identical tactics as does Hamas and will the PLO, which is to say the Palestinian Authority when they decide they have gained all they can through blackmail and using the world to demand Israel kowtow to demands for their surrender and return to their terrorist ways, which means firing from behind the people they claim to protect while Israel does everything possible to protect civilians, both Israeli and Palestinians. Hezballah has placed their rocket launchers inside civilian homes and place their command bunkers under hospitals, schools and even Mosques. They defend their positions using civilians and store their weapons and rockets in civilian’s homes, Mosques and schools. Hezballah builds tunnels and bunkers in which they secure their fighters and civilians are forced to remain on the surface usually near Hezballah fighter locations. Further, Hezballah uses villages and towns as their operations centers and builds fighting positions within these locations often people’s homes, schools and other public locations. The Hezballah tactic is to maximize civilian deaths, hardships and destruction of civilian structures all such that at the end of the conflict they can show this destruction to the media as proof of Israel offenses claiming the Israelis simply attacked civilian homes and structures out of spite and not because of their being used as military enforcements. Often the media can tell the claims are bogus as they can see the fortifications and still take their photographs using such angles so as to avoid displaying the fortifications while maximizing the obvious damage. Often the media has their photos and stories edited by Hezballah and in order to be permitted to return and cover future events each media outlet is required to follow the Hezballah story otherwise their entire news service will be barred from covering anything in Lebanon. Meanwhile, in Israel the media is permitted complete freedom and is free from any forms of censorship whatsoever which is why often the bad stories come out about Israel while Israeli enemies always get star treatment by the media. Israel suffers from the identical media difficulty that the United States also faces with total freedom of the media. When you have no operational control over the media and their stories and your enemy exercises total media control and is willing to lie and the media willingly follows along with their messages, it should be no surprise that Israel has the media difficulty.
The final warping of the media coverage is the often result in civilian casualties between Israel and her enemies. The extensive efforts that Israel goes to in order to keep its civilians protected, its enemies all spend seemingly an equal amount of effort to maximize the destruction of civilian structures and the numbers of dead and injured civilians they are able to produce. This leads to a high civilian casualty count while Israel often suffers minimal civilian deaths and casualties. Israelis are well trained and are conscious of the closest shelter when there is a war and are willing to drop anything including prayers to head to their closest shelter. Israel’s enemy governments and terror forces consider shelters as a waste of resources which could be better used to purchase weapons. This leads to a civilian casualty count in Israel often approaching zero while her enemies who place their fighting forces and weapons stores and rocket tubes within civilian homes and use civilians as human shields suffer civilian casualties in the tens, hundreds or unfortunately thousands. Still, it has been shown and witnessed that Israel does far more than any other military to protect and avoid civilian casualties on either side even to the point of calling off strikes to avoid civilian casualties even when the civilians have voluntarily gathered to protect terrorists. The IDF is amongst, if not the, most moral military in all history. Don’t take our word for it; listen to Colonel Richard Kemp in the video below giving evidence to the United Nations.
An example came when the IDF had three terrorist leaders holed up in a Mosque in Gaza. The IDF troops refused to enter the Mosque as this is something they avoid out of respect for a house of worship (you never want to see what Israel’s enemies do to captured Synagogues). Hamas radio called for women to rush to the Mosque with some extra burkas and within minute’s two dozen women in burkas and some carrying burkas entered the Mosque. Soon afterwards, the women left the Mosque as a mob hiding the three terrorists wearing burkas somewhere in the group. The IDF officer ordered his men to simply leave as the alternative would have been unthinkable for IDF soldiers to potentially appear to accost Muslim women.
In conclusion, the problem facing Israel also involves Russia as the ally and enforcement arm of Syria. Israel coordinates with the Russian commanders before sending any aircraft into Syrian airspace such that Russian and Israeli aircraft are not in conflict. Thus far, by all information, the Russians have not been sharing such information with the Syrians intentionally but there is obviously some leakage. When Bashir al-Assad’s military commanders receive hints or information of an imminent Israeli strike they inform their militias and other unattached forces who have been armed and often actually are Hezballah and receiving support directly from Iran. Syria would love to open a front against Israel in the hopes of internationalizing the war and bringing it before the United Nations General Assembly where Israel will be once again denounced. The end result will be a front opened across the Golan Heights with Hezballah attacking from the Israeli northern border backed by the Lebanese Army which is American armed including tanks and aircraft. As they have already been given these arms, the merging of the Lebanese Army with Hezballah being placed under their control, Israel may be facing the combined forces of Hezballah, Lebanon, Syrians and presumably independent militias all of which are backed by Russia. Russia is not in any means taking action against Israel and with Iran gathering forces and aligning forces under a unified command group independent of the Russians, is going to put Putin into a delicate position. When these forces finally open a full force assault upon Israel in an attempt to bring things before the United Nations where Israel will be blamed for initiating the violence and this will place Russia in the position of deciding whether to pull out of Syria demanding that their port facilities in Latakia as Russian protected territory and otherwise Russian forces will stand down and release Syria to its fate or Russia continuing to back Syria and very possibly be drawn into a war with Israel. Should Russia engage Israeli forces, be it on the Golan Heights or against aircraft in Syrian or Lebanese territories, then what does the United States do and NATO and the United Nations. There is a distinct possibility that the United States will use these events to press Israel into making a crippling series of concessions to Abbas giving him his state with the Green Line as a border as a prerequisite for continued aid while facing the war on the Israeli north against Syria, Lebanon, Hezballah, and full Russian assistance and Iran who will also add another front at some point using Hamas on the Israeli southern border along Gaza and with aid of militias along the Sinai-Negev front. This would soon include the Palestinian Authority as Abbas would be overthrown immediately after the forced peace and the withdrawal of the IDF either by ISIS or Hamas bringing this as well as the final front. This could lead to Israel fighting a war with fronts on all borders even to include the Mediterranean Sea leaving Israel in a desperate war for her existence and Israel would at best finally establish her borders as the Jordan River and hold the southern borders while establishing the Litani River and Golan Heights as their northern border and end these wars by establishing defendable borders with the downside of the entire nations requiring the rebuilding of her entire infrastructure. It would take Israel over a decade to rebuild but once the restructure has been completed, Israel would be the envy of the world when it comes to infrastructure and the Third Temple would be constructed and the Arabs who are unwilling to live supporting the Jewish State deported and finally a bright future before her.
Beyond the Cusp