Beyond the Cusp

October 11, 2019

Israeli Position Becoming More Precarious

 

One would be inclined to believe that the Israeli position in her Middle Eastern neighborhood could become even more at risk, but it just might real soon. First, allow us to make a risk assessment of her current troubles. To her north, in Lebanon, Israel faces the largest terrorist army in the world in Hezballah. Hassan Nasrallah leads a sizeable military which has been provided for quite adequately by Iran who has armed them with over one-hundred-fifty-thousand missiles and rockets. A fair proportion of these rockets and missiles are capable of reaching anywhere within Israel and beyond even with the capability of striking into Saudi Arabia or even Cairo in Egypt. Iran attempted to provide new targeting capabilities turning rockets into guided missiles but were not as successful as Iran had hoped. Israeli timely air strikes destroyed many of these guidance packages before they reached their destination. Still, many hundreds, if not thousands, of the most dangerous and destructive rockets were transformed into guided missiles capable of striking targets with an accuracy of under ten feet. These are the projectiles carrying the largest warheads and capable of greater distance making all of the central Tel Aviv greater metropolitan region well within the range of these more accurate weapons. The Dimona complex and reactor are also targeted as very likely is Jerusalem, Beersheva, Eilat or anywhere else within Israel they wish to target. These weapons are just the start of Hezballah and their threat posed and would be the initiating strike, should they be instructed to attack Israel.

 

Hezballah Rocket & Missile Threat

Hezballah Rocket & Missile Threat

 

Should Hezballah be instructed to distract international attention from any undue attention to Iranian activities, Israel will be attacked from Lebanon and even possibly Syria awaiting the Israeli response. One such was the recent call by European nations who were signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, to review very probable infractions by Iran by continuing their nuclear program. Germany, France and Britain warned Iran of their intention to withdraw from the agreement should Iran continue to transgress into areas which the JCPOA forbids. As their actions have yet to pose a real threat to Iran, all is quiet. Should this or any other difficulty begin to make the world close in on Iran, you can expect they will try to get out of the limelight by starting a war with Israel using Hezballah as their weapons of choice. Israel would need to react almost instantly should such a conflict break out as Hezballah is capable of firing thousands of rockets and missiles into Israel every day until they are stopped. This could be taken care of by the Israeli Air Force within thirty-six hours. This still means that all of Israel would be vulnerable to these attacks for a day and a half, something which really would try the Israeli people’s nerves. In our region the attacks would largely be the smaller rockets in greater numbers but unguided, something which is less than encouraging as the numbers would translate into some major damage to the most northern Israeli cities. The real threat comes from the largest payloads and longer ranged articles in the Hezballah arsenal as many of these have been modified with the most advanced targeting packages. These could be used to target vital infrastructure as well as the heart of Tel Aviv and the numerous skyscrapers within that area. Were one of these struck and caused to collapse in the initial strikes, this would result in many thousands of deaths.

 

These very same missiles could also target Jerusalem and the Dimona complex. The Dimona research reactor being struck would spread radioactive contamination over a large region of the Negev potentially reaching the populated regions around Beersheva. In Jerusalem there is always the danger of numerous holy sites being struck, whether intentionally or through random chance with unguided rockets. Hezballah could also strike at Israeli airfields, both military and civilian, which could delay getting all strike aircraft into the air before being required to repair runways. Hezballah would also most certainly strike at communications and command and control centers in their effort to decapitate the military by isolating each unit from command and leaving aircraft without any ground control making takeoffs and landings more treacherous. Finally, Hezballah has set up tank traps and extensive tunnels and bunkers throughout the region south of the Litany River. Hezballah groups are able to move throughout this region without being required to break above the surface as their tunnel system is that extensive. These tunnels and fortified positions are often placed under residential areas with launch and ambush positions often placed within private homes. When fighting, Hezballah forces the residents to remain in their homes while they use them to launch rockets, missiles and mortars into Israel and when ambushing Israel Defense Force troops should Israel be required to enter Lebanon to end the attacks. There is a second alternative where Israel simply unleashes the hounds of war and completely blankets southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley in an effort to destroying the Hezballah war machine. Should Hezballah insist that the Lebanese military come to their aid against Israel and any, or many, of their units join in attacking or fighting Israeli forces, then it can be expected that the targeting within Lebanon would be broadened to address the new threats. The Lebanese military had modern equipment provided by the United States, including Abrams Main Battle Tanks, and Russia, including attack helicopters. Such a conflict could easily spread across with attacks coming from within Syria as the IRGC would take such an opportunity to also attack Israel.

 

The IRGC is best described as the Iranian alternative military with close, if not greater, arrays of weapons compared to their formal military. The IRGC is the only military force to be recognized as a terrorist entity and is utilized by Iran to spread terrorist efforts to anywhere on the globe as well as fighting the foreign wars for Iran but providing a small amount of deniability of their actions by the Iranian government. IRGC forces can have uniforms but more often fight dressed as civilians, well-armed civilians. This permits simply taking the weapons of any killed fighter and then inviting the media to come witness the barbarity of Israel by murdering innocent “civilians,” the same “civilians” who were an ambush team which was overrun a short time previous before their identity change from active fighters to deceased civilians. This same tactic is utilized by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. This time we hope that Israel minimizes the need for IDF ground troops entering into Lebanon where they would face ambush, potentially at every turn, and numerous casualties would start mounting. It would be preferable for Israel to use almost solely air power and ground-to-ground missiles to decimate all that belongs to Hezballah. A nice finishing touch might be to use a deep penetrator warhead to strike and destroy Hassan Nasrallah and the bunker in which he hides. IRGC units have also been the target of Israeli strikes at their provisions, particularly their missiles and heavy weapons, and also striking any position used to launch attacks on Israel including drone control facilities. Both IRGC and Hezballah forces are engaged in the Syrian civil war and in the coup still fighting in Yemen, the two silent wars as they do not include Israel, thus they are not newsworthy as Israel has been careful in choosing and unbelievably accurate in their strikes on these two terror armies attempting to limit their most dangerous capabilities. Thus far, the IRGC has been restricted to using only their ground troops. This could change at any point with their air force being brought into the fight placing them as far as eastern Iraq presumably to protect them from any Israeli attacks. Such an eventuality if used against Israel would broaden any such war to include Iraq and Iran as viable potential targets.

 

That was just the threats originating in Lebanon and Syria. To the south, Israel faces another dual threat under Iranian control and influence. These are Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the latter simply another Iranian controlled terrorist group and Hamas simply heavily influenced by Iranian desires. Here too the main threats are rockets. Hamas has a rocket they call the Jerusalem rocket simply because the M-75 Ballistic Missile can reach that distance (pictured below). As Israel enforces a blockade of Gaza for the inspection of goods to assure that no weaponry or other implements of war reaching Gaza and Hamas and Islamic Jihad, this has obviously prevented the retrofitting of their rockets with guidance systems making them guided missiles as such systems would be found and prevented from reaching the terrorists. This could potentially have dire results as Jerusalem is about the far edge of the capability of their M-75 rocket, their M-75 unguided rocket. This presents the ultimate irony, the M-75 when fired at Jerusalem is simply pointed in that direction and launched for maximum distance simply to assure reaching Jerusalem, could result in destroying the Dome of the Rock, the al-Aqsa Mosque or both. Needless to point out that Israel would be initially blamed and the media would run with that story for a week or so before printing a retraction and correction somewhere around page C-33 and nowhere near the front page as were the headlines which blamed Israel. Unfortunately, it takes time to gather the intelligence and place the blame on the true culprits. This is another capability which the Iron Dome can and does provide, the computed trajectory of rockets, missiles, mortars and artillery. Once the real data will have been gathered, the article covering the reality where Israel is not the guilty party but rather the Islamic forces which fired the rocket which destroyed precious Islamic sites in Jerusalem will be right next to their retraction and correction. Hamas and Islamic Jihad cooperate to such an extent that they can be treated as a single entity with Hamas the primary force as they are the Gazan government. Should Gaza initiate attacks on Israel in any large number, the IDF will respond in kind and going no further. The retaliatory strikes by Israel often target empty buildings around two or three o’clock in the predawn hours of the morning. Once more, there is no violence or any attacks which are newsworthy until Israel retaliates, a retaliation which the media will transform into the initiating attack only mentioning the earlier terror attacks on Israel in the next to the last paragraph. It should be noted that Hezballah has promised to join any war between Israel and Gaza and Islamic Jihad has responded with their intention to join any war where Hezballah in Lebanon are fighting Israel. They worded their statements implying that Israel was the aggressor despite knowing that such is not the case.

 

Monument for the M-75 Ballistic Missile Named the Jerusalem Rocket

Monument for the M-75 Ballistic Missile Named the Jerusalem Rocket

 

Fortunately, the main problem for Israel being caused by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is their paying terrorists or their surviving family with cash payments for life which are greatly more significant than even the PA government, and security personnel are paid a lesser salary than these terrorists. This offer of cash for murdering Israelis, they call it murdering Zionists or Jews, has become a career choice as should you murder one Israeli and then be arrested, you will serve your sentence in a country club atmosphere with more benefits than many Israelis receive from the government. These attacks are largely stabbings and vehicular rammings of pedestrian traffic. The PA, under both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, has rejected every peace proposal by which any land is placed under Jewish rule allowing Israel to survive as is. Their entire effort is performed with the intent of completely destroying Israel. Their main effort is on the international political front where they seek recognition of the PA as a national government and accepting the PA definition of their borders. The PA views their borders as being the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, or more simply, all of Israel. The main reason that there is any semblance of quiet on this front is due to the presence of IDF throughout much of the region and good intelligence work by the Shin Bet and others and because to their east, Jordan has a cold peace with Israel which they prefer not to endanger for reasons which will become clear. The turmoil emanating from the PA will start upon the death of Abbas as he has not been able to groom an acceptable replacement as Arafat had prepared him. But even this is but a minor threat as the PA does not have sufficient strength to wield in any such fight. The rest of the southern border is with Egypt and except for illegal entrants and occasional criminal violence, this border is quiet and problems actually are addressed by Egypt rarely requiring any assistance from Israel.

 

Palestinian Textbook Maps depicting Palestine as replacing Israel, not sharing the land in peace and security as the Europeans and the rest of the West insist to misrepresent

 

The eastern border along the Jordan River and its natural barrier called the Jordan River Valley has been the best-behaved border. Yes, occasional terrorists are out of Jordan and were given their target by the PA and not anyone in Jordan. Jordan is the remaining Hashemite kingdom which was set up by the British after World War I with the other having been Iraq where the monarch was removed in a coup. The Jordanian King, Abdullah II, has sufficient control currently using his military and Bedouin Tribes to rule over the approaching eighty-percent of the population being Arab Palestinians. Jordan is the Arab Palestinians country which was made by cutting 78% of the lands east of the Jordan River to the border with Iraq from the intended Jewish State in order to gift it to one of the Hashemite sons of King Faisal (the remaining 22% was left to form Israel). Under King Abdullah II, there has been peace, or at least tranquility, since the treaty was signed in 1994. But there are some serious rumblings out of Jordan as their economy is suffering poor management as the country attempts to care for many millions of Syrian refugees who fled the country escaping the civil war. The economic drain is being felt throughout the kingdom and this has made many of the residents less than enamored at this situation. Many complain and blame their problems on economic mismanagement and an over-reliance on international aid which has led to the current situation. Rioting in the major cities is almost constant, but the King has bigger problems at the moment. Jordanian Bedouin tribes constitute the backbone of the regime and this is starting to faulter. Bani Hassan tribe has taken an adversarial role with the king releasing an official statement listing their concerns demanding they be addressed immediately. The Bani Abbad and Bani Hamida tribes are supportive of these efforts making matters even more serious.

 

So, what would be the result if King Abdullah II abdicated his throne leaving Jordan without any head for the government? Jordan does have a parliament which would continue to operate after the King leaves, but the question then is for how long. Not all of the problems are the fault of the King as he has given much of his power to the legislature, but he retained the final veto power should he desire its use. The problem would begin with an election where either the Muslim Brotherhood or Iran using largely IRGC units would take control turning the country into another terror base from which to launch attacks on Israelis. One can bet that the Iranians will gain a large influence even if they are not the rulers, Iran will gain influence amongst the populace and deal with Israel sending terrorists into Israel along her eastern border. Such an eventuality would not bode well for Israel. Israel already has factories within Jordan providing good jobs. These enterprise zones run by Israeli companies are a good start but cannot become the main provider of jobs in Jordan. Should the Kingdom collapse, these Israeli firms would probably exit bolting back to Israel. The terror situation would, at some point, bring about a crisis which would threaten the peace potentially ending the blissful relationship previously shared. There is another threat which might come to pass which would worsen the tensions in the Middle East, far beyond just Israel. Iran would woo the Jordanians, particularly their leadership. They would offer arms and rocket and missile systems. The buildup in Jordan would easily outpace that which happened with Hezballah in Lebanon. Iran would really love to have Jordan in their pocket as they border nearly the length of the northern border of Saudi Arabia as well as the eastern border of Israel. Iran recently claimed they have attained the ability to wipe Israel from the map. This is almost a tacit statement announcing their having developed a deliverable thermo-nuclear warhead with which they could wipe out much of the Israelis residing in the greater Tel Aviv region. There is also vital infrastructure which supports most of Israel. Iran would have Israel all but surrounded should they gain control in Jordan. There would be further dangers such as an actual threat of declared war breaking out either with Israel or Saudi Arabia. The initial difficulty for Israel should the Jordanian monarch be dethroned will be increased terrorism with the terrorist using everything in the armory including nuclear weapons should they have the need.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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