Beyond the Cusp

March 6, 2018

Foreboding Predictions Abound

 

Most of these predictions ring relatively hollow as they are still kicking that dead horse of Russian collusion electing President Trump. Some hold a fair amount of credibility such as the predictions of the coming President Trump’s Trade War. But for us living here in Israel, perhaps the most chilling are those which speak of a coming war out of the north such as here and here or the even worse prediction of a multi-front war mentioned here. Fortunately, we here at BTC have some comments on this ourselves. Our feelings are that these predictions underestimate Israeli preparedness and adaptability.

 

The one thing which was pointed out which is very real and true is that the main threat Israel holds initially is her air power. It was pointed out that Hezballah has an exorbitant number of guided missiles, estimates in excess of one-hundred-fifty-thousand, with rather more than adequate accuracy that they pose a threat to every runway in all of Israel. Further, they posit that this could negate Israeli air power by preventing its taking off and, later on, landing. The first half is easily negated as these modern jets can take off with a relatively short start which makes many of the taxiways adequate to get them into the air. From that point forward, it becomes a race to repair the runways sufficiently to allow their landing. What has been proven repeatedly is that runways can be patched and returned to service with great expediency and alacrity. This was proven in World War II by both the British and the Nazis as bombing the runways proved inadequate to prevent aircraft from taking off even later the same day. It was proven in Viet Nam as the same speed and adroitness allowed North Viet Nam to put planes in the air the same afternoon after the runways had been struck only hours earlier. The same would apply to Israel as the technique proven to work even for fast flying jets had been to fill the crater with sand and gravel and top it with asphalt or fast drying cement and you are good to go. Further, even if the runways are not prepared and aircraft need an emergency runway immediately, there are numerous stretches of multi-lane highways very capable of use and could be cleared in a matter of minutes if not faster.

 

Another matter is that Israel is not solely dependent upon aircraft to deliver stinging blows of return fire using missiles of her own fired from ground stations and naval platforms. Furthermore, the Israel missile defenses are extremely adequate for protecting vital airfields, aircraft and other defense facilities. Another point was that Israeli defenses could be swarmed but that misses the point that using missiles as the very first line response allows almost immediate return fire. Further, with the efficiency of Israeli intelligence, it might even be likely that sufficient aircraft would have already been launched to strike at targets before the first missiles even struck their targets and certainly before the second or third volley had been prepared and launched. Israel showed such abilities on previous occasions. Also, as the front lines plus depth of assets are relatively tight to the borders as most of Hezballah instillations are in either the Beqaa Valley or south of the Litani River (see map below), their launching positions within Lebanon are already mapped by the IDF so striking them immediately upon any attack would be easily implemented. As Hezballah was also engaged in the war in Syria along with Iran and Russia, Israel can expect Iranian IRGC troops alongside Hezballah just east of the Golan Heights where Israel holds the commanding strategic area at the summit. Everything, even if located in northern Syria, is within minutes distance for both Israeli missiles and fighter aircraft. Unfortunately, much can be also stated about Israeli facilities, especially those between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in the heart of the nation, and we mean the beating heart. Israeli High Command likely has numerous scenarios for most attack profiles for Hezballah even with contingencies for IRGC and Iranian regular Army troops as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza and forces from the Sinai Peninsula across the Egyptian border. The one thing Israel may be counting on which would be somewhat a surprise would be Jordan also launching an attack. Even should the Palestinian Security Force also launch, Israel definitely would have that covered. Israel, if such an attack were to occur on all these multiple fronts, would have but one response which would be logical, wipe every vestige of offensive capability off the battlefield and beyond. The entirety of the Lebanese and whatever remnants of the Syrian electrical grids should be decimated along with all other utilities to as severe a degree as possible. All airfields should be destroyed including all hangars, the flight tower and airfield emergency facilities. Fire stations and police stations should be primary targets as well. No ability to sustain an offensive should remain and all command and control of military assets must be utterly destroyed no matter their location. This would include the Hamas main command bunker located beneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Any civilian facility which would normally be completely off limits and protected by the Geneva Conventions become targetable as a military asset if it is utilized to store weaponry, house active fighting troops, launching facilities placed in close proximity such as on roofs or between buildings, or if utilized as a command center. This is recognized in the Geneva Conventions as making even schools and hospitals targetable should they be used to protect military facilities. Of course, these rules apply in a normative battlefield but when it is Israel fighting for her survival, even military targets with no civilian aspect become debatable targets and when struck may become the area under investigation for war crimes. This was adequately made visible in the Israeli Hunt for Ambushed Soldier and the much overblown firefight in the Jenin Refugee Camp which even the United Nations sided with Israel validating everything reported by Israel about the battle and refuted the entire Palestinian Arab fantasy that Israel had slaughtered hundreds if not thousands of innocent civilians. It was found that the Palestinian Arabs had used civilians as bait to draw IDF soldiers into booby-trapped buildings thus placing civilians in jeopardy even to the point of placing explosives under the civilians such as when they were moved, they would have the bomb detonate murdering them and possibly killing the Israeli soldiers.

 

Map of Hezballah Military Emplacements

Map of Hezballah Military Emplacements

 

Israeli responses to an initial strike by Hezballah out of Lebanon need to be beyond anything Lebanon has ever faced. The entirety of Lebanon and its military must be targeted as it has been taken over by Hezballah. This was proven when Hezballah moved into Syria supported by the very Abrams main battle tanks which President Obama sold to the Lebanese Army after they gave verbal assurances that there was no connection between the Lebanese military and Hezballah. The CIA, Israeli Intelligence, MI6 and numerous other military intelligence groups around the globe all knew that Hezballah had taken over the Lebanese military and President Obama was informed of this. Despite the warnings, President Obama sold top of the line military equipment knowing and intending for it to be used by Hezballah. His intent was for them to use it against Israel and not to use it in the Syrian civil war. President Obama may still get his wish though the numbers of weapons and main battle tanks has been diminished in the Syrian conflict. We can only thank Hashem for this good fortune and their losses may not be finished as the war grinds on and on. There is still the chance that Iran will become disgruntled at Turkey apparently attempting to take some of Syrian Northern Provinces with his assaults on the Kurds. While Iran and Bashir al-Assad will lose little sleep and shed no tears for the Kurds, they will be disgruntled over losing land, any land, even to a presumed ally such as Turkey’s President Erdoğan. Should hostilities break out between Syria and Turkey, Hezballah may find themselves drawn into a very problematic confrontation as Turkey is as well if not better equipped than Hezballah and equal to the Iranians and we should not count out the Russians as it will depend on how Putin feels about Erdoğan when he gets out of bed that morning the decision will be made.

 

Still, Israel cannot allow any of the resources known about for Hezballah or the Lebanese Military to survive the initial strikes. Within the first twelve hours, at least seventy-five percent of all military resources available to Hezballah in Lebanon need be incapacitated and destroyed. Further, Lebanese infrastructure must be neutralized completely. This also must be applicable to all military instillations within a couple hundred miles of the Israeli border within Syria should forces stationed attack Israel with even an artillery shell or single rocket or even a stray bullet crossing the border into the Golan Heights. Israel should also already be prepared to coordinate with Jordan should Iran make moves to cross the border with Jordan either to try and flank Israeli forces in the Golan Heights or to actually take over Jordan and depose the Jordanian governance. Israel must also have plans ready if Iran should start to fly aircraft and fire missiles out of Iraq or even from Iran itself. These plans will be the most difficult to actually accomplish with minimal casualties and loss of aircraft. The distance makes most of Iran beyond Israeli reach without having a refueling stop somewhere along the way. Saudi Arabia has some very conveniently placed military airfields as well as those surrounding Riyadh and including the international airport in the Riyadh area (see map below). Even with an under the covers agreement for Israel to utilize these airbases or any of the others should such need become required, flights to strike Iran would still be fraught with perilous dangers.

 

Potential Saudi Arabian Refueling Airfields for Israeli Air Force

Potential Saudi Arabian Refueling Airfields for Israeli Air Force

 

The only real way for Israel to strike Iran would be with missiles. This becomes very apparent once one takes in the measure of the difference in size of the two nations and the distance involved. Additionally, the vast majority of the land between Israel and Iran must be considered hostile as Iran controls most of Iraq to include all of the air space above Iraq. Jordan is highly unlikely to allow Israel permission for overflight of military aircraft. Israel would be required out of necessity to fly the Syrian-Jordanian border hoping that neither side fires at them despite the heavy probability both would attempt to down Israeli aircraft. Then there is always the option which the Israelis have proven to be very adept at implementing, namely knocking the radar and anti-aircraft facilities offline and down while the Israelis fly low and fast across the airspace. This was exactly how they took out Saddam Hussein’s reactor and ending his nuclear dreams and how they bombed the Iranian and North Korean reactor being built in Syria right before they were to install the core making the site highly radioactive and thus unsuitable to bomb without contaminating the entire area. The impending core instillation was the deciding factor which forced Israel to act to avoid any nuclear contamination from their strike. Still, taking out the nuclear facilities within Iran would be a difficult task for even the United States and near impossible for Israel. Further, should Iran detect Israeli missiles coming from Israel, even if Israel assured the Iranian leaders that they carried merely conventional warheads, the Iranians would assume Israel was launching nuclear weapons and would respond with their nuclear tipped missiles. There will be those who will claim that Iran does not have warheads of a nuclear nature. Where that assessment may be valid for thermonuclear warheads, and we suspect even that is a false assumption, they most assuredly have simple atomic bombs which would be sufficient to destroy all of Israel, it is that size thing again. Iran would respond with weapons of mass destructions (WMD), both nuclear and chemical weapons, which would be the Israeli response to the Iranian firing missiles at Israel. Either nation would have a few minutes, say about fifteen to twenty, to decide on their means of desired response to any attack by the other. This is exactly what makes any confrontation between Iran and Israel; both nuclear powers as far as we are concerned, so vital that it be avoided as the resultant damage to both nations and the region would be incalculable. Israel would be decimated if even merely three such weapons hit home while Iran would also face extreme losses as Tehran and the nuclear facilities would all have become wastelands as well, not to mention likely Qom plus the known nuclear facilities located near Karadzic, Arak, Natanz, Isfahan and Bushehr.

 

Distance Between Israel and Iran Plus Nuclear Sites and Size Comparison

Distance Between Israel and Iran Plus Nuclear Sites and Size Comparison

 

Fortunately, Russia wants no part in any greater war than the one they already regret. This means that Iran would be tempting losing the Russian assistance in Syria by attacking Israel from within the Syrian battlefield. Granted, the Iranians are probably perfectly well capable of picking up any slack caused by a Russian departure and such might even work eventually to the Iranian’s favor. Still, Iran would likely be far more comfortable losing Russian aircraft and pilots rather than their own. The Syrian fighting has already taken a toll on Hezballah and the Iranians will need to remain in Syria and nation-build, something the Americans know all too well the cost for doing such. The rebuilding of Syria will be expensive and if the Europeans are smart, then they will not volunteer or take contracts to assist in rebuilding Syria and instead force Iran to foot the bill as well as accomplish such a task, but that may just be too much to ask of the Europeans. They have shown a propensity to aid Iran in almost every way possible especially with modernizing much of Iran with the monies Iran received from the Obama administration. With Russia stationed in Syria, this may be the sobering influence which will keep the lid on the bottle for the time being. Still, Israel need prepare for that day when the sky will fill with rockets and missiles and the Air Force and Ground forces will need to react quickly and neutralize all of the assets in Lebanon for starters. After that, there will be an even higher likelihood of the IRGC mounting an attack from Syria and even potentially Jordan as the Iranian forces could attempt almost anything for an advantage. Israel should think about ways to prevent such from ever coming to fruition. Assisting clandestinely, of course, regime change in Iran by first freeing the political prisoners in Evin Prison and thus supercharging the resistance to the Mullocracy, a resistance which is building despite or because of the efforts to suppress the people’s freedoms. Freedom, once tasted by the Persians, was something which remained in their spirit that Islam was unable to extinguish. That might be the secret weapon for ending the Ayatollah’s curse on Iran, once the mighty Persian Empire with a solid and forgiving religion of Zoroastrianism, often thought to be the birthing place for many other religions including Judaism. Zoroastrianism is one of a very few religions even older than Judaism as it dates back to the times of Abraham and through the times of Moses, Joshua, the Israelites and was there in the background during the Purim story times and still has its few but dedicated minority. Perhaps that is the answer in Iran, a return to sanity and their Zoroastrianistic roots. Then Iran and Israel can share the relations they had before President Carter poisoned Iran with the Ayatollahs and the Mullocracy. That would end the funding for Hezballah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas as well as decommission of the IRGC. That would permit freedom to come to Iraq though that might be a hard sell. Whatever it would result in being, such a return by the Persian People would be a grand win for the powers of freedom and liberty.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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