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Hamas, Hezbollah Could Push Israel To War

GAP

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A bit dated, but very interesting take on the present status of things....

Hamas, Hezbollah Could Push Israel To War
Mar 4, 2010 By David Eshel Tel Aviv
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Israel is always on high alert when it comes to the potential for war with its neighbors, particularly the two groups viewed as proxies of Iran and Syria: Hamas and Hezbollah. Though neither seems particularly eager for a full-blown conflict with Israel at present, defense analysts see a number of developments that could lead to another war with one or both, perhaps as soon as this year.

One reason for this view is that Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon continue to be supplied with ordnance from Iran. Thousands of Hezbollah rockets are poised to strike Israel again, though for almost four years the border between Lebanon and northern Israel has been remarkably quiet. One reason may be that 11,000 soldiers from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and 15,000 Lebanese army troops are more effective at keeping Hezbollah’s Shiite militia at bay. The tranquility may be illusory—Tehran and Damascus could encourage Hamas and Hezbollah to attack Israel in furtherance of their regional aims. Iran has also threatened retaliation if Israel attacks its nuclear program; and with popular unrest a constant threat to the leadership in Tehran, a war with Israel, fought through Hamas or Hezbollah, could be one way of diverting Iranian public attention away from the regime.

Other developments are raising tensions as well. In the year since the Gaza incursion called Operation Cast Lead ended, Hamas has made a major effort to restore its internal security forces. The military/terrorist wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has been rebuilt to its previous strength with its military capabilities substantially expanded. The smuggling of weapons into Gaza has accelerated beyond expectations, in spite of Israel and Egypt sealing their respective borders with the area and Israeli interception of arms shipments at sea and in Africa. Much of this weaponry originates in Iran, whose rulers are eager to extend their regional influence to the Mediterranean. Restoring Hamas’s arsenal with advanced ordnance is a major part of Iran’s strategy of targeting Israel from Lebanon and Gaza.

The Hamas weapons inventory has grown enormously in the past year. Yuval Diskin, head of the Shin Bet internal security agency, told the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defense committee last month that Hamas’s current capabilities are “better than they were on the eve of Operation Cast Lead.” Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups “will continue to grow stronger in 2010,” he added. Diskin said Hamas will continue efforts to smuggle rockets into Gaza that have a range exceeding 50 km. (31 mi.), along with “antiaircraft missiles, antitank missiles and . . . other . . . weapons.” Last November, the head of military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, told the committee that Hamas had conducted a successful trial launch of a rocket with a 60-km. range, which could endanger the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

Writing in the Beirut daily newspaper Al-Akhbar, Ibrahim al-Amin, who is affiliated with an Islamic militant group, warned that Hamas and other Palestinian factions have been training for a year with antiaircraft missiles and with large explosives that could blow up an armored vehicle the size of a Merkava tank—a 65-ton vehicle. According to al-Amin, the groups also practiced firing medium- and long-range missiles, as well as targeting Israeli communities “up to 100 km.” from Gaza. Israeli experts believe this last claim is, however, overstated. Nevertheless, with more accurate rockets, Hamas could attack airfields in southern Israel, which they attempted but failed to do during Operation Cast Lead. Hamas is also believed to have acquired Russian RPG-29 antitank grenade launchers and Kornet antitank missiles, which were used successfully by Hezbollah against Merkava tanks in the Second Lebanon War of 2006.
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Journeyman

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David Eshel routinely publishes out of Israel for a US audience. At the risk of oversimplification, publishing this a few weeks before today's meeting between Netanyahu and Obama is terrific timing for an "Israel is threatened; the sky is falling" article.

And of course, the article's timing is all the more fortuitous when US policy appears to be increasingly at odds with current Israeli activities (the Dubai hit; construction of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem [causing a greater diplomatic flap because it was announced when Vice President Biden was in Israel]; steadily becoming a regional hegemon in its own right when the US-preferred course is for Israel to maintaining a regional balance of power; possibly sabre-rattling with Hamas by looking to retake the Philadelphi Route and Rafah).

I suspect that regardless of what happens in Washington today, "Hamas, Hezbollah pushing Israel To war" is inevitable. With both sides equally guilty of "pushing," the Arabs' weapons build-up, and the Israeli history of preemption, the only thing to bet on is the timing.
 

Fishbone Jones

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MaDB0Y_021 said:
Thanks for the article

Enough. It's nice to be polite, but you're way over board, posting similar in every thread. Use this as a rule - If it doesn't add to the quality or gist of the article or discussion, keep quiet. If you have some sort of crying need to thank someone for posting a news article, PM them. This is not the way to run up your post count.

Milnet.ca Staff
 

Colin Parkinson

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Hamas can cause some problems and tie down forces, but the IDF can contain the threat while it deals with Hezbollah. The question in the North is how does Hezbollah intend to use the UN forces? Will they be held hostage, used as intentional/unintentional shields or will they have time to pull out of harms way?
I foresee  Hezbollah launching long range attacks by missiles over the UN forces limiting the ability of the IDF to destroy them and giving them time to prepare for the attack. I suspect that if the attack comes with Obama in power and full control of all levels of US government is that he will attempt to starve the IDF into a minimalistic response by withholding warstocks. However if the Dem’s lose as much control as predicted later this year, Obama may lose that option, hence it might be in the Hezbollah’s interests to engage Israel while Obama controls everything. 
 

Yrys

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Israeli tanks 'enter Gaza' after deadly clashes

Israeli tanks are reported to have advanced into the Gaza Strip following
clashes with Palestinians in which two Israeli soldiers died. Witnesses in
Gaza said tanks and bulldozers were moving towards the southern town
of Khan Younis. They also said there had been firing from the Israeli navy
along the Gaza coastline.

It is the first time Israeli soldiers have died in Gaza since Israel's 22-day
offensive there more than a year ago. Reports say at least two Palestinians
have also been killed. Israel says the fighting started when its troops
crossed into Gaza after spotting militants planting explosives along the
border. Reports from inside Gaza say the militants then tried to capture
an Israeli soldier.

Retaliation
The BBC's Jon Donnison, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, says many
inside Gaza will now expect retaliation from Israel to be stepped up
following the deaths of the soldiers. The army said an officer and a
conscript died when gunmen fired on a military patrol inside the Gaza
Stip. Two soldiers were injured and two Palestinian fighters killed in the
clash, it said. The two soldiers killed were named by Israel's Haaretz
newspaper as Eliraz Peretz, 31, and 21-year-old Ilan Sebiatkovsky.

Army spokeswoman Avital Leibovich described their deaths as "tragic"
and "painful". "I think it's true to say that this is one of the fiercest
days we have had since operation Cast Lead happened," she said,
referring to the Israeli offensive. A ceasefire between Israel and
Islamist militant group Hamas, which governs Gaza, has largely
held since the Israeli offensive. However, hundreds of rockets have
been fired into southern Israel by militants in Gaza.

Hamas's armed wing - the al-Qassam Brigades - said in a statement
sent to the BBC that it had killed the two soldiers. Speaking to Reuters
news agency, Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida is quoted as saying:
"This was our work, but was carried out for defence." Militants have
been holding another Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, for more than three
years.
 

CougarKing

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A notable update:

Written by Arieh O'Sullivan
Published Thursday, May 06, 2010

Israelis urged to “clean out your bomb shelter” as fears of a flare-up refuse to subside.

Emerging from a briefing earlier this week with top Israeli intelligence officers, one Israeli lawmaker quipped, “If you have a bomb shelter, clean it out now.”

This warning came amid reports of the potential for summer war breaking out between Israel and Lebanon, spilling over into Syria. Leaders on all sides have tried to calm these fears, but they persist.

This could be because intelligence is being leaked that Hizbullah in Lebanon has obtained larger and more precise rockets from Syria and Iran that put most of the Israeli population in its reach.


In addition, the redistribution to all Israeli citizens of kits to protect them against chemical and biological attacks by Israeli army Home Front Command has done little to calm fears that a conflagration is nigh.

Col. Yossi Sagiv, who is responsible for the Home Front Command’s protective kits distribution program, said the timing was coincidental.

“We had originally planned to start this in January 2009, but it was delayed until now due to budgetary reasons, that’s all,” Sagiv told The Media Line.

Under the new plan Israelis are now ordering their newly designed gas masks from the post office and an employee will deliver them straight to their door. For decades Israel has equipped it citizens with kits to protect them from gas and germ warfare. But it collected the old ones in 2007.

Since it started redistribution four weeks ago about 4 percent of the population has already renewed their kits, Sagiv said.

“We expect about 60% of the population to replace their kits within two years, with the remaining 40% being apathetic and waiting for an emergency,” he said.

“Still, if there is an emergency situation then we are capable of implementing our plans that involve reserve units that can quickly distribute the protective kits where they are needed,” Sagiv added.

Sagiv spoke to The Media Line amid revelations that the Home Front has been quietly and steadily revamping its civil defense preparations to give the Israeli rear better protection than it did when it came under Hamas rocket attacks last year and Hizbullah strikes in 2006.

“For the last 62 years we couldn’t sleep even one night with both eyes shut,” said Zeev Bielski, a legislator from the centrist Kadima Party, as he emerged from the intelligence briefing with a long face.

“Since the last war [in 2006] Hizbullah has received four times [the] amount of weapons they had then thanks to its cooperation with Syria. Iran, Syria and the Hizbullah have brought about a situation where a terror organization like the Hizbullah can ignite the whole Middle East,” Bielski told The Media Line.

Briefing the legislators was Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, the Israeli army’s chief intelligence assessment officer. He told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee this week that Syria had transferred larger and mores sophisticated surface-to-surface missiles, including about 200 M600 rockets that can carry a half-ton warhead, much more powerful than the katyushas Hizbullah fired in 2006.

Israeli intelligence claims Hizbullah now has over 40,000 rockets and missiles of various calibers. Baidatz said the arms transfers were the “tip of the iceberg.”

In this volatile region, summer has historically been a season for wars, particularly if initiated by Israel, such as the 1967 Six Days War, and the First and Second Lebanon Wars. While dry ground favored Israel because it gave its strong tank forces better maneuverability and clear skies for the air forces, conflicts were often sparked by a strategic miscalculation.

“There is a process by which Hizbullah and Syria have been rearming in a serious way and there is a potential, regardless of the weather, of Hizbullah making a miscalculation. If they did, Israel would use the opportunity to redress the stockpiles in a very serious way,” said Hirsh Goodman, a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies.

“Israel is not going to take drop-by-drop torture anymore. The possibility of a real classical war is zero, but there is a slight potential for a major flare up based on a miscalculation by some side,” Goodman told The Media Line.

Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, a former member of the IDF general staff and military attaché to defense ministers, told The Media Line that the top echelon of the army today was itching for a fight with Hizbullah.

“Some Israelis believe we did not settle accounts with Hizbullah. I know some people who are personally waiting for this opportunity,” Amidror said.

TheMedialine.org link 
 

SeanNewman

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Well, it would certainly make for an interesting summer and may paint the picture for where we go next (if anyone is left alive by 2012).
 

TimBit

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Well... I hope not!

For anybody who thought Afghanistan was a quagmire, Congo hell on earth, just imagine how mired we would be if involved in a renewed peacekeeping force b/w Hezbollah and Israel. The whole near-east has been at war for 50 years more or less. I hope the higher-ups like the idea of tying down resources for a few decades if we ever go there. Egypt-Israel is one of the most stable relationships in the region, perhaps with Jordan, and we still have people on OP Calumet, which started what, 30 yrs ago?
 
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