Saturday, August 12, 2006

Litani Or Bust

Lots of marshmallow roasting going on over the flames of Israeli surrender last night and today. I'm glad I got mine out of the way quickly for a change. Made for a nominally happier day.

In the meantime, for whatever it might be worth, it looks like Ehud Olmert has changed his mind again (via StratFor):

The confusion of yesterday has been clarified. Israel has moved, in force, into southern Lebanon. Whatever the political crisis was yesterday, Israel has clearly decided to invade southern Lebanon, at the very least. The apparent battle between those who oppose a full invasion and those who support one appears to have been settled in favor of the latter.

After the U.N. cease-fire resolution was approved, Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz said that operations in Lebanon were expanding, and that he expected to conduct offensive operations there for another week, despite the resolution. Brigidier-General Alon Friedman, IDF's Northern Command chief of staff, told reporters he expects combat operations to push all the way to the Litani River and other areas that Hezbollah has used to launch rockets into Israel. So far, he said, the political leaders "have not instructed us to stop the operation."

There appear to be no half-measures this time. And no feats of deft, maneuver, either. The IDF is rototilling directly in, and through, the dug-in Hezbollah emplacements and fortifications on the Israeli-Lebanese border and grinding up whatever was still standing after the IAF's over-long preparatory assault. The most immediately sought result appears to be being achieved, as Hezbo rocket attacks against Israeli cities ceased altogether this morning and rose back only to the thirty-salvo level this afternoon, an 85% drop from their daily average of two hundred since the Battle of Lebanon began a month ago.

Of course, the Israeli imperative remains the complete annihilation of Hezbollah. Pushing them only back to north of the Litani River buys them little more than the time it would take for the Iranians to ship longer-range missiles into the Bekaa. A trade of numerous small rockets and their ball bearing shrapnel for a much smaller number of big ones possibly packing, shall we say, much larger bangs.

But I frankly don't think the Olmert regime is thinking that far ahead. Their goal is probably to clear southern Lebanon themselves in preparation for the UNIFIL toy soldiers to move in with their comfy couches, barcaloungers, nachos, and frosty adult beverages to watch the Iranian missiles fly over them to the south like it was a fireworks show. And given that the current Israeli PM will almost certainly not still be in power no matter how this little fracas turns out, that won't be his problem.

I wonder how Bibi Netanyahu will handle it. Or what he'll still have to handle it with.

UPDATE: In case there was any doubt my allegience in the Brother Meringoff-Cap'n Ed main event, I'm with the Deacon.