The IDF High Command: A Second Round May Be Inevitable

Israel’s generals and intelligence chiefs are beginning to recognize that the present round of warfare with Hizballah, backed as it is by Syria and Iran, will swing back and forth without a decision. This will mean success for Iran, Syria and Hizballah and failure for the Israeli army.

Therefore, DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s military sources, foresee the conflict dragging into the following stages:

1. On-and-off exchanges of hostilities interspersed with lulls forced by fatigue or international pressures to stop fighting. Exchanges will flare after each pause.

Israel’s military leaders see this as the worst-case scenario for the Jewish state.

A senior Israeli army officer explained to our sources that Iran will do its utmost to whip Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations in Gaza and the West Bank into synchronizing their attacks on Israel with Hizballah “so as to generate an Iraq-type situation in and around Lebanon, akin to the quagmire Iran and al Qaeda created for the Americans in Iraq.

2. Hizballah will continue to fire rockets into northern Israel and even further south into the central regions. Thursday night, August 3, Hassan Nasrallah, making his seventh appearance since the war begin, threatened to bomb Tel Aviv “if Israel hits Beirut once more.” He added: “This is no game of words. We have the ability to do it.”

Shortly before Nasrallah appeared on Hizballah’s al Manar TV, the authoritative Ali-Akbar Mohtashami-Pour, former Iranian ambassador to Damascus and founder of Hizballah, said that the organization possesses chemical weapons which it is capable of using against targets in Israel.

The war planners of the general staff in Tel Aviv remark that the Palestinians have been firing Qassam missiles from Gaza at Israeli population centers of southern Israel for five years and no Israeli or foreign military force has ever found the way to stop them. They fear that northern Israel might have to reconcile itself to living under the same blight in the foreseeable future.

3. Hizballah is exploiting its war against Israel to turn itself into the dominant military and political force in Lebanon. In time, the Shiite Islamists stand a good chance of seizing national power in Beirut. Already, Nasrallah postures in his public appearances as the ruler of Lebanon – even though not a single Lebanese faction or militia has come aboard his war with Israel. His only allies are some of the smaller Palestinian groups.

Hizballah, by getting too big for its boots, may well light the fire of the next civil war in Lebanon. An assassination on the lines of the Rafiq Hariri murder of February, 2005, could be the spark – as it often has in Lebanon’s past.

Some intelligence observers fear for the lives of prime minister Fouad Siniora and the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.

Some Israeli generals say that if the outbreak of civil war catches Israeli troops in Lebanon, they could find themselves in the same bind as US forces amid Iraq’s sectarian conflict.

Army leaders blame prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Amir Peretz for the current disastrous military stalemate. They erred in adopting half the plan the general staff drew up for war with Hizballah, a mighty aerial offensive, and set aside the second part which entailed the landing of ground forces three days later on both banks of the Litani River and cutting South Lebanon off from the rest of the country.

The next step was for the army to head south towards the Israel border, crushing Hizballah forces on the way.

Instead, they waited too long and then sent in ground forces to waste their strength battering Hizballah in its village strongholds near the Israeli border – a maneuver that makes no tactical sense.

The sense of futility in the military high command has given rise to the belief that howsoever this campaign may end, it is bound to lead to a fresh round of fighting.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email