Which Way Did He Go?
The latest news from Lebanon comes from the Jerusalem Post. I've annotated the account on the right hand column with some questions the reader might want to think about.
|Jerusalem Post Story||Annotation|
|AF missiles struck near the main Lebanese border crossing into Syria on Saturday, forcing its closure for the first time in the 18-day-old conflict, police officials said. IAF warplanes fired three missiles that landed at the Masnaa crossing, about 300 meters beyond a Lebanese customs post, the officials said. They said the area is considered to be part of Lebanese territory. ..||What is the point of repeatedly striking the Beirut-Damascus road and interdicting the crossing except to inhibit the easy movement of vehicular traffic from Damascus? Is this part of the battlefield shaping? Shaping for what?|
|On Saturday, the IDF wrapped up
its operations in the southern Lebanese village of Bint Jbail and
withdrew its forces from the area as other troops from Division 162
geared up for a planned invasion of other Hizbullah strongholds in
western Lebanon. IDF source said that the troops would raze villages
throughout western Lebanon but did not plan at this stage to reach Tyre,
the launching pad for the most of the rockets fired at Haifa. Following
a night of intensive clashes during which close to 30 Hizbullah
guerillas were killed, as well as one IDF paratrooper who was seriously
wounded, the IDF pulled out its forces from the town, dubbed a
"terror capital" by the IDF, with OC Northern Command
Maj.-Gen. declaring that Bint Jbail was "almost in ruins."
Adam said that while the IDF pulled most of the troops out of Bint Jbail, a small force did remain and was in control of the town, once home to 20,000, most of whom fled into northern Lebanon before fighting erupted there last Monday. Israel said its air force would continue to pound Bint Jbail and ground forces would retain the right to return at any time.
|Why is the IDF withdrawing from the heart of Hezbollahland? Has it been defeated? Why the change of direction to the West, near the coast? Division 162, which is supposed to be part of Central Command is an interesting choice for the task of going into Western Lebanon? Are they going to drive up the coast? If there are no plans to reach Tyre what is the purpose of this attack?|
|IDF troops from the Golani and
Paratroopers Brigades killed at least 50 Hizbullah operatives and
wounded hundreds during intense gun battles over the weekend. Most of
the wounded operatives were from Hizbullah's special forces and had come
to the village to beef up the regular Hizbullah guerrillas there.
Soldiers operating in the village found and confiscated dozens of guns
and rifles, stocks of ammunition, grenades, mines, and five anti-tank
While Battalion 890 of the Paratrooper's Brigade began to pull out of Bint Jbail, military intelligence using an unmanned aerial vehicle spotted a group of Hizbullah terrorists driving on motorcycles on their way to set up an ambush for the withdrawing troops. The IDF troops set up accordingly and engaged the enemy force, killing 26 guerillas. During the clashes, seven soldiers were wounded including one seriously.
|This is a very revealing
snapshot of clashes between apparently mobile forces. We are told of
fights between Hizbullah "special forces" and the Golani and
Paratroop brigades (Northern and Central Commands). We have indications
there are prisoners ("wounded operatives")
The Hezbollah are apparently able to maneuver their mobile forces in response to IDF movements. This implies a great deal about the integrity of its command structure and communications capability. Here the Hez are mounted on motorcycles like cavalry and set an ambush. The IDF had cavalry, too, in the shape of the UAVs and could integrate the cavalry reports into a counterambush.
I am guessing that operations in Lebanon are fluid to a larger extent than has been reported and that the action is actually more widespread than commonly realized.
|Since Operation Change of Direction was launched against Hizbullah on July 12, over 200 Hizbullah guerillas had been killed in clashes with the IDF, a high-ranking officer said Saturday. Meanwhile, the IDF confirmed that an unmanned drone crashed in Lebanese territory on Friday. The army denied the claim made by Hizbullah-backed Al-Manar television, saying that its patron Hizbullah shot down the aircraft. Israel asserted that the cause of the crash was most likely technical problems. The IDF destroyed the remains of the craft so that it would not fall into Hizbullah hands. ..||The curious incident of the drone. Is this the drone reported shot down over the Bekaa by Syrian AAA?|
This will be interesting to watch.