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*** KGMB NEWS: Israel Warns Of Full-Scale Invasion ***

 
Anonymous Coward
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07/20/2006 10:24 PM
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*** KGMB NEWS: Israel Warns Of Full-Scale Invasion ***
July 20, 2006 03:56 PM

Israel considers larger ground offensive
By Joel Greenberg

Chicago Tribune

(MCT)

JERUSALEM - After nine days of a fierce air and artillery campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israeli officials are weighing whether to press the offensive with troops on the ground, haunted by the lessons of a costly 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon that ended six years ago.

As they plan their next moves, the Israelis are facing a dilemma: how to destroy Hezbollah's military capabilities without being drawn into a ground war that could significantly increase army casualties.

It might also prolong the conflict at a time when international calls for a cease-fire are increasing.

The pitfalls of a ground campaign were evident to the Israelis from the start.

After two Israeli soldiers were seized by Hezbollah guerrillas last week - the event that triggered the offensive - an Israeli armored force crossed into Lebanon and entered a lethal trap set by the militants. A tank was destroyed by a powerful mine, and a rescue team was ambushed, leaving five soldiers dead.

Over the last two days, Israeli raids to destroy Hezbollah bunkers and rocket-launchers in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel have led to heavy fighting. Four soldiers and an unknown number of guerrillas have been killed.

What began as an air war is taking on new dimensions, and as rocket attacks on northern Israel continue, Defense Minister Amir Peretz hinted on Thursday that a larger ground offensive was possible.

"Hezbollah must not delude itself that we will shrink from carrying out any action required to change the reality," Peretz said. "There is no intention of occupying Lebanon, but neither is there any intention of foregoing any military move necessary ... to bring Hezbollah to a situation where it no longer has the same ability to strike Israel with the strength it has today."

But a ground invasion carries the perils of significant casualties, and for many in Israel it brings back bitter memories of Israel's 1982 invasion and prolonged occupation of southern Lebanon, which ended after mounting losses turned public opinion in favor of a withdrawal.

Peretz has said that he does not want to get "bogged down in the quagmire of Lebanon," but continued rocket attacks from there could well draw the Israeli army in to clear out Hezbollah positions, rocket arsenals and launchers, risking entanglement in messy ground fighting.

With southern Lebanon honeycombed with Hezbollah tunnels and bunkers, the group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said in a televised speech last week that his fighters were eager to engage the Israelis in face-to-face combat.

"I promise them surprises in the ground confrontation, which we await impatiently and with high hopes, because it will allow us a direct response to the tanks of the enemy and its soldiers," Nasrallah said. "Any ground advance will be good news for the resistance that will bring us closer to victory and humbling the soldiers of this Israeli enemy."

In the early ground skirmishes with Hezbollah near the border, anti-tank weapons and guerrilla ambushes have killed and wounded Israeli troops, even as the Israelis have inflicted losses on the guerrillas. A large-scale ground advance would likely significantly increase casualties on both sides.

"The results of a full-fledged invasion of Lebanon are quite fresh in the memory, so I don't think there is high emphasis on this possibility in Israel," said Ehud Barak, a former army chief of staff and prime minister who ended the 18-year occupation by withdrawing Israeli troops from Lebanon in May 2000.

"Special operations units are acting in Lebanon in short-distance incursions, but we are not enthusiastic about a major several-division-level invasion of Lebanon."

However, Barak added, if not enough progress is made toward Israel's goal of pushing Hezbollah back from Lebanon's border with Israel, destroying its rocket arsenal and freeing the captured Israeli soldiers, matters might look different.

"If a way will not be found to decide it from the air, and there will be no readiness by the international community to act together to put an end to it, to release the abducted soldiers and deploy the Lebanese army to the border, you can't exclude a deepening of the conflict," Barak said.

A ground offensive is "being considered on a continuous basis," Barak added. "It is clear that people here are not happy to do it, but they are not afraid of doing it if no other way will do the job."

Ephraim Sneh, who commanded Israel's occupation zone in southern Lebanon in the early 1980s, said that only ground attacks could root out Hezbollah rocket launchers and storage bunkers, but that these should take the form of sophisticated anti-guerrilla strikes, not a broad armored assault.

"If you want to achieve the goals of the operation, which is to destroy the Hezbollah infrastructure, you can't do it just by air and artillery strikes," Sneh said. "To stop rocket launchings at Israel, you have to get to places the air force can't reach. You have to shoot someone between the eyes, and you can't do that from 30,000 feet."

"But you don't have to go in with masses of armor that can be hit by rocket-propelled grenades," Sneh added. "You have to do it quick, smart, with operational ingenuity."

Meir Pail, a retired general and military historian, said that the army may ultimately have no alternative but to physically push Hezbollah beyond the Litani River, some 20 miles from Israel's border, a line Israel is reported to have insisted on in diplomatic contacts to resolve the crisis.

Alternatively, Pail said, the army may have to maintain long-term control of the Lebanese side of the border through periodic airstrikes and commando raids.

"This could go on for even years," he said.

Amos Harel, a military analyst for the Haaretz newspaper, said that the lessons of the Lebanon occupation were seared into the minds of Israeli decision makers.

"The trauma of Lebanon is still deeply imprinted in the Israeli psyche," Harel said. "You know how a war starts, but you never know how it will end."

[link to kgmb9.com]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 111220
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07/20/2006 10:31 PM
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Re: *** KGMB NEWS: Israel Warns Of Full-Scale Invasion ***
"The trauma of Lebanon is still deeply imprinted in the Israeli psyche," Harel said. "You know how a war starts, but you never know how it will end."

[link to kgmb9.com]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 98138



Funny how by the sound of this you'd think that Hezbollah, even combined with the Lebanese Army, was some kind of an actual fair MATCH to Israel.

Israel "doesn't know how it will end"? Of COURSE they do. They will kick the butts of Hezbollah and the Lebanese, unless something unforeseen happens, in which they will call on their generous benefactor, the USA, who will BAIL THEM OUT.

Israel is just pretending to be weaker than they are to garner sympathy and if they need it, extra help. Poor, poor Israel.

Such liars.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 98138
Mexico
07/20/2006 10:41 PM
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Re: *** KGMB NEWS: Israel Warns Of Full-Scale Invasion ***
Funny how by the sound of this you'd think that Hezbollah, even combined with the Lebanese Army, was some kind of an actual fair MATCH to Israel.

 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 111220


was just a post of news info! i did not write it...

take your prozac!

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