[Marxism] Hezbollah's arsenal

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Sun Jul 16 19:44:10 MDT 2006


(Interesting commentary on the widely dispersed Hezbollah missile stockpile
and the difficulties the Israeli air force and army will have trying to root
out and destroy it).

Israel Fight With Hezbollah
Heightens Risk of Wider War
By KARBY LEGGETT
Wall Street Journal
July 16, 2006

[...]

How Israel manages the offensive could determine if the current crisis
expands into an even wider regional war. It could also shape how governments
and militaries in the region respond to militant threats from groups like
Hezbollah and Hamas for years to come, including the U.S. strategy combating
Iraqi insurgents.

Despite Israel's most intense aerial and sea offensive in more than three
decades-including a complete naval blockade of Lebanon and sustained bombing
across the country-Hezbollah has nonetheless fired more than 1,000 missiles
into Israel in the past five days. Over the weekend, it scored a direct hit
on a Israeli warship patrolling Lebanon's coast. It also struck a train
station in Haifa, Israel's third-largest city and part of an industrial
heartland crucial to the country's military establishment. That attack
killed eight Israelis.

Israeli military officials and politicians responded by promising to expand
their offensive in Lebanon even further in the coming days. Nonetheless,
officials said it remains unclear how, or even if, Israel will find a
military means of eliminating Hezbollah's rockets, which are well concealed
and are presented as potential targets for just fleeting moments before
launch. "It's a big problem for us," a senior Israeli military official said
Sunday. "The launchers pop up only for a few minutes before the rocket
goes.we just can't get to them all."

Hezbollah's Arsenal

The heavy fighting in recent days has only underscored how Hezbollah, with
an estimated 15,000 rockets and missiles, has developed a startling
capability to attack Israel. Most of Hezbollah's rockets have ranges of
15-30 kilometers, according to senior Israel military officials, but some
can travel well over 160 kilometers, potentially putting Israel's largest
city, Tel Aviv, within range. All have the ability to seriously threaten the
Jewish state-forcing its citizens into bunkers, disrupting the economy and
sowing domestic political chaos.

For Israel, the problem is that, unlike conventional Arab armies, Hezbollah
doesn't keep its weapons in normal places. It hides them in the homes of its
supporters, in remote valleys and caves and factory workshops spread across
remote villages, according to Israeli and Lebanese military experts and the
group itself. Ardent Hezbollah members willing to die for the movement
protect these sites. Many are booby-trapped with explosives.

The upshot: getting at Hezbollah's rockets is shaping up to be one of the
most complicated tasks ever for Israel's military. "There are no Hezbollah
bases anywhere," says Timur Goskul, a former United Nations official who
lives in Beirut and has tracked Hezbollah's military capabilities for two
decades. "So the only way to find the weapons is to go on foot and look for
them."

That reality reflects the core conundrum Israel now faces: defeating
Hezbollah means tracking down and destroying this enormous arsenal of
missiles as well as equally large amount of explosives and machine guns. But
doing that means Israel will likely need to search house by house and cave
by cave throughout the hostile territory of southern Lebanon, where the bulk
of Hezbollah's missiles are stored, some military officials and analysts
here say.

Potential For Losses

That could potentially create an unprecedented number of civilian and
Israeli military casualties. It could also spark strong international
controversy and condemnation. Some Israel officials worry that could force
an end to the campaign before it makes much progress. Already, signs of such
a dynamic emerged over the weekend as a number of European leaders called
openly for Israel to end its offensive.

[...]






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