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July 24, 2006
IDF: Hezbollah Running Out Of Missiles

Hezbollah has started to run low on munitions and morale, according to the IDF. Without secure lines of communication to Syria, the terrorists have been unable to resupply, and this has led jihadis in northern Lebanon to avoid joining the fight against Israel:

IDF Military Intelligence (MI) believes the army has 10 days left before diplomatic pressure puts an end to Operation Change of Direction against Hizbullah, The Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday.

In addition, MI - reflecting its latest strategic assessment - believes that the Islamist group has already been dealt a severe blow by the IDF operation launched 12 days ago, and that within a month it will run out of Katyusha rockets to fire at Israel. ...

The unit has been able to recruit reserves, but MI has noticed that it has run into difficulty convincing members of the terror group who reside in northern Lebanon to travel south to participate in the fighting.

Once the unit exhausts the missiles currently in its possession, it will, MI believes, have difficulty acquiring more, since most of the roads and supply routes have been destroyed by the IDF. Several Syrian and Iranian attempts to send supplies to Hizbullah have been thwarted by the IDF.

This shows why asymmetrical warfare cannot beat a true military response. Terrorists thrive on the reluctance of Western nations to actually respond militarily to their attacks. Tactics and strategy that force responses in civilian areas usually lead to law-enforcement tactics in order for nations to avoid the kind of televised images we have seen from Lebanon. In that kind of low-level approach, however, the terrorists can resupply at will and continue with intermittent attacks -- and know that they will get away with them.

Hezbollah got surprised by Israel's military response and by the lack of support they received in the Arab world as a result. IDF operations have forced Hezbollah to fire many more rockets into Israel, trying desperately to hold Israeli cities hostage in order to put an end to the IDF invasion of southern Lebanon and the bombing of the infrastructure. They have fired thousands of missiles and rockets into Israel in less than two weeks, a number that might have taken them five years to reach in the normal asymmetrical mode.

And this shows why Israel has reacted with overwhelming force, and why cries about Lebanon's infrastructure make no sense. Critics have excoriated Israel for setting Lebanon back twenty years by bombings roads, bridges, and communications assets. Some have called it "collective punishment", an odd term to use for the response when at least a portion of a government commits an act of war against its neighbor. It has been clear from the start of the IDF operation that Israel targeted these assets because they consider themselves at war, not as some police force on steroids, and that the first assets one attacks in war are command, control, and communications of the enemy.

The roads and bridges, as well as the airports, would have allowed Syria to resupply Hezbollah.

Now, it appears that Syria cannot effectively rearm their proxy in southern Lebanon. Israel has even attacked convoys coming out of Syria attempting to do just that, destroying the munitions and sending a message to Syria of air supremacy, a lesson Syria has learned over and over again against the Israelis. Starved of missiles and rockets, the Hezbollah terrorists will lose their one weapon of deterrence against Israel and start to collapse.

According to the IDF, that process has already begun. Jihadis in the north have not come to the aid of their brethren, and Sheikh Nasrallah will run out of bodies to throw at Israeli tanks very quickly. Israel may only need a couple more weeks before crippling Hezbollah not only as a military threat but also as a political movement in Lebanon. Nasrallah needs a rescue, but no one will send their cavalry over the hills to effect one -- not even their brothers in terrorism.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 24, 2006 7:20 AM

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