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August 1, 2006
Israelis Press Towards Bekaa

The Israeli offensive has taken an interesting turn as the IDF unleashes its ground forces in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah may have felt sanguine about their chances of outlasting Israel thanks to the efforts of world leaders in handcuffing Ehud Olmert, but now the re-energized IDF has taken aim at Hezbollah's patron:

Lebanese army and security officials said a major Israel Defense Forces operation was underway against suspected Hezbollah positions near Baalbek in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley late Tuesday. IDF troops thrust deep into the area, landing troops by helicopter in the Hezbollah heartland.

Lebanese security sources said IDF soldiers had landed by helicopter near Baalbek as aircraft launched several strikes in the region.

One Lebanese officer saying the Israel Air Force presence in the air above the ancient city was "unprecedented." ... "The extreme, unprecedented number of aircraft indicates the possibility that the Israelis are planning to land troops, but we cannot yet confirm that," said one security official on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

Israel had seemed ready to shut down its offensive a few days ago, but the Israeli people rose up in indignation at the criticism leveled at them for defending themselves. This shows that the new push may have all of the critics confounded. Israel is not just looking to create a buffer zone in southern Lebanon with this new action -- they want to strike at Syria.

Syria has maintained their connections to Hezbollah in large measure in this area. The Bekaa Valley borders on Syria, on the eastern slope of the Lebanon Mountains in northeast Lebanon. It puts Israeli troops much closer to Damascus than they otherwise would be, and removes most of the natural obstacles between the IDF and the Syrian capital. Most importantly, the destruction of Hezbollah assets in the area would not just degrade Syrian control over their terrorist proxies, it would severely damage their status as kingmaker in Lebanon as well.

Israel must win this battle. The US has to keep running interference until Syria and Iran stop funding Hezbollah and the Lebanese government disarms the terrorists. We have to show the resolve necessary to stop accepting hudna and start winning this war. Thus far, the White House has done a masterful job of allowing Israel the space to engage the terrorists and confound their sponsors. Until the terrorists agree to lay down their weapons and stop provoking regional wars, the White House should stick to its guns.

UPDATE: I completely forgot to credit Rick at Right Wing Nuthouse for the tip; sorry, Rick.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 1, 2006 6:57 PM

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» The Major Israeli Offensive Has Begun from Getting Nothing But Static From MSM
The major offensive has begun in Lebanon and the Israelis appear to have launched the battle to cripple Hizbullah. Reports that a military operation has been launched in Bekaa, deep in Lebanon............... [Read More]

Tracked on August 1, 2006 9:14 PM

» Cease Fire Out Of The Question & Then Some from Hard Starboard
One step removed behind all of the above factors is the Iranian mullahgarchy, for whom the Syrian Ba'athists work. Destroying Hezbollah and neutering Syria would remove Tehran's ability to project power directly against Israel, a serious blow to thei... [Read More]

Tracked on August 3, 2006 1:06 PM


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