2006-07-24

Morning Report: July 24, 2006

Where are they hiding? Perhaps feeling the pressure from Israel and America, Syria's government finds itself ready to share some important information. Meanwhile Israel hits a big target in Gaza - but finds the ones in Lebanon more elusive.

Rice in Beirut. Tammy Bruce: 'Now in the Middle East, Secretary Rice made an unannounced trip to Beirut and has met with their prime minister. And while the MSM continues to paint the ongoing violence as some sort of "failure" of the president's Middle East policy and the WoT, a funny thing happened on the way to killing Hezbollah and smashing that puppet of Syria and Iran--Syria is now reportedly offering to reveal where al-Qaida is in Lebanon.' News.com Australia from AFP: 'SYRIA is prepared to tell the US the whereabouts of al-Qaeda cells in Lebanon, Britain's Sky News television reported today. Sky News said they had spoken to Syrian cabinet minister Amr Salem. "Syria has real hard knowledge," the channel quoted him as saying.' (Tammy Bruce)

Israel strikes Gaza weapons depot. Arutz Sheva: 'The IDF attacked Monday a production and storage warehouse in Gaza. The warehouse was used to store rockets to be fired at Israel. The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization ran the warehouse. After the attack secondary explosions were observed at the warehouse demonstrating the existence of explosives at the site.' Jerusalem Post: 'The IAF, along with Southern Command, struck a weapons storehouse belonging to the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip on Monday. Palestinians reported that explosions ensued in the Zeitoun neighborhood.' (A7, JPost)

Nasrallah: Rockets will keep coming. Debka: He's right. Debka gives a somber assessment of Israel's situation in Lebanon: 'DEBKAfile’s military analysts say that the way the Israel-Hizballah war has been prosecuted up until Monday, July 24, is more likely to bring Nassrallah closer to his war objectives than Olmert. Notwithstanding the IDF’s important battle gains at a number of focal South Lebanese points in the last 24 hours – including the latest raids on the outskirts of Bint Jubeil on the heels of the capture of Maroun er Ras – only one multiple firing rocket launcher (picture) and 6 single-barrel launchers have been destroyed.' Go to the link to see what that multiple firing rocket launcher looks like. Which brings us to the article's second key point: 'Last week, Israel’s army chiefs believed they had encountered Hizballah’s primary war tactic – Viet Cong-style guerrilla warfare out of hundreds of small bunkers scattered across the country. This week had scarcely begun when a still more formidable impediment was discovered: Hizballah camouflage techniques borrowed from the Japanese in the 1945 Iwo Jima battle. To stop the rockets coming, Israeli special forces must continue to blow up the tunnels and also adopt the methods the US Army’s methods for overcoming the Japanese dug in at Iwo Jima and other Pacific islands at the end of World War II. Without regard to losses, they stormed Japanese dug-in positions and camouflaged units. using flame throwers and gasoline to burn the foliage concealing the enemy.' (Debka)

Commentary. The Belmont Club's Saturday post offers a roundup of positions held by Israel and observes: 'Two things should be observed. First, none of the villages which the IDF wants evacuated are beyond the Litani. Second, the villages are all in central and eastern Lebanon.' Responding to a reader comment, Wretchard adds: 'I think the situation also creates certain diplomatic opportunities. Hezbollah has two objectives it must defend. The first is its logistical lifeline to the Bekaa. If it can't control that, it has to fall back on its supply. But the second objective is even more intriguing. Hezbollah must preserve its political position in Beirut. ... By taking on the Israelis, with respect to internal Lebanese politics, the Hez entered into a two-front war. The resources it must expend to find the IDF it must strip from its internal security. This creates opportunities for diplomats. The Hez must at some point choose between keeping their influence in Lebanon against their rivals or continuing the campaign against the IDF.'

Another commenter says: 'It's a long time since I read "The Tunnels of Cu Chi". If I recall its conclusions correctly, the US Army never really gained secure control in the are basically because they'd just sweep in whack whatever they could for just a few days and go back to base. The Marines were much more effective successful because they took position on top of the tunnels and stayed for weeks there playing whack-a-cong until there was nothing left to whack. The B-52's were used quite late in the war. The IDF have surely read the book, I expect they'll base their tactics on Marine success.'

Also via Belmont Club comments, Michael Oren writes: 'srael may hammer Lebanon into submission, and it may deal Hezbollah a crushing blow, but as long as Syria remains hors de combat, there is no way that Israel can effect a permanent change in Lebanon's political labyrinth and ensure an enduring cease-fire in the north. ... The answer lies in delivering an unequivocal blow to Syrian ground forces deployed near the Lebanese border. By eliminating 500 Syrian tanks -- tanks that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad needs to preserve his regime -- Israel could signal its refusal to return to the status quo in Lebanon.'