Crossfire War – Israel Launches Three Prong Advance to Litani – 14 Days

Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – West Asia Theatre: Tehran – Beirut – Damascus/Jerusalem; IDF Advance to Litani River – Three Prong Attack – 14 Days to Push Hezbollah Beyond Litani – Iran to Launch “Surprises” First Hours of Aug. 2

Night Watch: BEIRUT – Debka reports that Israel Defense Minister Amir Peretz informed Washington yesterday that it will take about 14 days to drive Hezbollah beyond the Litani river, 20 miles from Israel’s northern border. Israel is advancing in a three pronged attack divided into three sectors: Central, Eastern and Western. [DEBKA]

Central sector forces are concentrating on the Lebanese villages of Rumaich and Yaroun south of Bin Jubeil close to Israel’s northern border.

Eastern sector forces have been divided into two branches: Section A is to clear out (cleanse) three villages of Hezbollah fighters north and west of the Israeli town of Metulla: Kila, Deir Mimas and Taibe. B section has turned east to the western slopes of Mt. Hermon near Syria and directed toward the villages of Shouba, Shab’a and Rachaiya al Foukhar. This is east of the Litani and north of Golan. The purpose of units operating here is to cut off Hezbollah raids from the east.

Western sector units entered Lebanon near Zarit where Hezbollah staged its raid on July 12 which started the war. Units here are to pass through Yarin, Alama Chaab and on to Nagoura on the Mediterranean sweeping away Hezbollah fighters enroute.

Fighting in these three sectors is just the first phase of the 14 day offensive. This first phase should be completed in just 3-4 days and should establish three enclaves inside southern Lebanon clear of Hezbollah fighters 2 miles inside Lebanon. But it is still nearly 20 miles from the Litani and even after reaching the river there will still be concentrations of Hezbollah units in and around the Palestinian refugee camps of Tyre. Here Israel will encircle the city, lay siege to it, instead of a frontal assualt and use artillery and air attacks to eliminate any enemy rocket fire.

Despite these successes some problems still exists. Israeli intelligence still does not know how much of Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal remains. Nor has the IDF explored and destroyed most of the bunker network created by Tehran in preparation for war on this front. Intelligence does suspect that during the early morning hours of Wednesday August 2, Tehran will have Hezbollah launch its “surprises”, the longer-range Zelzal-2 rockets at Tel Aviv in central Israel.

The longer-range rockets can of course operate beyond the Litani and this is where I suspect Israel will be forced to attack the Scud rocket factory at Syria’s military base near Homs which is just a few miles from Lebanon’s northern border. It is no coincidence that yesterday Iran Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki made quick visits to both Damascus and Beirut, which were most likely meant to give the word from Tehran that it is time for Hezbollah to use the rest of its rockets, of all ranges, and that Damascus should be ready to enter the war. After the visit Syria President Bashar Assad ordered Syria’s military to be on its highest alert.

According to the military-security agreement completed in Tehran in June, Iran is supposed to join the war right after Syria. As has stated this is the result of years of planning and industrial preparation on the part of both governments, which is why I am somewhat skeptical when I see analysts on the news claiming how antiquated Syria’s military is. It is no secret Syria has long made large amounts of weapons purchases from Russia over the years. Though perhaps they are not as powerful as Israel’s but Damascus’ entry will mean a huge amount of support for Hezbollah and will obviously extend the war beyond 14 days.

The enormous publicity resulting from such a move will send spiritual shockwaves througout the entire Islamic world setting the stage for Iran’s glorious-imperial entry as its symbolic support for Palestinian and Lebanese people.

Tehran’s magnanimous military gesture.

With the Jihad’s economic priorities, Tehran’s entry will again be largely symbolic since there is no market for salt in the Dead Sea, but Tehran wants to be seen doing something on what Islamic spritual leaders will call the holiest front. Both Damascus – Tehran will be presenting themselves as examples to other Islamic governments to do something, beyond rhetoric, against Israel and eventually against the West who Iran likes to blame for anything Israel does. Any Islamic government who refuses to send military or financial support to Lebanon will risk at least large demonstrations against it if not overthrow by radical elements who will be no stranger to Tehran – Tripoli – Khartoum – Riyadh.

The intention and creation of this Axis was stated publicly two years ago when Iran’s then President Mohammad Khatami made his strategic four nation trip during the summer of 2004 in which he circumvented Egypt. Khatami visited Oman-Sudan-Algeria-Syria. In Damascus, his last stop, he praised Syria for its long opposition to Israel and said what Iran-Syria should do is form a military axis to oppose the U. S.-Israel in order to remove what he called “pressures” which have always been there. This military cooperation is a follow up to a long standing foreign policy cooperation between Damascus and Tehran.

Syria was the lone Islamic government that openly supported Iran during the eight year Iran/Iraq War 1980-88. Damascus has had the same view of the Islamic world, as opposed to the world around them, as did the Khomeini government established in its 1979 revolution, and in Tehran’s government decision making circles since then. Other such revolutions will be supported by both Damascus-Tehran. The most strategic one will be to remove Egypt President Hosni Mubarak, the main, very proud obstacle to Islamic unity and the leader circumvented by Khatami.

Mubarak and Egypt are surrounded by nations which support the Jihad: Libya-Sudan-Saudi Arabia. Their military – financial support for Lebanon is no secret, especially the $500 million dollars sent by Riyadh to Beirut to form the nucleus of an Arab and international fund for the reconstruction of Lebanon. In addition to that $1 billion dollars has been deposited, by the House of Saud, into Lebanon’s central bank and another $250 million dollars in aid to Palestinian people. [AINALYAQEEN]

The House of Saud will be eager to invest in the new government in Cairo, which is why I have often stated that war on this front will have more impact on Egypt than on Israel. Despite the support of Egypt’s population for the war, I assume Egypt’s military will remain loyal to Mubarak. He will then have them attack Iranian forces in the immediate area but with Egypt being surrounded his position will be untenable. Cairo will then be brought back in line with the rest of the Islamic world and its new sense of direction independent of the West.

This of course will result in a massive alteration, a sea-change, in international relations which in so many ways began with the energy crisis of 1973 with the emergence of OPEC. It accelarated the economic growth of both sides of the Persian Gulf, setting the stage for the House of Saud to follow Iran and the Jihad’s successes with investments.

Willard Payne
Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.