Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – Middle East Theatre- Lebanon: Tehran – Beirut – Damascus/Jerusalem; Israel Gives “Strict Warning” to People of S. Lebanon to Evacuate – Lebanon DM States Lebanese Army Will Defend Country
Night Watch: BEIRUT – AP reports that in preparation for a ground invasion Israel has issued what it calls a “strict warning” to the residents in south Lebanon to leave the area as Israel mobilizes its reserves. The warning was made in Arabic over Al-Mashriq an Israeli radio station that broadcasts into Lebanon. “Residents of south Lebanon south of the Litani must leave their areas immediately for their own safety.” [AOL]
The Litani river is 20 miles from Israel’s border and turns north at the Lebanese city of Marjayoun which is just 40 miles south of Beirut. The Litani has twice been used by Israel as a buffer between it and Islamic militant groups. Once in 1978 and again in 1982. More than 300,000 Lebanese live south of the Litani. This warning comes as Israel engages in intense firefights with Hezbollah units, hiding in tunnels, just one mile inside Lebanon. This is Israel’s acknowledgement that air power alone is not enough to defeat Hezbollah whose leader appeared yesterday on Al Jazeera saying his military had not been seriously weakened.
Israel’s invasion may also be a warning to Islamic governments, including Tehran, of the consequences of threatening Israel. Regular readers of crossfirewar.com are aware that I have said Israel will go to any lengths to defend itself including the use of nuclear weapons. This is indeed (f)allout war and Tehran intends to use this front to generate more Islamic unity as the war in Iraq and other fronts have done. Some of the tunnels used by Hezbollah may require such extreme measures not to mention when Israel makes strikes against Syria and in case of Iranian troop concentrations or staging areas. Nuclear weapons may first be used as Israel’s response to longer range missile attacks on Tel Aviv. Tehran may have Hezbollah launch those missiles at the beginning of Israel’s invasion. I suspect the nuclear weapons Iran possesses are reserved for the West and India.
There are already reports that Israel has been clandestinely hitting targets in Syria just across the Lebanese border in an attempt to cut off supplies to Hezbollah. Eventually they will expand their target selection to include Damascus airport, another supply terminal for Hezbollah, and Syrian military bases, targets impossible to hit secretly. In the meantime Damascus-Tehran are obliged to come to Beirut’s assistance when Lebanon is invaded since both governments have made a show of support for Lebanon.
Reuters reports that Lebanon Defense Minister Elias al-Murr stated yesterday over Al Arabiya television that Lebanon’s military is ready to defend the country when the invasion takes place, “Our constitutional duty is to defend Lebanon as a Lebanese army. This is our role.” A role Damascus-Tehran set the stage for in this theatre of war to enter. That will be their message not just to Israel but to the West-Russia. The Islamic military Axis at work, defending Islam. [ASHARQALAWSAT]
Lebanon Prime Minister Fuad Saniora also justifies Lebanon joining the war against Israel. He stated, “This attack is no longer against Hezbollah, it is an attack against the Lebanese and Lebanon.” More than 55 bridges have been hit. There are also reports that Israel has been targeting ambulances and medical convoys though I don’t really know if that is true or just some rumors being spread by Islamic groups opposed to Israel.