Council on Foreign Relations : Israeli Preventive War on Hizballah in the offing?
I think that's called a full on regional war. Something this writer has been saying is totally unavoidable without some major change
The Council on Foreign Relations has asserted that the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah could provoke Israel into a war that could spread throughout the region. In a report by a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, the council said a major war could erupt by 2012 with participation by Iran and Syria.
"Israel could decide that the security threat posed by Hizbullah has reached intolerable levels and take pre-emptive military action," the council, in a report titled "A Third Lebanon War," said. "Hizbullah, while outwardly showing no interest in confronting Israel at this time, may for various reasons choose or be pressured by Iran to flex its new military capabilities."
A Lebanese soldier stands next to a bullet-riddled army vehicle after an exchange of fire along the Israel-Lebanon border, on Aug. 3,in the southern Lebanese town of Adaisseh. AFP/Mahmoud Zayat
The report, released in July 2010, said Hizbullah, with an estimated 50,000 missiles and rockets, has been building its military arsenal.
Author Daniel Kurtzer, a former career diplomat, said Hizbullah could decide to strike Israel as a means to resolve strife within the Shi'ite movement. In 2006, Israel and Hizbullah fought a 34-day war in Lebanon.
"Hizbullah's arsenal is more potent in quantity and quality today than it was in 2006," the report said.
Kurtzer outlined several scenarios. They included a Hizbullah attack that sparked major Israeli retaliation and an Israeli effort to degrade Hizbullah's military capabilities as part of a plan to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.
"Of the two scenarios, the second is the more likely," the report said. "Hizbullah has probably already breached the limits of what Israel considers acceptable behavior. The sheer number and enhanced quality of rockets Hizbullah has acquired in the past few years worry Israeli defense and homeland security planners, as does the effort by Hizbullah to acquire longer-range and more accurate surface-to-surface missiles."
The report said Israel would find Hizbullah procurement of the Russian-origin S-300 air defense system as a major threat. Hizbullah has already acquired Scud-class missiles as well as the Syrian-origin M-600 rocket, with a range of 250 kilometers.
"An Israeli military strike on Hizbullah could unfold in several ways," the report said. "In the most likely scenario, Israel could exploit what its military planners call an 'operational opportunity,' that is, an attack against a convoy carrying long-range weapons or against a storage facility in Lebanon."
Another scenario stipulated an Israeli air strike on suspected Hizbullah weapons sites in Syria. This could spark Hizbullah rocket attacks on the Jewish state and another war.
The report said Hizbullah has provided indications of what was termed an "imminent war." They were said to have included an increase in Hizbullah's anti-Israeli rhetoric and intensified Israeli military exercises.
Kurtzer called on the United States to deter Israel from any war with Hizbullah. One option was a U.S. threat that it would not support an Israel-initiated war either militarily or diplomatically.
"Specifically, the United States could threaten to initiate or support a UN Security Council resolution directed against Israel, should Israel start a war," the report said. "Israel would likely mobilize its supporters in the United States to push back against the administration, and the Obama administration would face a firestorm of pressure from Capitol Hill and the pro-Israel lobby organizations."
Another option was U.S. pressure on Syria in cooperation with the European Union and the Arab world. The report acknowledged that the administration of President Barack Obama wielded no influence on Hizbullah.
"The U.S. should mobilize diplomatic pressure on Syria to desist from providing Hizbullah access to destabilizing weapons," the report said. "Arab states and France, in particular, can be helpful to U.S. interests if the United States has a sense of what it wants to accomplish and a willingness to bring others into its diplomatic game plan."
The full Council report is HERE