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I'll Raise You A Nasty Surprise
by James Dunnigan
July 30, 2010

Israel recently released aerial photos of Hezbollah military preparations in southern Lebanon. The photos showed villages being fortified and weapons and rockets being stored near and in schools and hospitals. Hezbollah has organized an armed militia there, of about 20,000 men. Nearly a third of them have been to Iran for military training. There is a lot of open terrain in southern Lebanon, but the 40,000 rockets are mostly stored, and ready to be launched from, these fortified villages. The Hezbollah preparations are similar to those used by Hamas, and encountered by Israeli troops during the brief war in Gaza 19 months ago. Hezbollah provides Hamas with military advisers, and Iranian weapons.

Most civilians fled southern Lebanon before the ground fighting got to them in 2006, but that may not be possible to the same extent in the next war with Hezbollah. The Israelis apparently plan to hit the missile storage sites quickly, with smart bombs and fast moving infantry units travelling in armored vehicles.

To counter that, Hezbollah is expected to have more of the Kornet E missiles next time around. This is a Russian laser guided missile with a range of 5,000 meters. The launcher has a thermal sight for use at night or in fog. The missile's warhead can penetrate 1200 mm of armor, which means that the side armor of the Israeli Merkava tank would be vulnerable. The missile weighs 8.2 kg (18 pounds) and the launcher 19 kg (42 pounds). The system was introduced in 1994 and had been sold to Syria (who apparently passed them on to Hezbollah). In 2006, the Kornet was used to best effect against buildings Israeli troops were in. With assault rifles and RPGs (the primary weapons of Hamas) Hezbollah was not very effective against the Israeli infantry.

Hezbollah is expected to make much use of bombs (booby traps and command detonated ones). But Israel also demonstrated their ability to deal with that during the 2009 war in Gaza.

In the 2006 war, Israel lost 121 troops and 44 civilians (from 4,000 Hezbollah rockets). Hezbollah lost 600 fighters, and 1,200 civilians (who were in and around Hezbollah facilities, mostly in southern Lebanon.) Israel has warned Lebanon that, if Hezbollah starts another war, Lebanon will suffer more damage, and Hezbollah much more. Hezbollah appears to be using the same tactics as last time (which they declared a victory, even though they were driven north), while the Israelis have developed some new moves they aren’t talking about. That’s not to say Hezbollah hasn’t got some surprises planned, but the Israelis have more of an incentive to put more hurt on Hezbollah if there is another war.

 


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