1:50PM: We're about to get medieval on Hizbullah.The Lebanese Government and armed forces have proved themselves unwilling, or more likely incapable, of challenging Hizbullah's hold on South Lebanon.
Hizbullah's Iranian-supplied Frog-7 unguided rockets (called Zelzal-2) now have the capability of striking anywhere in Israel: and they have the will to use them, regardless of any diplomatic position or process. It is unconfirmed whether they're under the direction of Iranian "military advisors" or actual Iranian Revolutionary Guards, known to be in the area.
In October 2002 it was reported that Iranian Zelzal-2 short-range ballistic missiles had been delivered to Iranian Revolutionary Guard units in the Beka'a Valley in Lebanon. Israelis sources frequently claim that long-range rockets have been transferred to Lebanon, including 240mm versions of the standard 122mm 'Katyusha' rocket, and Iranian Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets. Hizbullah typically refuses to confirm or deny such reports. However, in late October 2002 Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek, a senior Hizbullah official, hinted at the group's reach, saying that "all sensitive areas of the Zionist entity are within the range of our fire... wherever they exist".
We know from the attack on Haifa that 240mm rockets have definitely been supplied to Hizbullah.
From Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, Nov-Dec 2002 :
There have been conflicting reports as to whether the rockets are under the control of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or Syrian commanders. Following the September 11 attacks, Iran's Supreme National Security Council reportedly ordered the withdrawal of an unspecified number of IRGC personnel from Lebanon.10 In November, the Lebanese daily L'Orient Le-Jour quoted "well-informed sources" as saying that about 100 "Iranian experts who assist Hezbollah" had departed the country.11 There is no evidence that all IRGC personnel (or even most) were withdrawn, however, and there have been unconfirmed reports that some have returned. Most probably there is some form of joint Syrian-Iranian supervision over the long-range rockets.
No state can continue to exist when under random bombardment by an enemy that sits in an impregnable position. Impregnable not due to military considerations, but out of diplomatic ones.
The Zeizal-2's 600kg payload is quite adequate to carry a biological, chemical, or nuclear payload. If the latter were used from a site in Lebanon, Israel's retaliatory options would be limited. Who to hit - Syria or Iran?
The Jerusalem Post is now reporting that 700 Rockets and Mortar Rounds have been fired into Northern Israel so far. This is no sporadic, irregular terrorist attack, it is a major bombardment from a military force that cannot be ignored.
It's a showdown between Hizbullah or Israel. My bet's on the latter.