Day 10 of Israel-Hezbollah conflict

Israel continues to prepare the battlespace by striking at possible avenues of retreat, reinforcement, or re-supply:

On Friday, Israel Air Force warplanes resumed strikes on Lebanon, pounding the country’s main road link to Syria with missiles and setting passenger buses on fire, Lebanese police said.

Israel warned hundreds of thousands of people to flee the south “immediately,” preparing for a likely ground invasion to set up a deep buffer zone in southern Lebanon.

Up in the mountains of central Lebanon on the Beirut-Damascus highway Friday, IAF warplanes fired four missiles on a bridge linking two steep mountain peaks. Part of the bridge collapsed. It has been hit several times since the fighting began.

locating Hezbollah positions and tunnels:

Hezbollah bunkers are well-hidden and discernible only from a close distance, said Gantz. “The operation is challenging, difficult and complex. Unfortunately, there is the price of casualties, but the other side, unlike us, doesn’t report their casualties,” he added.

Thousands of Israeli troops are operating in south Lebanon where they are targetting Hezbollah positions. Among their activities, they are searching for tunnels dug by Hezbollah militants. According to the army, Hezbollah fighters have taken refuge inside these tunnels – often dug under homes in villages – along with their rockets, and that they occasionally emerge to fire one into Israel.

and Israel is calling up reserve units in what appears will be a long struggle:

The Israel Defense Forces will be calling up additional reserve battalions, sending thousands more soldiers to fight Hezbollah on the northern border and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, the army said Friday.

The IDF said the call-up would likely come later in the day.

The decision comes on the heels of a significant expansion of the ground operations in the north, as the IDF sent thousands of troops into southern Lebanon on Thursday. Three reserve battalions have already been called up.

Austin Bay follows up with good words on the value of reconnaissance:

This is another example of my first company commander’s favorite military cliche–favorite because it was so completely true: “Recon is worth its weight in gold.” (Recon is worth more than mere gold– gold is useless if you’re dead.) My old CO was talking about tactical (immediate battlefield) recon. Intelligence is vital at all levels– tactical, operaitonal, strategic. 9/11 was a strategic and operational intel failure. However, tactical intelligence– knowing what is behind the ridge or in the building down the street — directly affects the tanker and the grunt. Quality tactical information can often take time to obtain, particularly when your enemy has had time to dig-in, rig obstacles, prepare ammo caches, and camouflage positions. UAVs are angels with eyes, but getting the complete tactical intel picture still requires patrols and cautious, careful probing by ground forces. Israeli artillery and MLRS (multiple launch rocket system) bombardment, and fixed-wing and helicopter air strikes is damaging and destroying Hezbollah’s defensive positions– but that also takes time.

As the actual objectives and tactics of the Israelis slowly unfolds we all struggle for understanding.

I don’t think that anyone other than a handful of firebrands actually longs for direct catastrophic confrontation. But it’s hard to see how anything else can happen unless someone, somewhere, somehow stays their hand.

It’s hard to see how the Israelis can be the ones to do this when, at every attempt to do so, their enemies redouble their efforts. It’s hard to see why Hezbollah would the ones to do this when, at every escalation, their supporters pour into the streets, rejoicing.

UPDATE:  Donald Sensing of One Hand Clapping wonders if there aren’t signs of an impending mass border-crossing by Israel (hard to call it an invasion for reasons that Rev. Sensing points out).

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