The first one I’ve spotted, anyway. But I guess I’ve been out of the loop.

I wondered the other day if Israel’s offensive was doomed to fail. Let’s just say I’m not feeling any more confident after reading about this morning’s cabinet meeting:

It appears that the army is gradually moving away from its previous tactic of raids targeting specific positions along the border, in favor of one of capturing and temporarily holding a security zone whose aim would be to push the rocket launchers further north.

This strategy will not completely prevent the rocket attacks, but it will limit the scope of the threat against northern Israel.

In other words, they’re not going to destroy Hezbollah, they’re just going to squeeze them further in country so that they’ll have to use longer-range missiles if they want to kill Israelis.

The fighting’s been tougher than expected, with Debka claiming yesterday that “the Olmert government is stunned by the IDF’s setbacks in South Lebanon and the rising casualty figures. Senior ministers cannot agree whether to send in more troops to reinforce the units battling the Hizballah.” The latter issue has since been resolved in favor, no doubt due to what the IDF is learning about Hezbollah’s degree of organization:

The Israelis have confirmed that Hezbollah is fighting like a professional military. Their units are fighting at the company level at the least (Unit size of approximately 100 men), and perhaps in larger formations. Intelligence also confirms there is specialization within the Hezbollah units, including trained infantry, mortar teams, missile squads, and logistical personal. Iran has trained and organized Hezbollah’s army into something far more deadly than a militia force. Hezbollah’s core ‘active’ army is estimated at 3,000 – 5,000, with as many as 50,000 part time militia and support personnel that can be called upon to fight (20,000 is the average estimate).

Intelligence sources also have confirmed that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Qods Force have indeed been killed during the fighting in southern Lebanon.

The Washington Times also says Hezbollah is fighting like an army, which inspires “fear” among the west.

Haaretz says the IDF has intercepted Nasrallah’s communications, but if that were true he’d be dead, not (allegedly) in Damascus, wouldn’t he? Captain Ed thinks Nasrallah fleeing for Syria is evidence of a bug out but I think it’s more like a taunt: Israel claims to have the whole country blockaded, yet public enemy number one is (allegedly) moving freely across the border.

Query: if he’s able to get out, who or what is able to get in?

There’s a new Zawahiri tape out too, which might or might not call for Sunni/Shiite reconciliation in service to the cause of Judenrein. Reuters helpfully ignores the Iran/Syria alliance and feigns shock at the idea. Here’s a still from the video; that’s quite a “cave” he’s got there.

zawahiri-studio.jpg

I’ll leave you with the latest peace plan from Lebanon. I haven’t fully thought it through but I think this one has potential.