Thursday, July 13, 2006

Taking Stock of Air Force Operations

Hizbullah threatened to bomb Haifa yesterday afternoon IN RESPONSE to IAF strikes on its headquarters in Beirut. But Hizbullah ended up preempting the IDF, firing a number of Katyushas at Israel's third-largest city that, B"H, did not lead to any deaths (as far as I know). All along, Hizbullah is trying to present itself as the defender of Lebanon, even though it was the terrorist organization that precipitated the attacks on the country in the first place. Without Hizbullah's unprovoked attack across the internationally-recognized border, Lebanese citizens would be carrying on with their lives as usual today. They would be dancing in the clubs of Beirut and enjoying the rewards of a growing economy bolstered by a recovering tourism industry. Of course, the air strikes are not exactly endearing Israel to ordinary Lebanese, but before the attack on Haifa - an unbelievable escalation - the air force focused mostly on Hizbullah bases, missile silos, and bunkers, as well as strategic sites such as bridges, roads, and airports that could be used to convey troops. Ze'ev Schiff has a good analysis of the sites that the air force has targeted so far. He writes that:
The vast majority of the 100 targets that the IAF have hit are in southern Lebanon. On Friday, the air force is likely to expand its operations to include other parts of the country. The operations are guided by an effort to indicate to the Lebanese government those areas for which Israel considers it responsible. Therefore, it is important to note not only the nature of the targets the air force is attacking, but also those that it is not. The air force, for example, attacked Hezbollah offices, but none in Beirut.
Of course, now that Haifa has been attacked, all this is likely to change.

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