Stratfor Update On Gaza, Israel, And Hezbollah

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Stratfor Global Intelligence,

Update On The Israel-Gaza Conflict

New intelligence indicates forces in Gaza may be manufacturing long-range rockets locally. If this is the case, a significant ground force offers the Israelis the best chance of finding and neutralizing the factories making these weapons. Meanwhile, Israel continues its airstrikes on Gaza, and Gaza continues its long-range rocket attacks on major Israeli population centers, though Israel claims its Iron Dome defense system has intercepted most of the rockets.




Israel appears to be positioning itself for a ground operation, perhaps as early as the night of Nov. 17. The Israeli Cabinet on Nov. 16 approved Defense Minister Ehud Barak's request to call up 75,000 reservists, significantly more than during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. The Israeli army meanwhile has also sought to strengthen its presence on the borders with Gaza. Primary roads leading to Gaza and running parallel to Sinai have been declared closed military zones. Tanks, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery and troops continue to stream to the border, and many units already appear to be in position.


During Operation Cast Lead, the Israelis transitioned to the ground phase around 8:00 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2009. Going in during dark hours allows the IDF to take advantage of its superior night-fighting equipment and training, including the use of night vision goggles and thermal optics.


The Israeli air force remained active throughout the night of Nov. 16-17, striking at targets across the Gaza Strip including key Hamas ministries, police stations and tunnels near the border crossing with Egypt. The IAF reportedly carried out strikes in Rafah's al-Sulan and al-Zahour neighborhoods, as well as east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp. According to IDF reports, the air force carried out a rapid and coordinated military strike, targeting approximately 70 underground medium-range rocket-launching sites in the less than an hour. The IDF claims direct hits were confirmed. The IAF will increasingly target Hamas militant defenses ahead of any ground invasion. Already the IAF has bombed militant defensive positions, particularly in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.


Meanwhile, Hamas and other militant factions in Gaza have been actively striking back at Israel. More than 80 rockets have been launched from Gaza over the past 24 hours. Of the rockets launched Nov. 17, approximately 57 landed in Israel. According to the IDF, a total of 640 rockets have been launched since Nov. 14, with 410 landing in Israel. A long-range rocket was fired from Gaza toward Tel Aviv at approximately 4:45 p.m. local time Nov. 17 but was successfully intercepted by the recently deployed Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system in the area. Hamas continues to target areas around Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beersheva, with the Iron Dome system intercepting five rockets over Ashkelon at 5:15 p.m. The majority of rockets launched from Gaza appear to be of shorter range than the Fajr-5. The IDF has stated its Iron Dome interceptors have so far successfully intercepted 90 percent of the rockets, though this may be an exaggeration.


One of the long-range rockets was intercepted by the newly installed Iron Dome battery in the Tel Aviv area. A Stratfor source has indicated that the rocket was not a Fajr-5, but was a locally manufactured long-range rocket in Hamas' arsenal.


If militants in Gaza are now able to locally manufacture their own long-range rockets that can target Tel Aviv and other major Israeli cities, it would be a worrisome development for Israel. Thus far, Israel has been able to focus its efforts on limiting the supply of these rockets to Gaza through interdiction efforts, such as the alleged Oct. 23 strike on the Yarmouk arms factory in Sudan. But if Palestinian militants can manufacture long-range rockets in Gaza, it will be much more difficult for Israel to restrict Gaza's inventory of these rockets. Beyond rocket launch sites and caches, which Israel is currently targeting with its airstrikes, it would need to target production sites and those who would be responsible for manufacturing the rockets.


Furthermore, it will be significantly harder for Israeli intelligence to form an accurate picture of the number of these rockets locally constructed in Gaza. We have already seen that Israeli intelligence likely did not anticipate how many long-range rockets had escaped its first wave of strikes, and the fact that Hamas may have been producing these weapons could explain Israel's lack of complete information.


Hamas recognizes that these long-range rocket attacks have only increased the likelihood and intensity of an Israeli ground incursion. A significant ground force offers the Israelis the best chance of finding and neutralizing the factories making these long-range rockets as well as the shorter-range Qassams. Hamas and the other militants therefore are actively preparing their defenses for the anticipated incursion and are likely laying improvised explosive devices, setting up road blocks and defensive emplacements and sorting out their ranks and tasks.


Hamas has already announced that its Al Murabiteen units, consisting of five brigades spread across Gaza, will be concentrated in the border region to limit Israeli penetration into the Gaza Strip. Learning from Hezbollah's example in 2006, special units of Hamas are relying heavily on tunnels to maintain communications. Should Israel be drawn into more densely populated areas of Gaza in pursuit of weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, Hamas has also reportedly prepared its suicide bombers, known as Istishadiyeen, to raise the cost for Israel in an urban battle.

Hezbollah Remains Wary amid Israeli Operations in Gaza

While Hamas is preparing for an Israeli ground assault into Gaza, Hezbollah's movements on Israel's northern frontier bear close watching. Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi on Nov. 17 called on the Muslim world to retaliate against Israeli actions in Gaza. Naturally, many are looking in the direction of Lebanon, where Hezbollah, Iran's most capable militant proxy, could open a second front against Israel.


Though Iran would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the spectrum of its militant proxy strength, especially after supplying Hamas with the long-range Fajr-5 rockets that have been targeting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Hezbollah will likely be extremely cautious in deciding whether to participate in this war.



The group's fate is linked to that of the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad; should Syria fracture along sectarian lines, Lebanon is likely to descend into civil war, and Hezbollah will have to conserve its strength and resources for a battle at home against its sectarian rivals. Indeed, Hezbollah has already been preparing for such a scenario by seizing control of villages along the Orontes River Basin in order to maintain connectivity with Syria's Alawite community.


At the same time, if Hamas is able to bog down Israeli ground forces by drawing them into a war of attrition in densely populated Gaza City, Hezbollah may see a political opportunity to burnish its credentials as the region's leading "resistance" movement. In this case, Hezbollah would likely monitor the situation until it could be assured that Israeli forces are sufficiently constrained on the Gaza front before it begins attacks on the northern front. Hezbollah is not looking for a major confrontation with Israel, and the tens of thousands of additional Israeli reservists called up compared to Operation Cast Lead suggest that Israel is already preparing for a two-front contingency. If Hezbollah does decide to participate in the war, it would be carefully timed to drive an already embattled Israel toward a cease-fire so that Hezbollah could claim a largely symbolic victory at relatively little cost.


With Hezbollah uncertain how the Israeli-Hamas battle will play out, the group appears to be taking a cautious approach. Stratfor has received indication that Hezbollah has prevented radical Palestinian groups in southern Lebanese refugee camps from firing rockets into northern Israel. In addition to an increase in the number of patrols by the Lebanese army and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Hezbollah has been deploying numerous operatives in plainclothes along the border to monitor the situation. Hezbollah has also installed cameras around the Ain al Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon to monitor traffic from the camp to its outside environs. Whereas Hezbollah completely controls movement into and out of Palestinian refugee camps in the deep south, Ain al Hilweh lies completely within a Sunni neighborhood. For this reason, Hezbollah has rented a number of apartments around the camp, especially in al Ta'mir area, to keep a close watch there.


For now, Hezbollah appears intent on not allowing the battle in Gaza to spill into southern Lebanon. It remains to be seen whether that calculus would shift should Hamas succeed in wearing down Israeli ground forces.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
herewego...'s picture

This was posted further up the thread - and and answers who is at fault clearly:


Edit: orginal post from john39

3laz3r's picture

You silly muppet...what has socialism got to do with it...Only a Nazi would agree with your statement...

Solarman's picture

There is no need for Israel to go into Gaza City.  In ten minnutes Israel can cut Gaza into three sections through relatively sparse population zones.  Gaza City will be brought to its knees.  Israel knows most of the tunnel locations, and has technology to find the rest.

Stingers are useless above 10,000 feet.  Drones will do the heavy lifting at low altitude.  antotank weapons will be of limited value due to Isaels advances in protective anti missle defenses, and will blow up everything in their path to destroy the IEDs.  They can turn the streets to rubble and drive the tanks right over it.

I know everyone gets a hard on for the Palestinians on this blog for some strange reason.  But there was a King David before their was a Moon God worshipper.  

Hamas overplayed their hand once again, allow Israel to neutralize their southern flank, and turn their attention north to take out Hezbollah, before fucking with Iran.

Acet's picture

Wasn't all that wanderful Israeli militiary technology also guarantee a great victory for Israel in Lebanon!?

Didn't work so well, now did it?

downwiththebanks's picture

Nonsense.  Apartheid Israel's little army will be pulverized if they set foot into Gaza.   That's why they're begging the "international community" to convince the Palestinian resistance to stop being so mean.

Your hateful little Sky-Goblin cannot save the criminal Zionist state from suiciding itself.  

Vigilante's picture

3000 years bitches....

You can't stomach it...admit it..

Israel is stronger than ever and the moo-sleems are gonna get a beating.

Being ignorant of the Old Testament makes you talk crap..



downwiththebanks's picture

White European Jews didn't invade Palestine until they had license to do so.  And when their welfare checks stop coming, the jig is up.

Joe A's picture

Have you looked at the map of the middle east? Iran would have to go through Iraq and either Syria or Jordania, or both. They can either do that by installing favorable regimes there or by invading these countries. They don't have the means to do both. Or they could use missiles directed at Israel but that would finish them. Israel has proven in the past it can take on several adversaries at the same time. Israel has a technological advantage over these countries.

Lore's picture

"Let American assholes fight all over the Middle East."

At least America still exports something.

Spitzer's picture

what a surprise.. Somebody is warming up the ovens in the first comment

herewego...'s picture

Yes. What Israel really needs is a final solution for this palestinian problem.

Oh, you didn't mean that...?

q99x2's picture

The language is experiencing technical difficulties that is all. It is rather a brain problem between thoughts and emotions. The emotions want to have fun and the brain gets all flustered and calls a time out and then the emotions start playing again.

I think the whole race issue stops once a big enough bomb goes off. That is usually how it works out. I have a lot more in common with animals than with people so I don't get it to begin with.

centerline's picture

It's all not quite so real until someone gets poked in the eye.

OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

Let me get this straight, isn't Gaza part of Israel? Then why is it an "invasion"? Seems to me "civil war" would be more apt. Like Syria.

Matt's picture

They have a seperate, democratically elected government, so I would say no.

herewego...'s picture

Bahai thought:
Jewish faith, evolves into Christian faith,
which evolves into Muslim faith,
which evolves into Bahai faith.

Neat worldview, but also highlights how many of those with a Jewish faith nowadays hold no lineage going back to that bit of land on the east of the Mediterranean Sea.

Simply put - all those who were Jews back then 'evolved' into Christians and Muslims.

Meanwhile, over in Europe, the Jews 'evolved' into bankers and money changers - a great job if you can get it. And if you have to convert to do so - no worries, convert.

This fighting over a bit of land on the edge of the med shows a singular lack of progress from apes. Unless it is a distraction to ensure war is continuous and profit from war is continuous. In which case it would show that TPTB regard the rest of us as being only slightly more useful to their lifestyles than apes.

Yen Cross's picture

  End this MADDNESS! 

Ben Dover's picture

For what it is worth, the above video claims that the munitions were not locally made but came from Syria.

The speaker is identified by Wikipedia ( as "Secretary General of the Lebanese political and paramilitary organization Hezbollah" While his claim could be disinformation, I share it for what it is worth.

Thanks for reporting on this, Tyler.

RacerX's picture


Salame, salame, balonay

knukles's picture

The other guy has his hearing aide turned off so he compensated by turning his mouth up.

bank guy in Brussels's picture

Disinfo is the whole purpose of the CIA - Mossad Wikimedia - Wikipedia

Jewish Jimmy Wales, criminal mafia porn meister in the 1990s, selected by CIA to pose as 'Wikipedia founder' because of his willingness to harm children and help murder any innocent people who are targets of US-Israel

Jimmy Wales is so high up with Mossad he goes to intimate birthday parties of the President of Israel Shimon Peres

Wikipedia provides full anonymity for all Mossad agents, CIA and NSA agents ...

90% of Wiki allowed to be 'neutral', even publishing stuff about past CIA crimes etc., so the world will get sucked into the lies planted in the other 10% against current targets of CIA or Mossad ... That is the Wikipedia 'trick'

Cosimo de Medici's picture

You just pull all this straight out of your ass, don't you?  Lots of free time as a banker in Belgium, I guess.  Is Dexia coming back?

downwiththebanks's picture

This is indeed Nasrallah, the most schrewd politician and commander in the region, by far.

The man Apartheid Israel fears more than anyone else, since he speaks the truth.  Here he clearly and emphatically explains why alCIAda is trying to blow up Syria.  Meanwhile, he calls out the feudal monarchies servile to Uncle Sam in the region for their fecklessness.

SgtShaftoe's picture

Is it just me, or does it seem that an Archduke was just killed???

SgtShaftoe's picture

It just seems that at this time, this situation could very easily spiral out of control into a regional conflict.

A Lunatic's picture

For it to spiral out of control would be evidence that things are completely under control................

Jack Burton's picture

Not likely as Israel has way more military power than anyone else in the region. There really is no military to go to war with Israel. Hezbolla has the only credible force and they are all about defense of Southern Lebanon. Their only offensive punch is the rocket and missile inventory that they will unleash if they are attacked, but probably not in defense of Gaza, though there is always that possibility.

Matt's picture

What is the deal with Al-Qaeda in Syria? Are they enemies of Hezbollah due to different religious factions? Are they anti-Israel?

downwiththebanks's picture

Apartheid Israel has been sort of quiet re: Syria, since their vocal support for alCIAda there only helps Assad.

There has been some unrest in Lebanon on the Syrian border--near Tripoli--with Hizbollah and the Lebanese army breaking up the arms-trafficing networks of the Said Hariri's sepoys, Gangea's Future Movement, and the rest of the 14 March Movement.  The FSA/alCIAda terrorists in Syria talk about Hizbollah as an enemy, but say nothing about Apartheid Israel killing babies.

Gashole's picture



Is web site traffic off?  I notice that Israel posts generate a disproportionate number of comments.  Trying to increase traffic and ad revenue?


I am done with this website.  We are all being played.


LetThemEatRand's picture  There, you can have 100% reassurance of your worldview, 100% of the time.  Comforting for the narrow of mind.

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot's picture

True, but nobody (NOBODY!) loves Israel more than the master charlatan , Glenn Beck. 

Conchy Joe's picture

interesting....  -__-


cbxer55's picture

Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!



Don't forget to write.

goldfish1's picture

Then go to SFGate - pro Is all the time.

awakening's picture

In case you didn't notice Israel and Palestine are kind of at each others throats atm, naturally such an event would have far reaching effects that may very well include the core reasons for the sites formation.

At least 4 of the 5 priority purposes for ZH are present in this issue, therefore it does have its place here. It just so happens however that there is increased interest in the matter (in my instance for a less biased source of information than I would otherwise receive in Australia) so naturally as a by-product ZH would see increased site traffic (not all traffic becomes a financial benefit either, thanks to AdBlock Plus in my case).

If the above post (more than you apparently deserve according to the other responses thus far) is not fitting enough an explanation on the matter than by all means leave, but do so in peace (unlike the 'nation state' the flag in your current avatar represents).

Schmuck Raker's picture

[edit: too late, cbx way ahead of me]

Michaelwiseguy's picture


Tactics like that don't make real Geo-political thinkers go away.

We think different. Sorry.

This was when Apple was good before they turned evil;

Think Different


knukles's picture

Is that like Google's "do no harm"?

Henry Hub's picture

"We think different..."

We think Differently --- it's an adverb not an adjective.

jackinrichmond's picture

..he'll be back.. using another screen name..

bye troll - see you soon

bunnyswanson's picture

There is an article regarding Pro-Israeli commentators/posters spreading propaganda throughout the internet and social media.  They are taking over threads, disrupting conversations and cheering for their team in such a fashion that it is overwhelming to the point of frustration for all of us. They work out of warehouses at times. 

It is propaganda -