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.

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

Still don't follow. nmewn is all right. He's just a little dense at times.

Yen Cross's picture

  Crocket , sorry for offending you.    Doing Flight Certs.? I think you should get involved.'s picture

Are you secretly Lewis Carroll or something?

Yen Cross's picture

  Just a "Croc Hunter"   Hey what about those "static lines"?'s picture

I can't make heads or tails out of most of the things that you say.

Yen Cross's picture

 Have you ever conquered a sewer RAT? Tall /Hat no cattle---

infinity8's picture

all of the above: hilarious.

infinity8's picture

Crockett, I greened you on the heads-or-tails comment. I'm a Crockett fan - I was born on 8-17. You need to relax, "brother".'s picture

I'm quiet relaxed. The stimulating conversation on this board has nearly put me to sleep. Just playing with one and all.

infinity8's picture

and I thought I was a cranky old fucker. .  {:(*'s picture

Maybe you are. It's going around.

cbxer55's picture

I am a cranky old fucker. But a cranky old fucker who totes a 1911 everywhere he goes. Don't mess with this cranky old fucker.

Off to get my first drink of the night. Let the drinkin games begin. Every time Yen Cross puts up one of them indecipherable posts, take a swig.;-)

Kastorsky's picture

Update on jews:

Jewish man gets caught red handed spraying anti-Jewish hate messages in New York's picture

I wonder if he had an agenda or was just driven mad by the stress of constant Zionist doomsday propaganda. Nazi this and Nazi that. It's got to weigh heavily on people.

Kastorsky's picture


all jewish agenda is driven by the stress of constant Zionist doomsday propaganda.

ekm's picture

Arab Population - 280 million (approx)


Israeli Population - 8 million (not even)


Ratio: 35 times more arabs then israelis

This is what I call: GUTS. These guys are tough. Ratio 1 to 35 and victorious.

I do not understand how could they live in a permanent state of fear, but they do.

Why (most of) arabs hate jews, is beyond me. 1 to 35, remember.'s picture

Those Israelis fight hard on my dime.

ekm's picture

Let me tell it the way it is, sir.

If Israel were not there, not a single drop of oil would have arrived to USA and Europe.


They have this thing called Holy Land and they want to stay there. It just happens that the Holy Land is near crude oil areas. I can tell you that if the Holy Land were in a God forgiven land somewhere in the Pacific, nobody would have cared.


We pay some dimes, they are there to divide the arabs so they can stay in the their Holy Land. I like the deal.


Moreover, a lot of scientics and artists are of jewish descent or plainly jews. I like anybody who contributes to science and art. And if jews are the ones who contribute the most, I like them. They're good people.'s picture

You are a crazy, hateful person. And a mooch.'s picture

I don't need any additional proof that you're a mooch.

ekm's picture

Debate with me otherwise I'm going to ignore you.

Teach me something. Make me change my mind. "Mooch" doesn't cut it.


I can say that I am annoyed by "nazi" for this and "nazi" for that, but they feel strongly about it. Come on, they live in fear and want to survive, just 8 million. What's wrong with surviving?'s picture

The Palestinians live far more fearful lives than the Israelis.


At least 6,617 Palestinians and 1,097 Israelis
have been killed since September 29, 2000.


And why should I have to debate with you over whether you have the right to reach in my pocket and take my money because you've got a sob story. Everybody's got one of those. Nothing exceptional about it.


ekm's picture

Nobody is endorsing war. Do not twist the math.

What I'm saying is that 200 mil people are threating 8 million people.


The money you pay, gets paid back. Instead of american soldiers, there are israeli soldiers fighting.

If Israel were not there, US soldiers would have to be engaged into fighting in order to protect crude oil interests, not drinking beer at the bases at UAE and Qatar.


Basically, USA and the West is paying Israel to fight for us. They agree since they want to stay in their Holy Land.

It's a crazy deal, but it seems a good deal for us in the west.'s picture

It's up to me to decide whether paying Israel to murder innocent people is worth it. And I'm gonna have to take a pass. But feel free to panhandle your way through the rest of the thread.

Vooter's picture

Why should I give a shit if a couple of hundred thousand tattooed subhumans from Jesusland are tricked into flying over to the Middle East to die for nothing? LOL...go ahead, send them over. American soldiers, Israeli soldiers--it's all the same fucking thing. Who gives a shit?'s picture

There but for the grace of God go I.

downwiththebanks's picture

Good analysis here.

So when the Land-Grabbing army of the White Zionists can't even successfully attack its own prison colony, what service does it provide?  Is it worth bankrolling a cancerous tumor in a region simply for the purpose of losing wars--in 2000, then in 2006, then 2008/9, and now today.

Apartheid Israel doesn't have the guts, or the guys, to send troops into Gaza.

Vooter's picture

I'm looking forward to checking out the new fleet of open-air buses in Tel Aviv...

bunnyswanson's picture

 ?  Why do you think Jewish are so hated by so many that out of 130 nations during the Evian Conference, only 1 (Paraquay?) would allow a couple thousand entry - even in light of the situation?  Does that not bother Jewish people?  Isn't it time to try a new approach?  Perhaps humility, honesty and decency.

Yen Cross's picture

 Just shut up! DUMB ASS!

  EKM  is ten times as smart!'s picture

Did he learn ya that fancy bold typin'?

Yen Cross's picture             I'm asking nicely.   

                          We all respect your mediocrity...

downwiththebanks's picture

With the full force of racism and imperialist welfare, anything is possible.

Fred123's picture

There are 1.6 billion muslims and 13.5 million Jews in the world. Thats close to a 120 to 1 ratio.

My money is on the Jews.

Vigilante's picture

'..............Why (most of) arabs hate jews, is beyond me. 1 to 35, remember.'

You just answered your question...

Atomizer's picture

U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel – March 12,2012


Give me my fucking money or I’ll work up some tears…  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

New American job creation starts in Egypt, Syria, Iran and Afghanistan. Hahahaha.

Yen Cross's picture

EKM could save planet Earth from any-thing!   Air conditioning/ Mad Man!


atomicwasted's picture

Does anyone pay any attention to Stratfor anymore?

Have they ever been right about anything?

Atomizer's picture

They'll be rolling out a new propaganda piece in 3,2,1. Just enjoy a moment of Stratfor comedy.