Friday, July 21, 2006

Israel's military stunned by the failure of its air war

This could explain why, as AP reports, Israel has decided to destroy Hezbollah's tunnels, hideouts, weapons caches and other assets through its expected land incursions into southern Lebanon. Meanwhile, Israel keeps warning civilians living in southern Lebanon (south of the Litani River in Lebanon, about 30 kilometers north of the Israeli border) to leave the area but where do those poor people have to go? Reuters reports that The Israeli military's extensive destruction over the last several days of bridges, roads and vehicles, as well as shortages of food and fuel, have made evacuation in 24 hours impossible for many. An estimated 300,000 people still live south of the Litani River-Kash

World AVIV - Israel's new chief of staff, an air force general, believed that most of Israel's future operations would be conducted from the air. Military leaders were convinced that with superior communications and air power they did not even need new U.S. "bunker buster" munitions to root out terror leaders in underground hideaways.

Today, this vision of air power as a panacea has been shattered.

Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz and his advisers have been stunned by the failure of Israel's air war against Hizbullah, which has shrugged massive air bombings on its headquarters in Beirut to maintain the rocket war against the Jewish state.

Air power is not the answer here," a senior officer said. 'You have to go from one Hizbullah [weapons] bunker to another. Some of these bunkers are seven meters deep and can't be destroyed by aircraft, even if you could find them." The air force learned that lesson in Beirut as fighter-jets sought to destroy Hizbullah headquarters, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials acknowledged that 23 tons of munitions failed to penetrate the thick walls of the underground command headquarters constructed by Iran.

Indeed, the air force did not even deem the purchase of deep penetration munitions a priority. Earlier this year, Israel decided against purchasing U.S.-origin bunker-buster weapons regarded as a requirement for any air strike against Iran or Syria.

Military sources said Halutz was convinced that communications and air power rather than troops would rapidly win Israel's wars. They said the air force was surprised by its failure to halt or even reduce Hizbullah rocket strikes.