Israelis have rallied in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in their nation’s history. Over 100,000 troops belonging to the Israel Defense Force (IDF) have encircled the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, from whence that awful terrorist attack came, and the shaping of operations has begun.
Israel’s government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has vowed massive retaliation for the terrorist attacks. It looks as though they’re preparing for an invasion to annihilate Hamas.
An invasion of Gaza, where 2.5 million Palestinian Arabs are oppressed in squalid, impoverished, and dangerous conditions by the Islamists of Hamas—where Palestinian refugees seeking to flee the impending war are prevented from finding haven by the Arabs who rule neighboring Egypt—would be bloody.
The IDF is prepared for this war, which would make the Battle of Fallujah look like an afternoon stroll in the park. Still, many wonder why Israelis seem to be taking a slow approach to the invasion.
The Israeli government says that they are taking care to prepare their forces for the battle ahead and to protect innocent lives in Gaza (a courtesy their Hamas attackers did not grant the Jewish victims of the October 7 terrorist attack – and don’t necessarily do for residents of Gaza). At the same time, however, the excessive caution and delay displayed by the IDF goes beyond taking care to protect lives.
There’s something more.
Iran is Behind This
President Joe Biden and his national security team are quick to say that there is no proof that Iran was the puppet master orchestrating last month’s Hamas terrorist attacks in Gaza. As you know, in my recent book The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy, I found evidence proving that the now deceased General Qassem Soleimani of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force orchestrated a meeting between the leadership of Hamas, Fatah, and Hezbollah in Beirut, Lebanon, in December 2016.
At that meeting, Soleimani got the three other parties to agree on the coordination of resources to initiate an Iranian-backed third intifada against Israel. This third intifada, as the Iranian military leaders believed, would be the final intifada against Israel.
According to their evil designs, the Iran-backed third intifada would drive Israel to the sea, scatter the Jews of the region, and push U.S. military power outside of the region—buying Iran the time it needed to exert its supremacy over the region (with Chinese and Russian backing).
As Iran began increasing its support for Hamas in Gaza, it poured bountiful resources into Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group that has waged unremitting war upon the Israelis from the north of Israel for decades (and the group who murdered more than 200 U.S. Marines in the 1983 Beirut bombings).
Hamas to the south of Israel was always the sideshow for the larger attack coming from the north of Israel in Lebanon. Around the same time as the infamous December 2016 Beirut meeting, Iran began what became known as the “Precision Project” in Lebanon.
Using black market supply chains emanating from Iran and going around the world, the IRGC began moving materiel and scientists from Iran into Lebanon, who would then work with Hezbollah in building massive arsenals of devastating long-range precision-guided munitions. This was codenamed the “Precision Project” which, as the name suggests, was designed to increase the lethality and precision of Hezbollah missiles that would be used to destroy key infrastructure nodes and economic targets in nearby Israel.
The Beirut Blast in 2020
According to a Washington Institute for Near East Policy report, “the Precision Project with Hezbollah has led to the construction of several missile production facilities throughout Lebanon and Syria […] Iran directed Hezbollah to build many of the missile production facilities in crowded Lebanon to deter Israel from striking those missile plants out of fear of collateral damage to civilians nearby.”
In fact, a bounty of evidence suggests that the now-forgotten Beirut blast that took out a large warehouse at the Beirut harbor in 2020, which resulted in the deaths of 218 civilians and upwards of 6,000 wounded—with a shockwave felt as far away as Cyprus and Malta—may have been produced by improperly stored Octagen (HMX). HMX is often used as fuel for long-range, precision missiles of the kind that Hezbollah was building in Lebanon to use against Israel.
Had it not been for the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and the subsequent explosion of whatever Hezbollah was hiding at the Beirut port in 2020, it is likely that this third intifada would have erupted four years ago. The Trump Administration, though, with its maximum pressure campaign and Abraham Accords – which brought together Israeli and Sunni Arab power in an anti-Iran coalition – stopped the perfidious Iran plans in their tracks.
Sadly, the Biden Administration has taken the exact opposite approach to the Mideast than the preceding Trump Administration.
Whereas Trump sought to contain and constrain Iran with an ally-centric strategy of containing Iranian aggression, the Biden team has striven to distance itself from Israel and the Sunni Arab states—notably Saudi Arabia—while normalizing relations with Iran and elevating them by restoring the precepts of the Obama era nuclear agreement.
These irresponsible actions by Biden have induced the Iranians into taking the grievous actions (along with their proxies in Hezbollah and Hamas) that they have taken in the region.
Meanwhile, the leader of Hezbollah, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, has announced his plans to make a major televised speech in Lebanon. Many experts are speculating that this will be when Hezbollah declares war on Israel. At the same time, Russia has announced that it is deploying anti-aircraft batteries to Lebanon to help Hezbollah protect itself from inevitable Israeli airstrikes.
Slow-Walking the Invasion of Gaza
This gets us back to the present concern in Israel.
Hezbollah is licking its lusty lips at the prospect of the bulk of the IDF becoming mired in a Fallujah-style ground war that consumes seemingly endless amounts of Israel’s limited resources, manpower, and funds because Hezbollah’s leadership intends to use that as a window of opportunity to open their second front against neighboring Israel from the north.
They will launch a ceaseless barrage of precision-guided missiles that will destroy key Israeli infrastructure—notably the economic hub of the Port of Haifa.
That is why Israel should not initiate a ground war against Hamas in Gaza until it has decimated the precision-guided munitions factories and storage units in Lebanon and Syria. And the United States and its allies, such as France, will probably need to backstop Israel in the air, since this will be an expanded and ongoing mission set.
Only until Israel has sufficiently degraded Hezbollah’s precision-guided munitions threat to Israeli infrastructure should the IDF commit itself to what will be a bloody, interminable ground war in Gaza. If they commit too soon, Hezbollah will have decisive advantages over the Israelis and could do catastrophic damage to Israeli civilians.
Israel Must Wage War
In the meanwhile, Israel’s air force should begin robust bombing operations to flatten Gaza while it deals with containing Hezbollah. It cannot allow pressure to let up on Hamas. But Israel cannot yet get the bulk of its forces bogged down in a ground war in Gaza until it can be certain Hezbollah has been effectively deterred.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor and an energy analyst at the The-Pipeline, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.
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