Will Hezbollah Open a Northern Front?
Hamas launched a surprise invasion of Israel from the south. Hezbollah is a much more formidable fighting force located north of Israel in Lebanon and could inflict substantial damage on Israel.
Shattering a calm Sabbath morning, the Palestinian resistance group Hamas launched a surprise invasion of Israel on October 7th. The attack, which they call Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, coincides with the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Arab invasion of Israel known in the West as the Yom Kippur War and to Arabs as the Ramadan War.
Palestinian fighters claim to have launched 5000 rockets from the Gaza Strip (Israel insists it was only 2000) before launching their ground invasion. Hamas militants captured the Erez checkpoint and entered at least two Israeli cities: Sderot (3 kilometers from the checkpoint) and Ashkelon (7 kilometers). Reports of the actual capture and control of these two cities are premature and unlikely to be confirmed. The Palestinians have captured military bases near Gaza along with several Israeli soldiers. Palestinian militants were conducting house-to-house searches in what they consider to be liberated territory. In total Israeli police have reported infiltration in 14 districts and as of this writing none have been recaptured.
In response Israel has declared a state of emergency and reservists were mobilized. The IDF launched what they call Operation Iron Swords and have started bombing the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a “state of war.” During the past year, Israel has been on the brink of a civil war over controversial judicial reforms. An attack by an external enemy may serve to unite the country—or it may just deepen the already stark divisions within the Jewish State. Videos such as this below, showing the capture of an Israeli military base along with several abandoned Merkava tanks, will shock Israel:
Meanwhile Palestinians in East Jerusalem have reportedly burned down an Israeli police station. Israel has confirmed that IDF General Nimrod Eloni has been captured and transferred back to Gaza. There are numerous videos of other Israeli POW’s being captured. One female Israeli soldier, possibly deceased, was stripped to her underwear and paraded in the back of a pickup truck by Palestinian militants. Film of another female Israeli soldier reportedly shows her being transported to a POW camp in Gaza.
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Just like in 1973, although at a much smaller scale, the Arab attack on Israel achieved total surprise. Early reports suggest that Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system was overwhelmed and malfunctioned allowing many of Hamas’ primitive artisanal rockets to strike targets in Israel, although video seems to show they mostly hit parked cars. Rutenberg Power Station, Israel’s second largest, however was struck by rockets and damaged. Hamas released film of the opening moments of the attack which featured the capture of an Israeli tank and several soldiers. Later Hamas deployed bulldozers to demolish the border wall that Israel has erected between the Jewish State and the Gaza Strip.
This surprise invasion of Israel, coming at a time of Ukrainization, where the US is seeking to offload the failing Ukraine adventure to Europe, will no doubt impact the debate about further arms shipments to Ukraine. Weapons donated to Ukraine were often resold on global black markets. It would be devastating to the pro-Ukrainian narrative if evidence is uncovered that Hamas was able to obtain arms on the international arms markets thanks to Ukrainian corruption.
The partisan morality plays of occupiers versus freedom fighters will get uncomfortably reversed for all parties. While Russia is said to be occupying parts of Ukraine, Israel is equally labelled as occupiers of Palestine. If Russia launched a brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine, then it can be equally claimed that Israel launched a brutal war of conquest against Palestine back in 1947 and has been occupying their land ever since. There will be very few commentators who see both the Azov Brigade and Hamas in the same light: as both freedom fighters or both extremist terrorists.
The US has recently been pushing Saudi Arabia towards a peace deal with Israel. This, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia and Iran, Israel’s greatest enemy, have restored diplomatic relations and are now in the same BRICS-11 economic order. The Saudi’s issued a statement, which is sure to disappoint US officials, blaming the violence in Palestine on the “occupation forces”:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is closely monitoring the developments of the situation between a number of Palestinian factions and the Israeli occupation forces, which has resulted in a high level of violence taking place on a number of fronts there.
The Kingdom calls for an immediate halt to the escalation between the two sides and the protection of civilians and restraint.
The Kingdom recalls its repeated warnings of the dangers of the situation exploding as a result of the continued occupation, the deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights, and the repetition of systemic provocations against their sanctities.
The Kingdom renews its calls on the international community to assume its responsibilities and activate a credible peace process that leads to a two-state solution in a way that achieves security and peace in the region and protects civilians.
Russia, which always enjoys playing the troll, has echoed the Saudi statement by calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
The most important immediate player however is Hezbollah. Based in Lebanon, Hezbollah were formed in reaction to Israel’s invasion and occupation of Lebanon of 1982. After an insurgency that lasted nearly two decades, Hezbollah successfully forced Isreal to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000. Armed by Iran, they have a much more serious arsenal of missiles and drones that could inflict heavy damage on Israel. In their 2006 war, they fought Israeli soldiers to a standstill. Hezbollah issued the following statement in response to the Hamas invasion of Israel:
Hezbollah congratulates the Palestinian people, the resistance fighters, and the heroic Palestinian factions, especially our dear brothers in the Al-Qassam Brigades and the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, on the wide-scale and divinely supported heroic operation, promising final and comprehensive victory.
This triumphant operation is a resolute response to the ongoing crimes of occupation and continuous encroachments on sanctities, dignity, and honor. It reaffirms once again that the will of the Palestinian people and the resistance's steadfastness are the only choice in confronting aggression, occupation, and a message to the Arab and Islamic world, as well as the international community as a whole, especially those seeking normalization with this enemy, that the Palestinian cause is a living cause that will not die until victory and liberation.
We call upon the Arab and Islamic nations and the free people of the world to declare their support for the Palestinian people and the resistance movements, which confirm their field unity with blood, speech, and action.
The Islamic Resistance leadership in Lebanon closely monitors the significant developments on the Palestinian scene and follows the field conditions with great interest. It maintains direct contact with the Palestinian resistance leadership inside and outside Palestine and continuously assesses the events and the course of operations. Therefore, we call on the Zionist enemy government to learn the important lessons taught by the Palestinian resistance in the field and the battlegrounds.
There is no hint in this statement of an imminent intervention by Hezbollah but time is on their side. Unconfirmed reports out of Egypt claim that if Israel invades Gaza, Hezbollah will “support” Palestine. The key to defeating Israel is to force them to mobilize their reserve forces. With such a small country, the economic damage caused by mobilizing so many workers will be severe. In 1967, Arab armies simply camped on Israel’s borders, forcing Israel to mobilize their population for war. Eventually Israel went on the offensive and easily defeated the passive Arab armies.
The 1973 Yom Kippur war was a much different story than 1967 was. Richard P. Hallion in his book Storm Over Iraq: Air Power and the Gulf War (1992) describes just how close a call it war for Israel:
In October 1973, Israel and the Arab nations plunged into their fifth Middle East war, one that the Israelis referred to as the Yom Kippur War, and the Arab nations as the Ramadan War. This war went considerably differently than its predecessors. Egypt and Syria (profiting from careful planning, preparation, deception, and training) surprised Israel, breached the vaunted “Bar Lev line,” defeated successive attacks by Israeli armored forces by using antitank missiles, and so dominated the skies over the Golan Heights by imaginative use of surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft artillery that they inflicted, at least briefly, “air denial” on the Israeli air force. It was the latter point—the temporary neutralization of the Israeli air force—that shocked not merely Israel, but air forces around the world. After nineteen days of intense, bitter fighting, a ceasefire went into effect; over time Israeli military superiority reasserted itself but it had been, as Wellington said of Waterloo, “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life.”
Egyptian forces used RPGs and AT-3 antitank missiles to decimate Israeli armored formations; in less than one day, Israel lost 180 of 190 tanks—fully 62 percent of its Sinai tank forces. TOWs achieved the same kind of results against Egyptian armor. Overall, attrition soared. Israel lost approximately 420 tanks (25 percent of its total armor force, and equivalent to three years tank production by the United States), while Egypt and Syria lost approximately 1,270 (about 36 percent of their inventory, equivalent to eleven weeks of Soviet tank production). When tanks did come into combat with each other, the increased precision of their sighting systems and the lethality of their projectiles resulted in near “one shot, one kill” results.
Is this Hamas invasion of Israel another example of a global Primal Horde rising against the Collective West? Not yet. But it could evolve into such a struggle, further stoking Global War 6. So far this has been more of an insurrection, something similar to a miniature Tet Offensive in Vietnam, but not a full scale conventional war as in 1973. Hamas’ goal will be to trigger a full-scale Israeli invasion of Gaza, which will mobilize much of the world behind Palestine and against the US.
Time is on the Primal Horde’s side. There are videos of Hamas militants capturing Israeli soldiers and perhaps civilians to be transported to the Gaza Strip. The goal is to use them as human shields against Israeli air strikes. Any muscular retaliation by Israel in Gaza could provoke further attacks against Israel, up to and including a devastating attack from Hezbollah. Today, much of the Arab world is marching through the streets of their major cities in support of the Palestinian October offensive.
With Israel’s Iron Dome system failing, there will be calls for the US and Europe to urgently provide Israel with their spare air defense capabilities. Of course most of this capacity has already been lost in Ukraine. What we could be seeing is a further expansion of the Primal Horde’s war of attrition against the Collective West, whose armouries are already nearly empty from supporting Ukraine. With the US soon to be very busy in Israel, it may just be time for North Korea to start sabre rattling against South Korea and for China to start threatening Taiwan.
In the US, it will be interesting to see if any dissident Republicans, who have resisted calls to fund Ukraine’s borders by demanding that money be spent defending US borders, will maintain this position when calls are made for the US to fund the defending, rebuilding and reinforcing of Israel’s border walls.