Technical Note: Difficult to Calculate Catastrophic Consequences If We Don't Destroy Hizbollah's Missile Threat Before Invading Gaza
Dr. Aaron Lerner 21 October 2023
1. What are the odds that Hizbollah launches a massive attack of its long-range and medium-range rockets and guided missiles during the course of the IDF ground operations inside the Gaza Strip?
The same experts who on October 6 were certain Hamas was deterred are equally confident that Hizbollah is deterred now.
2. What are the odds that some of the missiles have chemical warheads?
We know the Syrians have huge supplies and after October 7th, we appreciate the limits on our intelligence about our enemies.
3. What is the extent of the damage which Hizbollah could cause to the Jewish State's infrastructure, military, population, etc. if it launched a first strike as compared to the damage it could cause if Israel launches its operation against them first?
This one is especially tricky because the simplistic answer is that the only difference between the two scenarios is the damage Hizbollah could do in the very few hours it would take the IAF to pull the playbook it's practiced multiple times off the shelf, fuel and arm the jets and start destroying the rockets and missiles.
The optimists would argue that we have the capacity to intercept that opening barrage.
The pessimists would note that we really don't have a good handle on the extent to which Hizbollah has the capability to do enough damage to our runways to keep us grounded for a significant period of time.
The optimists would counter that the Americans would join the fray in our defense as a reward for showing restraint in the north.
The pessimists would reply that at the end of the Hizbollah-strikes-first scenario Israel is seen as a weak inconsequential vassal state. The pessimists further note that if Israel defied Mr. Biden and struck Hizbollah first a furious president wouldn't pull US forces from the area nor would they cease their role in deterring and at times actively thwarting third party attacks against Israel at this time.
The optimists have been on a losing streak.
We need to destroy Hizbollah's long and medium-range rocket and missile threat before the ground operation in the Gaza Strip.
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