Saturday, July 29, 2006

The latest from Maniak on Hezbollah hardware

My super-secret expert Internal Monologue-exclusive source chimes in:
Hezbollah's new addition to the arsenal: the "Khaibar-1". They are just renaming these missiles as they go, I think, since that designation doesn't match any Iranian ones. This particular missile was used against Afula, and they're calling this the furthest that missiles have reached into Israel, so I'm guessing it was fired from near the coast in Lebanon. The range and profile seems to indicate this is a Fajr-5, but the warhead was extremely light for an off-the-shelf Iranian Fajr-5. My guess is that they might be intentionally replacing the warheads with lighter ones to attempt to increase the range. A Fajr-5 could just barely reach Tel Aviv without modification. This may have been a combat testing of the modification that they are making to the missiles in preparation for an all-out strike on Tel Aviv. This would be consistent with the verbal threats from Hezbollah that they are beginning an "entirely new phase".
An "all-out strike on Tel Aviv": is this Maniak going overboard with doom and gloom? Is it possible to be too pessimistic about the Israel-Hezbollah war? Such an escalation would be a very bad thing. What would Israel unleash in response? I would think Hezbollah would want to emphasize the ground war in Lebanon for propaganda purposes: fighting mano-a-mano with Israel's best, etc. If it becomes a contest of who can rain down more firepower on who, I think Israel could win that game. But I have to keep in mind how cool it is to kill Israeli civilians in that part of the world. And of course Hezbollah "wins" both when it gets hit (and causes others to get hit) by Israel and when it manages to kill Israelis. If you're willing to die, I guess it's easy to spin anything into a victory.

Of course, I think the United States should throw its full weight behind putting a stop to this. It's not like this conflict is actually going to resolve anything. I bet when Israel figures out how to declare some kind of victory and stops its invasion and bombardment, Hezbollah will still be there. They will just hate each other more, and a lot of people will have died. I guess that's the optimistic scenario. The pessimistic scenario doesn't seem to have found a bottom yet. Any guesses? US nukes Tehran? The sad nightmare is that there are many parties who are pushing towards that scenario, rather than away from it.

UPDATE: Taylor Marsh posted on this and called it a Fajr-5 at 3:03 pm. If only I had posted faster.

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