Israeli military intelligence is often thought to be the best in the world. Given the neighborhood Israel lives in, it needs to be. Nonetheless, at key junctures in its history, it made critical failures. It can ill afford one now.
In October 1973, Israel was taken by surprise by the combined Arab assault on its borders. In the 2006 summer war in Lebanon, Israel failed to grasp Hezbollah’s strategy of drawing it into a fight against a network of heavily armed bunkers in the villages of southern Lebanon for which it was ill prepared.
Consider the sequence of events leading up that to that war. The conflict was preceded by an incident in Israel’s south: The Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas in a cross-border raid on June 25, 2006. Shortly thereafter, on July 12, 2006, Hezbollah conducted a raid into Israeli territory in the north and abducted two Israeli soldiers and killed three more. Five more Israeli soldiers were killed in an unsuccessful rescue attempt. The wider conflagration than erupted.
Are we seeing a replay now in the combined military activity against Israel on its northern and southern borders?
On July 30, after a prolonged interval without such attacks, Hamas lobbed a Grad rocket into a residential area in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
On August 2, another Grad was fired from the Sinai Peninsula toward the Israeli resort city of Eilat; it landed in the neighboring Jordanian city of Aqaba, where it killed a taxi driver and wounded five people.
On August 3, Hezbollah initiated a gun battle against Israeli soldiers operating within Israel next to its border fence, killing an Israeli officer.
Hamas and Hezbollah are Iranian proxies. As Iran makes its way into the endgame of its nuclear-bomb making program, it may be growing more worried about the prospect of a preemptive Israeli strike. Are the ayatollahs preparing preemptive action of their own, taking the battle to the borders of the Zionist enemy?
In defiance of UN resolutions, Hezbollah has amassed as many as 50,000 rockets and missiles in Lebanon. In defiance of UN resolutions, and under the noses of UN peacekeepers, Hezbollah is storing weapons in southern Lebanon. In the escalating series of cross-border attacks, the winds of war would seem to be blowing.