Creating a buffer zone in southern Lebanon

Bill Roggio has a discussion of what the buffer zone would look like and how it may be achieved.

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A report indicates Israeli troops are massing at the Israeli border town of Metulla, which lies a few kilometer from the bend in the Litani River, just before it turns northward. The IDF can segment the region south of the Litani by punching through the central sector north of Bint Jubayl, as well as driving northeast from Metulla to the Litani River and north from Marwahin. This would also put the IDF in the position to push north into the Bekaa (it should be noted the Damascus-Beirut Road is about 60 kilometers from the Israeli border, within the 70 kilometer range Lt. Col. Lini indicated was the outer operational limit).

The IDF can use the Litani as a natural barrier, place troops north of the river via the ground push, air assault operations, amphibious operations, or some combination of the three options. The IDF can drop the remaining bridges (except for the bridges needed for the IDF's resupply). The IDF can limit the flow of traffic across the river and interdict Hezbollah's resupply to the region. The rest of the region would need to be cleared, which would be costly in casualties for the IDF if the past fighting at Maroun al-Ras and Bint Jubayl are any indication. Another possibility would be to clear or bypass towns, but not occupy them, and patrol the region via air and other intelligence assets (this works better in theory than in practice.)

This would create a buffer zone of about 20-30 kilometers, which would limit the usability of Hezbollah's shorter range missiles such as the Katushas, Raads and Fajrs. But Hezbollah is launching missiles from as far north as Beirut, about 120 kilometers away (see the report from Karim, the Counterterrorism Blog's special correspondent in Beirut.) The Israeli Air Force can attempt to take out the targets via air, but the past two weeks have had little effect on Hezbollah's ability to continually hit Israeli towns and cities, including Haifa. Hezbollah has consistently launch about 100 missile strikes a day into Israel, despite the IAF's air campaign in Lebanon.

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There is much more including this graphic. If you check the graphic, Metulla is a beak of Israel that sticks out into Lebanon north of where much of the current action is taking place.

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