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Amid Hezbollah counter-tunnel operations, IDF must be ‘ready for deterioration,’ says ex-defense official

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Amid Hezbollah counter-tunnel operations IDF must be ready for deterioration says ex-defense officia

Hezbollah’s special forces, combined with Iraqi Shi’ite militias, were supposed to infiltrate Israel, traveling through the tunnels along various routes on the Israeli-Lebanese border, from the Mediterranean Sea to Mount Dov.

 As the Israel Defense Forces ploughs ahead with an operation to expose and destroy a network of Hezbollah tunnels snaking their way into northern Israel from Lebanon, the military must also be prepared for the risk of a sudden escalation with the powerful Shi’ite terrorist organization, a former senior defense official told JNS.

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, who has served in the past as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s National Security Adviser, said that the operation underway to expose the tunnels—built to infiltrate Israel’s northern border—is aimed at neutralizing a component of Hezbollah’s ability to launch a surprise ground attack into Israel.

This type of attack has not yet been seen in Hezbollah’s combat against Israel, he said, and if Israel succeeds in getting rid of the tunnels, Hezbollah will be left without “an important component that gave it more confidence in a future war.”

The counter-tunnel operation is part of a wider Israeli policy of building up deterrence, which includes taking away capabilities from the enemy, said Amidror. “While it is difficult to know if this will work, it certainly has a better chance when the other side knows it lost some of its capabilities,” he stated.

Still, the situation is explosive, and the element of unpredictability remains, he warned. “Since this is a maneuver in which two sides are making decisions, it is impossible to know what the response of both will be—in other words, what Hezbollah will do further along the operation, and how will Israel respond afterwards. Therefore, the IDF must be prepared for a deterioration, to be prepared with lots of force.”

According to IDF Spokesman Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus, the IDF is ready for just that kind of scenario. He said the military’s “Northern Command is on elevated readiness, prepared for various contingencies,” and cited an “enhanced troop presence.”

Israeli civilians, however, are under no special instructions, and have been told to remain in a routine state of affairs.

Conricus noted that the tunnels have been under Israeli monitoring for about three years, and that Israel “chose to nip them in the bud now,” after sufficient intelligence was gathered. Israel’s counter-tunnel technology has proven itself on the Gaza border to the south, where it enabled the IDF to detect and destroy 17 tunnels in recent years, and has now come of age in the north as well.

Hamas shared its tunnel-building expertise with Hezbollah, and although both terror organizations dug structures deep underground with communication cables, oxygen ventilation systems and electricity, the threat is not identical. Hezbollah had to dig into hard rock, unlike Gaza’s soft sand stone, and employed a different support system for the tunnels.

The tunnels were earmarked for Hezbollah’s elite Rawan assault force, which the organization would have injected into Israel in a future war, for killing and kidnapping missions.

Conricus described the tunnel as the latest sign of the “adverse effect of Iranian entrenchment in the region. Hezbollah is strengthening its military capabilities while violating U.N. resolutions … this is funded by Iranian money and assisted with Iranian knowledge.”

Professor Boaz Ganor, executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the IDC in Herzliya, said the tunnels are part of a wider Hezbollah war doctrine developed over the past decade.

The doctrine “is based on two parallel efforts: projectile fire at Israel from Lebanon and possibly from Syria on a scale not seen in the past [including the launching of accurate missiles and large warheads], and a ground attack against the IDF in Lebanese territory and inside Israeli territory.”

Within this doctrine, Hezbollah’s special forces, combined with Iraqi Shi’ite militias, were supposed to infiltrate Israel, traveling through the tunnels along various routes on the Israeli-Lebanese border, from the Mediterranean Sea to Mount Dov, Ganor explained.

“These infiltrations are designed to seize civilian communities, forcing the IDF to dedicate military resources to solving large hostage crises, to disrupt the IDF’s call-up of forces’ system, and its movement of forces into Lebanon, by taking control of territory that enables control in the Galilee, and blocking central traffic arteries,” said Ganor.

Israel’s “Operation Northern Shield” is designed to deal a mortal blow to a central Hezbollah effort that the organization has invested major time and resources in, he added.

‘The axis of evil of Iran-Syria-Turkey-Hezbollah’

Asked whether Israel’s decision to neutralize the tunnels without escalating the situation into war was the correct one, Ganor said it was the right course of action in the short term. However, he cautioned, due to Hezbollah’s massive arsenal of rockets and missiles—estimated at between 150,000 to 200,000—and the damage they will cause to Israel if and when Hezbollah opens fire at Israel, “it seems that Israel cannot allow itself for Hezbollah to initiate and begin a war, and it is incumbent on Israel to preempt and destroy at least a discernable part of the organization’s long-range projectiles.”

From this perspective, Ganor cautioned, Israel may have missed a justified opportunity to strike Hezbollah’s military systems. This opportunity presented itself with the discovery of Hezbollah’s violation of Israeli sovereignty, and in light of the threats to wage war on Israel and conquer parts of the Galilee by an organization that serves as an Iranian outpost.

The Iranians and Hezbollah, for their part, seem to be trying to understand the significance of the Israeli counter-tunnel operation, and to “assess the damage that has been caused to them,” said Ganor.

“They will examine how many of the tunnels from those they prepared have been identified by Israel, in the hope that some will remain operational. The possibility that they will try to disrupt the Israeli operation by boobytrapping the tunnel must be taken into account, although it seems that at this stage, neither Hezbollah nor the Iranians have an interest in deteriorating the situation to an all-out war with Israel,” assessed Ganor.

Ultimately, Iran has been able to take advantage of a mutual deterrence in place between Israel and Hezbollah. It has used this situation to continue to arm its Lebanese proxy, building military assets on Israel’s borders from within Lebanon and Syria. “The military victory of the axis of evil of Iran-Syria-Turkey-Hezbollah, under Russian protection, provides a tailwind for these Iranian trends,” said Ganor

It is reasonable to assume, he explained, that “a gun that appears in the first act will be fired at the end of the play. The unprecedented threat that is being built against Israel does not perhaps endanger its existence, but it could cause large-scale strategic damage to the state, the civilian homefront, infrastructure and critical facilities. As a result, Israel cannot accept the existence and growth of this threat.”

A psychological boost to Israeli civilians in the north

Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at the ICT, agreed, noting that the greatest strategic threat is “the huge ground-to-ground missile arsenal in Hezbollah’s possession, and the present attempt by Iran to increase the number of long-range precise missiles, which could destroy Israeli military targets and infrastructure in the first attack.”

The massive Hamas rocket fire in last months’ round of fighting was a reminder of such a threat, he added.

Karmon described the exposure of the tunnels as a “very important intelligence and operational success, as it neutralizes the publicized Hezbollah plan to attack Galilee towns and villages.” It also provides a psychological boost to Israeli civilians living near the northern border, who have been concerned by Hezbollah tunnel-digging for years.  Northern residents near the border with Lebanon have for years reported hearing sounds that they suspected came from Hezbollah digging operations. However, the IDF investigated those reports, and did not find that they led to tunnel activities. But Karmon noted that the larger threat remains Hezbollah’s firepower.

“In the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Israel destroyed the much smaller arsenal of long-range missiles in the first 34 hours of the war, due to exceptional intelligence,” said Karmon. “It seems me this cannot be done in the present situation in Lebanon, where the government is dominated by Hezbollah and its army is almost subservient, without a massive ground war—possibly a preventive war.”

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Entertainment and Sports

Kristy Swanson, Dean Cain receive death threats over Strzok-Page ‘FBI Lovebirds’ production

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Kristy Swanson Dean Cain receive death threats over Strzok-Page FBI Lovebirds production

Conservative actors Kristy Swanson and Dean Cain are receiving death threats over a planned stage performance based on the extra-marital texts sent between FBI cohorts Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The two members of federal law enforcement have been accused of conspiring with others during the 2016 election in an effort to prevent then-candidate Trump from winning as well as possibly taking him down if he were to win, which he did.

FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers,” will be directed by Phelim McAleer and is seeking an audience from the President himself. But shortly after buzz started building around the production, threats came in on Twitter.

Watching replies in their Twitter feeds, it’s clear the abuse continues even after offenders have been reported.

What makes it worse is that this is being framed by many in the media as a “pro-Trump” production. They are literally going on stage to read publicly available text messages verbatim. If the words of FBI agents texting each other is somehow considered to be “pro-Trump” by the media, then anything that isn’t blatantly pro-Democrats can be construed as pro-Trump.

The hardest thing in show business isn’t winning awards or getting good roles. The hardest thing in show business is being conservative and handling the relentless attacks from the unhinged. Stay the course, Kristy Swanson and Dean Cain.

Image source: Parade

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Immigration

New Mexico county commissioners, sheriffs demand immediate action on border emergency

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New Mexico county commissioners sheriffs demand immediate action on border emergency

In a letter signed by County Commission Chairs and County Sheriffs across New Mexico, Republican House Leader Jim Townsend called for all of their lawmakers on Capitol Hill to render immediate relief and to work with President Trump to end the crisis at the southern border. They declared the situation had reached the stage of full emergency in the border state and American citizens were being harmed as a result of DC’s inaction.

We elected officials in our respective New Mexico counties hereby declare that we believe the southern border immigration crisis has reached the level of an emergency situation.

This emergency must e addressed and it must be addressed immediately. Our communities do not have the resources nor the budgets to handle the massive influx of immigrants we are experiencing and are expected to experience in the very near future. Our scarce resources are in danger of being rapidly depleted to the point that we will be unable to effectively care for our own citizens and our existing homeless population, many of whom are American veterans.

We, whom you represent, request that you put politics aside and support the President of the United States in his request for the supplemental funding necessary to effectively address this crisis and provide the New Mexicans you serve with the relief we so desperately need. We implore you to protect the border and proved processes that protect immigrants and/or asylum seekers crossing into the United States properly and legally.

It is with our constituent’s [sic] support and with their well-being in mind that we request you exercise your elected duty to the people whom you serve and act now in this emergency situation to overcome the politics in addressing this humanitarian crisis with no further delay. Please work with the President to give relief and security to both New Mexicans and the immigrants entering through our southern border.

The letter was retweeted by the official White House account.

Opinion

The letter is much kinder than I would have worded it considering the untenable attempts to subvert the truth by Democrats and mainstream media. They pretend like there’s not a real problem to appease their base on the coasts. Meanwhile, American citizens and migrants alike are suffering horribly as a result of Capitol Hill’s unwillingness to act.

Until the American people acknowledge this emergency and demand the Democrats cease their indefensible stance on the crisis, they’ll continue to delay and distract as long as possible. One might argue this is their attempt to normalize illegal immigration just long enough until they can regain the White House and set us down a path of full-blown open borders.

This isn’t an immigration crisis. It’s an illegal immigration crisis.

This isn’t about bigotry. It’s about the reality of the situation.

We, as conservatives, must regain our footing on this issue. The left wants to portray this as somehow racist when in reality it’s all about our sovereignty and making sure we’re defending our borders from literal invaders. No other country is as generous to those whose first interaction with our country is to break the law by crossing the border away from designated ports of entry. Yet the Democrats continue to paint this as an issue regarding race.

We either have a country or we don’t. We need immigrants. We need those who come into the country legally, not the masses who intend to file for asylum so they can be released to the interior for a time. The truth of this situation is such that if we had an honest media, the vast majority of Americans would be allowed to recognize the truth based solely on the facts alone. But we don’t have an honest media. We have a media that has a progressive agenda and they’re willing to defend that agenda to the detriment of the nation.

Quote

“We must protect our borders now!” – Jim Townsend

Final Thoughts

New Mexico is ground zero of the migrant crisis. While citizens and migrants suffer, both the whole of the Democratic Party and most of mainstream media continues to stick their heads in the sand. This has reached the point of lunacy.

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Guns and Crime

President gives AG Barr unilateral authority to declassify 2016 campaign spying documents

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President gives AG Barr unilateral authority to declassify 2016 campaign spying documents

The investigation into the investigators is now in full swing as President Trump signed an order for U.S. intelligence organizations to quickly and fully cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s multiple investigations into spying that took place against the Trump campaign during the 2016 elections.

In a statement by the White House, the President also noted that Barr would have unilateral authority to declassify documents related to his investigations.

“Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election. The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.”

Final Thoughts

If this is handled properly, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t be, the President will have ammunition to use against Democrats while they continue to try to collect their own. It bodes ill for the nation that Democrats continue to press investigation after investigation, but this can act to counterbalance their narrative.

Meanwhile, Congress is unable to get anything done while the left continues to do focus solely on taking down the President and winning the White House.

The positive in all this is we may finally get to see the depths of the conspiracy against the Trump campaign and how our elected officials as well as law enforcement and intelligence agencies tried to defy the will of the people.

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