If you toddle along to Ynet the Israeli news site in English you’ll find a report of the drone that successfully penetrated Israeli air space for nearly half an hour the kicker, and to the Israelis it’s one hell of a kicker is this paragraph:
Meanwhile, defense officials estimate that the drone started its mission in Lebanon, most likely to gather intelligence and check the IDF’s reaction. It is possible it was headed to the Dimona reactor.
Operating a drone by remote control from such a long distance requires advanced capabilities, which Israel was not aware Hezbollah had acquired.
Don’t you just love the pathos bathos of that second sentence? I do, I’ve been laughing uproariously since I read it. Karma as Ctuttle is fond of remarking is a bitch and so is payback. It’s a little known fact that the Hizb successfully used drones to penetrate Israeli airspace during the last Israeli war of aggression and occupation against Lebanon. Let me spell it out for you. In 2006 during what in Lebanon is called the “July War” the Hizb successfully used drones against the Israelis not just in Lebanese airpsace but in Israeli airspace. You can be very certain that the Hizb have invested a lot of time, money, and research into improving their drones ever since.
Operating a drone by remote control from such a long distance requires advanced capabilities,
Let’s explore those ‘advanced capabilities’ a little. There are other links from the Ynet story linked above but you’re well capable of following those for yourself. This link is to the original report (Arabic Language) from al-Mayadeen a news organisation who are indeed closely linked to the Hizb. What’s interesting is that the drone operated first deep in Israeli controlled airspace and then deep in Israeli airspace proper for nearly half an hour before being detected. The Israelis had to scramble not one but two F16s to intercept and destroy the drone. Furthermore the vaunted Israeli radar systems were of no help in guiding the Israeli warcraft to their target.
Al-Mayadeen quotes an IDF spokesman in saying that the IDF has instituted an enquiry into why their radar systems failed in their task.
Drones, as Ian Welsh remarks, are not weapons of the powerful and Ian is perfectly correct in this (go read Ian’s posting it’s very short). But a weapon doesn’t have to powerful, or to be wielded by the powerful, to be very effective. Americans and their front-men in Israel tend to want the latest, shiniest, most expensive weapon available, while ignoring the price-performance ratio of those weapons. It’s one of the reasons why America and Israel have both been losing their wars lately. Lots and lots of very expensive and sophisticated weaponry systems wielded by soldiers who are very good at targeting civilians but aren’t very good at, you know, actually fighting, isn’t a war-winning formula.
The Hizb on the other hand are very good at fighting and they wield weapons that are as sophisticated and as deadly as they have to be. The Hizb believe passionately in getting the best price-performance ratio possible and unlike the Americans and the Israelis the Hizb do win their wars. That’s because they’re good at fighting and they use right weapons for the job which is of killing, wounding, and terrifying enough enemy soldiers so that those soldiers run away. Ever seen the aftermath of a Hizb designed APD exploding? I have, I’ve seen them both in Lebanon and in Irak, and man that kill-box is tight. Not only is it tight but nothing and I do mean nothing survives inside it. I’ve also seen the results of what happens when American or Israeli tanks and APCs come up against Hizb designed bombs the results are impressive.
Or consider the Katyusha. I’ve lost count of the number of times that in conversation with me Israeli officers sneeringly referred to the “cheap and inaccurate” Katyusha rockets possessed by the Hizb. Except that the Katyusha isn’t inaccurate it’s as accurate as it needs to be and its designed to be fired in large numbers. Which is exactly how the Hizb used them in 2006 to the Israelis horrified (and surprised) dismay. They’ll use them the same way – as an area denial weapon on Israeli soil against Israelis, in the next war that Israel launches.
An effective weapon is a weapon that is as accurate, as deadly, as easy to use, and as easy to maintain, as it needs to be. And when an effective weapon is in the hands of an effective soldier. That is to say it’s in the hands of a soldier who is, you know, very good at actually fighting then it’s a very deadly weapon indeed. Which leads me back to this drone. An educated guess is that it was indeed launched and piloted from Lebanon. That it was unarmed and that it was on a training flight. I doubt that the Hizb are dancing with joy that it’s been shot down but I’ll bet they’re very pleased indeed that they were able to guide it first through Israeli controlled airspace and then through Israeli airspace. I’ll bet that they’re absolutely delighted at how effective they were at nullifying Israeli air-defense systems, and if I were them I’d be delighted at how long it took not one but two F16s to find it and shoot it down. How much do you want to bet that the Hizb have a lot of drones?
Nasrallah promised that during the next war Israel launched that the Hizb would conduct operations inside Israel itself I think we’ve seen just one tiny part of what he was talking about when he made that promise, and Nasrallah has a habit of making his promises come true.
which Israel was not aware Hezbollah had acquired
Surprise: A surprise is an event, think of it as an incapacitating mental bomb, that you detonate in the mind of an enemy commander.