Ground invasion to come soon?

Many Israeli analysts and sources are expecting an imminent ground invasion as the govt. there has called up more reservists and massed troops at the border. The Israeli army has also told people to leave South Lebanon. It looks like at least a partial repeat of 1982 will happen.

The Angry Arab, whose mother is in hospital in Beirut, doesn't think so because the Israelis have destroyed the roads and bridges. He sees this as posturing to put pressure on Hizbullah.

I'm not sot sure how this squares up with the Israeli statements that they want this to be over within two weeks. Perhaps they intend to stay in a part of Lebanon until an international peacekeeping force can come in. Another interesting development is that Hizbullah refuses to negotiate directly, while Israel only wants to negotiate directly.

The Lebanese defense minister said the Lebanese army would fight in the case of a ground invasion:

Lebanon's army, which so far has sat on the sidelines of the violence raging in the country, will fight an Israeli ground invasion, Defense Minister Elias Murr said on Al-Jazeera television Thursday.

"The Lebanese army - and I stress - the Lebanese army will resist and defend and will prove that it is an army that deserves respect," he said.

Although obviously the Lebanese army is no match as a conventional army, I wonder that -- if this is more than posturing -- what they would do. What would make sense is to adopt the guerrilla tactics of Hizbullah against an occupation army. But if this didn't happen in 1982, I don't see why it would happen now. If it did, it would certainly complicate matters...
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.