Next Middle East War Imminent?

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by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

Had enough of the current Middle East war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

But it’s time to get ready for the next phase of this war. The next Middle East war will also involve Israel. Except in this war, Israel’s guns will be pointing north toward Lebanon.

And it risks a much wider conflict, with Iran in particular. Let’s break it down…

Recent intelligence from a variety of sources points to an Israeli war against Hezbollah, which is an Iranian proxy.

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Hezbollah is systematically attacking Israeli bases, radars, intelligence-collections facilities and other defense system components. Now the attacks are spreading to include Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Galilee. You’re just not hearing about it in the mainstream media.

These attacks have three effects: They break down Israeli military and intelligence systems, terrorize the civilian population and handicap Israel’s ability to conduct air attacks on Syria or Lebanon.

War on Multiple Fronts

The new war will be fought in the north of Israel. Additional fighting will take place in southern Lebanon, the area around the northern West Bank, the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee.

I’ve been in or near all of those places. It’s amazing how compact and close together it all is. It’s only about 40 miles from the Israeli border to Damascus and another 40 miles from the Golan Heights to the Mediterranean Sea.

It only takes minutes from takeoff to do a bombing run or a missile attack and perhaps only a day or two to move tank battalions depending on resistance.

Obviously, this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. Israel’s recourse is to stop playing defense and go on offense. That means massive air strikes on Lebanon and Syria, even at the cost of missile attacks on Israel.

Sunshine Patriots

The Israelis might be able to scrounge up some Patriot anti-missile systems from the U.S., but there are very few left because they’ve been sent to Ukraine.

By the way, the war in Ukraine hasn’t demonstrated the superiority of the Patriot. Far from it. It’s largely failed against Russia’s advanced, hypersonic missiles. These missiles have, in fact, taken out several Patriot systems.

If you were a foreign nation seeking defenses against hypersonic missiles like Russia’s Zircon and Kinzhal, would you really seek out the Patriot? Probably not. It’s just not that effective against the latest generation of missiles.

There’s some debate about whether or not these missiles are truly hypersonic. Practically speaking, it doesn’t really matter. The key takeaway is that the Patriot isn’t effective against them.

Iron Done

Air defense is the critical flip side of air superiority. The best information is that Hezbollah has devised ways to avoid Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system, most likely through the use of drones. Hezbollah has long had 10,000 or more missiles, mostly supplied by Iran.

In the past, Israel could rely on its Iron Dome to protect most major cities and many settlements.

That defense has now proved inadequate. You might recall that in April, Iran attacked Israel with hundreds of (mostly) drones and ballistic missiles in retaliation for Israel’s attack upon the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

Most of the incoming targets were shot down. The media touted that as proof of Israel’s excellent missile defenses.

But they neglected to inform you that a number of missiles penetrated Israel’s defenses and struck Israeli military/intelligence bases. This is the most heavily defended airspace in the world. But a number of Iranian ballistic missiles got through. Iron Dome is being referred to in the region as “Iron Done.”

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