Tensions between Israel and Lebanon could result in a six week war, according to Exclusive Analysis
Israeli military activity indicates a significant risk of another war in Lebanon within the year, according to experts.
The risk is likely to peak in the Summers of 2010 or 2011, when weather conditions give Israel maximum advantage, they said, and targets would include Lebanon’s civil infrastructure.
“The Israeli Defence Force would likely plan on achieving its objectives and completing its withdrawal from Lebanon within three weeks-one month; if this were not achieved, Israel would likely yield to pressure for a ceasefire after six weeks, rather than risk a protracted war of attrition,” according to Exclusive Analysis.
Exclusive Analysis' key judgements are given in full below:
War between Israel and Hizbullah is most likely in the summer months of 2010/2011 when weather conditions would favour Israeli airpower and armour and likely last three-six weeks, by which time we would expect a ceasefire, even if Israeli objectives had not been achieved. While an Israeli air campaign could well be launched before any unusual Air Force activity is identified, we would expect to pick up political indicators of possible Israeli intentions and civil defence preparations some two weeks ahead, and the mobilisation of ground forces in the order of five-seven days in advance of Israel being ready to launch a ground invasion of Lebanon.
Compared to the 2006 war, we would expect more damage in Lebanon, particularly to utilities and transport infrastructure across the country. Risks of death and injury will be greatest in Jebel 'Amil (South Lebanon), in the Northern and Southern suburbs of Beirut, along the Beirut-Damascus Highway and across the Bekaa Valley and eastern flank of Mount Lebanon.
In Israel, damage to population and industrial areas would be likely in northern and, to a lesser degree, central areas of the country; serious damage to at least some specific industrial assets is also likely. Death and injury risks will be greatest in population zones within 15-20km of the Lebanon border.
The Lebanese economy is likely to suffer damage in excess of 35% of its GDP and its ability to recover would be severely impaired, rendering it even more dependent on foreign support. The main economic risks to Israel are business disruption and threats to ports and airports. However, the economic impact of the war on the Israeli economy is unlikely to exceed 2-3% of GDP, excluding military expenditure.
Although the risk of Syrian intervention in an Israel-Hizbullah war would increase in the likely event of IDF operations along the Syrian border in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, the risk would still be limited. There is a limited risk that Iran would be drawn into an Israel-Hizbullah war, especially if Israel were to capture senior Hizbullah or IRGC personnel.