As predicted, "you ain't seen nothin' yet." Reports come in today Friday of a far greater call-up of Israeli reservists. As best I can tell, until today there were 3 battalions, approximately 3,000, called up to duty. Israeli media sources are now reporting that 2 more divisions (that is at least 20,000 soldiers) are going to be added to the Galil Division in the north for the ground fight. In order to make it possible for more of the standing army to move to the north, at least a brigade's worth of soldiers were called up this morning. This translates into a potentially massive call-up, and now even the internet is being used to issue general instructions for Order 8 (Hebrew site of the IDF), as I explained in yesterday's post. Having squeezed out one more week of diminished economic output from the domestic workforce, this weekend's widespread call-up (the Israeli weekend is Friday/Saturday) marks the beginning of what the Israeli leadership hopes is the endgame. It will probably take 24 hours for reservists to marry up with their equipment. By Sunday the ground war will be in full gear.
The ground battles are fierce, particularly around Avivim/Marun Ar-Ras (click on picture for more ground detail), with significant casualties on both sides. Hizbollah is a very formidable ground force, but this is no surprise. Of course, this begs a simple question: if the powerful IDF cannot easily subdue Hizbollah ground forces, what point is there to the stated strategy (and debatable tactics which are being employed) of pressing the Lebanese government and army into "controlling" Hizbollah? There seems to me to be a conceptual disconnect here. Israeli military censorship, and the inability of western journalists to venture into the battlefield from Lebanon, means that there is no clear picture of what is taking place in these ground battles.
Simultaneously, after a slight dimunition of rocket salvos yesterday, the tempo of firings has picked up Friday to at least 90 launches by late afternoon.