...Israeli forces are already in Lebanon. Its special forces are inside identifying targets for airstrikes. We expect numerous air attacks over the next 48 hours, as well as reports of firefights in southern Lebanon. We also expect more rocket attacks on Israel.
It will take several days to mount a full invasion of Lebanon. We would not expect major operations before the weekend at the earliest. If the rocket attacks are taking place, however, Israel might send several brigades to the Litani River almost immediately in order to move the rockets out of range of Haifa. Therefore, we would expect a rapid operation in the next 24-48 hours followed by a larger force later.
At this point, the only thing that can prevent this would be a major intervention by Syria with real guarantees that it would restrain Hezbollah and indications such operations are under way. Syria is the key to a peaceful resolution. Syria must calculate the relative risks, and we expect them to be unwilling to act decisively.
1. Israel cannot tolerate an insurgency on its northern frontier; if there is one, it wants it farther north.
2. It cannot tolerate attacks on Haifa.
3. It cannot endure a crisis of confidence in its military
4. Hezbollah cannot back off of its engagement with Israel.
5. Syria can stop this, but the cost to it stopping it is higher than the cost of letting it go on.
It would appear Israel will invade Lebanon. The global response will be noisy. There will be no substantial international action against Israel. Beirut's tourism and transportation industry, as well as its financial sectors, are very much at risk.
"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."