- Hezbollah’s elite forces have been withdrawn from Syria and redeployed in Southern Lebanon.
- Israel believes this to be the moment to mount a strike against Hezbollah.
- Lieberman may provoke a reaction that may send everybody over the edge.
27 May 2016
Key terms: Israel, Hezbollah, Lebanon.
South Lebanon by – Elijah J.Magnier (On Twitter: @EjmAlrai)
Every time a political solution seems imminent in Syria, and the warring factions adhere to the ceasefire imposed by Russia and the US, the drums of war are heard along Lebanon’s southern border.
Along these borders, preparations for the war are on-going. Hezbollah believes that it is directed against them “given that the region has been set against Hezbollah, having been branded as a terrorist organization by the GCC countries and the majority of western countries”.
Sources on the ground say “ Hezbollah is preparing for the next war with Israel that the latter may impose along the Israeli-Lebanese borders. The present Israeli government is packed with warmongers and its Secretary of Defence Lieberman will rely on the Israeli army to raise the levels of tension and not just along the borders. But he may well provoke a response from Hezbollah that will send the situation over the edge”.
Sources add, “Israel is carefully assessing Hezbollah’s increasing development and experience gained from its participation in the Syrian war. Israeli leaders maybe asking themselves: up to what point shall they allow Hezbollah to expand? Israeli society is one where, confronting the dangers along its borders, war is a primary focus. Right now, this puts Hezbollah in the spotlight”.
According to sources on the ground “Israel believes that Hezbollah is exhausted from the long war in Syria, where a number of its high profile leaders were killed, and where their forces were drained. Moreover, Israel believes its own forces can take adequate and efficient measures (when the war starts) to intercept Hezbollah’s missiles through its Iron Dome and other intercept advanced systems. Israeli soldiers run constant war drills simulating different war scenarios. The objects of these drills are multiple: boosting morale, enhancing military and technological capabilities and prepare the population for a forthcoming war. In addition, regional countries like Saudi Arabia encourage and support strikes against Hezbollah (considered a terrorist organisation by many Gulf countries). Hezbollah’s effective participation in the war in Syria and Iraq is propagandised as a sectarian campaign and its militants are accused of “committing genocide against the Sunnis”. Moreover, Hezbollah is also portrayed as a hegemonic force in Lebanon, confiscating the political and military decisions of the country. This is why Israel is enthusiastic about a war, especially as Prime Minister Netanyahu – accused of cowardice – has not yet waged a war against Hezbollah”.
Sources explain, “ Netanyahu knows that every previous Israeli Prime Minister who has waged war against Hezbollah and subsequently lost, was crucified by the media and by society. Israel knows that throughout its wars (in 1993, 1996 and 2006) it couldn’t kill a single Hezbollah leader at a significant level of leadership. The question is: How could [Israel] win this war? Hezbollah recalled their elite forces from Syria, and have kept in Syria units that are able to hold onto their gains, seeing that a political solution has been forced on all the warring parties”.
Israel’s calculations stem from an assessment of Hezbollah’s material capability, considering that there are only so many forces Hezbollah can deploy in this next war, and that the Israeli military command considers it can deal with any number of militants or military scenarios and come out victorious against Hezbollah. Furthermore the Americans are in need of some military victories in the Middle East that can be invested in the upcoming elections. Obama was able to initiate a multi front war in Iraq (Fallujah), and in Syria (north of Raqqa), without losing military personnel, and to utilize these victories against ISIS for the advantage of his successor in the oval office”.
Sources affirm, “Israel’s calculations are wrong if the decision to initiate a war is taken seriously. Tel Aviv has not considered the devastating force Hezbollah would use in any upcoming war. Moreover, no regional countries have never needed to come to the aid of Hezbollah: on the contrary some supported the Israelis, and lamented that the war ended too soon during the 33 days of war in 2006. Israel is not taking into account the confidence and experience accumulated by Hezbollah in these last few years. Also, Hezbollah has a few tricks up its sleeves that go beyond what Nasrallah has alluded to (striking the Ammonia factories in Haifa). The current arsenal has modern technological features: missiles can be launch from the Beqaa valley, the South Lebanon and the Syrian-Lebanese border which constitutes an area greater than Lebanon itself (10,000 square meter). Hezbollah can strike targets such as the Israeli defense ministry’s HQ and other such sensitive targets, and turn them into rubble: any Israeli unit would become a target. Israel can completely level entire areas but their aerial and naval forces would not be able to manoeuver easily, and Israeli society is not prepared to witness destruction on a level never witnessed in Israel before”.
The sources end: “Nasrallah was serious when he said that the region is heading towards a conflict, and that there would be casualties in the next few months. This is because he has information that tells him Israel is preparing for war, and soon. And because of this Hezbollah is prepared for an armed standoff”.