Is Israel preparing a war on Hezbollah in Lebanon? Would Russia expand its presence to south Lebanon?

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By Elijah J. Magnier – @ejmalrai

Tension is silently mounting between Israel and Hezbollah on the Lebanese border, where frenetic preparations are taking place, under the watchful eyes of both belligerents. There is an unusual state of alert, yet hardly visible to the naked eye: Israel is increasing its patrols on the borders, raising the deployment of officers and soldiers in their static military positions on the Lebanese borders, and Israeli jets and reconnaissance drones are more frequently violating the Lebanese airspace. For its part, Hezbollah is also improvising new positions to cover any gaps on the front, inland and underground, increasing the level of alert and recalling its well-trained and experienced Special Forces (Al Ridwan units) from Syria to take preventive positions facing Israel. But is a third war possible today between Hezbollah and Israel after Israel’s failure in 2006? Why is the tension increasing just now?

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Twelve years after the war that ended in August 2006, the drums of war are silently beating in the south of Lebanon. Since that date Hezbollah has increased its military capabilities and has stockpiled long-range accurate strategic missiles, solid fuel to ensure a rapid launch (built to its needs-high explosive warhead). Moreover, Hezbollah has acquired anti-ship missiles that can close any Israeli harbour and hit any ship and oil platform in the Mediterranean. There are strong indications that Hezbollah has anti-air missiles in its arsenal and that its militants are trained in using these in air raids.

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Also, its Special Forces have gone through all kinds of warfare in Syria, from open desert to urban warfare, fighting ideologist jihadists indifferent to casualties (al-Qaeda in Syria)- plus dealing with car bombs, guided armed drones, suicide attacks… accumulated significant military experience any army in the world would dream of acquiring. Hezbollah has worked very closely with a classical army (the Syrian army), a Superpower (the Russian forces deployed in Syria), with irregular guerrilla groups (Iran’s allies) and alone in dozens of battles- throughout these seven years of war. Hezbollah’s strategic missiles are installed along the Lebanese-Syrian borders, inside the mountain chains, and under the ground to avoid Israeli bombs and also keep the action away from Lebanese residential areas.

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Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said, if Israel decides to go to start a war, he “will import the next war into Israel” by sending ground forces to attack settlements and cities close to the Lebanese borders. He promised to bomb Tel Aviv, the chemical storage depot at Haifa, the Dimona nuclear facility and research centre in the Negev, and all military airports and institutions. Sayyed Nasrallah is determined to take off the gloves, remove all taboos and use all Hezbollah’s military power and capability in any future war.

The list seems long and impressive: this is an organised irregular group that counts tens of thousands of members among its ranks. It is indeed considered one of the strongest armies in the Middle East, and its performance in Syria – a territory 18 times larger than Lebanon – proved its ability to defend and liberate territories beyond Lebanon. But is that track record enough to dissuade Israel from attacking Hezbollah?

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Well informed sources said: “With Donald Trump in power, it is an opportunity. Israel could never dream about having a similar one in the future. Trump is ready to give Israel anything it needs for a war. He is sending US troops ready to die for Israel (as US Lt. General Richard Clark has said) and will spare nothing to end what he considers Iran’s ‘ grip on the Lebanon’”.

The “regime change” goal in Syria has failed after 7 years of war. Today there are two countries still occupying the north of Bilad al-Sham: the US in the north east and Turkey in the north west. Following his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Donald Trump gave Syria to Russia who guaranteed the protection of the Israeli borders and the occupied Golan Heights. Indeed, the south of Syria (except for the ISIS-controlled area in Quneitra) was delivered to the Syrian army with little resistance. The US ordered the closure of the Military Operations Centre in Jordan – known as MOC  and responsible for training and offering military assistance to jihadists and rebels to defeat the Syrian army – allowing the government in Damascus to regain control over its territory.

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Moreover, the Kurds in al-Hasaka and Deir-ezzour provinces – responsible for the protection of the US occupation forces in north-east Syria – have initiated, with the US’s consent, a conciliatory dialogue with the government in Damascus. It is not unlikely that President Assad will offer the Kurds a place in the future Parliament and Government with some form of decentralised rule for the northern provinces.

These are an indication that the US is not willing to stay very long in Syria and is looking for a way out sooner or later. The safety of Israel has been an important issue and the US believes, if the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi is re-elected, that its forces in Iraq may be better positioned than in Syria. However, the presence of a strong Hezbollah undermines the security of Israel. Israel’s security cannot be fully guaranteed with a powerful Hezbollah, considered by both the US and Israel to represent ‘Iran’s armed agents’ on its borders.

Sources believe “since the US gave Syria to Russia, it is not unlikely that the same step will be repeated in Lebanon, but only following a destructive battle between Hezbollah and Israel”. Russia would become the guarantor of Israel security on its northern border in Lebanon as in Syria.

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“Russia wants the war to end in Syria and is ready to liberate Idlib with or without Turkey’s consent. With the return of Idlib to the control of the central government in Damascus, Turkey will accept a reconciliation between the militants (non-jihadists) and the Syrian army. Moreover, as Russia protected the occupied Golan Heights, it can protect the borders between the Kurds and Turkey. Therefore, to ensure this hot spot of the Middle East is conflict-free, Lebanon may be expected to follow the same path of the Golan Heights and see the Russian military police on its borders”, said the sources.

“Today, (the pro-Saudi ex-Prime Minister of Lebanon) Fuad al-Sinura is not in power, as in 2006, and therefore, Saudi Arabia cannot stop Israel from destroying Lebanon to teach it a strong lesson (in their minds) for fully embracing Hezbollah. Israel will be financed and supported to start such a war. However, there is no doubt that Russia is not part of the planning and is not in harmony with Israel and the US against Hezbollah. Israel can find any excuse to start an attack and trigger a Hezbollah response to initiate a wider destructive war supported by Middle Eastern countries. But Russia, eager to see the end of all conflict in the area, would intervene to stop the war and to be present south of the Litani river, a longstanding Israeli wish”.

Iranian General Qassem Soleimani said, “74 members of the Lebanese Parliament are today in favour of the ‘Axis of the Resistance’ following the last parliamentary election”. This comment is not expected to be swallowed easily by Israel and Saudi Arabia, who consider that the entire Lebanon is under Hezbollah’s control.

The question remains: with the lack of readiness  of the Israeli home front, and in the light of Hezbollah’s state of readiness, and its capability to hit any target in Israel, will Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu accept this adventure without any present-day guarantee of submitting and defeating Hezbollah and forcing its withdrawal from the borders, risking a repeat of what happened 12 years ago?

Published here: https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/lebanon/2426-israel-hezbollah-russia.html

American Herald Tribune

Proofreading by:  Maurice Brasher

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12 thoughts on “Is Israel preparing a war on Hezbollah in Lebanon? Would Russia expand its presence to south Lebanon?

  1. ADDENDUM

    On another note, Mr. Magnier’s “Times of Israel” 2012 article on Israel’s “lack of readiness” for war might not be as outdated as I thought. Fort Russ News today (08/18/18) publishes an article on a report by IDF’s ombudsman, Yitzhak Brit, which questions IDF conditions for war, https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/08/weve-become-a-group-of-cowards-new-report-exposes-crisis-in-idf/

    The report, not available to the public, was given to Israel’s Knesset in June, 2018. Other news sites picked up the story, including pro-zionist publications, e.g., https://hamodia.com/2018/06/25/idf-ombudsman-questions-armys-readiness-war/ The old adage, “Truth is the first casualty of war,” applies here as in any other war. Projecting perceptions of weakness is an old strategem of any army poised for war, an invitation for the enemies to attack. Israel did that in ‘67, and millions of Arabs have been living the results of underestimating them ever since.

    Lone Wolf

  2. Mr. Magnier question is not rethorical. He is pondering whether Israel would gamble another confrontation with Hezbollah, that could well become a strategic defeat for the Israelis. Since the possibility of a defeat does not enter Israel’s “chosen” bunch equations, their preparations for war have increased after the defeat of their proxies in Syria/Iraq, which have inevitably pushed the Grand Israel lebenshraum further down the road of their geo-political/historical/religious delusions.

    Israel’s exploitation of the Sunni/Shia divide has allowed it to expand relations to Arab/Muslim countries that a few years ago where Israel’s sworn enemies. That expansion is for Israel a necessary evil, because they would need Saudi Arabia/GCC/Jordan/Egypt/Cyprus airfields for a strategic retreat, if Hezbollah destroys theirs, as promised. If, big IF, Israel decides to go to war, it will pummel Lebanon with everything in their war inventory, including weapons banned by the Geneva Convention. Israel cannot afford to lose this war, neither can Hezbollah. It would be an existential war, both arch-enemies fighting for their strategic survival. While Hezbollah can, if necessary, retreat into Syria, Israel has no space for a strategic retreat in-depth. The entire country, its population and vital centers will be at the mercy of Hezbollah rockets.

    The war against Hezbollah, totally supported by the US, will have multiple geo-political objectives, the main one would be to break the Axis of Resistance, the Shia Crescent Moon that expands from Iran to Lebanon. Syrians cannot be silent espectators of an attack aimed at destroying Lebanon and Hezbollah, they will have to enter the fray to return the favor to Lebanon and Hezbollah, since a weak or defeated Hezbollah will weaken Syria. An Israel – Hezbollah war would inevitably become a regional war, where Iraq and Iran would have to play either a supportive or actively participatory role. It would be a Great Patriotic War for all sides, where their existence as nation-states would be at stake.

    Netanyahu, warmonger of the first kind, and his minister of defense, former bouncer Lieberman, are itching to start a conflict they visualize can be contained to the destruction of Lebanon. They may be surprised by Hezbollah’s response, whose aim is to make Israel the container of the next

    Lone Wolf

    PS: Mr. Magnier’s Times of Israel article quoted to show Israelis “lack of readiness” for war, dated August, 2012, is too old to convey the current mindset prevalent in Israel political and military circles. Lots of water has ran under the bridge from 2012 to now, and the Israelis have not been sleeping on their laurels.

  3. Why would not Hezbollah and Lebanon avoid said war by preemptivly inviting Russia to secure the border? Such a move should benefit both Israel and Lebanon

  4. If Assad does give the Kurds any kind of place in Syrian politics or autonomy then Saudi Arabia will be covertly supported by Turkey for another 7years of war inside Syria.

    1. So the minutest amount of autonomy would reignite 7 yr war.

      Did the Kurd’s in Syria have autonomy before the war? Did the Kurd’s use that “autonomy” to ignite the 7 yr war? Peace requires reconciliation, and building new relations. Population happiness keeps the rebellion down.

  5. The answer to your last question, if we are to rely on past behaviour by Netanyahu, is no. The pathological liar is also a first class coward. As in Iraq, Libya and Syria, he is a strong believer in other people fighting wars for him. The ‘ISIS’ proxy has failed but will be able kill innocent Syrians for some time yet. Since 2006, Israel have bombed Palestinians from a distance or from the air. They have bullied and harassed Palestinians at checkpoints and maintained an iron grip on Gaza. They have mercilessly executed a whole range of Palestinians, including, the young, the old, physically handicapped, journalists and medics. They have committed the most grotesque war crimes.
    What Netanyahu must know is that his forces are only useful against the unarmed opponent. This is the reason he squeals so loudly when potential adversaries are upgrading or rearming.
    Hezbollah are a fearsome, experienced and determined proposition to take on, and the proven coward Netanyahu knows this only too well.
    Of course, his US buddy Trump can supply sophisticated missiles and even soldiers to die for Israel. What he cannot supply is protection from an array of rockets and missiles that we can safely assume are vastly improved on since they last had Israelis scuttling to the bomb shelters. For these reasons (and also my hope for the people of Lebanon to be safe from harm) I don’t believe Netanyahu will initiate a conflct with Hezbollah.

  6. Tel Aviv (and USA) is and has been since late 2011 trying all they can to provoke (primarily Iran) into an action that the mass media can display as a casus belli.

    Tel Aviv has nothing else to gain than flooding the world with images of Hezbollah warring inside Israel, in accordance with Talmudic and Kabbalist Millenarian New Age (of Aquarius) plans and Christian Revelation/escatology.

    If it is true as Elijah claims that Tel Aviv has a long standing wish to see Russian troops present south of the Litani river then this only adds to the evidence that Tel Aviv is looking to fulfill Revelation – a book the Illuminati elites wrote – not Jesus’ disciples – and was planted in the Bible about 500 A.D.

    1. Jews today, at least the ones that matter and call the shots, the ones warmongering are the descendants of the Kingdom of Khazaria that was swept away and utterly defeated by the Muslim Mongol Golden Horde.

      Previously phallus worshipers, warmongers, pillagers, and general low life degenerates embraced Talmudic Rabbinical Judaism overnight, at the whims of their diseased minded king.

      Now these Khazars are in control of the west, especially the U.S., and also these nefarious Jews want a big chunk of Russia, whom they claim is theirs, and is the lost glory of the ill-fated kingdom. That’s why Jews are primarily behind everything anti-Russia / anti-Putin.

      They are really interested in Russian territory and Russia’s immense wealth as far as natural resources go. So they now have Jerusalem, where they want to govern and control the world from, and also they want to control the world through Russia’s wealth. These said Jews have no loyalties to anyone, and they see the U.S. as a ‘ has-been’ who is slowly dying.

      Christianity has been thoroughly subverted and hollowed out, spineless and helpless, except for the Eastern Orthodox, who have steadfastly resisted the Jews, and the Orthodox Slavs paid for that by the tens of millions dead by the hands of these Jews in the 20th century alone.

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