By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai
Israel just announced the beginning of “Operation Northern Shield” to “destroy Hezbollah cross-border tunnels that pose an imminent threat to the safety of Israel”. Israel sent its Special Forces to protect its army engaged in searching for tunnels in case of a military reaction from Hezbollah. On the other side of the border, Hezbollah mobilised its troops and Special Forces, “al-Ridwan”, as a normal procedure should Israel cross the borders or turn its operation into an aggression against Lebanon. The Hezbollah mobilisation is visible to Israeli eyes and ears, invisible to the inhabitants of south Lebanon.
Well informed sources said “Israel is feeling the ground has been shaking for some time because Hezbollah is preparing for a possible future war. The Israeli procedure is, therefore, both defensive and preventive, for fear of surprises promised by the secretary general of Hezbollah Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah. Sayyed Nasrallah has said he “will move the battle in Israel rather than fight only in Lebanon”.
The source explained: “it is normal that any military procedure or preparation of war by Hezbollah is observed by Israel and therefore it represents a source of concern to the Israeli army, watching the build-up of Hezbollah military capability and counter or offensive measures on the borders. It is therefore normal that Israel takes actions to neutralise what Hezbollah is planning to do and avoid harsh surprises”.
In the last few months, Israel has intensified the presence of its drones above south Lebanon and in particular over the suburbs of Beirut. According to this source, the Israeli drones are concentrated above al-Ahed and al-Raya camps and the sandy hills around the area. Israel fears the presence of underground missiles in this area and is most probably – continued the source – taking photos of any changes in the topography of the area to analyse and understand what Hezbollah is planning.
There is no doubt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been increasing the level of tension between Israel and Lebanon. He has highlighted the danger Hezbollah represents to Israel’s freedom by violating the sea, land and air sovereignty of Lebanon and through the increasing military capability of Hezbollah. Netanyahu called on the US establishment to support him against Hezbollah: indeed, the US State Department did its share by raising the level of threat against Hezbollah, putting its leaders and many other Shia on the list of terrorists. Its State Department Secretary now seems to be an Israeli Foreign Minister, ready to adopt any wish pronounced by Netanyahu!
The 48-hour clash between Israel and Gaza last month showed that Netanyahu is not willing to engage in an extended war with the Palestinians, and a fortiori neither with Hezbollah. Both groups have developed their military capabilities to the level of capability of inflicting serious damage on Israel, despite that country’s huge firepower.
No Israeli Prime Minister is in a position to accept the consequences of war between Hezbollah and Israel. Netanyahu would rather use his long-range precision missiles or air strikes against Syria or the Palestinians, and Mossad assassinations abroad. He is not ready to take on Hezbollah, whose leader has promised immediate retaliation in the face of any aggression.
There is little doubt that the Israeli Prime Minister has ordered the “tunnel operation” at this moment to relieve the pressure he is under domestically. Indeed, the Israeli police have recommended indicting Netanyahu on bribery charges related to corruption, fraud, and breach of trust, linked to the Bezeq telecom company (in exchange for positive coverage of the prime minister). This is more of a “popcorn” operation by Netanyahu, making just enough noise to distract attention from his troubles.
Proofread by: Maurice Brasher and C.B.
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