By Elijah J. Magnier:
When the Syrian war broke out in 2011, the West – that was a direct participant in the war along with the Gulf countries and Turkey – believed that President Bashar al-Assad would fall after months, or a year or two: he would not last very long in power. Preparations began to lay siege to “Hezbollah” as a pre-emptive step after Assad’s overthrow because Syria was an essential member of the “Axis of the Resistance” and part of the main Hezbollah supply route. Britain took rapid steps to tighten control of the Lebanese-Syrian borders. The management of the Lebanese-Syrian borders was an old Israeli request as a basic during the Israeli 2006 war before it realised that it had not won the war and could not impose its conditions. In 2012, frenetic work began on establishing a military training program for the Lebanese Army in the two airbases of Hamat and Rayak and to enable the capacity of the Lebanese Army institutions. However, the first and last goal is not to strengthen the Lebanese Army. Hezbollah’s objective and its weapons break the balance of deterrence and cause terror to Israel, though not to Britain, which is geographically located very far from Lebanon. So how does the “Axis of Resistance” perceive this British plan against Hezbollah?No country has contributed a penny to support the Lebanese Army and enable it to preserve and protect its own borders with Israel. Rather, the West approved the deployment of the United Nations forces (UNIFIL) on the Lebanese borders to help Israel ensure that no obstacles, traps or sites could pose a threat to any Israeli advance inside Lebanese territory, as has happened over decades. Indeed, the goal of sending the UNIFIL forces – deployed inside the Lebanese territory only – was to help Israel prevent attacks from Lebanon and not the other way round. Moreover, the Lebanese Army is not allowed to possess anti-aircraft missiles or anti- ship missiles because they would be directed against Israel. No one but Israel is violating the country’s Lebanese airspace, waters, and
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sovereignty. The West is making sure no Israeli forces are under any threat from Lebanon, which enables them to freely violate its sovereignty at any time.
However, western support is pouring into the Lebanese Army to monitor its borders with Syria. Western countries provide all Lebanese security institutions with equipment and light weapons that allow urban warfare. Lebanon has more than 125,000 military and security personnel, a colossal number for any country globally, especially since Lebanon is under the burden of deteriorating economic conditions. The military and security apparatus in Lebanon splashes large quantities of money on trips abroad for their officers and recalls recruits when the need is minimal, particularly when the Army is not able to declare or stand up to any armies on either side of the border.
Billions of dollars have been spent in the hope that Hezbollah might be defeated in the Syrian war or in any future war with Israel. In this case, Hezbollah would obviously become vulnerable, its supplies interrupted and it would be easier to finalise the defeat by an attack from the Lebanese security forces. That was the idea after the Israeli war in 2006 and before Hezbollah’s full participation in the war in Syria in 2013.
Britain alone has trained 11,000 Lebanese soldiers and officers for urban warfare operations. It has also trained about 7,000 soldiers in “protecting” the Lebanese-Syrian borders and helped form the “Land Border Regiment Army”.
However, the current flowed beyond the desires of the UK-US-Israeli ship. The “Axis of the Resistance” was able to win the war in Syria, a victory that gave Hezbollah a significant experience in warfare of becoming a feared force. By raising the level of readiness, Hezbollah was able to store armed drones and tens of thousands of missiles including – according to Israeli sources – hundreds of precision missiles.
Its supply lines are the main artery for Hezbollah’s survival and existence. Following any war, belligerents need to rearm and later modernise their weapons to stimulate development in order to maintain the balance of deterrence. This requires keeping the flow of supplies secured and uninterrupted.
The experienced and well-equipped Hezbollah have threatened Israel – if it declares war on Lebanon -to strike specific military targets in Israel, including those located within civilian cities. Consequently, Hezbollah’s missiles have become a serious threat to Israel, which believes the threat must be removed or destroyed. However, waging war to destroy these missiles became an impossible task because in the meantime Hezbollah changed its military policy.
The 2006 war taught Hezbollah to relocate all missiles from villages in the south of Lebanon and place them in the distant mountains and valleys since their range reaches 500 km, a range that covers the entire geography occupied by Israel. These precision and long-range missiles are of great concern to Israel, the US and the UK.
Britain has – according to a commander in the “resistance axis” in Damascus – constructed 39 observation towers and 7 bases, and a military operations centre, along almost the entire border strip with Syria, starting from the Masnaa crossing to al-Qaa, a length of more than 100 kilometres.
In 2013, British Foreign Secretary Hugh Robertson visited Lebanon to oversee the construction of 12 border control towers and equip them with the latest electronic equipment and satellite communications connected to the Lebanese army command and control, according to a Lebanese Army General.
“All communications linked to satellites can be intercepted by the security and intelligence services operating in the region, including Israel, the US, the UK and France. These can monitor the movements of Hezbollah and its military supply lines along the borders. Because ISIS and Al Qaeda have been defeated in Lebanon and along the Lebanese-Syrian borders, the necessity to keep these satellite-links from the region is no longer an emergency. Smugglers from Lebanon and Syria continue non-stop their illegal activities through official and unofficial routes. Moreover, Syria has the right to demand the reports of these British observatory towers because they overlook Syrian territory. In fact, no country has the right to view these reports apart from Lebanon and Syria”, according to the source.
The “Axis of the Resistance” source believes that Britain’s goal is to cover border points to reveal Hezbollah’s supply lines and caches. These towers may become internationalised – in line with what some Lebanese call the internationalisation of the acute Lebanese crisis. Voices in Lebanon have been raised, asking to impose the siege on Hezbollah’s military movements, with the excuse of that they facilitate smugglers’ routes. They demand the total control by the Lebanese Army of all border crossings between Lebanon and Syria and vice versa.
There is little doubt that these towers gather intelligence information against Hezbollah and the Syrian Army – according to the source – especially with the project to build additional towers on the Lebanese borders overlooking the Syrian city of Homs. The sources believe that these towers could have a hostile role in any future battle between Israel and Lebanon. It is not excluded that the towers’ presence provides a cover for Israeli special units to destroy the missile caches because they provide visibility over vast and sensitive border areas, including the precision missiles of Hezbollah. Hence, the British positions created along the borders are is considered by the “Axis of the Resistance” to be provocative and hostile.
Israel succeeded in dragging Yasser Arafat into a civil war that matured through discontent with the Palestinian leader’s performance against the local Lebanese population, contributing to Lebanon’s invasion in 1982. As for Hezbollah, it succeeded in moving away from controlling Lebanese cities and became an integral part of society. Despite a certain domestic economic crisis, the US has spent ten billion dollars to confront Hezbollah through US allies in Lebanon, non-governmental organisations and individuals- but without succeeding in their objectives. Israel ceased temporarily using suicide drones after their detection during a failed attempt to destroy one of Hezbollah’s warehouses in the suburbs of Beirut. Israel fell under the hammer of highly effective deterrence on the border, with Hezbollah waiting to kill an Israeli soldier at any moment. Consequently, undeclared objectives to strike Hezbollah and control its missile caches are strongly maintained and developed by Israel and its western allies, the US and, in this case, the UK.
Proofread by: Maurice Brasher