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    March 8, 2016

    Is an Israeli-Hezbollah War Imminent?

    Translated by Sufyan Jan for Fort Russ
    8th March, 2016




    Tel Aviv seeks to enter into Syria to shut its borders with Lebanon...but will Moscow allow it? 

    Tensions are rising as Tel Aviv claims that the Israeli army is preparing for war against Hezbollah, and that Israel seeks this, as a hostile environment stokes around Hezbollah with their Arab neighbors. But will a war ignite soon? 

    A highly positioned Russian source that is involved in the Syrian war room told Al-Rai: “Israel is preparing for a war against Hezbollah as if it’s going to happen tomorrow; this is standard military procedure for any state that feels threatened from an opponent state or an armed militia that it considers to be a threat to national security. Israel is conducting frequent military drills, both on its own and with other allies. These drills simulate various war scenarios to maintain the readiness of their forces. They are also conducting drills that aim to repel any Hezbollah threat; intelligence reports have also indicated that Hezbollah have acquired new tactical weapons and that Israel constantly arranges their drills according to the weaponry acquired by Hezbollah. As far as not giving Israel an excuse to wage war against Hezbollah, the leaders in Tel Aviv don’t decide matters of war because of a provocation or a tactical excuse, rather they rely on their ability to reach their projected goals before the start of the war and the losses that their military might incur and the internal and international ramifications that must be considered after the end of the war”.

    The source explains that, “Israel on numerous occasions expressed their concerns at the continuous increase of Hezbollah’s capabilities and their acquisition of advanced weaponry, Israel considers that the only viable option is to strike Hezbollah now before their capabilities grow further. Time is of the essence in the minds of the Israelis, considering that Tel Aviv views the Syrian defenses as having been nullified and that the Damascus outskirts is a soft target, and that the Al-Nusra and Free Syrian Army battalions will not be much of a hinderance against their forces, especially if the aim is to break the back of Hezbollah in Syria. So, with this in mind, it is possible to cut the Lebanese-Syrian border and to extend Israeli control by 70-80 kilometers reaching the city of Al-Qusayr”.

    The source further adds that, “Israel has added the magic wand defense military system designed to further bolster the iron dome to counter the precision missiles of Hezbollah. Israeli politicians are further poised to attack Hezbollah after being labeled as a terrorist organization by Arab countries, giving a clear message to Hezbollah that whatever destruction incurred upon southern Lebanon after such a war with Israel will not be rebuilt with Arab finances. Both sides know that the upcoming war will be more devastating than the 2006 war. Israel will have the moral support of regional countries, especially after the much awaited Arab summit which makes the timing of the start of the war convenient. A point worth noting is that Israel usually starts her wars after the end of winter and at the start of the summer months. The aim of such a war could be to destroy Hezbollah’s edge or ability to launch attacks on Israel and not to annihilate Hezbollah. This is a flexible aim that can be achieved by destroying the Al-Fateh 110 and M600 missiles; it might also be an opportunity to bait Hezbollah to show off some of their reconnaissance ability and other advanced missile systems to know beyond doubt their capabilities, and thus Israel would be able to market their war under the slogan of “Eradicating missile capabilities that threaten Israeli internal security””.

    The source asks questions that Israel doesn’t have the answer to:

    1. Will Russia allow Israel to enter into their Syrian playground, by way of infantry incursions into Syrian territory to encircle and strike a force that is working on the ground to destroy Al-Qaeda and ISIS with Russia’s aerial support?

    2. Will Israel be able to sustain damages incurred upon vital institutions, such as military and civilian airports and other sensitive locations that Hezbollah’s long range missiles can strike?

    3. Does Israel really want to confront Hezbollah 2.0 with their classical abilities to wage guerrilla warfare plus their enhanced fire power capabilities?

    4. We have seen from Syria that Hezbollah forces' ability to maneuver across the frontline and deep in enemy territory; these forces maneuvers under aerial protection, which could already have passed into Hezbollah’s hands. This will be a stumbling block the Israelis need to think twice about, this would put major constraints on Israel’s most important weapon which is its ability to freely bomb with no worries about anti aircraft missiles. This is a fresh and serious challenge that the Tel Aviv needs to consider thoughtfully in any upcoming war scenario.

    5. We have seen Hezbollah operate over an area of 50,000 square kilometers in Syria. We have seen their tactics, offensives, and quick transitions, and also injecting new forces every time there are major personnel losses, and replacing forces with ones that quickly adapt to the geography and start their operations on a wide range of fronts, where as Israel is 21,000 square kilometers and Lebanon is 10,000 square kilometers, so do leaders in Tel Aviv take this into consideration?

    6. Israel has a strong army, composed mainly of reserves, though the barracks of these reserves are well known. So, would Israel start its war with shelling and aerial bombardment, with the possibility of those reserves being hit with precision missiles that can strike targets within 250-300 kilometers into Israeli mainland in the first days of the war?

    The source goes on, “In 2006 Damascus opened its arms stores to Hezbollah, though in 2016, 2017, or any other future year the Syrian regime will not stand idly by because they no longer have anything to lose. It is impossible for them not to be part of the war if they see that their ally, who has lost thousands to death and injury, is being attacked, which will expand the radius of the war. Subsequently this goes against Russia’s interests, which seeks to end the war and defeat Al-Qaeda and ISIS, and so striking Hezbollah is not the same as striking Hamas. This war has many ramifications that no one wants to face at this moment; from this view Israel must live with Hezbollah just as the two Korea’s live with one another”.





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