On Sunday it was reported that Five to six members of Hezbollah, including Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of
former Hezbollah operations chief Imad Mughniyeh, were killed in an Israeli helicopter the reports. According to Western intelligence
sources, Jihad Mughniyeh headed a large-scale terrorist cell that
enjoyed direct Iranian sponsorship and a direct link to Hezbollah. The
cell had already targeted Israel in the past, launching attacks on the
Mughniyeh was believed to have been in the
planning stages of additional deadly terrorist attacks against Israel
in the Golan Heights, which would have included rockets, cross-border
infiltrations, border bombings, and anti-tank fire, designed to kill
IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians who live in the Golan. And they have the firepower!
Former Israeli National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, outlined the threats to the Jewish State from non-state entities in a report released by the Begin Center for Strategic Studies (BESA). The most serious existential threat to the Jewish State by non-state entities is the terrorist group Hezbollah, with 150,000 missiles, which according to the General is a “rare and substantial firepower apparently even exceeded the firepower possessed by most of the European states combined.”After having been accustomed to a situation in which large regular armies with armor, artillery, hundreds of aircraft and thousands of troops were arrayed on Israel’s borders, there can be no doubt that Israel has moved into a different world.
The current threat to Israel is different. It consists mainly of non-state entities motivated by Islamic ideology. The strongest of them is Hezbollah, which was formed with a dual purpose in mind: It represents Iran’s long reach in the area and against Israel, while at the same time it aims to control Lebanon, where the Shiites are the largest ethnic group.
Hezbollah’s capabilities most closely resemble those of an army. Its arsenal numbers some 150,000 missiles and rockets, several thousand of which have a range that cover the entire State of Israel. This rare and substantial firepower apparently even exceeded the firepower possessed by most of the European states combined.
Hezbollah also has long-range surface-to-sea missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and modern anti-tank missiles. It is well organized into a military-style hierarchy and appears to possess command and control systems of high quality. It was established by Iranian leaders, but its leadership has always consisted of Lebanese people who were closely linked to Iran’s interests. Hezbollah assisted the Shiites by providing for their needs in the civilian sphere as a base for building its military power.
Hezbollah is currently busy assisting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. It has sacrificed hundreds of its own people there and is acquiring substantial battle experience, but from its perspective, the battle is over its survival. It fights beside the Syrian Alawites because it needs them to stay in power. If Assad survives, Hezbollah’s status in Lebanon will increase, as will its status in Damascus.
Hezbollah may be the biggest threat, but not the only one. According to the general, Hamas still has 3,500 rockets and is rearming. Islamic Jihad has a “smaller rocket arsenal of lower quality, [but] it cannot be disregarded as insignificant.” There is also the threat of ISIS on the boarder of Lebanon and Syria.
The most significant threat to Israel’s very existence is the possibility that some time in 2015, Iran will reach a deal with the West that would allow it to pursue some form of nuclear military capability. This process will not come to fruition this year, but a bad deal with the superpowers would be an important milestone for Tehran.
This may be Israel’s main security challenge, and any deal between Iran and the West will make it difficult for Israel to deal with it. This means that together with providing ongoing security, the Israeli military must be prepared for both large-scale ground warfare in Lebanon, attrition in Gaza and an operation in Iran – a feat that will be neither easy nor cheap.