The reports keep coming…Hezbollah is gearing up for war against the State of Israel.
Back in January 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.
Since then there has been an onslaught of reports that Hezbollah empowered by the successful Iranian negotiations against an impotent Barack Obama was planning to use those missiles against Israel.
Variations of this story have been bouncing around for the last few weeks. Two weeks ago there were major recent pieces in the New York Times and Associated Press, where journalists got to look at IDF aerial photography showing that Hezbollah has moved the vast majority of its military infrastructure into Shiite villages. They’ve taken that arsenal of up to 150,000 rockets including Burkan rockets with half-ton warheads, ballistic missiles including Scud-Ds that can hit all of Israel, supersonic advanced anti-ship cruise missiles, anti-aircraft assets, drones and mini drones, tunnels, etc. – and embedded it across hundreds of villages and probably thousands of homes.
The Iran-backed terror group has the ability to saturation bomb Israeli civilians with 1,500 projectiles a day, every day, for at least 100 days. They will try to bring down Tel Aviv’s skyscrapers with ballistic missiles. They will try to fly suicide drones into Israel’s nuclear reactor. They will try to detonate Israel’s off-shore energy infrastructure. They will try to destroy Israeli military and civilian runways. And – mainly but not exclusively through their tunnels – they will try to overrun Israeli towns and drag away women and children as hostages. Israeli casualties would range in the thousands to tens of thousands.
And know the American media and President Barack Obama as well as Israel’s supposed allies in Europe will find a way to blame Israel for the attack and (God forbid) the Israeli casualties.
This weekend’s round of stories actually came from Hezbollah’s side. As-Safir – a Lebanese daily and a major Hezbollah mouthpiece – published a series of puff pieces about how Hezbollah has turned all of southern Lebanon into a vast military complex.
Hezbollah has built a vast network of advanced tunnels along the border with Israel for use in a future war, using them to conceal tens of thousands of rockets aimed at the Jewish state, a Lebanese newspaper with ties to the Lebanese terror group reported on Friday.
In a series of articles published over the weekend, the daily As-safir examined Hezbollah’s preparations for war against Israel, painting a picture of a military force highly prepared for conflict, both in terms of equipment and of infrastructure.
It should be noted that As-safir, a mouthpiece for the Shiite organization, is neither an objective nor necessarily a credible news source. So there is a bit of bravado on their reports.
According to the reports, based on a tour of Hezbollah facilities given to the newspaper, the group has built a sprawling underground array of tunnels, bunkers and surveillance outposts along the border with Israel, which it is manning at peak readiness for battle.
The tunnels are said to be highly-advanced, with durable concrete, a 24-hour power supply via underground generators, a ventilation system to prevent damp from damaging military equipment and a web of secondary escape shafts in case of attack. The tunnels are said to be housing tens of thousands of rockets ready for launch, themselves wrapped in protective materials in order to preserve them.
Should a war occur, Israelis will have to mobilize massive forces to shorten the duration of a future war. One of the things they’ll do is immediately is move to eliminate as much of Hezbollah’s vast arsenal as possible. But that doesn’t matter to the terrorist group. Hezbollah is counting on the resulting deaths of their human shields and they’ve guaranteed to that the body count will be significant – to turn Israel into an international pariah the way Hamas did in last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, when the American President, media and the world governments blamed Israel for the Hamas human shield losses.
But the Israelis can’t let Hezbollah level their entire country with indiscriminate rocket fire and advanced missiles, just because no one in Lebanon is willing or able to expel the group from Shiite villages.
None of this is new. In early 2013 veteran Israeli war correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai did a deep dive into Hezbollah military posture. He revealed among other things that Hezbollah had given away thousands of homes to poor Shiite families, on the condition “that at least one rocket launcher would be placed in one of the house’s rooms or in the basement, along with a number of rockets, which will be fired at predetermined targets in Israel when the order is given.”
Then in 2014 air force chief Major-General Amir Eshel gave a speech outlining how Hezbollah has embedded its military assets in “thousands” of residential buildings, emphasizing that Israel would have no choice but to target that infrastructure in a war. Reuters picked up the speech under the headline “Hoping to deter Hezbollah, Israel threatens Lebanese civilians”
And of course there is the more recent report from the Begin Center mentioned above.
But there’s a lot of chatter in the Middle East about a summer war between Israel and Lebanon, which is why you are seeing so many stories about what that war may look like. On one hand the Israelis and Hezbollah are saying the same thing: all of southern Lebanon is now one big military compound. But only the Israelis are pointing out that Hezbollah has made sure that in that military compound there are tens of thousands of civilians.
The real question is will anybody care? After all it is very popular to condemn the Jewish State when she tries to protect her citizens.