Photo Credit: Basel Awidat / Flash 90
Lebanon border wall

Israel may be forced to re-invade south Lebanon in order to put an end to Iranian influence in the country, a Hebrew University professor told TPS on Thursday.

Dr. Eldad Pardo, an Iran specialist in the university’s Middle East Studies program, said that Israel had “made a mistake” following the Second Lebanon War in 2006 by allowing Iran to replenish Hezbollah’s rocket supply, an error that has left the terror group armed with more than 100,000 rockets that can hit every part of Israel. He said Israel could be left with “no choice” but to recapture parts of Lebanon, should hostilities with Hezbollah reignite.

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“If left with no choice, Israel will have to conquer Lebanon,” he said.

Hezbollah suffered heavy damage during the month-long conflict during July-August 2006, with casualty estimates ranging from about 140 Hezbollah fighters to nearly 700.

In addition, nearly 12,000 IAF sorties effectively demolished the terror group’s supply of missiles, leading Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to say that had he anticipated the ferocity of Israel’s response, he never would have authorized the cross-border attack and kidnapping of First Sergeant Ehud Goldwasser and Sergeant First Class Eldad Regev on July 12.

However, in the years following the conflict Iran worked diligently to re-supply Hezbollah with short, medium and long-range missiles with improved accuracy to replace, expand and improve the group’s missile stockpile, over the 3,970 rockets that landed in
Israeli territory during the Second Lebanon War.

Pardo said Iran wants to use the same strategy in Syria that it did in Lebanon, and ultimately aims to conquer Jordan on the way to reaching Jerusalem, with an ultimate goal of creating a Shi’ite Islamic empire across the entire Middle East. He added that last night’s massive strike on Iranian positions in Lebanon will not derail Tehran from that long-term goal, and said that even though in the short term Tehran understands it is a long way off from achieving its goals and cannot currently take on Israel, the Ayatollahs take a longer-term view of their goals.

“Iran’s strategy for the last 40 years has been to reach Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holiest city, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the (Islamic) faith itself, and (to also reach) Jerusalem. Their idea is to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria … and to attack from there. Iran succeeded in Lebanon but not in Syria, where Iran even asked for Russian help against ISIS.”

Drawing together the Syrian and Lebanese theaters of operation, Pardo said the current crop of Israeli leaders are unlikely to repeat the mistake of a decade ago by allowing Iran to establish entrenched offensive capabilities in Syria.

“(I don’t think) Iran will respond immediately to last night’s attack. In future, however, they are likely to attack Israel via Hezbollah in Lebanon,” Pardo said.

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