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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘Hizbullah’

Report: Israeli Planes Bombed Hizbullah Spy Post in Lebanon

Monday, February 4th, 2013

The Israel Air Force Sunday night bombed a Hizbullah spy communications center in Tyre, on the coast of Lebanon, according to a Lebanese newspaper that supports anti-Hizbullah parties.

Hizbullah denied the report even though its own televise network originally said Israel hit Tyre, only to later change its version to claim that the explosion was that of a “stun gun.”

The Al-Mustaqbal newspaper reported that Hizbullah quickly cordoned off the area after the apparent Israeli strike, which came less than a week after the bombing of Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles on their way from Damascus to Hizbullah.

It quoted others sources as stating that Hizbullah destroyed the listening post that allegedly had been planted by Israeli agents.

Nahranet reported, “Israeli aircraft did not leave the Lebanese airspace over the south all through the day” on Sunday.

The IAF staged several mock raids over southern Lebanon the past several days despite condemnation from the Arab world and Russia for the bombing of the anti-aircraft missiles. Syria and Iran threatened to retaliate against Israel.

Hizbullah could severely cripple Israel’s ability to spot terrorist activity if the terrorist organization were to obtain the sophisticated Russian-made missiles.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour demanded on Sunday that the world retaliate for the bombing of the anti-aircraft missiles by placing “a tough boycott on the economic, political and diplomatic levels.”

“Israeli jets continue to invade Lebanon’s airspace every day. We must stand up against the Israeli attacks but not just with calls, statements and condemnation,” he said.

Indicators of the Road Ahead for Israel

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

With so much turbulence about (especially now but also in the past several years), it’s easy to overlook the fact that Israel has fought no wars against any Arab state since the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

As Robert Satloff notes in the first of the articles we extract below, Israel’s experiences over these last four decades include “successful diplomacy with intermittent bouts of terrorism and asymmetric war against non-state actors.” Looking ahead, there’s more than a little reason to take a sober view of the future.

The End of the Forty-Year Peace between Israel and Arab States Robert Satloff  in the New Republic: With Hamas’ strong political backing from regional states, future historians might very well view the recent Gaza conflict as the first episode of a new era of renewed inter-state competition and, potentially, inter-state conflict in the Arab-Israeli arena… The “old new Middle East” was a region of peace, trade, and regional cooperation. It reached its heyday in the mid-’90s, when Israelis were welcome everywhere from Rabat to Muscat… The “new new Middle East” is the region defined by the twin threats of Iranian hegemonic ambitions and the spread of radical Sunni extremism, where Israelis are not only unwelcome but where they are building fences along their borders to separate themselves from the fight around them… There is much the U.S. can do to postpone the return to inter-state Arab-Israeli conflict. Such a strategy begins with strengthening American-Israeli cooperation and includes such initiatives as preventing Hamas from winning a political victory over the moribund Palestinian Authority, incentivizing moderate behavior from the calculating Islamist leaders of Egypt, speeding the demise of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and preventing the collapse of a wobbly Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Hamas Tells Fatah: Let’s Fight Israel Together Khaled Abu Toameh in the Jerusalem PostHamas leader Mahmoud Zahar on Monday called on Fatah to join his movement in the fight against Israel and to stop wasting time and effort with the peace process. “Our hands are extended to Fatah to join the program of [armed] resistance and the liberation of Palestine… Let’s join hands and carry the rifle together.”

Hizbullah TV Claims Its Rockets Can Reach Eilat  Zach Pontz in the Algemeiner: Israel’s Channel 2 television broadcast a video from Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV claiming that the terror group’s rockets could reach as far as Eilat. The segment, accompanied by many graphic descriptions, claimed: “Hizbullah has the following capabilities: the destruction of buildings in Tel Aviv; damage to ports and ships in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea and capability to hit specific targets with missiles on the residents and resources of Israel.” Last week Hizbullah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah told a crowd: “Israel, which was jolted by Fajr-5 missiles [from Gaza] – how will it be able to endure thousands of missiles falling on Tel Aviv and other cities if it attacks Lebanon? Our campaign against Israel is from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat.”

Visit This Ongoing War.

Israeli War Games Simulate Strike on Iran

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

A massive war game simulation by the Institute for National Security Studies of the IDF’s engagement after a strike on Iran recently took place, illustrating Israel’s increasing preparedness for putting a military end to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

The drill played out a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran after midnight on November 9, without US participation.

In the simulation, Al-Jazeera reported four massive and successful assaults on Iranian nuclear sites.  Iran responded by firing 200 Shihab missiles at Israel and calling on Hizbullah and Hamas to attack Israel.

The game determined that it would be difficult for Israel to reach a diplomatic solution following a military exchange between the countries, especially given Russia’s interest in using such a situation for its own strategic advantage.

In the scenario, the US would side with Israel but stay out of warfare, attempting to broker peace through a lessening of sanctions.

As for Hizbullah, Tehran would declare Israel’s act “judgement day” – the entire purpose of the armament of Hizbullah.

Israelis would endure the conflict, surviving on a mix of relief over the success of the missions and a belief that their cause was justified.

The INSS concluded that either a major regional war would take place after an Israeli attack on Iran, or Iran would be restricted in its movements, and unable to start a serious conflict.

IDF Evacuates Visitors to Upper Hermon Due to Approach of Armed Syrians

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

A group of visitors to Mount Hermon in Israel’s north were evacuated on Wednesday when a group of armed Syrians approached the border.

Officials in the Northern Command on Wednesday detected a group of 50 Syrians – four of whom were carrying weapons – several hundred meters from the border.  Because the intentions of the group was unclear, the IDF evacuated visitors from the upper level of the Hermon, relocating them to the lower level.

The Syrians did not attempt an infiltration, and were monitored by the IDF.

Earlier on Wednesday, blasts were heard in southern Lebanon, coming out of a Hizbullah-controlled area.  Seven people were reported killed by AFP.

Reports Of Syrian Maneuvers Prompt Israeli Military Concerns

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly considering a preemptive military strike against several Syrian chemical weapons storage depots and Scud missile sites. The goal is to prevent embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad from transferring the unconventional arsenal to Hizbullah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards if Assad appears on the verge of being toppled from power by opposition forces.

The possibility of an Israeli incursion into Syrian territory was bolstered by reports this week in the German weekly Der Spiegel and Britain’s Times of London that elite pro-Assad government troops used advanced missile systems, tanks and jet fighters to test blank chemical weapons canisters during the summer, with the field tests supervised by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The chemical weapons laboratory, according to Der Spiegel, is located in Safira (east of Aleppo) and is manned by Syrian, North Korean and Iranian scientists and intelligence agents.

A defecting Syrian general told the Times of London that Assad has discussed transferring the chemical weapons stockpiles, along with their delivery systems, to Hizbullah should Assad be forced to flee from Damascus. The Al Arabiya TV network reported on Wednesday that Assad’s sister, Bushra, defected with her children to Dubai, a Persian Gulf emirate. Her late husband, a member of the Syrian high command, was killed by Syrian opposition forces in July.

The news reports’ legitimacy and implications were strengthened when IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz ordered a surprise live fire drill across sections of the Golan Heights, along the border with Syria. Advanced Merkava tanks and elite paratroop units were said to be taking part in the drill, amid the heightened tensions with Syria and Iran. Over the last few months, the IDF has also begun to upgrade and fortify Israel’s border fence along the Syrian frontier, due to growing concerns that Hizbullah or al Qaeda terrorists will attempt to create a mass casualty incident against IDF troops or Israeli citizens in the Golan region.

NATO and the Pentagon say that in preparation for Assad’s possible ouster or use of chemical weapons against Syria’s civilian population, as many as 10,000 elite soldiers have been placed on alert in Europe and the Middle East to secure Assad’s chemical weapons and Scud missile depots. For their part Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak aren’t convinced that European and American leaders, including President Obama, will act fast enough to secure the weapons, which are purportedly dispersed across several dozen locations.

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert ordered a preemptive strike against a Syrian nuclear weapons development site in 2007 after President George W. Bush rejected Olmert’s request for an American military strike against the rogue Syrian nuclear site. Bush maintained that a diplomatic effort was preferable to the use of force.

According to several Israeli media reports, Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are becoming increasingly frustrated with the growing number of failed American foreign policy efforts in the Middle East. One report said that high-ranking Israeli Foreign Ministry members have accused their State Department counterparts of “burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the increasing radicalization of Arab states such as Tunisia and Egypt.”

Earlier this week, reports circulated that under the current circumstances in Egypt, it would be almost impossible for the Israeli Embassy in Cairo to function properly. And El Al announced that it was thinking of terminating its scheduled service to Cairo based on a lack of business and the rapidly deteriorating security situation in that country.

UK Urges EU to Classify Hizbollah Military Wing as Terrorist Group

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Britain’s Foreign Minister William Hague urged the European Union to place Hizbullah’s military wing on its list of terrorist organizations.

Reuters quoted Hague as saying on Sept. 7 in Cyprus, “I would like to see the EU designate and sanction the military wing of Hizbullah.” Hague was in Paphos for a two-day informal meeting of EU foreign ministers.

Hague said it was time for the EU to revisit the issue.

Earlier last week, Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said the EU should put Hizbullah on the terror list, a move that would enable the bloc to freeze the group’s assets in Europe.  The Netherlands is the only country in the EU to list Hizbullah and its branches as a terror entity. Britain views only the military wing as a terrorist group.

Some EU countries reportedly are resisting the classification, most notably France. But the EU position might change if Bulgaria’s investigation into the Burgas bombing of an Israeli tour bus confirms that Hizbullah was behind the attack with its sponsor, Iran.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint news conference in Jerusalem with his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borissov.

“We know that you stand with us against terror because terror is indivisible and the battle against terrorism must be indivisible, and the victims of terrorism include, as in this case, Israelis and Bulgarians,” Netanyahu told the visiting Bulgarian leader.

Syria’s Civil War is Spilling into Lebanon

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Syria’s civil war was doomed from the very beginning to spill intoLebanon. Trouble started last year shortly after peaceful demonstrations against Bashar al-Assad’s regime turned violent, and it started again last week when sectarian clashes ripped through the northern city ofTripoli, the second-largest inLebanonafterBeirut, and turned parts of it into a war zone.

Sunni militiamen from Tripoli’s neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh are slugging it out again with militants from the adjacent Alawite stronghold of Jabal Mohsen. They have transformed their corner of Lebanoninto a mirror of the Syrian war, in which Sunni rebels are waging pitched battles with the Alawite-dominated military and government. As of Wednesday, the death toll in Tripoli was twelve, and a few more were killed yesterday. More than a hundred have been wounded.

Tensions are also increasing between Lebanon’s Sunnis, who support the Syrian uprising, and Lebanon’s Shias, who support the Assad regime and Hezbollah. Syrian rebels recently kidnapped a man they say is a Hezbollah member; his Lebanese clan members ran around southern Beirutwith AK-47s and ski masks and kidnapped almost two dozen Syrian Sunnis and even a Turkish citizen in Lebanon.

Some reporters are describing the violence as some of the worst since the Lebanese civil war that raged from 1975-1990 — so far a bit of an exaggeration, with numbers still insignificant compared to the thousands killed, tortured, and maimed next-door inSyria. But the numbers could easily mushroom, transforming the entire Lebanese political scene for the worse.

ASSAD’S OCCUPATION ofLebanonwas terminated seven years ago by the Beirut Spring, but the two countries still function to an extent as a single political unit.Syriamay no longer have its smaller neighbor under direct military rule, but it has been deliberately exporting its violence, dysfunction, and terrorism since the 1970s. Its hegemony there was partially restored when Hezbollah invadedBeirutin 2008, forcing anti-Syrian parties to surrender much of their power at gunpoint.

Even if Assad had no interest in mucking around inBeirut’s internal affairs — even ifLebanonwere entirely free of Syrian influence — we should still expect to see the conflict spill over. The Lebanese could not build a firewall even if the Syrians wanted to help them – but definitely not while terrified Syrian refugees are holing up in the county, and not when Hezbollah has a vested interest in keeping its patron and armorer in charge inDamascus, and not with Sunnis and Alawites living cheek-by-jowl in the north.

Lebanon, unlike most Arab countries, has a weak central government. The Lebanese designed it that way on purpose so that it would be nearly impossible for anyone to rule as a strongman; and as the country is more or less evenly divided between Christians, Sunnis, and Shias, so that no single sectarian community could easily take control over the others.

The problem, of course, is that weak central government combined with sectarian centrifugal force constantly threaten to rip the country apart. As the army is just as riven by political sectarianism as the rest of the country, when civil conflict breaks out, the army does a terrible job. Its leadership does not dare take sides lest the officers and enlisted men under their command splinter apart into rival militias as they did during the civil war. Further, the Syrian regime left pieces of itself behind when it withdrew fromLebanonin the spring of 2005. Many of the army’s senior officers were promoted and appointed byDamascus; they still have their jobs and their loyalties, at least for now.

So while the violence inLebanonis at the moment contained, it is barely contained. The real danger here is not that people will be kidnapped and killed by the dozen in isolated neighborhoods. The real danger is that if the situation does not calm down and stay down, the normally placid Sunni community will become increasingly radical.

For years the overwhelming majority ofLebanon’s Sunnis have thrown their support behind the Future Movement, the liberal, capitalist, and pro-peace party of Rafik and Saad Hariri. The Muslim Brotherhood hardly gets any more votes inLebanonthan it would in theUnited States. But conservative Sunnis are only willing to support moderates like the Hariris when they feel safe. If they feel physically threatened by Alawite militias, Hezbollah, or anyone else for too long, many will feel they have little choice but to back radical Sunni militias if no one else will protect them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/syrias-civil-war-is-spilling-into-lebanon/2012/08/31/

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