Why Doesn’t Israel Eliminate Hezbollah Now?

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Israeli infantry soldiers from the Kfir Brigade take part in a drill in urban warfare simulating a combat mission with Lebanon's Hezbollah at the Israeli army base of Elyakim in northern Israel on July 11, 2013.(Photo: AFP - Jack Guez).

By: Yahya Dbouk

Published Monday, December 16, 2013

Israeli political and military leaders of all levels have been issuing almost daily threats against Hezbollah while claiming that the Israeli army stands fully ready to confront – and even crush – Hezbollah. So, why don’t they destroy Hezbollah now?

Recently, Israel began to step up its verbal threats, “flexing the muscles” of its military. Hardly a day passes without a statement, report, or interview coming from the Jewish state raising alarm about Hezbollah’s military capabilities but affirming at the same time the “might” of the Israeli armed forces and their preparedness for any future conflict involving Hezbollah.

Israeli military commanders have all put their two cents in. The Israeli top brass seem to suffer from a curious case of overconfidence, prompting observers to wonder why Tel Aviv has not already proceeded to wage war and end Hezbollah once and for all, with victory so close at hand given Israel’s allegedly full readiness and unmitigated superiority.

The most recent statement on Hezbollah came from Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s intelligence minister. Steinitz was keen to affirm that Hezbollah does not have chemical weapons, and that it had not obtained any, prior to the deal to dismantle Syria’s arsenal was reached.

Steinitz may have been clarifying remarks made earlier by a senior Israeli officer, who said that it could be neither confirmed nor denied whether Hezbollah had acquired part of Syria’s chemical weapons – an issue that aggravates the concerns Israelis have regarding the losses to be expected in the event of a confrontation with Hezbollah.

In recent days, Tel Aviv resumed its campaign against Hezbollah, raising many questions about its aims with regard to timing. Usually, these Israeli campaigns, often instigated by the Israeli army spokesperson, seek to ramp up the perception of Israel’s deterrence vis-à-vis Hezbollah to dissuade it from carrying out any operations, or to warn it against responding if Tel Aviv decides to launch an attack.

The question is: Does this weeks-long campaign seek to achieve one of these goals, or both?

Colonel Asher Ben-Lulu, commander of the Israeli army’s Kfir infantry brigade, stressed the army was ready to face the worst and most complex scenarios involving Hezbollah, though he acknowledged, “The smartest and most formidable enemy we face is Hezbollah, whether at the level of intelligence, combat techniques, or military doctrine.” In an interview with Maariv, Ben-Lulu said, “Hezbollah is a smart enemy. It possesses a network of underground tunnels and has professional fighters and state-of-the-art combat techniques.”

Regarding scenarios for a future conflict with Hezbollah, Ben-Lulu warned, “The conflict will not involve convoys of armored vehicles or legions of soldiers, but [will involve] guerilla warfare and hostilities originating from civilian areas.” The Israeli colonel then stressed the need for additional troops on the ground, and said that the Kfir brigade would be suitable for the job.

Ben-Lulu continued, “The next war will see forces brought in to control the areas where rockets are launched. We at the Kfir brigade train on combat behind enemy lines to inflict heavy losses on the enemy.”

The commander then remarked that Israel’s enemies, especially Hezbollah, are fully aware of Israel’s air superiority, intelligence capabilities, and precise firepower, and said, “Hezbollah will operate underground, will not rely on communications, and will try to invalidate our superiority as a conventional army.”

In the same vein, Raafat Halabi, commander of the Israeli army’s Herev (Sword) battalion, said that his unit was prepared to move from “zero to one hundred” in a matter of seconds. In an interview with the website Israel Defense, the officer in charge of the Druze battalion specialized in combat in Lebanon revealed that preparations had been stepped up recently, with the build-up focusing on training and increased readiness for contingencies along the northern front. He said, “We must be ready in a matter of seconds.”

“Hezbollah members patrol the border in four-wheel drives or disguised as shepherds, who are sometimes seen carried scopes,” he added.

Concerning whether Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria serves the interests of the Israeli army, Halabi said, “On the one hand, this hurts Hezbollah. But nevertheless, it allows its fighters to accumulate operational experience on how to carry out attacks.” Halabi reckoned that “offensive combat is new to Hezbollah, which has so far played on the defensive.”

Herev’s commander then pointed out that the members of his unit are frequently posted along different border positions with Lebanon to maintain their readiness, saying that in the next war, they will spend a long time inside Lebanese territory and reach the areas where Hezbollah’s rocket-launching platforms are deployed.

According to Israel Defense, a specialized military affairs website, the Herev battalion has developed new techniques to fight Hezbollah. Israel Defense indicated that the Northern Command in the Israeli army is currently considering transferring Herev’s techniques to other units that must also be ready for war.

The website also stated that the soldiers in the battalion were training to fight inside Lebanon in a third Lebanon war and to defend settlements in the Galilee, as Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah had promised “surprises” in any future conflict, for example, in the form of a Hezbollah incursion into northern Israel.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

In such a war between Lebanon and Israel, the difference will be morale. Although, Israel clearly has the advantage in terms of military superiority, civilian and military morale will be the determining factor.
One thing is for sure, Israeli morale is very fragile and a prolonged conflict will eventually tilt the victory towards Lebanon especially when Lebanese fighters start showing up in villages and cities across occupied Palestine. Israeli civilians and consequently Israeli militants will not be able to handle the horror and trepidation of Hezbollah fighters at their doorsteps culminating in a domino effect of defeats especially when new fronts start to open up on the Golan, West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Sinai, and other sleeping cells within Israel. Anything is possible after this! Israel will start to disintegrate culminating into American, British and French rush to aid their satanic creation "Israel".

“The conflict will not involve convoys of armored vehicles or legions of soldiers, but [will involve] guerilla warfare and hostilities originating from civilian areas.” Statements like these are ones that should have people worried. Because if the next targets are exclusively civilian areas then the Lebanese people are going to suffer a great deal more than previously. The Israelis talk of an existential threat, while they are openly threatening the existance of civilians in Lebanon. Added to that, the racism of the Israelis with regards to Arabs, I think this could be a war of massacres.

Israel spends millions of dollars, resources and emotions every day preparing for war. It would cost Israel a lot less if Israel prepares for peace.

Hezbollah was found as a result of he 1982 Israeli invasion and occupation. By declaring its peaceful intentions toward Lebanon, Israel can neutralize Hezbollah in minutes.

Hezbollah enjoys populous support because Israelis flex their military muscles every day against Southern Lebanon. The overwhelming majority of Southern Lebanese want to live in peace under the Lebanese flag and the protection of the Lebanese Army. This shows that Israel does not want peace in the area and wants the escalation to continue.

Fajr missiles killed no one in Tel Aviv. Did no damage

You are not fighting sunni children like in Syria. And your men keep getting killed by poorly armed rebels. In Syria...and now Lebanon.

You get weaker daily
Your countrymen hate you.
They bomb and kill you daily now

We have killed Mughniyeh and others, bombed your missiles.....
Perfect intelligence, perfect execution.

And Nasrallah hides. Just like Assad. Terrified.

It's clear who is afraid.

90% of intel is gathered from exposed sources-media,publishing,chatter.Israelis are literally handing this info to its enemies by shovel loads. Too much talk,too much bravado.On the other hand, it is meant to re-assure the Israeli public of its military readiness.As for "chemical weapons", all sides in the M.E. conflict understand, that whether one side or both, if they do posses such weapons, will not dare use it in an Israeli involved conflict. It will be crossing a very clear red line with catastrophic human and political results.

Hezbollah's will use its Iranian Fajr-5 missiles to target Tel Aviv and Israel will be agreeing to a quick ceasefire as they did during the last encounter with Hamas to end the ill conceived and over ambitious "Pillar of Defense".

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