Will there be a 3rd Lebanon War? If so, when and how?

By Gideon

Many want us to believe that Hezbollah learned its lesson in the 2nd Lebanon war, that after 5 years of war in Syria it is a weaker organization and that it is not looking for trouble. Others paint a dooms day scenario where Israel is defenseless against massive rocket attacks from Lebanon. I believe that both scenarios are not realistic interpenetration of  the situation.

I believe that lack of hostile activity along Israel’s northern border is a smoke screen, and that the chances for another eruption along the border are higher than what most media analysts are projecting.

The Middle East is a pressure cooker ready to erupt at any moment.

Last month was the 10th anniversary of the beginning of 2nd Lebanon War. The majority opinion as reflected in Israeli and International media, is that Hezbollah is not interested in another war.  

I believe that a significant portion of the 150 Billion dollars that the US is giving to Iran will be used to rebuild Hezbollah and its military arsenal, and that at the first opportune time, Hezbollah will turn its attention to Israel.  It looks to me that the seemingly peaceful border is a just part of an over all deception strategy intended to catch Israel by surprise. (We all remember the Yom Kippur war of 1973 and how it started). 

It may take a year, two years, or three years, but eventually the civil war in Syria will come to an end. The large Hezbollah force, now engaged in the Syrian civil war, will be looking for a new conflict to promote itself and the Iranian agenda. There’s nothing more uniting for Islamist extremists than to attack Israel. I doubt that Hezbollah could curb its appetite to put to test all the military experience it gained in Syria.

Hezbollah is talking about invading and capturing northern Israel. I believe that the terrorist organization will attempt to do that sooner rather than later.  

The strategy is known: It is the same strategy that Hamas is trying to deploy in Southern Israel. Launching a massive amount of rockets simultaneously on as many civilian targets as possible in order to create a chaos, and then use the confusion, panic, and destruction to invade northern Israel. There will be no warning shots, no gradual escalation. It will follow the same pattern of the Yom Kippur war: Massive surprise bombardment by Hezbollah, very likely joined by rocket launches by Hamas from Gaza, and suicide terrorists attacks inside Israel, launched from the west bank.   

Hezbollah poses a far greater threat to Israel than it did 10 years ago. The challenges posed by Islamist militant movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip are almost trivial by comparison, Israeli senior commanders say. Israeli military leaders say Hezbollah has spent the past decade transforming hundreds of villages in southern Lebanon into covert fire bases with hidden launch pads, many rigged to operate by remote. Earlier this year, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot called Hezbollah Israel’s “main enemy” now that Iran’s nuclear ambitions may have been delayed by a decade or more.

Ten years ago, Hezbollah fired 4,000 short-range, relatively crude rockets at Israel, about 100 a day, killing some 50 Israeli civilians. Today, the group has 100,000 rockets, including thousands of more accurate mid-range weapons with larger warheads capable of striking anywhere in Israel, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, according to Israeli army commanders and military analysts in Israel and Lebanon.

The Israeli army is not sitting idle either:

From time to time we hear reports that  Israeli airplanes attack strategic Hezbollah targets in northern Lebanon and Syria. Israel never confirms  these reports. However, military analysts insist that Israel attacks ammunition depots and supply convoys (most likely long range missiles shipped from Iran through Syria to Lebanon). It is also reported that Israel has learned its lessons from the 2nd Lebanon war and that it has a basket full of surprises of its own.

It’s unlikely that Israel will allow Hezbollah to dictate where and how the war will be conducted. It will seize the initiative very quickly, punishing the attackers very hard and very quick to minimize civilian casualties within Israel.

For most parts, Israel is not saying what it will do offensively, but it is broadcasting  non-stop what it is doing defensively: Every successful anti-missile test conducted by Israel in the past few years was widely reported in the news, as well as air defense joint exercises between Israel and the US.  It is a signal to Hezbollah that the Israeli sky is not as vulnerable as it was ten years ago. 

There is one offensive clue, however, which is not hidden, and although Israel is not commenting on it, perhaps it is intended to be used as a deterrent: Every few years, a terrorist leader in the Hezbollah organization is targeted and killed. No one takes responsibility, but no one is fooled by the lack of information. The message is clear: If you are a Hezbollah Leader with blood on your hands, the moment the war  breaks, we are coming after you first.

This is not the place to speculate what Israel will do exactly and how, but Israel is known for its superb intelligence gathering capabilities, so it is fair to assume that many of what the Hezbollah leadership believes to be its top secrets, are probably known to Israeli generals. Secrets such as the hiding places of the top Hezbollah leaders, ammunition depot, war plans, etc. are probably already marked in the Israeli targets book.

If Hezbollah is preparing for another Yom Kippur war, Israel is planning for another Six Day War; a swift victory that will replace the existing paradigm with a new one.

I believe that the next war will be short, decisive, and will change the political landscape in Lebanon and the region for many years to come. When the war is over, Iran will be left with no stronghold in Lebanon and Syria. Israel will become even more dominant force in the region with greater influence.






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