Yaakov Katz, THE JERUSALEM POST Dec. 3, 2006
Long-range missiles, as well as truckloads of advanced anti-tank missiles
originating in Iran and Syria, have been smuggled to Hizbullah in Lebanon
during the past four months since the war ended this summer, The Jerusalem
Post has learned.
The IDF destroyed most of Hizbullah's long-range missile array during the
month-long war, including the Iranian-made Fajr and Zelzal. But according to
new intelligence obtained by the defense establishment, in the four months
since the war,
Hizbullah has received weapon convoys carrying short-range missiles,
anti-tank missiles and long-range missiles. Most of the
weapon convoys crossed into Lebanon from Syria at night.
With the increasing possibility that Hizbullah protests, launched in Beirut
on Friday, would topple the US-backed government of Lebanese Prime Minister
Fuad Saniora, the Israeli defense establishment had decided not to take any
chances and on Sunday raised the level of alert in the North. Israel is
concerned that the Lebanese instability will ignite the situation along
Israel's northern border.
Hizbullah, Military Intelligence believes, might use the Lebanese political
instability as an excuse to launch attacks against Israel - not necessarily
by renewing Katyusha rocket attacks like the ones used during the 34-day war
this past summer, in which 4,000 rockets were fired at Israel, but by firing
anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli aircraft flying over Lebanon to collect
Hizbullah "nature reserves" - camouflaged underground systems of tunnels and
bunkers used as hideouts for guerrillas - are still operating in southern
Lebanon despite the beefed up presence of UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed
Forces (LAF) south of the Litani River. These areas are designated as
"closed military zones" for UNIFIL and the LAF and are used as training
centers for Hizbullah as well as storehouses for their weapons and rocket
While UNIFIL and the LAF presence in southern Lebanon has forced Hizbullah
to conceal its weapons, MI does not believe that the multinational force is
not an "obstacle" for the guerrilla Shi'ite group. If Saniora's government
falls, MI does not foresee UNIFIL being automatically expelled from Lebanon,
but rather the sponsor countries, including Italy and France, having to
decide whether they will pull their troops out or not.
Hizbullah, MI has learned, has been using the post-war period to
rehabilitate its armed wing. MI believes that "sooner or later" Hizbullah
will resume military operations against Israel in the form of mortar and
rocket attacks on northern Israeli communities as well as kidnapping
attempts along the border.
MI believes that if Israel "engaged" Syria and offered a renewal of dialogue
between the two countries, President Bashar Assad would accept the offer
without any preconditions. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has ruled out the
possibility of talks with Syria, which he has called the "single most
aggressive member of the axis of evil."
While there existed a chance for war with Syria - the Syrian military has
been at readiness since the war in Lebanon - MI does not believe Assad will
initiate a conflict with Israel despite remarks he recently made regarding
the option of military action as a means to redeem the Golan Heights.
MI's assessment does, however, cite an "escalation" in tension between the
countries due to Syria's support of Hizbullah, including the supply of
weapons to the guerrilla group as well as the strategic alliance Damascus
has forged with Iran.
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