This is one of those posts which is more, for my reference, rather than any reader. I suspect, when the next Lebanon-Israeli war happens, these reported circumstances will play a much larger role in shaping the nature of the conflict as well as the acceptance of any resolution after hostilities has ceased.
In the aftermath of the Lebanon-Israel war of 2006, I started to refer to Hezbollah as the Iranian Foreign Legion. At the time, I did not fully realize that Hezbollah’s new position would not be confined strictly within the borders of Lebanon. NY Times
TEL AVIV — Viewed from the air, Muhaybib looks like a typical southern Lebanese village — a cluster of about 90 houses and buildings punctuated by the minaret of a mosque and surrounded by fields. But when the Israeli military trains its lens on that hilltop Shiite village close to the border, it sees nine arms depots, five rocket-launching sites, four infantry positions, signs of three underground tunnels, three antitank positions and, in the very center of the village, a Hezbollah command post.
As Israel prepares for what it sees as an almost inevitable next battle withHezbollah, the Shiite Lebanese organization that fought a monthlong war against Israel in 2006, Israeli military officials and experts are warning that the group has done more than significantly build up its firepower since then. Without knowing when the next war will break out, or what might precipitate it, the Israelis are blunt about the implications: They will not hesitate to strike at those targets, so southern Lebanon will most likely be the scene of widespread destruction.
Effectively, the Israelis are warning that in the event of another conflict with Hezbollah, many Lebanese civilians will probably be killed, and that it should not be considered Israel’s fault.“The civilians are living in a military compound,” a senior Israeli military official said at military headquarters in Tel Aviv, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing delicate intelligence matters.“We will hit Hezbollah hard, while making every effort to limit civilian casualties as much as we can,” the official said, but “we do not intend to stand by helplessly in the face of rocket attacks.”The Israeli military says that a few miles northwest of Muhaybib, in the larger village of Shaqra, with a population of about 4,000, it has identified about 400 military sites and facilities belonging to Hezbollah, which Israel says has been armed by Iran and Syria. Zooming out over a wider section of southern Lebanon, the Israeli military says the number of potential targets for Israel in and around villages runs into the thousands.Israeli military officials said they were publicizing the Hezbollah buildup to put the problem on the international agenda in case there is another conflict — and to possibly decrease the chances of one breaking out.The Israeli claims could not be independently verified.
Unlike the NY Times, I do not doubt the Israeli military claims. It should be a relatively easy thing to verify the Israeli military claims. What I find hard to believe is that the NY Times could not come up with Lebanese stringer on the ground that could collaborate or deny the Israeli military claims…. Or how about contacting the UNIFIL Command, passing along the information and asking for them to confirm, deny or just comment?
After all, since an integral part of UNIFIL’s mandate of UN Resolution 1701 is to ensure that Hezbollah does not continue to militarize any area south of the Litany River…it looks like job one is an utter and complete failure, and if so, the UN and the world needs to know that.But then again, I am not a journalist for the NY Times.
In other news, the Jerusalem Post reports; Lebanon turns to UNIFIL to end air, sea and land border violations…gee, I wonder why?