Even as Israel continues to deal with the coronavirus crisis, her military is preparing for war on the northern border. The Times of Israel’s Bassem Mroue and Josef Federman report that, 20 years after it withdrew from Lebanon, the IDF is readying for potential conflict with Hezbollah:
Tags: Bassem Mroue Hezbollah IDF Israel Josef Federman Lebanon Terrorism Times of Israel
Twenty years after Hezbollah pushed Israel’s last troops from southern Lebanon, both sides are gearing up for a possible war that neither seems to want.
Israeli troops are striking Hezbollah targets in neighboring Syria and drilling for what could be an invasion of Lebanon. Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese terror group, is beefing up its own forces and threatening to invade Israel. The bitter enemies routinely exchange warnings and threats.
“We are preparing seriously for the next war. We’re not taking any shortcuts because we understand we have to be extremely strong to defeat the enemy,” said Col. Israel Friedler, an Israeli commander who has been overseeing a weeks-long exercise simulating war with Hezbollah at a base in northern Israel.
Hezbollah emerged as a ragtag group in the 1980s, funded by Iran to battle Israeli troops occupying southern Lebanon. A protracted guerrilla war, characterized by roadside bombs and sniper attacks, eventually forced Israel to withdraw in May 2000. With the exception of an inconclusive, monthlong war in 2006, the volatile frontier has largely remained calm.
Since then, Hezbollah has evolved into the most powerful military and political entity in Lebanon. The party and its allies dominate Lebanon’s parliament and are the main power behind Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government.
“Domestically, Hezbollah has emerged to become the preponderant force in Lebanon,” said Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University in Beirut….