On the eleventh anniversary of the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, there are indications that a future war may come soon, and be far more devastating.
Speaking on the Hezbollah media channel Al Manar TV, Hashem Safieddine, a senior leader in the Hezbollah political structure, said that Israel would be ‘surprised’ in the next war fought between them. While Safieddine was not specific with his threat, evidence of Hezbollah’s significant military buildup in the 11 years since the last major period of hostility indicates they are well armed with greater and more precise weaponry, able to target Israel deep into its own territory.
Safieddine said Israel’s intelligence on their military capabilities is inaccurate, as the Israeli government and Israel Defense Force (IDF) leadership has made a point to downplay the threat from Hezbollah’s growing missile stockpiles, directly supported by Iran and its Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
While IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot acknowledged that Iranian supported missile factories in Lebanon were a threat to Israel’s security, he has said they are not “particularly accurate at the moment.”
Unfortunately, Hezbollah may not need precision munitions to cause a great deal of damage to the Israeli military and civilian infrastructure in northern Israel. In 2006, Hezbollah reportedly launched nearly 4,000 rockets into Israel—or well over 100 rockets per day—which caused extensive damage to Israeli cities and killed dozens of civilians.
Since then, with the help of an influx of Iranian technology and resources, Hezbollah has increased the size of their missile stockpiles many times over. A report in March of this year indicated that with the help of the IRGC, Hezbollah has constructed underground bunkers and ‘factories’ to assemble missile components received from Iran that are more readily concealable than shipping the missiles whole from abroad.
Why a second shooting war between Israel and Hezbollah has not occurred since 2006 is likely due to a combination of factors. First, Israel was taken off guard at the level of sophistication that Hezbollah fighters operated with in 2006. Second, the Syrian Civil War, of which Hezbollah has been an active participant in for years, has bled the guerrilla force of thousands of fighters as they support the Assad regime. As Assad regains stability in Syria, it is possible Hezbollah will be able to focus more on “domestic” efforts, such as another inevitable war with the Israelis.
Image courtesy of the Israel Defense Forces