Following the publication of “Israel’s” “State Comptroller” report on the 2014 Gaza war, the “Israeli” media exploded with talk about Lebanon in order to “immune” the morale of the public and send enticing messages against the [Lebanese] President General Michel Aoun as well as the Lebanese army.
It was a “Lebanese Day” par excellence in the Hebrew-language media. There was a “throng” of reports and analysis about the coming war and its potential achievements as well as analysis on the condition of Hezbollah and its “moral crisis”. Meanwhile, “resentment” against the stance of the Lebanese army and the President of the Republic General Michel Aoun towards “Israel” and the likelihood of its aggression – pointing out that they are enemies of “Israel” and will confront it alongside the resistance should it [“Israel”] wage a war against Lebanon- took over.
During the long “Lebanese Day”, “Israelis” returned to their warnings of Hezbollah’s military capabilities, its tunnels at the border, the potential infiltration of its fighters toward “Israeli” sites and settlements, with the involvement of North Korean expertise, equipment, and troops in assisting Hezbollah dig the tunnels. This was confronted with a display of “Israel’s” military capabilities. “Israeli” army sources asserted that they would decide the outcome of the battle if it broke out on land by facilitating the entry of military brigades into Lebanon to accomplish the task quickly.
Thus, these are wholesale “Israeli” messages to the Lebanese side – state, army and resistance. But they are also, mainly, internal reassurance messages to the “Israelis”, re-emphasizing the “might” of the enemy and its army’s abilities after the “setback-scandal” following the publication of the State Comptroller report on the causes of the failures during the 2014 Gaza war. This proved the weakness of the army, the military commanders, politicians, plans and strategies, and more specifically, the weakness of its intelligence on the capabilities of the resistance and its level of preparedness.
The State Comptroller report had a negative effect on the view of Hamas and the resistance factions in the Gaza Strip regarding “Israel’s” capabilities, intelligence, poor political decisions and their military implementation. Yet the greatest threat, by far, is Hezbollah’s view of the report and the possibility of Hezbollah using it as a foundation. As Yedioth Ahronoth [Ynetnews] indicated yesterday, “what the State Comptroller report showed concerning the inability to develop a strategy in confronting Gaza, [holds] a broader range and more inclusive danger, which are Hezbollah’s military threats -no discussion or debate needed on this point. But “Israel” wants to show [the Secretary General of Hezbollah his Eminence Sayyed Hassan] Nasrallah is in crisis.”
“Israel” wants to claim that the 2014 failure does not necessarily extend to the Lebanese front.
To sum up, the State Comptroller report revealed the failures of “Israel” and its army and intelligence. But the “Israeli” reaction centered on the northern border and an attempt to prevent Hezbollah using this failure as a foundations and building on it. This is the goal of the long “Lebanese Day”.
Aoun is “Israel’s” Enemy
President Michel Aoun’s recent statements against “Israel” and his emphasis on his previous positions toward the resistance and the need to confront the aggression should “Israel” risk and initiate it shocked Tel Aviv. The “Israelis”, as others inside and outside of Lebanon, bet that Aoun would change his stances, at the very least, soften his tone in line with his new position as president. “Israel”, as others, made bad calculations.
Reports not only attacked Aoun’s stances but also attacked him personally in accordance with the size of the shock. The shock was expressed by senior military officials in “Israel”. A senior military source [a Jewish radio station] “discovered” that the Lebanese President is collaborating with Hezbollah, and that he expressed his support for it, pointing out that Aoun’s Lebanese army will fight alongside Hezbollah, as an important “Israeli” enemy in the event of another war with “Israel” on the northern front. Other high-level security sources warned in an interview with the “Maariv” newspaper that the Lebanese army has grown in recent years and is now capable of conducting combat operations – air, land and sea – including those that enable it to harm the “Israeli” army. They also warned that “the threat posed by the Lebanese army is based on its military growth and the closeness of its high commander, Michel Aoun, to the Hezbollah movement.”
“Gulf Media” in Hebrew
A few days ago, the “Israeli” military allowed examined excerpts from a statement by the Chief of Staff of the “Israeli” army, Gadi Eizenkot, to be broadcast. Eizenkot’s statement is related to his review of the situation along the northern front [Lebanon and Syria]. However, the bulk of his speech was censored. One of the most important of these extracts was related to what he called Hezbollah’s “moral crisis” as well as “financial difficulties”. Due to these two factors, Hezbollah does not aspire to initiate a war against “Israel”. Echoing Eizenkot, the head of the Military Intelligence Division, Hrtse Halevy – who went too far in his estimates employing reports by Hezbollah’s opponents inside and outside Lebanon – said that Hezbollah does not pay its members’ salaries, and that members are leaving the party ranks to migrate, while Hezbollah’s base is resentful of its military intervention in Syria. Also, its troops are suffering from old age, with some as old as 60, because its young members are fleeing and emigrating.
Yesterday, Haaretz re-molded Eizenkot’s and Halevy’s statements into an “analysis report” on Hezbollah’s “crisis”. The report, cloned into Hebrew from Gulf media publications and its fabrication about Hezbollah, came almost without editing: a nearly full translation by the Arab affairs commentator in the newspaper, Zvi Bar’el.
The newspaper “”Israel” Today” published a report yesterday titled “Hezbollah’s Tunnels”. It is an attempt to emphasize that the most important failure in the Gaza Strip in 2014 does not necessarily extend to the Lebanese front. In an interview with Major General Yossi Langotsky, who served as a former adviser to the Chief of Staff on the subject of fighting against tunnels, stressed that “the threat of Hezbollah’s tunnels is a real threat”, revealing that he was summoned twice in the past year to meet Eizenkot, to review that threat.
Langotsky as well as other “Israeli” experts point out that Hezbollah possesses the ability to dig tunnels. That is what the “Israeli” army observed in the 2006 war “as part of a full Hezbollah combat system in southern Lebanon”. He added that “precedents confirm North Korea’s involvement. Yes, Hezbollah receives extensive Iranian support, but also North Korea helped Hezbollah in building military infrastructure which includes tunnels used as caches of military bases and storage sites in southern Lebanon.”
According to Langotsky, “there is a degree of simplicity in digging the tunnels. They are an effective way to ensure the element of surprise on the enemy, and they are able to wreak havoc on our side. Hezbollah is aware that we have not yet come up with complete solutions in the south [Gaza], which lures it to challenge us north with these tunnels.” Langotsky concludes the following result: “The ‘Israeli’ army is taking this seriously. It does not ignore the possibility that Hezbollah might dig, or has dug, tunnels in the north, the same way North Korea has done with its neighbor South Korea.”
War and Decisiveness
The task of the “Israeli” website “Walla” yesterday was to review the “Israeli” strength and confirm “victory and decisiveness” in the coming war against Hezbollah. The new commander of the northern region, Maj. Gen. Joel Strike, announced this victory three days ago along with a bleak picture related to the war and confrontation with Hezbollah. “Walla” quotes Eizenkot as saying that the “Israeli” army will not neglect ground maneuvers in the coming war. “With the start of any battle, if it erupted, we will activate ground maneuvers with the maximum number of troops and in the least possible time. It is necessary to achieve a decisive victory in the battle.” “Walla” adds that the chief of staff was clear in his words: “The ‘Israeli’ army would not only be content with launching aerial attacks in the coming battles, it will not give up ground maneuvers.”
The long “Lebanese Day” as reported yesterday in the Hebrew-language media, focuses on three trends: an “Israeli” effort to reduce the repercussions of the State Comptroller report related to Hezbollah following revelations of failures and the readiness to attack the Gaza Strip, pointing to the differences in the capabilities of the resistance along the two fronts. Secondly it attempts to support and empower deterrence in confronting Hezbollah, after the setback of the report. There is no “Israeli” deterrence without accurate intelligence information. If this information is incomplete, at least concerning Gaza, than the information concerning Lebanon should be accurate. The third trend is an emphasis inside “Israel”. Following the review of the offensive intent and capability, the failure of 2014 does not necessarily mean withdrawal along the Lebanese front. This is a message of reassurance for the “Israelis”.
Source: Al-Akhbar Newspaper, Translated by website team
06-03-2017 | 12:01