In Rare Op-ed, IDF Spokesman Warns Lebanon Of Possible War
In a highly unusual move, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis wrote an article for a Lebanese opposition website in which he warned that a war with Israel could break out if Iran or its Hizbullah underling develop precision missiles. “Lebanon has become both by its own actions and omissions and by a blind eye from many members of the international community one large missile factory,” Manelis reportedly wrote on the Ahewar site. “It’s no longer a transfer of arms, funds or consultation,” he continued, “Iran has de-facto opened a new branch, the ‘Lebanon branch.’ Iran is here.” Israel and Hizbullah—an Iranian proxy which dominates Lebanon politically and militarily—fought a month-long war in 2006. While UN Security Council Resolution 1701—which set the conflict-ending terms—called for Hizbullah’s disarmament, the IDF estimates that the terror group has amassed more than 100,000 rockets and missiles, some of which can reach central Israel. In addition to this massive arsenal, Hizbullah has some 30,000 fighters at its disposal, many of whom are battle-tested due their past or current involvement in the wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The terror group reportedly also has established an intricate subterranean tunnel system—not unlike Hamas in the Gaza Strip—parts of which stretch into Israeli territory. About 200 villages in southern Lebanon have been turned into “military strongholds,” according to Manelis, who added that Israel “know[s] how to attack them accurately if required.” In September, the IDF carried out its largest military exercise on the northern border in two decades, summoning tens of thousands of soldiers for a simulation of the outbreak of war with Hizbullah.