Tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border have been mounting as Hezbollah continues to arm and prepare for another war with Israel. Iran has supplied Hezbollah with tens of thousands of missiles and other weapons.
Citing the Israeli military buildup along the border through construction of concrete bunkers, trenches, and electrified fences, a Hezbollah official said that the Israelis are now on a defensive footing, as a response to their own increasing militarization.
“For the first time in this enemy’s history, it is switching from an offensive to a defensive doctrine,” said one Hezbollah representative.
The last major engagement between the two was during the largely inconclusive 2006 Lebanon War. The Israeli military found itself confronted with a technologically advanced and tactically proficient enemy, a significant departure from their past. Hezbollah fighters were also adept urban fighters, frustrating the Israeli army. A U.N. brokered ceasefire ended that war, and created a ‘buffer’ space. Israel says that zone is routinely violated by Hezbollah incursions.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have invested in the lessons learned from the 2006 war, not wanting to be caught off guard again. However, so has Hezbollah. Since the end of that war, Iran has dramatically increased its level of support and activity in southern Lebanon. The deputy commander for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Brigadier General Hossein Salami said that “more than 100,000 missiles are ready to fly from Lebanon,” and that “Today, the grounds for the annihilation and collapse of the Zionist regime are [present] more than ever.”
Recent reports have described Iran as constructing underground weapons facilities in Lebanon to better facilitate weapons production and conceal Iran’s involvement.
Israel has constructed a new missile defense system developed with the United States designed to intercept the medium range missiles Hezbollah has been proliferating. Compared to the 2006 war, Hezbollah has thousands more rockets that can reach further into Israel than ever before.
Image courtesy of Middle East Monitor