Hezbollah Vs. Israel: Both Sides Say Next War Will Be Different
By Kade HawkinsMarch 15, 2016
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Most Middle East experts agree that it is not a matter of if, but when Israel and Hezbollah engage in their next conflict. However, the warnings coming from both sides is ramping up expectations that the next conflict may be the largest battle yet between the two foes.
Currently Hezbollah is bogged down in the Syrian civil war as it assists Bashar al-Assad to stay in power while coordinating its efforts with Iran and Russia. Israeli experts estimate the terrorist group has lost between 1,300 to 1,500 soldiers while fighting against rebels and the Islamic State but in return they have gained valuable offensive fighting experience and are now battle hardened.
It is estimated Hezbollah has around 5,000 personnel serving in Syria at any one time. Hezbollah's total estimated fighting strength is around 35,000 fighters which leaves them stretched too thin to mount a significant ground challenge to Israel but this has not stopped it's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, from boasting last week that the next conflict will be fought from inside Israel.
Hezbollah could send dozens or perhaps even hundreds of terrorists into Israels Galilee region for the purpose of seizing territory to make a powerful political statement about it's capabilities. Hamas has received most of the attention of late for it's underground tunnel system due to some collapsing and killing several members.
However, Hezbollah has capabilities to dig tunnels in the north as well and may employ this strategy rather than trying to cross over the border directly.
It is presumed that any ground assault would be coordinated with the launching of thousands of missiles that is has been stockpiling, some estimates put these at over 100,000. The massive missile barrage would be sent in large volumes to try to overwhelm Israel's Iron Dome defense system.
Hezbollah would likely attempt to sustain fire of around a thousand rockets and missiles per day, dwarfing the daily rate of 118 achieved in 2006. In the past these rockets and missiles were also based on old technology that allowed very little targeting capability.
That has now changed and significant upgrades, mainly from Iran, mean Hezbollah can not only better target but reach much farther than ever before.
An Iranian general has even boasted that Iran has supplied Hezbollah with missiles capable of reaching the nuclear reactor in Dimona. Iran has long used Hezbollah as it's proxy in the stealth conflict between the nations. Israel is believed to have sabotaged Iran's nuclear program in the past with the Stuxnet virus as well as assassinated several scientists working on the nuclear program.
Iran is suspected to have been behind Hezbollahs 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in the Argentine capital that killed 85 people and injured more than 300 others, and is also suspected in the 1992 bombing that destroyed Israels embassy in Argentina.
Iran's latest threat to Israel came last week when it test-launched two ballistic missiles emblazoned with the phrase "Israel must be wiped out".
The growing Hezbollah threat has prompted Israel to make "dramatic changes" to its border-defense plans, including moving tremendous amounts of dirt and constructing other barriers that would make a border attack more difficult.
However, Israel's greatest deterrent has been to use the threat of overwhelming force, not only on Hezbollah but Lebanon itself. It is no secret that Hezbollah pulls most of the strings in the Lebanese government and that Hezbollah has total control of southern Lebanon (the area is dubbed "Hezbolland"), where nothing happens without the Shiite organizations approval.
Many in the Israeli political and military leadership were criticized for the way they handled the previous war, which meant holding back Israel's full force due to political considerations. Many analysts say next time will be different and that is just what many Israeli officers have been threatening should Hezbollah attack.
"The IDF could put Lebanon back 300 years and in parallel conquer the Gaza Strip and destroy all of its infrastructure" one IDF officer told Saudi journalist Majdi Halbi of the Elaph news site.
Another officer commented on Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's threat to target the ammonia plant in Haifa, the officer said Israel was prepared for such an attack and was aware that its strategic infrastructure could be cut off during a confrontation with the militant Shi'ite organization. "The organization and its leader know very well what Israel's reaction will be, so it will not set out on such an adventure," he said.
It was also revealed Israel has sent messages to Hezbollah, via a third party country, warning it to think twice before attacking Israel and that it would regret the action.
In the event that Hezbollah tries to surprise the IDF by occupying part of Israel near the border, the military will retake control of the area within a few hours, one officer commented.
"Operationally, this is not a difficult story to deal with."
Within hours, the IDF can mobilize brigades to staging areas and begin sending them into Lebanon.
"There is no problem with massing the forces and heading out on a speedy ground maneuver. We can do this very quickly," he said. "The damage would be enormous in Lebanon. Wars cannot be waged in a 'clean' manner anymore. Hezbollah is operating from the midst of civilians. Wherever armored and infantry units pass through, there will be noncombatant deaths, as well", he added.
"There will be many dead. Hezbollah understands this," the officer said.
"There is no challenge in Lebanon that the IDF cannot overcome. There is no village in Lebanon in which the IDF can't overwhelm Hezbollah".
However, only a full-scale Israeli war effort would result in the defeat of Hezbollah, he added
Such a conflict would have ramifications for the entire Middle East and could reshape the region.
Learn more about the potential conflict scenarios and their relationship to Bible Prophecy from two leading prophecy experts here and here.