Lebanon Rattles Its Saber at Israel

Lebanon's defense minister says Israel will 'suffer another defeat' if it invades southern Lebanon to strike at Hizbullah.

Contact Editor
Gabe Kahn.,

Ghosn and A-Jad
Ghosn and A-Jad
Reuters

Lebanon's Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn on Monday warned Israel against “any foolishness in attacking Lebanon.”

Ghosn, who is currently on an official visit to Tehran, met Sunday with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who told him that Lebanon and Iran "should work toward unity to confront the West and Israel."

During the visit Ghosn, a member of the Hizbullah-allied Marada Movement, also met with his counterpart Gen.Ahmad Vahidi, who made his military career in Iran's covert foreign operations Quds force.

Vahidi is wanted by Interpol for his alleged participation in the bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 18, 1994, in which 85 people died. He is one of five Iranians sought in the bombing.

After their meeting the two Defense Minister's held a press conference, during which Ghosm warned Israel would face “a strong and unified army and resistance [Hizbullah], and suffer another defeat” should it invade southern Lebanon.

Ghosn was referring to the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbullah during which Israel failed to achieve the two declared goals of the military operation: destroying Hizbullah’s military infrastructure and securing the release of two Israeli soldiers who’s kidnapping by Hizbullah triggered the fighting.

Israel withdrew under intense international and US pressure even as its generals said total success was just a matter of time.

Nonetheless – despite what was seen as an operational failure in Israel – observers note that the war was a "huge strategic loss for Hizbullah," and cost the terror organization billions in dollars of damage.

Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah admitted that, had he known the damage his organization would endure, he never would have authorized the kidnapping of the soldiers.

Israel, by comparison, suffered "comparatively little" economic damage, enjoyed an economic growth spurt right after the war, and inflicted asymmetrical casualties on Hizbullah.

Vahidi said “reinforcing the Lebanese Army is in the strategic policies of the Islamic Republic” and that Lebanon’s security was “an important part of stability in the region.”

“Lebanon should have a strong army to defend its interest in the region,” Vahidi said.

Ghosn responded that “Iran and Lebanon have always backed each another and we hope that bilateral interaction increases.”

“Right now there is a complete coordination between army and the resistance,” he said.

Over the weekend, Vahidi said an Israeli attack on Iran would lead to "the collapse of the Jewish state."

Israel and Iran are at dagger points as Tehran pushes ahead with uranium enrichment and other aspects of its nuclear program, which is widely regarded as seeking nuclear weapons.

Tehran has blamed the recent assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists on Israel, which authorities in Tehran have referred to as a "one bomb state."

It also faces the possibility of Israeli airstrikes against its nuclear facilities. Israeli leaders say the military option must "remain on the table."

Military analysts say an Israeli strike on Tehran's nuclear program could result in Iran pushing Hizbullah to use its vast arsenal of rockets against the Jewish state.

Hizbullah denies its actions are dictated by Tehran, but the group is deeply beholden to Iran and would likely find itself with little choice but to spark a new war with Israel.

That has left regional observers – and Lebanese officials – wondering if Israel will launch a pre-emptive strike on Hizbullah even as IAF pilots striking in Iran radioed "bombs away."










top