A new Hizbullah country seems to be developing in place of the sovereign nation of Lebanon, and its population is preparing for another war with Israel.
Hizbullah may be feeling particularly bold due to the impending arrival of its prime patron, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is set to arrive October 13 on his first state visit to the country since entering office in 2005.
A significant faction of Hizbullah-linked legislators plays a major role in the country’s parliament, with several ministers included in the cabinet as well. More to the point, Iran’s role in the Beirut government and the country’s infrastructure, through its links with Hizbullah, should not be underestimated.
Iranian money has financed reconstruction projects in Lebanon, including a set of multi-million dollar apartment complexes in a Beirut Hizbullah stronghold that was reduced to rubble during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. A network of new roads honeycombing southern Lebanon and connecting Hizbullah-linked border villages with interior communities was also designed and paid for by Iran.
And although the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Lebanese Army were intended to enforce a demilitarized zone between Israel’s northern border and the Litani River, ensuring Hizbullah disarmed, they did not. In fact, Hizbullah and the Lebanese Army have essentially merged into one seamless unit, with the Lebanese government asserting its support for Hizbullah’s right to bear arms, and the terrorist group asserting its right to “defend” Lebanon. Together the two combined intelligence efforts, leading to the arrest by Lebanese officials of more than 100 Lebanese citizens over the past two years accused of spying for Israel.
Now the Iranian president is coming to see the results of his investment – and his protégés are eager to please him.
Ahmadinejad will tour several major Hizbullah installations, and will meet with the terrorist group’s chief, Hassan Nasrallah, as well as with all of Lebanon’s top officials, including the president, prime minister and parliamentary speaker.
The Iranian leader has also vowed to visit Lebanon’s border with Israel and hurl rocks at IDF soldiers from across the security fence, as a gesture of defiance towards the Jewish State.
Israel has asked Britain, France and the United Nations to intervene and prevent the provocation; in fact, it has requested that Lebanon cancel the visit altogether in order to prevent any possible outbreak of hostilities.
Hizbullah Honeycombs the South
The terrorist organization has infiltrated most, if not all, of the towns and villages in the southern region of the country, building a comprehensive, integrated network of weapons facilities and other military infrastructure.
Hizbullah has been digging tunnels, preparing communications infrastructure and making other preparations for war since the end of the previous conflict, according to an officer in the IDF Northern Command.
The group is placing its military positions, weapons and explosive charges next to schools and hospitals in order to maximize civilian casualties in any future conflict with Israel, thus creating a public relations nightmare for the Jewish State.
For years, Hizbullah has stockpiled mortars, missiles and other arms in the buildings of quiet villages nestled in the hills of southern Lebanon. The IDF is aware of the strategy and has marked the targets in anticipation of any future conflict.
NATO submarines spent months watching the Syrian coastline as ships smuggled weapons to the terrorist entity, including dozens of military vehicles and the high-powered Scud missiles, which can easily strike Tel Aviv from Beirut. Satellite images of one Hizbullah complex, located near the Syrian town of Adra, northwest of Damascus, allegedly revealed shelters, weapons and a fleet of trucks presumably ready to be used to transfer the ordnance.
Although Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah claims his missile arsenal numbers at 40,000 – a figure Israel does not dispute – other intelligence officials estimate there may be more, possibly between three or four times the 20,000 missiles the group possessed prior to the start of the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
At least one Hizbullah supporter in the town of Aita al Sha’ab – from which the Second Lebanon War was launched – told a reporter from The New York Times this week that he was “expecting the war this summer. It’s late.”