Tuesday, March 11, 2008

War drums beat harder on Lebanon Israel border

Tuesday, 11 March, 2008 @ 5:53 PM-Beirut

Hezbollah is all set for a new confrontation with the Jewish state, a senior defense official told Israel's Ynet News, adding that the Shiite group has completed its military and logistics preparations for war.

Hezbollah's preparations, according to Ynet News, reinforce the intelligence estimate that a confrontation in northern Israel is "closer than a wide-scale" conflict in the Gaza Strip. "This may be one of the reasons why the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is not rushing into a comprehensive operation in Gaza," Ynet News said.

It said senior defense officials, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, admitted several months ago that in terms of Hezbollah's rocket arsenal, the group has "closed the gaps" created after the 2006 summer war.

The annual intelligence review presented to Israeli cabinet ministers Sunday by officials from the Shin Bet internal security service, Military Intelligence and the Mossad, said the likelihood for a broad military operation against Hamas in 2008 was slim, according to Ynet News.
It said, however, the possibility that Hezbollah might "resume its violent acts against Israel" is higher than the prospect of an escalation on other fronts.

"An escalation on one front may lead to a similar situation on additional fronts," Ynet News said on its website.
It said Hezbollah fighters are closely monitoring movements by the Israeli army along the border with Lebanon.
It said Hezbollah's plans "focus both on the activity in southern Lebanon and in the Bekaa Valley."
"Another estimate is that Hezbollah has decided to carry out a terror attack" in response to the assassination of the party's top commander Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus Feb. 12, Ynet News wrote.

"Although there is no evidence that Israel was involved in the killing, the organization (Hezbollah) will seek to respond at the first opportunity it gets," Ynet News said.
"These estimates illustrate the risk in an escalation on the northern front this year, as expressed in the intelligence briefing presented to the cabinet," it added.
It said Israeli troops were "preparing for such a possibility," undergoing excessive exercises both among soldiers in compulsory service and among reserve forces.


According to intelligence reports Syria intends to focus on Hamas during the upcoming summit in Damascus and Lebanon will be left off the agenda. Syria's plan calls for igniting the Gaza front to unite the Arab leaders (who were reluctant to show up at the summit) behind a dramatic Arab resolution in support of the Palestinian Islamists. This tactic would transfer the Gaza issue' s center of gravity from Cairo, which is brokering a Hamas-Israel ceasefire deal, to the radical regime in Damascus and will at the same time overshadow the Lebanese crises.

The presence of the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will be seated next to Bashar al Assad as a guest of honor will add fuel to the fire in Gaza and Lebanon according to the intelligence reports .
The plan also calls for Hezbollah to step in and support Hamas by attacking Israel on the Lebanese Syrian borders.

According to the intelligence reports the coming two weeks will witness more military build ups by Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas in preparation for the flare up in Gaza on or around March 29. (Yalibnan)

Read also "Hizbollah buys frontier land to attack Israel" (The Daily Telegraph)


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