Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon

Will Israel Destroy Lebanon in 2008?

The threats have become more insistent of late. Ehud Barak promised five Israeli army divisions in the next round of battle against Hizbullah, while Northern Command chief Gadi Eisenkot unveiled his Dahiya Doctrine, stipulating that any village that fired a single shot at Israel would receive the same treatment meted out on Beirut’s southern suburbs.

“We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases,” he said. “This isn’t a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized.”

Under such a scenario, presumably, the Lebanese Army itself would be targeted for protecting the Resistance, and the Lebanese civilian infrastructure would be completely destroyed to improve “deterrence capabilities” in the aftermath.

What is the likelihood of such an end game? I asked my friend Abbas this question, in the midst of a discussion about what Hizbullah would like to see achieved at the national dialogue sessions early next month. The most highly-anticipated topic is the “national defense strategy”, a code word for the sticky question of how, when, and to what extent the Lebanese government can integrate the resistance into the armed forces. Abbas responded:

“Hizbullah’s only goal has ever been the defense of Lebanese land and national interests. The resistance is not interested in offensive operations. We know our capabilities and we know what our mission is. Why should we create conflicts that we cannot win?”

“What about the 2006 war?”

“What about it?”

“That began with an offensive operation.”

“Yes, but that was in the service of regaining our prisoners. If Israel had cooperated over the years and exchanged the prisoners, there would have been no need for the July war.”

“Ok, but now you see, it’s not just defensive, is it?”

“There are a few issues that we are demanding action upon. One was the prisoners, and now it’s settled. Another is the Lebanese land that is still occupied.”

“So are you saying that there could be more offensive operations in the near future, for the sake of these issues?”

“Of course.”

And so it goes… There are any of several dozen issues that could spark a darker repeat of 2006. With this in mind, what could possibly be done to mitigate against the chances of a conflagration? A withdrawl from Shebaa — which has been discussed quite a bit in recent months — would help. Further progress on the Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations would also go a long way to keeping the peace. But given the trigger-happy atmosphere prevailing in certain circles down south, one has to wonder if some aren’t even considering the possibility of a false flag pretext, in the form of an attack on an Israeli overseas target. Such an operation would serve the interests of many Israeli hawks, but also those of radical jihadi salafists in Lebanon who have had it out for Hizbullah for a long time.

Indeed, Hizbullah has enough enemies in Lebanon, the region, and around the world, as to keep such an eventuality firmly outside the Conspiracy Chronicles series.


10 thoughts on “Will Israel Destroy Lebanon in 2008?

  1. Dear Qifa Nabki,

    I think the Israelis still need “a Green light” from Washington before starting a war in the Middle East.

    There is no shortage of trigger happy Israelis, true, but Washington is in transition these days.

    We will take another look at this issue late November. If Sarah states that Hizbollah are the bad guys… then you should worry.

    Posted by Alex | October 5, 2008, 2:43 pm
  2. Alex,

    Of course, I agree with you. But consider a scenario whereby a top Israeli official is assassinated somewhere in Europe. A general on vacation, that kind of thing. Or a massive bomb attack on an embassy in which dozens of Israelis are killed.

    I think the Washington would give a green light, and no one would ask too many questions about who was responsible. This is what people worry about these days.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 5, 2008, 2:52 pm
  3. I think that you need look no farther than the Lebanese skies. If I were a betting man, I’d say that Israel will continue the overflights into Lebanese airspace. Knowing this, Hezbollah has reportedly been working on beefing up their surface to air missile capabilities. Given how much the Israelis worship fighter pilots, one or two downed Israeli planes will probably be enough to start another war.

    Personally, I think anyone in Lebanon is within their rights to shoot down Israeli planes (although I’d rather it be the army). But I can’t pretend that I don’t know what the result of that would be. It would be such an embarrassment to Israel that they’d never let it slide. And that’s how the next thousand or so Lebanese civilians will get killed.

    Posted by sean | October 5, 2008, 3:35 pm
  4. Qifa Nabki…
    the thing is..hezbollah is learning from Israelis. I think Israelis don’t understand how much Hezbollah looks like them with the Hezb’s determination, organization, and creed. It would be interesting to study that. I don’t like Hezbollah and believe that it is part of the sectarian mosaic that is killing this country. But when I hear such Israeli comments, I really wish that Hezbollah can fuck the IDF properly…they are too arrogant and need a good lesson.

    Posted by nizar | October 5, 2008, 4:50 pm
  5. The problem is, Nizar, that arrogant people rarely learn their lessons dutifully. 🙂

    (This makes for a never-ending cycle of violence.)

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 6, 2008, 2:59 am
  6. قرأت اليوم أن أولمرت كان في زيارة الى روسيا لكي يوقف أي صفقة سلاح مع حزب الله. لا أعتقد أن حزب الله سوف يتمكن من شراء مضاد للطائرات. ان الحرب القادمة سوف تربح اليوم. هل أعطت روسيا صواريخ مضادة للطيران لايران؟ أني فضولي لأعرف هل تمكن حزب الله من شراء هذه الصواريخ. ان حصل هذا فذلك سيكون كسر للوضع العسكري التقليدي وبالتالي سوف نرى حربا اخرى في الجنوب . المضحك أن أولمرت يطلب من بوتين عدم كسر التوازن الاستراتيجي في المنطقة كما قرأت في الاخبار. ان التوازن الاستراتيجي بالنسبة للاسرائيلين هو اختلال التوازن المطلق لصالحهم. وهنا يكمن لب المشكلة، حتى لو قامت دولة وجيش قوي في لبنان فلن يسمح لنا بالدفاع عن أنفسنا، بل علينا دوما أن نكون مكسر عصا لاسرائيل. هنا تكمن مشكلة 14 اذار (مع أنني أؤيد بعض مواقفهم واتفهمها):
    1- ماذا سيقدمون كبديل لحزب الله. هل هم مستعدون بعلاقتهم مع اوروبا وامريكا أن يؤمنوا دفاعا رادعا لاسرائيل دون الحاجة لبيع أنفسنا كما فعلت الاردن أو مصر؟
    2- هل يمكن للجيش اللبناني أن يقف في امتحان ضد الجيش الاسرائيلي؟
    3- لا يمكن الطلب من حزب الله تسليم سلاحه دون تقديم بديل وضمانات واضحة (في حوار تلفزيوني على العلن) علينا أن نفتح ملف المنضومة الدفاعية اللبنانية. من يدافع عن لبنان؟

    في المقابل، حزب الله عليه تقديم تفسيرات للشعب اللبناني، لانه لا يعيش في دولة خاصة في الجنوب. من حق اللبنانين ككل الانظمة الديموقراطية أن يقرروا السلام والحرب كشعب وهنا ينفجر المأزق الطائفي من جديد، ويبدو لبنان العاري ككونفدرالية طوائف لا غير!!
    أردت أن أكتب بالعربية لأنني أعتقد صراحة أن اللبنانين بدأوا ينسون هذه اللغة!!

    Posted by nizar | October 6, 2008, 7:51 am
  7. يا حبيبنا اللبنانيين قد نسوا هذه اللغة العظيمة منذ زمان


    فإذا ما هو الحل؟

    هل من الضروري أن يبقى لبنان في هذه الحالة الى الأبد و أن يتمايل من أنهيار الى “انتصار” و شعبه يعاني و يهاجر؟

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 6, 2008, 8:47 am
  8. Hah, I knew you were going to start (pardon the expression) crusading in/about Arabic, ya Nizo!

    Posted by sean | October 6, 2008, 10:56 am
  9. But when I hear such Israeli comments, I really wish that Hezbollah can fuck the IDF properly…they are too arrogant and need a good lesson.

    Dear Nizar,

    If modern history is any indication, Hezbollah and their supporters would fuck the IDF harder and deeper even if the IDF was weak and timid.

    If Sarah states that Hizbollah are the bad guys… then you should worry.

    Alex –

    I don’t think there was a time in Sarah’s life (other than her childhood maybe) where she DIDN’T believe Hizbollah were “the bad guys”.

    Hard to believe, no?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | October 10, 2008, 12:20 pm
  10. الله يجيرنا من الحروب
    وان شاء الله يعم السلام في االعام كله

    Posted by adam | January 5, 2010, 11:44 pm

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