Ronen Manelis, a General in the Israeli military has made an extraordinary threat to assassinate the leader of the Lebanese party Hezbollah, Sayeed Hassan Nasrallah. Such a threat clearly violates international legal precedent and the letter of the United Nations Charter. Israel has frequently threatened and even attempted to assassinate Nasrallsh which is one of the reasons why he makes increasingly few public appearances.
Israel is known to make extraordinarily violent threats against foreign political leaders, including heads of state. In respect of Lebanon the Tel Aviv regime has a record of particular violence. Israel first invaded Lebanon in 1978 with a far larger invasion and occupation occurring in 1982. Israeli regime forces continued to illegally occupy parts of Lebanon until 2006 when an attempt to re-establish control over the country, resulted in Israeli occupiers being expelled after a war in which Hezbollah did the majority of the fighting for the Lebanese side.
Today, while Lebanon is not under Israeli occupation, many fear a new illegal Israeli invasion with many suspecting that Tel Aviv is collaborating with the Saudi regime to conduct such efforts.
These rumours will clearly continue after General Manelis said the following,
“There won’t be a clear victory picture in the next war, though it’s clear that Nasrallah is a target. It is clear that if he dies, it will influence the [military] campaign”.
He continued with an ominous statement seemingly promising war in the near future,
“However the next war will look different” given the Israeli military’s capabilities, he said, claiming that though the future confrontation is “difficult in Israel – in Lebanon it will be much worse”.
Lebanon’s military has for weeks, been on high alert due to suspicious Israeli troop movements near southern Lebanon. Israel also continually violates Lebanon’s airspace, in a clearly provocative measure intended to increase regional tensions.
While many believe that a new Israeli invasion is imminent, however unjustified, because of the greater strength of Hezbollah today, when contrasted with its strength in 2006 when it still managed to beat a seemingly more powerful Israel, many believe that Israel is bluffing in an attempt to provoke Lebanon to strike first.
Sayeed Hassan Nasrallsh himself has previously stated that Israel might think twice before starting what would almost certainly be a protracted and deadly with with Lebanon.
As I previously wrote in The Duran:
“During his recent visit to Moscow, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil warned Israel that if it seeks to start another war with Lebanon, the Israeli invaders will not be successful. Bassil also praised the role of Hezbollah in helping to fight terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq, while also praising Hezbollah’s role as a defender of Lebanese sovereignty.
With Israel and Saudi Arabia acting as de-facto allies even more brazenly than in the past, many Lebanese fear that Israel will invade Lebanon yet again, in-line with Saudi statements that Hezbollah is a threat to regional security. Hezbollah and its international partner Iran have slammed Saudi statements as “lies”. Objectively, Hezbollah does not threaten anything except the ability of Israel to easily occupy Lebanon and the ability of Takfiri terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda to gain footholds in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s cooperation with the Syrian Arab Army and Iraqi Armed Forces is fully legal as Baghdad and Damascus have welcomed Hezbollah’s assistance in the war again terrorism. Indeed, Hezbollah fighters often fight side-by-side with Syrian Arab Army soldiers and Iraqi soldiers.
Saudi Arabia has further accused Iran of supplying Yemen’s Houthis with long range missiles via Hezbollah. This accusation is absurd due to the logistical impossibility of such things at the present time.
Yemen remains under a Saudi naval blockade and any Iranian ships attempting to supply Houthis would be instantly visible to all international parties. Furthermore, as Hezbollah has neither an airforce nor navy, the idea that Iran could somehow supply Yemen via Hezbollah is not only fiction but very poor fiction.
Hezbollah’s fighters serve as a kind of national guard which supplements the Lebanese Armed Forces. Members of the primarily Christian Free Patriotic Movement of President Aoun have often acknowledged this reality. Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon is more than simply supplemental in respect of protecting Lebanon, it is now considered a vital part of Lebanon’s ability to defend itself against foreign aggression and terrorism.
Any Israeli led invasion of southern Lebanon would of course but not only a supreme violation of international law, but it could backfire catastrophically for Tel Aviv.
During a recent speech, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stated that Israel is reticent to get into protracted fights, preferring to opt for either airstrikes or rapid blitzkrieg style battles. The minute Israel gets bogged down in a battle, they have effectively lost, according to the Hezbollah leader. This is indeed what happened in 2006, when Israel last invaded Lebanon and Hezbollah forced the invaders to retreat.
11 years later, Hezbollah is far more powerful militarily and more popular politically than in 2017. If Israel does invade, it may be making the gravest mistake of its military history, while also showing the world that Israel is willing to be a foot soldier in a dispute that is Saudi in origin”.
So long as Saudi Arabia and Israel continue to look for new fronts in a proxy-war designed to intimidate Iran, Lebanon will need to remain on high alert, even if the latest outrageous claims are a sinister bluff. The threat against a foreign political leader, is symptomatic of an Israeli regime that is both violent but also desperate.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.