Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said on Monday that an IDF exercise scheduled to take place at the end of the month could be a sign that Israel is preparing for another war, and added that his organization would be on high alert during the exercise.
Speaking at an event marking Nakba Day, Nasrallah said, "The large military exercise the Zionist enemy is planning is a very important and sensitive matter that calls for some explanations. What is this exercise? What are the Israelis doing now? What is the meaning of this?"
According to Nasrallah, "All options are open. We have no information on it, but this possibility should exist. So what should we do? We have no information, but according to our analysis, we don't believe the Zionist enemy will start a war.
"We must be vigilant and cautious. Since the end of the July 2006 war we have been following the exercises in Israel…Naturally, we plan to take a line of preventive steps during the days of the drill. We will be ready and vigilant and on high alert. We do not mean to worry people, but to calm them."
It seems Nasrallah's comments on the Israeli exercise come as an attempt to increase his political power ahead of elections. The Hizbullah leader is trying to signal to the Lebanese public that Israel continues to pose a threat on Lebanon with the major military drill that he believes "could develop into a surprise war".
In his speech, Nasrallah once again boasted about Hizbullah's "victory" over Israel during the Second Lebanon War: "We wills tart at the beginning: Since the end of the July 2006 war, there was unanimous agreement among the Israel enemy that the war on Lebanon was a complete failure.
"There were those that called it a defeat, but there was unanimous agreement that Israel failed in achieving its goals. After the war ended they set up the Winograd Commission that tried to uncover their loopholes, and the military and the war (defense) ministry set up 40 sub-commissions to investigate the war. The Winograd Commission and the 40 sub-commissions' recommendations showed that there were loopholes that have to be closed."
"They began forming a plan to rehabilitate the army, being armed with weapons and new technology, and a line major and important of drills and exercises. They carried out large-scale drills since the war…and even today the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said there were drills on a national level and that sirens will be heard."
Nasrallah said the upcoming drill had a number of goals, starting with the "physiological and morale aspect aimed at restoring confidence in the military and government. The second possibility is that Israel feels an existential threat and plans to do everything in its power to maintain its security.
"The exercise's third goal is deterrence. Israel is planning to send a message to the region and the world that it is not weak or hesitant, and that Israel is strong and has the ability to face anyone, and that it can stand a war for its existence... Israel is armed not only with regular weapons, but with nuclear weapons. Israel is ready for war."
"The fourth possible goal of this drill, that we cannot ignore, is that Israel is planning for a new surprise war. In their message to the people in Israel they said to prepare for surprising developments, despite the fact that they know no one will open a war against them.
"Why do they say they? Why are they creating this atmosphere? They want to prepare their entity because they are the ones that start wars. They are afraid of the responses, and that is why they are having this exercise."