Lebanon’s Hezbollah may not want a new war with Israel but an order to attack would come from Tehran in the event of a strike on Iran, a senior military official in Israel’s northern command told AFP.
And should another conflict break out between Israel and the Shiite terrorist group, it would be “much faster” than the 34-day war of 2006, said the official, who asked not to be identified.
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Any military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would likely spark a deadly response from its ally Hezbollah, whose leader Hassan Nasrallah warned on Friday that its missiles could strike anywhere inside the Jewish state.
But senior military officials do not believe Nasrallah wants another war with Israel and would only attack as a direct result of orders from Tehran.
“The biggest spending of Iran in 30 years has been on the nuclear program, and Hezbollah is the second,” the Israeli official told AFP, adding that Tehran’s aim was to create “Iranian footprints near the border with Israel.”
“If something would happen in Iran, it’s a tool that they can use in all kinds of scenarios,” he said.
“They (Iran) have so many high-ranking officials in Lebanon. I don’t think this is a decision of Nasrallah -- he will get orders. That’s why he was created,” said the official.
“If you ask Nasrallah today, he would say ‘no’ (to a new war with Israel) but I don’t think that’s his call,” he said. “Nasrallah understood the power of Israel and he is still licking his wounds.”
He said other scenarios which could spark a new conflict between Israel and Hezbollah include an attack on Israelis abroad or the transfer to Hezbollah of chemical weapons from Syria, in the midst of its brutal crackdown on protests.
Any new confrontation would likely be over much faster than the 34-day conflict which erupted in July 2006, said the military official for the northern region which borders Israel.
“This will be much shorter, much faster than the month” it took last time, he said. “The most important mission today is to win decisively in any kind of war in Lebanon. If you win, you win -- everybody sees it.”
He said Israel’s biggest challenge in any new conflict would be Hezbollah’s positioning of weapons in the heart of civilian areas in around 100 Lebanese towns and villages along the border.
“In the villages there are three-story houses: on one floor there are rockets, then there is a family on the next floor, then a (military) headquarters then another family. The people that live there are human shields,” he said.
“Every Shiite village has become such a compound. The great challenge will be to deal with all these compounds.”