The head of the Israel Defense Force’s Intelligence Division Maj. General Amos Yadlin said in an intelligence briefing in front of the Cabinet yesterday that there is high likelihood that Israel and Hizballah will clash in the future once again. He said that Iran will continue to arm Hizballah, rehabilitate it and prepare it for a future confrontation.
According to Yadlin, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Seniora is the key player in the question of where this process is going, although we know his power is limited. “Despite the fact that we have a responsible party, its capabilities are very much in doubt. Within Lebanon there is a difference between the declarative level where they will attempt to get close to Hizballah and create Lebanese unity, and between interests of the leading factors in the Lebanese government to dismantle the time bomb called Hizballah,” he said.
Yadlin also estimated that Hizballah will try to set rules similar to the understandings established after the “Grapes of Wrath” operation in 1994, allowing Hizballah to strike IDF soldiers, and if the IDF will respond by hitting Hizballah or firing at villages, Hizballah could fire rockets at Israel. Yadlin estimated that Lebanon will try to move its army to the south.
As for Syria, Yadlin said that Damascus is not pleased with the declarative parts of the UN resolution, the deployment of the Lebanese army in the south, and the demilitarization of the south. Nevertheless, the Syrians will support Hizballah on any decision they will make, similarly to Iran.
In reference to Syria’s military capabilities, Yadlin said that Israel still holds a strong and stable deterrent stance against Syria despite the readiness level of their army.
Yadlin said that Syria is indeed on a high level of alertness, but it is a defensive, not offensive alertness. “When they see war close to them, they prepare and raise their alert level,” and added that “the Syrians understand very well what the IDF can do against a state, and what aspects the IDF improved while fighting a terrorist organization. This is why, in this aspect, Israel’s basic deterrence towards Syria is stable and strong.”