Syria, Hizballah preparing for war with Israel

Monday, January 25, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

Pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Monday that Syria has begun calling up reserve military forces in anticipation of a full-scale war with Israel.

Officials in Syria and from Lebanon's Hizballah terrorist militia have been saying for the past week that they are being threatened by Israeli military maneuvers along the Israel-Lebanon border, and expect the Israeli army to launch a surprise attack on Hizballah positions in Lebanon.

According to UN Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Lebanon War, Hizballah is not supposed to have any positions in southern Lebanon, but the international peacekeeping force on the ground there has not enforced those terms.

On Saturday, Israeli cabinet minister Yossi Peled, a former commander of Israel's Northern Command, said at an event in Beersheva that "we are heading for another round [of battle with Hizbullah] in the north."

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office clarified that Israel is not looking for another war on its northern border, and the current chief of Northern Command, Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said that Arab reports of tension along the border are unfounded.

"Reports in the media about tension in the North is a virtual reality that has no grounds in reality," said Eizenkot during a ceremony at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. He warned, however, that if the Arabs start something, Israel will respond with disproportionate force.

Also at the weekend, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner acknowledged that Israel is very unlikely to initiate another armed conflict, but warned that Iranian agents might try to escalate the situation on the Israel-Lebanon border in order to divert attention from Iran's nuclear program.

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