ANALYSIS: How the IDF Prevented the Third Lebanon War

Israel demonstrated sophistication in warfare, thus humiliating Hezbollah and avoiding another devastating conflict

By Yochanan Visser | | Topics: Hezbollah, Lebanon
Photo: Basel Awidat/Flash90

On Sunday afternoon, the expected Iranian retaliation for humiliating Israeli military actions against Hezbollah’s headquarters in Beirut and Iranian attack drones in Syria who were about to be launched at northern Israel finally came but ended in another humiliating debacle.

Iran activated its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah which attacked an IDF base near Avivim close to the Lebanese Israeli border with a number of Kornet anti-tank missiles hitting several IDF vehicles on the base.

The attack came after the IDF took preventive measures which were meant to deprive Hezbollah of surprising the Israeli military and which could prevent an incident similar to the one which triggered the Second Lebanon War.

The Israeli military closed off roads up to five kilometers from the border with Lebanon set up checkpoints and deployed artillery and other heavy equipment to the north of Israel as well as additional Iron Dome anti-missile shields.

This showed the IDF has learned the lessons of the Second Lebanon War when repeated warnings about an imminent Hezbollah attack by Gal Hirsch the then commander of the IDF’s 91st division were ignored with devastating consequences.

When the Hezbollah retaliation finally came, the IDF again showed off its intelligent and sophisticated warfare capabilities which in fact, prevented the outbreak of the Third Lebanon War.

First, the IDF used drones which dropped incendiary materials on fields and forests along the Lebanese border thereby creating a smokescreen which deprived Hezbollah of the ability to accurately target the Israeli army. At the same time, IDF artillery pounded 30 Hezbollah targets with 100 shells in southern Lebanon.

After the Kornet attacks on the base near Avivim the IDF also used a trick to confuse Hezbollah and scored another victory in the ongoing psychological war.

The IDF ordered a helicopter to the targeted base which transferred soldiers with bandages soaked with fake blood to the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa where they were released without any medical inspection.

Photos of the ‘injured’ soldiers were subsequently posted by the IDF on its Facebook page which is also followed by Hezbollah and Iranian agents while Israeli military and government officials kept mum on the issue of casualties.

Hezbollah then issued a triumphant statement which claimed a number of Israeli soldiers had been wounded and killed during the attack. In this way, the Israeli military handed Hezbollah ‘a victory’ and de-escalated the situation.

It worked.

Hezbollah refrained from further attacks on Israel and only when things quiet down the IDF and Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu released a statement confirming there were no wounded or killed soldiers on the Israeli side.

This was at least the third time the Israeli military outsmarted the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and its proxy Hezbollah.

The first time was on May 10, 2018, when Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, ordered a massive missile attack on the Israeli Golan Heights using more than 30 Grad and Fajr missiles which in majority landed on Syrian soil.

This direct Iranian attack on Israel was provoked by a series of IAF strikes on Iranian military facilities in Syria.

The botched Iranian attempt to kill Israeli citizens on the Golan Heights gave Israel the legitimate right to launch a counter attack on the Quds Force in Syria.

Using 28 IAF F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, the IAF destroyed more than 50 Iran-related targets in Syria, among them intelligence facilities, logistic headquarters, observation posts, weapon-storage facilities as well as rocket launchers and air defense batteries.

Altogether, the IAF and IDF used 60 air-to-ground missiles and 10 tactical ground-to-ground missiles, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The four-hour-long Israeli offensive against the IRGC in Syria furthermore killed 28 Syrian soldiers and Shiite fighters, the Russians claimed.

On the Israeli side there were no reports of damages or casualties.

IDF spokesman Brigade General Ronen Manlis explained at the time that the Israeli military had “plundered” the Iranian capabilities in Syria.

“They were dragged back because of the activity we carried out for over a month and during these past weeks,” Manlis told reporters in May 2018.

“We laid out correct defensive preparations and we took a number of aggressive actions in recent weeks,” the IDF spokesman said while adding that Soleimani and the Quds Force paid a heavy price.

The second time the IDF used intelligent and sophisticated warfare tactics against the Iranian axis in Lebanon and Syria was on Sunday, August 25, 2019, when the Israeli air force and marine humiliated the Quds Force and Hezbollah.

Using superb intelligence the IAF first destroyed a large number of Iranian attack drones which were about to launch a massive strike on northern Israeli cities and communities.

A few hours later, the Israeli marine used two Iranian-made DIJ drones loaded with 5.5 kilos of C4 plastic explosives to prevent the delivery of a planetary mixer to Hezbollah by Iran.

The industrial mixer weighing about eight tons was meant to be used to manufacture solid fuel propellants which improve the engine performance of Hezbollah missiles and their accuracy.

This Israeli action took place in the center of Beirut where Hezbollah has its headquarters and dealt another blow to the ‘precision project’ which is meant to upgrade Hezbollah’s crude rockets and convert them into GPS-guided precision missiles.

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