Israeli secret commando in lebanon

Presumably, the israeli soldiers disguised as lebanese were looking for their kidnapped comrades, in lebanon the position of hezbollah was strengthened by the war

After the ceasefire on 14. August in lebanon, the israeli government under prime minister ehud olmert is under strong domestic political prere (un mission knitted with a fine needle). After a month of war, none of the envisaged goals could be achieved. The two parties, which met on 12. July israeli soldiers kidnapped by hezbollah are still in captivity, hezbollah has not been crushed and the lebanese army is patrolling the border, which israel had always refused to do. Last weekend, the israeli army tried to turn military defeat into victory after all. A secret squad searched northern lebanon for the kidnapped soldiers and a senior hezbollah official.

It couldn’t be better in a hollywood action movie script. Early saturday morning, israeli helicopters dropped off two humvees carrying soldiers near the town of baalbek, in northern lebanon. The two military vehicles have lebanese flags painted on them and the special operations force wears lebanese army uniforms. At the same time, the israeli air force carries out diversionary attacks. Apache helicopters push missiles at some, smaller bridges and other logistically unimportant targets. F-16 fighter jets, as well as unmanned drones, circling at low altitude. The alleged lebanese troops, meanwhile, continue toward budai, a town about 20 kilometers from the landing point. At an unexpected hezbollah checkpoint, israeli soldiers affirm in arabic that they are all on the same side after all. They were almost able to continue unmolested when a hezbollah fighter became suspicious of an arabic mispronunciation and raised the alarm. The israelis are suddenly surrounded by militiamen with kalashnikovs. The battle lasts over two hours. Three members of hezbollah die, on the side of the israelis, according to their own statements, "miraculously only one man was killed and 10 injured". Hezbollah, on the other hand, speaks of eight dead israeli soldiers.

Not for the first time, israel sent a special commando to the baalbek area, which is a stronghold of the shiite militia. On 2. August israeli soldiers stormed dar al-hikma hospital, searched the building and abducted five alleged hezbollah members. To secure the area, air support had bombed the surrounding area and killed 15 civilians. What the israeli soldiers were looking for in the hospital at that time is not officially known. However, it is safe to ame that the abandoned hospital was either the location of their kidnapped comrades or the home of a hezbollah official, if not that of hezbollah leader hassan nasrallah.

Last weekend, the operation in bodai was intended for sheik mohammed yazbek, according to hezbollah. Yazbek is a member of the militia’s shoura council and an official representative in lebanon of ayatollah khameini, the religious leader of iran. Sheik yazbek comes from bodai, has endowed schools and mosques there, but does not live in the city himself. On friday, the sheik was seen for the last time in baalbek before leaving for the funeral of killed hezbollah fighters in the south.

More likely than an abduction of yazbek, the israeli soldiers were looking for their captured comrades in one of sheik yazbek’s schools or mosques. Otherwise, it is hard to imagine israel breaking the cease-fire and risking new hostilities. Their troops still stationed in sud lebanon were an easy target for hezbollah, at the same time returning residents of northern israel for the shiite militia’s katyusha rockets.

The release of the two kidnapped soldiers would turn the military defeat into a moral victory. The government under prime minister ehuds olmert had rid itself of its critics and continued unchallenged in office. Officially, israel justified the commando operation in baalbek as a measure against syrian arms deliveries to hezbollah, which does not imply a breach of the cease-fire conditions stipulated by un resolution 1701.

Lebanon satisfied with political outcome of war

The un secretary general, kofi annan, was unimpressed by the arms smuggling version and chided israel for "breaking the ceasefire". Lebanese defense minister elia murr warned against further israeli actions that would only lead to a hezbollah counterattack. "If israel does not adhere strictly to the cease-fire," murr said, "i will be forced to recommend to the cabinet that the deployment of the lebanese army in the south be stopped."At the same time, however, the defense minister declared that any further missile attacks on israel would be considered treason and those responsible would be brought before a military court.

Elias murr is known to be a pro-syrian politician who supports hezbollah’s resistance. His behavior shows how satisfied people in lebanon, quite apart from the damage of course, are with the political outcome of the war. The pro- and anti-syrian fronts, which were previously so divided, have been clarified for the time being. The lebanese government now has what it has always demanded since it took office in 2005, namely full authority over the entire national territory. The years in which the sud lebanon was closed to the lebanese army as hezbollah territory are over. For hezbollah, this does not mean defeat. It will not be disarmed for the time being and will very likely be integrated into the lebanese army after a "national dialogue" it has called for.

Even walid jumblatt, who had vehemently criticized hezbollah from the first day of the war, spoke a few days ago of a "too easily vulnerable national army". In just a few hours, the druze leader declared, they would be overrun by an israeli attack. After the third israeli invasion, nothing is more obvious than to upgrade and train the lebanese military accordingly. And who could do this better than hezbollah’s trainers??

A statement by prime minister fuad siniora can be interpreted in this direction, when he said during the war that "hezbollah’s weapons belong to the lebanese army". There is no question of a pending destruction of the military deterrent potential of the shiite militia. If hezbollah is indeed integrated into the lebanese army and ames a leading role in it, lebanon and the "party of god" will become an even stronger potential threat to israel.

One can understand why hezbollah so freely welcomes the deployment of the national army. Its weapons caches, bunker system and political position within lebanese society remain untouched. Pulling together with the government.

Hezbollah secretary general hassan nasrallah has once again kept his word. In one of his tv speeches during the war, he had promised to "give the victory to all the lebanese people and all the political groups". For now, it looks like it. His forces successfully stood up to the strongest regional military power in the region, which also puts prime minister fuad siniora and his government in a stronger position against israel than lebanon has ever had before. Despite all the damage of war, nasrallah has scored plus points even with his critics. Everyone knows that the secretary general deliberately refrained from escalating the conflict.

Hezbollah has not used all the military means at its disposal. Iranian-made zelal 2 long-range missiles, of which the israeli army believes there are between 30 and 100 somewhere in the lebanese mountains, have not been touched. They weigh 3.5 tons, and with a range of 200 kilometers, they can carry up to 600 kilograms of explosives deep into the south of israel. Nasrallah had offered israel, a few days after the beginning of the conflict, that as soon as it stopped bombing civilian targets, hezbollah would immediately stop shelling northern israel in return. As a "clear sign of weakness", this offer was interpreted by the israeli defense minister amir perez. At that time, like all other israeli officials, he still believed in a quick victory.

Together with the usa the attack plan had been worked out, wrote a few days ago at least the american journalist seymour hersh in "the new yorker" (hezbollah). The pulitzer prize winner cites intelligence sources, as he often does in his articles. Lebanon was supposedly used as a practical simulation for a u.S. Attack on iran. Whether or not all this is true, the israeli invasion of lebanon turned out to be a military and human fiasco. More than 1000 people died on both sides and more than 4000 were wounded. It does not matter to those involved whether it was a simulation or not.

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