Hizballah’s Plan for a Subterranean Attack on Israel

On Tuesday, the IDF announced that it had located and destroyed a tunnel dug by Hizballah operatives under Israeli territory, intended to move troops from Lebanon to behind Israeli lines. Israel has also initiated a major operation to destroy or plug up a network of similar tunnels. Shimon Shapira explains:

One of the main lessons Hizballah learned from the Second Lebanon War in 2006 was the necessity of changing the aims of its next war with Israel. The new goals included building up its defensive capabilities and developing methods of attack that would allow Hizballah to bring the war to Israeli territory. Hizballah’s military commander [at the time], Imad Mughniyeh, led this process of integrating these lessons. [Mughniyeh was assassinated by the CIA in 2008.] He asserted that during the next war, Hizballah would invade the northern Israeli Galilee region and conquer it, [giving its forces] topographical superiority in comparison with Israel’s inferior topographical positions near the border.

The tunnels, [unlike those dug by Hamas near the Gaza Strip], are intended for the movement of several hundred fighters, not to abduct soldiers or civilians. . . .

Hizballah’s operational plan also includes the construction of facilities to launch massive missile attacks on population centers and strategic sites around Haifa in the north, Tel Aviv in the center, and Dimona in the south. . . . From Hizballah’s perspective, the aerial attacks would attract the entire attention of Israel’s military, thereby simultaneously enabling Hizballah to activate its plan for “the conquest of the Galilee” using its special forces.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Galilee, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Lebanon

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey