Hezbullah grabs human shields in southern Lebanon, NY Times says 'Israel says'
Hezbullah is once again grabbing human shields in southern Lebanon. But to the New York Times it's only 'Israel says.'
But when the Israeli military trains its lens on that hilltop Shiite village close to the border, it sees nine arms depots, five rocket-launching sites, four infantry positions, signs of three underground tunnels, three antitank positions and, in the very center of the village, a Hezbollah command post.
Maps and aerial photography provided to The New York Times by Israeli military officials this week illustrate, they say, that Hezbollah has moved most of its military infrastructure into the Shiite villages of southern Lebanon and around their perimeters. Israel says this amounts to using the civilians as a human shield.
Without knowing when the next war will break out, or what might precipitate it, the Israelis are blunt about the implications: They will not hesitate to strike at those targets, so southern Lebanon will most likely be the scene of widespread destruction.
Effectively, the Israelis are warning that in the event of another conflict with Hezbollah, many Lebanese civilians will probably be killed, and that it should not be considered Israel’s fault.
“The civilians are living in a military compound,” a senior Israeli military official said at military headquarters in Tel Aviv, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing delicate intelligence matters.
“We will hit Hezbollah hard, while making every effort to limit civilian casualties as much as we can,” the official said, but “we do not intend to stand by helplessly in the face of rocket attacks.”Glad to hear we're not going to adopt the Gaza model in southern Lebanon. I'll believe that when I see it.
The Israeli military says that a few miles northwest of Muhaybib, in the larger village of Shaqra, with a population of about 4,000, it has identified about 400 military sites and facilities belonging to Hezbollah, which Israel says has been armed by Iran and Syria.
Zooming out over a wider section of southern Lebanon, the Israeli military says the number of potential targets for Israel in and around villages runs into the thousands.
Israeli military officials said they were publicizing the Hezbollah buildup to put the problem on the international agenda in case there is another conflict — and to possibly decrease the chances of one breaking out.
Because the Times can't send a reporter in there to actually see what's going on without a Hezbullah 'guide' and no 'guides' were conveniently available? Just asking....The Israeli claims could not be independently verified.
Here's an example of an IDF slide that the Times didn't consider to be 'independently verified.'
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has said in public statements and interviews that the group is far stronger now than at the end of the 2006 war.
“These abilities have multiplied with time,” the official with knowledge of Hezbollah’s forces added, declining to give details.
Hezbollah has sheltered in villages to some extent for many years. But Israel says the group has increasingly moved into built-up areas and out of the open ground where much of the 2006 fighting took place.
Here's what's ahead:“At the end of the day, it means that many, many Lebanese will be killed,” said Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser now at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv. “Where is the world? Why does it not stop the buildup?”
An Israeli expert familiar with military planning said that if Israel attacked Lebanon again, it would probably do so in three phases. First, it would strike without warning at targets that pose the greatest threat, he said; then it would call for civilians to evacuate southern Lebanon. Once a critical mass of people had left, ground troops would move in.Something tells me that, as in Gaza, the civilians can't or won't leave. Will Israel attack anyway? We can only hope so. Somehow, I doubt the scenario outlined above will play out so neatly.
Read the whole thing.