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Why Israel is Unprepared for War With Hezbollah

© AP Photo / Tsafrir AbayovIsraeli soldiers stand by a tank near the Israel Gaza border
Israeli soldiers stand by a tank near the Israel Gaza border - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.06.2024
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the country's Channel 14 Television that Tel Aviv is ready to move some forces to the north to confront Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah. Could Tel Aviv wage a war on two fronts?
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hezbollah fighters have increasingly exchanged strikes across Lebanon’s southern border since the beginning of Tel Aviv's Gaza war launched over Hamas' attack on October 7 2023.
"From an Israeli perspective it would be very hard to imagine a double front war, even though we know that within the Israeli Cabinet of war, there are many ministries who are willing to try to open the second front with Hezbollah," Dr Lorenzo Trombetta, Beirut-based scholar and analyst specialising on the Middle East, told Sputnik.
Hezbollah has repeatedly warned it would step up military actions unless Israel stops killing Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.
Hezbollah has intensified attacks over Israel's Rafah invasion.
Last week Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah played down Israel's threats to launch an all-out war against the resistance group, warning that it has a 100,000-strong military force capable of waging military actions against Israel in all three domains – land, air and sea.
Nasrallah added that the movement does not want a "total war" with Israel and called for a complete and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
A smoke plume billows during Israeli bombardment on the village of Khiam in south Lebanon near the border with Israel on June 23, 2024 amid ongoing cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.06.2024
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Hezbollah released a nine-minute video last week, filmed from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which penetrated Israeli air defenses and returned to Lebanese airspace without being detected. The footage shows sensitive civilian and military locations in and around Haifa, one of Israel's largest cities.
According to some estimates, Hezbollah has up to 150,000-200,000 rockets and missiles and has also mastered the use of unmanned vehicles.
But Dr. Hasan Selim Ozertem, an Ankara-based security and political analyst, told Sputnik that a repeat of the Israeli invasions in 1982 and 2006 would bring "catastrophe" to southern Lebanon.

"The plot is valid for a possible operation against Lebanon because looking in the past, in 2006, Israel also could carry out another operation against Hezbollah and, as you remember, left behind a kind of catastrophe in the Lebanese terrain," Ozertem said. "Israel has all the capabilities, especially the air capability and also land capability to carry out an operation."

While conceding that the Israeli military capabilities are "very strong and very high," Trombetta expressed doubts about Tel Aviv's chances of succeeding in a war against Hezbollah.
"Technically speaking, Hezbollah has drones and mainly it showed recently, during May and June, its abilities to launch soil-air missiles that can hit or can counter not only Israeli drones, the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900, but also Israeli jet fighters," the pundit said. "So first of all, Hezbollah could try to increase its abilities to defend the Lebanese territory with these surface-to-air missiles."
Hezbollah fighters hold flags as they attend the memorial of their slain leader Sheik Abbas al-Mousawi, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike in 1992 - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.06.2024
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"Secondly, they also showed in the last weeks the ability to offend, to pose a threat within the Israeli territories with armed drones, suicide drones, another flight weapons that breached the Iron Dome system in more than one occasions, even recently," Trombetta continued.
The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published analysis in March describing how a potential Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2024 could be more challenging for Tel Aviv than the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese war.
The think-tank drew attention to the fact that Hezbollah has for years built upon its successful 2006 tactics of "decentralizing its command and control and reorganizing to force the IDF into more urbanized terrain where [Hezbollah] fighters can take advantage of concealed, fortified positions."
Hezbollah has beefed up its military stockpiles with new weapons over the past 18 years. It has also gained extensive military experience during the war against ISIS* and other Islamist terrorists in Syria and has had "access to capabilities and competencies used by conventional armies."
Fires burn as a result of rockets launched from Lebanon into northern Israel on June 3, 2024. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.06.2024
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The CSIS also noted that the geography of southern Lebanon offers advantages for Hezbollah guerrillas, including positions on rocky hills where they can hide and fire rockets, unmanned aircraft systems and anti-tank guided missiles at Israeli positions on the border.
The Israeli Reichman University Institute for Counter-Terrorism assumes that Hezbollah could fire up to 3,000 missiles a day and overwhelm Israel's air defenses.
The researchers warned that intensive attacks would deplete the Israeli stockpiles of surface-to-air missiles within a few days of combat, exposing the nation to further Hezbollah missile and drone attacks. They argued that Tel Aviv is unprepared for an all-out war with the resistance force.
"We should include also the fact that in case Israel will launch a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, it is very possible, it is very likely that Iran and other Iranian allies in the region will activate their forces against Israel and the US interests," Trombetta said, adding that Yemen's Houthi-led government, the Iraqi Islamic Resistance and others could come to Hezbollah's aid in the event of an all-out Israeli attack on Lebanon.
Fighters of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah take part in a ceremony to commemorate the party's fallen leaders in the Lebanese village of Jibshit, about 50 kilometres south of the capital Beirut, on February 15, 2024. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.06.2024
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*terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries
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