Hezbollah may use suicide ships in next war, former naval officer warns/Hezbollah official warns terror group can destroy Israeli army/حزب الله يهدد بتدمير جيش إسرائيل وظابط إسرائيلي سابق يحذر من امكانية استعمال الحزب قوارب انتحارية في الحرب القادمة
Hezbollah may use suicide ships in next war, former naval officer warns ظابط إسرائيلي سابق يحذر من امكانية استعمال الحزب قوارب انتحارية في الحرب القادمة
Anna Ahronheim/Jerusalem Post/January 29/2018
Iran “is on the verge of reaching the Mediterranean, including the use of Syrian ports by the Iranian navy.”
The Israeli Navy should anticipate Hezbollah using suicide ships in the next war with the terrorist group, R.-Adm. Prof. Shaul Chorev told The Jerusalem Post. “Hezbollah will not need to equip themselves with ships like Israel, but we must assume they will use asymmetric warfare to challenge Israeli technology like land-to-sea missiles or suicide ships like you see in Yemen,” Chorev, a former deputy chief of naval operations, said following a special geo-strategy conference organized by University of Haifa’s Research Center for Maritime Policy & Strategy and the Chaikin Chair for Geostrategy.
Iran and Hezbollah advisers have been aiding Yemen’s Houthi rebels in their fight against the Saudi-led coalition. In January of last year, two Saudi sailors were killed when Houthi rebels rammed the side of a Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen with a small boat before a suicide bomber detonated the vessel.
According to Chorev, while it is not in Hezbollah’s interest to start a war with the Jewish state, “when you look at their strategy, it is clear that they will target Israeli strategic assets.”“The next war with Hezbollah could see a focus on the sea,” he warned.
Israel is highly dependent on the sea with more than 90% of Israel’s imports arriving via boat. But according to Chorev, there is a major lack of awareness about the maritime domain, both among government leaders and the public. Senior naval officers have told the Post that Hezbollah is a “clear and major enemy” that continues to grow in terms of battlefield experience and their arsenal of advanced weaponry from Iran which has expanded its presence in the eastern Mediterranean due to the civil war in Syria.
“Iran – which supports the Assad regime in Syria – participates in the war alongside Russia and has exploited the situation in order to upgrade its status in the region to almost that of a regional superpower,” Chorev wrote in the center’s 2017-2018 Maritime Strategic Assessment for Israel.
Iran “is on the verge of reaching the Mediterranean, including the use of Syrian ports by the Iranian navy,” he added. “Iranian ports in the eastern Mediterranean are a real risk for Israel,” Chorev said, stressing that the US and Russia must be persuaded to stop the Iranian Navy from gaining a foothold in Syria.
With fighting raging in neighboring Syria and because of the continued decline of the US involvement in the eastern Mediterranean, the Russian Navy has increased its presence in the area over the past few years.
“The Russians have come into the Middle East taking over from the Americans who have neglected the eastern Mediterranean,” Chorev said, adding that the Russians may limit the operational activity of Israel’s navy.
Similar to the deconfliction mechanism in place between Moscow and Jerusalem over the skies of Syria, Israeli officials have stated that while the navy does not plan to expand any sort of cooperation with the Russian Navy, there is clear communication between the two for preventative safety reasons.
The Israeli Navy is relatively small compared to other IDF corps, but it has a significant amount of territory to protect since the expansion of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from 40 miles (65 km.) to 150 miles (240 km.) four years ago.
The navy is also tasked with securing the natural gas drilling rigs that are in Israel’s EEZ, clear targets for enemies on Israel’s northern border. The IDF believes that Hezbollah has long-range missiles that can hit the rigs, which supply a large amount of the electricity used in Israel.
Hezbollah official warns terror group can destroy Israeli army/حزب الله يهدد بتدمير جيش إسرائيل
Anna Ahronheim/Jerusalem Post/January 29/2018
“The day will come when Hezbollah’s flag will fly over the honorable city of Jerusalem.”
Hezbollah has called an article written by IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis and published on Lebanese opposition websites “provocative words published by a coward.” “The article is nonsense and a provocation that is published by someone who is a coward,” Hajj Muhammad Raad, the head of Hezbollah’s “Loyalty to Resistance” Lebanese Parliamentary bloc, wrote on the Ahewar website.
“Israel should not act foolishly and complicate itself in a war that will be destructive for it. Hezbollah is stronger today and has capabilities that can destroy the Israeli Army. Israel today has become a regional and international isolationist, and the media spins that come out of it are meant to cover up its distress, because it wants to present itself as strong,” he continued.
On Sunday, an article written by Manelis appeared on several Arab-language media outlets, including being published on the Hezbollah-friendly al-Masdar website and broadcast on the Voice of Beirut radio station.
“The authority of the Zionist entity, whatever it tries, will not be able to persuade the Arab-Muslim peoples to give up the idea of resisting the Zionist occupation,” Raad wrote Monday. “The day will come when Hezbollah’s flag will be raised over the honorable city of Jerusalem and the Palestinians will regain their occupied land.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday stated that Israel was using “all the options” available to it to prevent the production of missiles in Lebanon by Iran and Hezbollah. With regard to everything related to Lebanon, we can prevent not only by means of bombs, but by operating all the political leverages and others in order to prevent missile production,” he said at the beginning of the Yisrael Beytenu parliamentary group’s meeting.
While Liberman stated that “the last thing I want is for a third Lebanon war,” Israel is “determined to prevent Lebanon from becoming one large factory for the production of precision missiles.”
Manelis urged Lebanese citizens to recognize that their fate is “in the hands of a dictator sitting in Tehran,” which alongside its proxy Hezbollah has turned Lebanon into one large missile factory.
“The ordinary citizen will be mistaken to think that this process turns Lebanon into a fortress,” Manelis wrote in his Sunday op-ed, adding: “It is nothing more than a barrel of gunpowder on which he, his family and his property are sitting.”
“In Lebanon, Hezbollah does not conceal its attempt to take control of the state,” he continued. “In the shadow of Nasrallah’s bullying behavior” the group has built “terror infrastructure and factories to manufacture weapons under the nose of the Lebanese government.”
Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over the growing Iranian presence on its borders and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah. They have stressed that both are red lines for the Jewish state.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would discuss Iran’s efforts in Lebanon with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their upcoming meeting at the Kremlin, telling reporters before leaving for Moscow that this was something Israel would not tolerate.
Netanyahu said that he will also speak with the Russian president about Iran’s “unending efforts to militarily entrench itself in Syria, something that we are adamantly opposed to and will act against.”
He will be accompanied by Military Intelligence Directorate chief Maj.-Gen. Hezi Levy; Environmental Protection and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin; National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat; and Military Secretary to the Prime Minister Brig.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano.
**Herb Keinon contributed to this report.