“In light of the dangerous and unprecedented situation in Lebanon, I am of the opinion that Hezbollah and Iran will now take steps to deepen their control over sovereign Lebanon, and as far as Israel is concerned, this is a serious situation. In Lebanon, mainly between Beirut and the border and in the Bekaa valley, they are strengthening their force against us. But Iran and Hezbollah are unlikely to start a military conflict with Israel now. There is no logical reason to have a conflict at the moment. ”
We asked (retired) Major General Amos Gilad, former head of the Defense Ministry’s politico-military office, his opinion on the situation in Lebanon, and this is what he said to the Israeli Defense team: “ It is a country on the verge of collapse. The citizens clearly feel it. There are no drugs in pharmacies. If you earn 1,000 lire, you only have five lire of purchasing power. About 50% of Lebanese citizens live in poverty. There is no government, and there is corruption. Hariri refuses to form a government. The Lebanese army has an internal economic crisis. The only force in the country that is organized and strong is Hezbollah, an agent of Iran.
Major General Gilad’s conclusion is that “We have to watch closely. The highest level of intelligence and operational awareness regarding Lebanon is needed. We need to talk with the Americans and the French. The Defense Minister (of Israel) has offered Lebanon aid, but they will not accept it. Even Iran has civilian rehabilitation capabilities, but the powers are powerless. ”
The situation in Lebanon worsened over the weekend. Israeli defense sources said Israel will do everything possible to stop an Iranian takeover of Lebanon. The commander of the Lebanese army, General Joseph Aoun, said the army is the only functioning institution in the country. The soldiers became AWOL because they weren’t paid. There have been violent protests in the country, mainly in the city of Tripoli. Lira has lost over 90% of its value.
“There have always been crises in Lebanon, but in the past there were balances, and now there are no more. What is happening there is serious and dangerous for us because Hezbollah already has between 130,000 and 150,000 rockets and missiles, and there is also a precision missile factory. They dug tunnels towards our territory. The Shiites in Lebanon, in the area between Beirut and the border and in the Bekaa Valley, are controlled by Iran, ”said Gilad.
“They are strengthening their capacity to strike at Israel, and in my opinion, this is a serious strategic phenomenon. The reality in Lebanon is that Hezbollah will not try to take over the Christian and Druze areas, but they are planning to strike at Israel. It doesn’t seem to me that Hezbollah will take the extreme step of starting a conflict just yet, but we need to watch closely. The key (for us) is intelligence and operational awareness. ”