Israel will attack Lebanese government targets during a future war with
Hezbollah, senior defense officials said amid speculation that a war could erupt
in the North following a future strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
was a mistake not to attack Lebanese government targets during the [Second
Lebanon] War in 2006,” a senior defense official explained. “We will not be able
to hold back from doing so in a future war.”
After the outbreak of the
2006 war, the official said, the US asked Israel to refrain from bombing
Lebanese government targets so as not to weaken the prime minister at the time,
Fuad Siniora, who was aligned with the West.
Israel complied and
restricted its bombings to Hezbollah targets.
“This will not be the same
in the future, particularly now that Hezbollah and the government are
effectively one and the same,” the official said.
In general, the IDF has
significantly boosted its “target bank” since the 2006 war. Today’s bank is said
to contain thousands of Hezbollah targets, compared to the approximately 200
that the IDF had on July 12, 2006, when Hezbollah abducted reservists Eldad
Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.
Hezbollah is believed to have amassed over
50,000 rockets and missiles, and most of the weaponry is thought to be stored in
some 100 villages throughout southern Lebanon.
The new thinking regarding
bombing government institutions is part of a revised IDF strategy on how to
damage Hezbollah and facilitate a faster end to a war than the 34 days it took
in 2006. The guerrilla group, which embeds its military capabilities within
civilian infrastructure, does not have a clear power base, which if destroyed
could help end such a war.
Talk of the possible bombing of Lebanese
government targets comes as Israel prepares for a possible war with Hezbollah
that could result from either an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear
facilities or a preemptive strike to stop the transfer of sophisticated weaponry
from Syria to Lebanon.
Western countries have prepared various
contingency plans for such a scenario, including the possible bombing of a
convoy if it were detected, as well as the possible insertion of commando forces
to secure the chemical stockpile if and when Syrian President Bashar Assad