captured Hiz weapons 298.
(photo credit: IDF)
The political echelon has "tied the IDF's hands" and is preventing military operations that could stop Hizbullah from rearming and gaining strength ahead of a possible new round of violence this summer, a high-ranking IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
According to the officer, the IDF is not responsible for the lack of action against Hizbullah - known to receive almost daily arms shipments from Syria - and the cabinet has decided the military should refrain from initiating operations to thwart the smuggling. The IDF believes that Hizbullah restored its strength to the level it was at before the second Lebanon war.
"This is not up to the IDF," the officer said. "The government is responsible for making these decisions, and for now they are holding us back."
Earlier Sunday, Director of IDF Strategic Planning Brig.-Gen. Udi Dekel said Hizbullah was busy rearming, receiving "nonstop" weapons shipments from Syria. This was the first time a high-ranking IDF officer has publicly confirmed that Damascus is shipping weapons to Hizbullah.
Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Dekel warned the Middle East was turning increasingly "unstable" and that Iranian involvement - in almost every conflict in the region - was intensifying. According to Dekel - the highest ranking officer to appear at the conference - Hamas is also smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip from Egypt, across the Philadelphi Corridor.
Dekel said the cabinet and the IDF faced the "constant dilemma" of whether to act to thwart the terror buildup in Gaza and Lebanon or to prepare for a new war instead. He said the IDF planned to use 2007 "to get ready" for possible additional conflicts.