‘Lebanese targets fair game in war with Hezbollah’

Defense officials: It was a mistake not to have made this clear during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Hezbollah, Lebanon flags near Beirut airport 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Sharif Karim)
Hezbollah, Lebanon flags near Beirut airport 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Sharif Karim)
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.
“It 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 falls.