Beirut (GPA) – Israeli military chief spokesman has made clear that Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, will be a target for assassination in the “next war.”
In a press conference earlier this week, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, the chief spokesman of the Israeli military laid out some of Tel Aviv’s strategies for dealing with Hezbollah. While Manelis says Israel is already fighting a “psychological and media” war against Hezbollah, he also stated that the IDF is looking towards the future.
More specifically, the “next war” between Israel and Hezbollah, in which “there won’t be a clear victory picture,” but the IDF is sure Nasrallah “would be a target for assassination,” according to Manelis.
While eliminating has no doubt been an IDF priority for some time, Nasrallah has cautioned Israel about ratcheting up tensions with Lebanon. The most recent comments directed at Israel came in a statement by Nasrallah last month, in which he warned that Hezbollah “clearly understands what the Israelis are up to since they had backed Saudi Arabia’s attempt to fracture Lebanese society.”
Manelis brushed off this warning, saying by claiming the next war “Will look different. The intelligence and operational capabilities of the IDF, their movement, and firepower means that if it is difficult in Israel — in Lebanon, it will be much worse.”
And Nasrallah certainly understands what the Israelis are up to since they had backed Saudi Arabia’s attempt to divide Lebanese society and unity government. While Israel was clearly not prepared to directly confront Hezbollah after prime minister Saad Hariri resigned in Riyadh, they did demonstrate support for the Saudi’s position by also attempted to demonize Hezbollah.
While Hezbollah showed Israel what they were capable of in 2006, this still hasn’t stopped the IDF from attempting to delegitimize and downplay the support the political movement. This isn’t 2006 Hezbollah; this is a new Hezbollah which has spent the last several years gaining crucial combat experience from their role in the war against ISIS (a group which now officially shares the same strategic goals as Israel).
Israel may be emboldened now that they have the public blessing of “the Muslim community” through Riyadh, but clearly, they aren’t actually ready for a war. The Saudis may be able to isolate Lebanon politically, but Israel still can’t count on the Saudi military (whose failures are on display in Yemen) or proxies (who have failed in Syria against Hezbollah).
Despite what Manelis says, these are crucial factors to keep in mind whenever Israel threatens Hezbollah. Hezbollah ejected Israelis soldiers from Lebanon in 2006, showing they’re not to be underestimated and they have only gotten stronger since.
Also published on Medium.