High officers leading last week's big war game in northern Israel confronted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi with harsh criticism over the lack of a clear government strategy for dealing with the rising Hizballah threat of aggression and the uninterrupted flow of advanced weaponry from Syria to Hizballah. The exercise drilled various war scenarios. debkafile's military sources report that Wednesday, May 12 at the end of the exercise, the officers accused the prime minister and chief of staff, who observed the drill, with doing nothing because they were over-anxious to "keep Israel's borders with Syria and the Lebanese Hizballah calm, whatever the cost."
This kept the Israel's military machine waiting in passive mode for Hizballah to go to war when it was fully armed and ready.
Netanyahu used the occasion to accuse Iran of warmongering and inciting Syria and Hizballah to attack Israel with the lie that Israel was on the point of attack.
The IDF critics found this statement beside the point, feeble and playing into the hands of Syrian ruler Bashar Assad and Hassan Nasrallah, like many of the lame comments coming from defense minister Ehud Barak, debkafile's military sources quote one officer as saying: "Maybe Iran is feeding them false data, but so what? Assad and Nasrallah don't need an excuse for aggression. We watch them with large binoculars, but theirs are bigger. And what do they see? That the IDF has not made the slightest preparation to make good on the Israeli government's warnings of action if Syria goes through with transferring missiles and sophisticated weapons systems to Hizballah. So what conclusions have they drawn?" asked the officer: "That they can go on supplying Hizballah and preparing for war without fear or hindrance."
Some of the officers drew comparisons between the current situation and the run-up to the 2006 Lebanon. Then, too, Israel kept hoping Hizballah's war preparations would come to nothing if Israel sat on its hands, but in the end the Lebanese terrorists attacked.
"What happened then is what's happening today," said another officer. The IDF may have better hardware and improved logistics but, otherwise, Israel's policy-maker are stuck dangerously in the 2006 time warp.
"Hizballah's war-planners cannot avoid noticing that Israel has retreated from every warning it issued in the past year," said this officer, and are therefore paying no heed to new ones."
For instance, Israeli threats to strike Lebanon and Syria held Damascus back from handing Hizballah M-600 surface-to-surface missiles, essentially Scuds – but only for a while. Recently, when they saw nothing happening, Syria went ahead and sent them over the border.
As a result, Hizballah is now armed with an array of weapons which are far more destructive in terms of civilian lives, damage to property and their reach into Israel's major cities than its 2006 arsenal
One officer summed the situation up by saying: "In view of the Netanyahu government's policy of inertia, this war game should have been held in Tel Aviv – not just along the northern borders."