This week, the Lebanese Shiite terror organization Hizballah completed the deployment of its medium-range Missile Unit 1400 in the capital, Beirut.
Disclosing this, DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s military sources report that the unit has 250 missiles of various types: Fajr 5 and Fajr 3, whose range is 45 km; Haseb, which can hit targets at a distance of 10 km, Oghab missiles with a range of 30 km, and Shahin which can hit targets at a distance of 15-20 km.
This move is as unthinkable for Lebanon as would be the posting of a Muslim Brotherhood missile unit opposite the presidential palace in Cairo for Egypt. Never before has the Lebanese government faced a threat of direct violence as naked as this, even during the years of the Syrian army’s occupation.
Hizballah was moved to the extreme step of planting bristling missiles under the Fouad Siniora’s government offices by five considerations:
1. Its leaders calculate that in a war situation, the Israeli army will head for a swift capture of the southern port of Tyre and neighboring Maarub where Hizballah has stationed its S. Lebanese command centers. The plan is for Unit 1400 to fire missiles at the areas captured by Israeli forces. The unit will be safe from air attack because the Israeli Air Force will not dare to bomb Hizballah missiles planted deep inside densely populated central Beirut.
2. Hizballah’s missiles in Beirut cover the southern Lebanese coast from Beirut down to Tyre and are therefore positioned to prevent Israel landing troops by sea in a bid to cut the South off from the rest of Lebanon.
3. Should civil war erupt in August or September, around the date of the pro-Syrian Lebanese president Emil Lahoud’s retirement and the parliamentary election of his successor, Hizballah will not think twice before blasting Lebanese army bases in and around the capital, as well as the international airport, to cut off incoming American military aid for the Lebanese army.
Unit 1400 missiles will also be aimed at the Beirut districts and suburbs controlled by forces loyal to prime minister Siniora and the ruling government anti-Syrian parties, Saad Hariri’s 14th of March Alliance and Walid Jumblatt‘s Druze Progressive Socialist Party, PSP.
Hizballah couples missiles with threat to bisect Lebanon
4. Unit 1400 is an integral component of Hizballah’s overall military deployment in Beirut. As DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported before, Hizballah has installed a chain of well-fortified military positions stretching from the business, commercial and banking center of the capital to its southern and eastern outskirts. The personnel guarding these outposts live in neighboring buildings and stand by to man them in a conflict. Their weapons, food and medical supplies are cached in basements nearby.
Aside from 120mm mortars, Hizballah has no artillery in Beirut to shield these outposts; the missile unit will fill this function.
5. A high-ranking Western military officer told our sources that Hizballah planners decided to deploy missiles in Beirut after carefully analyzing the Lebanese army’s two-month long siege of the pro-Damascus Fatah al-Islam fighters in the Palestinian Nahr al-Bared camp near Tripoli. (Two Lebanese soldiers were killed there Thursday. So far, 207 deaths are reported on both sides, including 10 Saudi Islamists.)
Hizballah strategists saw the Lebanese troops holding back from storming the camp’s fortified positions to avoid high casualties, rather pounding rebel positions from a distance with artillery and tanks. Hizballah positioned its missiles strategically in Beirut as a counterweight to this tactic.
The Shiite terrorist group’s leaders accompanied their missiles with a tough message posted secretly to the prime minister and Hariri, threatening for the first time to bisect Lebanon if the government persisted in its pro-American policies.
The note stated: “We warn you that the continuation of your present policy will result in your ending your political careers as the emirs of a small and isolated nation confined to some sections of Beirut and the Jebel Druze. The rest of the country, including the South, the Beqaa Valley, Mt Lebanon and the North will fall under our rule.”
Hizballah’s intricate preparations have a clear goal.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Lebanese sources report the Shiite terrorists with backing from Tehran are planning to take over most of Lebanese territory in a lightning campaign on the same lines as the Palestinian Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip.