Netanyahu pumps up IDF tunnel operation for undermining Hizballah in Beirut. “We may have to operate in Lebanon”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu invited 25 foreign ambassadors to the northern border on Thursday, Dec.6, for am on-the-spot briefing on the IDF operation against Hizballah tunnels. This step, the first by an Israeli leader just two days into a military operation, gave him the stage for using the operation for two wide-ranging goals:

  • Hitting at Iran’s military presence in Syria.
  • Isolating Hizballah on the political and economic scene of Beirut.

These objectives threaded through Netanyahu’s comments in his briefing to the diplomats, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources note, although some of the information he used to make his points may be politely described as questionable.
These are the points:

  1. There is a “reasonable possibility” Israel will have to “operate in Lebanon” to neutralize Hizballah’s attack tunnels. I deploy our strength prudently and responsibly.” The ambassadors were evidently invited to provide international legitimacy for any future operations that may be necessary.
  2. “We are removing our enemy’s tunnel weapon in a systematic, determined manner and we will do whatever it takes,” he said.
  3. “This operation is just the beginning, but when it ends, the tunnel weapon Hizballah invested in will no longer be effective.”
  4. Hizballah and Hamas know that whoever attacks us, “his blood is on his head.” He asked the ambassadors to unequivocally condemn their aggression and strengthen sanctions.
  5. Operation Northern Shield was timed to take place before Hizballah found out from leaks “how much information we had on its tunnels.”
  6. Everything happening is combining to slow down the program for adding precision guidance to Hizballah’s rockets. Parts of this project were destroyed, said the prime minister. “We are taking action against the precision-guided rockets.”
  7. “Hassan Nasrallah’s plans for developing an arsenal of thousands of precise weapons have gone awry. Action we have taken has significantly slowed down the work and “no more than a few dozen  enhanced rockets were produced.”
  8. In an effort to strip Hizballah of all legitimacy for its actions, Netanyahu stressed: “They have intruded on our sovereign territory, violated UN resolutions and now face UNSC condemnation. We will squeeze the Lebanese terrorists hard, just as we did Hamas – and not just against its tunnels, but by showing them up as terrorists dedicated to murdering civilians.
  9. “Our operations” precipitated “a reduction in Iranian forces in Syria by several percent.” Netanyahu elaborated: “We struck their militias and blew up their bases. The IDF is the only army in the world to have fought the Iranian army.
  10. Iran counted on these wide tunnels as an entry point to inserting battalions into Israel for a rampage of murder and kidnapping.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence analysts see little benefit in another UNSC draft resolution or much chance of  depriving Hizballah of legitimacy any more than in the past. Russia and the Europeans grasp that the Israeli operation is fully coordinated with the Trump administration’s campaign against Iran and are unlikely to lend a hand to it. It is also hard to see how Hizballah’s position at home will be readily undermined, when it reigns over Beirut as the central pillar of strength and maintains Lebanon’s strongest military force with effective control over the national army. The prime minister’s claim to have substantially slowed Hizballah’s precision-enhanced rocket program and brought it down to a few dozen rockets is problematic. This upgrade is irrelevant for most of its arsenal of 130-150,000 short-range rockets, and those of longer range anyway number no more than 700-1,000. Hizballah’s leaders would like to see faster upgrading, but are taking it slow so as not to provoke Israeli attacks.
Due to this slowdown, Tehran is seriously considering stationing its own precise medium-range rockets in Iraq for shooting at targets inside Israel, much like the rocket attack Saddam Hussein staged against Israeli town streets in the first Gulf War of 1991.

Our sources also question the prime minister’s assertion that Israel military operations led to a reduction of several percent in the number of Iranians in Syria. The total number, they say, remains steady. However, their composition has changed in recent weeks, when Iran began enlisting for the first time thousands of Sunni Syrian soldiers, many of whom had past combat experience in fighting the Assad regime in cooperation with the United States and Israel. These recruits are commanded variously by Iranian, Syrian or Hizballah officers and are gradually relieving some of the Iranian forces which are being withdrawn.



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20 thoughts on “Netanyahu pumps up IDF tunnel operation for undermining Hizballah in Beirut. “We may have to operate in Lebanon”

  • Dec 6, 2018 @ 17:46 at 17:46

    Here we go, Bibi needs his little war to stay in power and out of prison.

  • Dec 6, 2018 @ 17:50 at 17:50

    I do appreciate what DEBKA writes, but I do not think that Bibi is bluffing either. We have seen in the past what happened to the Egyptians and Syrians armies… when the mass media were qualifying them as “invincible”.

    • Dec 6, 2018 @ 23:51 at 23:51


      Now it is absolutely self-evident, it jump in the eye! Only there the chance to get hit by stray Hezbollah missiles is low enough.

      If moving fast is impossible, temporarily moving high rank personnel in a Jerusalem building with title of consulate ensures the required timing. Hezbollah will not bomb Al-Aqsa which happens to be in the Israel capital.

    • Dec 9, 2018 @ 14:10 at 14:10

      The last time Israel invaded Lebanon, Hizballah slapped the Israeli Army silly.

  • Dec 6, 2018 @ 18:12 at 18:12

    If Israel knows where all the tunnels are why not provide the locations to UNIFIL and have them cement or otherwise render the tunnels unusable within Lebanon?

    Is there really a reason why only the IDF is able to render these tunnels unusable?

    • Dec 6, 2018 @ 18:59 at 18:59

      The reason for IDF destroying the tunnels is expediency. UNIFIL will have focus groups that consider damage to environment before doing anything else.

      • Dec 6, 2018 @ 19:28 at 19:28

        That’s a fair point with the UN been a large bureaucracy. But if Israel knows where the openings are whats stopping them from poring in concrete to fill the tunnels from there side.

        This may not be perfect but add sensors or other booby-traps into the concrete mix and mine the openings on the Israeli side to make them a death trap for anyone trying to use them.

        That will remove the need for any urgency while the UN force gets the necessary approval to put in a permanent solution.

        Is this not preferable to starting a War which results in ten of thousands of missiles been launched at Israeli cities?

        Unless of cause Bibi needs his war in an attempt to fend off the potential of jail time.

    • Dec 8, 2018 @ 8:09 at 8:09

      The reason only the IDF is able to render these tunnels unusable is because no other government or entity will do it, including UNIFIL.

  • Dec 6, 2018 @ 19:23 at 19:23

    i dont think the tunnel are a problem to israel as much as the 500,000 short,middle and long range missles Hizbola has.

    israel couldnt fend off hamas two weeks ago while firing a few rockets from gaza……. imagine hizbola …. they have the ability to fire 2000 to 5000 missles every day …. and they can target all cities … including tel aviv.

    you think israel can take that much beating?

    • Dec 7, 2018 @ 18:22 at 18:22

      Netanyahu is after a limited war as he is under investigation for corruption which also include his wife. It will not be like Gaza because Hezbollah has the weapons and capabilities to cause a lot lot of damage. Last time Israel lost many personnel and tanks and does not get involved.

  • Dec 6, 2018 @ 19:25 at 19:25

    The longer Israel waits, the stronger their enemies become.

    When Waarr will eventually break out, this will lead to more Israeli Citizen and IDF casualties.

    Israel should already have acted both here and in Gaza.

    • Dec 7, 2018 @ 1:02 at 1:02

      Nah, Nukemyahu has a deal with PuTiN. It’s worth a flutter, look what he did for Assad.

    • Dec 7, 2018 @ 4:54 at 4:54

      You funny boy.
      Before Gazans run crazy tenthousands work in Israel.

      When Hamas came to power they first killed their Fatah brothers,many Fatah run to their enemy Israel.
      Egypt closed also the border.
      Hamas build 100o tunnels,some big enough for car smuggling.Hmm,looks like they only work in one way,or why did the Hamas dont let the Gazans go to Egypt?Think about it…

  • Dec 6, 2018 @ 19:47 at 19:47

    @mark G : well, israel can go hand in hand with the states…… start operating with ten 100 sorties ….

    meaning every 100 jet fighters fly and start bombing now stop for atleast 10 days…. while going none stop with 1000 artilery fire supported with none stop cruise missle attacks….. obliterate everything to parking lot

    • Dec 7, 2018 @ 3:12 at 3:12

      Tommy, only years before, Lebanon was a largely Christian country, sweet, rich, peaceful, and respectable.

      Then, a barbaric locusts horde jumped in from over the mountains and started mass killings. Millions Lebanese died, and millions emigrated.

      Today these locusts call themselves Hezbollah and live in tunnels all over the South Lebanon.

  • Dec 6, 2018 @ 21:46 at 21:46

    I do not understand why Israeli Government leaves Lebanon out while getting UN to act? Lebanese Government can comfortably allow Hezbollah to do as they please and take no responsibility at all for anything emanating from their territory. I believe it’s Lebanese Government to be taken to task and let them deal with Hezbollah. Israel may help if asked to.

    • Dec 8, 2018 @ 8:22 at 8:22

      Anatoly, you don’t seem to understand that Hezbollah is militarily stronger than the Lebanese Army so it can do as it pleases in Lebanon. UNIFIL obeys Hezbollah because it also is weaker than Hezbollah.. So trying to squeeze Lebanon or UNIFIL pretends they have some credibility and authority over Hezbollah, which, of course, they do not have.

  • Dec 7, 2018 @ 7:56 at 7:56

    You know a disengagement didnt stop sharons son from doing his time, and a war didnt stop olmert from doing his.

  • Dec 18, 2018 @ 8:56 at 8:56

    Question: President Trump cannot but see: Bibi, a full-fledged accomplice of Hamas Peace Peace – endless acts of terrorism financed by Israel, works like a Swiss watch. This is the reality. All the organizers of terrorism, Israel has made millionaires, celebrities.
                       Peace Plan Dreams!
    Mossad’s liquidation of the organizers of terrorism will probably have to start with their ardent defender of the 70-year-old mad holder of 5 ministerial portfolios.
    Termination of financing of terrorist organizations, liquidation of the list starting with the Palestinian organizers of terrorism.
    Squeezing by legal methods of all illegal immigrants and Arabs from all territories of Israel.
    On the spot, the Arabs did the same on the Place of Israel with exceptional sadism immediately.
    Solved above said for 3-5 years.
    The unsolvable problem – Saboteurs interests. surviving Israel – the Knesset and the Government. How can one person occupy 5 ministerial chairs? What for? The crazy 70 year old man plays Julius Caesar out of himself. An abomination. I bought myself a plane ….
    San Tzu describes a couple of thousand years exactly the behavior of Israel (the government) as leading to the destruction of Israel. San Tzu in his “Art of War” lists in detail the non-permissible mistakes in a survival strategy. The dilemma is simple. The existing Knesset, the Government, is without a doubt the grave-diggers of Israel. שקרנים פתטיים, דמגוגים ואנשים מטופשים.
     הכנסת הקיימת, הממשלה – ללא ספק הקברנים של ישראל
    אני נשארת עם ישראל

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