Israel’s message to Hezbollah,
Lebanon and Syria
The rocket fire from Lebanon was likely the work of some small group aiming to divert Hezbollah forces to southern Lebanon, but Israel will not tolerate ongoing rocket fire on its civilian population
Dec. 29, 2013
This was clearly not the work of Hezbollah. Rather, it was an armed group who wanted to force Hezbollah and the Lebanese army to focus their forces in southern Lebanon, thereby easing the pressure on the Sunni rebels battling Assad in Syria and the Sunnis fighting the army and the Shiite Hezbollah in northern Lebanon.
This is not the first attempt to exacerbate tensions in southern Lebanon in order to aid the Sunnis fighting Assad’s regime in Syria. Hezbollah is a well-known Assad ally, and tensions with Israel in southern Lebanon would compel it to deploy forces to that area rather than dispatch them to fight in Syria.
There are also Palestinians in play in that area, who support the rebels in Syria, some of whom are also allied to Jihadist organizations in Lebanon. These Jihadist groups include the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which took responsibility for previous rocket fire in the Nahariya area, and for the assassination of senior Hezbollah member Hassan al-Laqqis earlier this month (Hezbollah even so blamed Israel for the death of al-Laqqis, the group’s head of technology).
Israel’s response to Monday’s rocket fire – launching dozens of mortars at Lebanon – was essentially an automatic reaction intending to make it clear to the Lebanese government and UNIFIL that Israel will not tolerate any violations of United Nations resolution 1701, implemented in the wake of the 2006 Lebanon-Israel war.
The dozens of mortars fired by the IDF on Monday morning were to reinforce the notion that Israel will not become an ongoing factor in the Syrian and Lebanese conflicts, nor for a drip-drip series of attacks that claim Israeli victims.