Alex Fishman warns of anti-aircraft missiles for Hezbollah
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 1 August 2008
Excerpts from article by Yediot Ahronot correspondent Alex Fishman published
in today's edition (translation by IMRA):
While Prime Minister Olmert publicly pats the Syrians on the back in order
to advance the achievements of the Syrian contacts in Turkey, Barak blames
the Syrians in America for being responsible for the delicate situation
today on the northern front.
The monitoring of Hezbollah activities isn't like collecting intelligence on
a conventional army subject to a government like the Syrian army. This is
an organization a large part of which operates in secret and targets that
are not purely military targets, like weapons dumps within villages. The
collection of intelligence about Hezbollah has to be very tight - both for
the purposes of surveillance after the building of its force and also for
preparing a bank of targets, daily surveillance of particular individuals
A considerable part of this activity is carried out from the sky.
If Hezbollah succeeds in bringing anti-aircraft batteries into Lebanon,
beyond the shoulder fired missiles they already have, then any government,
cabinet or general staff that has to approve an activity in Lebanon
requiring air cover - like an incursion, targeted killing, kidnapping or
retrieval - will hesitate to take the risk.
It isn't a matter of years and not even months. If Hezbollah wants to cause
an antiaircraft missile crisis, it could do it within a very short period of
time. And then the ball will be on Israel's side.
Should Israel wait until the first anti-aircraft systems are in Lebanon?
Should it wait until these devices lock onto Air Force aircraft? And what is
to be done if a missile downs an unmanned craft? Is this grounds for an
attack? The government has to give the military clear answers to these
questions, as any such action may have long term consequences.
Someone has to make clear to the Syrians the significance of their
cooperation with Hezbollah. The Iranians have nothing to lose. The Syrians
do. The government should be dealing with all of this now. It cannot wait
for the next government.