War on the Horizon

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Coming soon: a replay of the last Lebanon War. And the sequel will be much more devastating—on both sides: Hizbullah moves into ‘every town’.

Hizbullah is bolstering its presence in south Lebanon villages with non-Shi’ite majorities by buying land and using it to build military positions and store missiles and launchers, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The decision to build infrastructure in non-Shi’ite villages - where Hizbullah has less support - is part of the group’s post-war strategy under which it has mostly abandoned the “nature reserves,” forested areas in southern Lebanon where it kept most of its Katyusha rocket launchers before the Second Lebanon War.

Behind the change is the mandate given to UNIFIL by the United Nations after the war in 2006. According to the mandate, the peacekeeping force can patrol freely throughout southern Lebanon but cannot enter villages or cities without being accompanied by soldiers from the Lebanese Armed Forces, which regularly tips off Hizbullah ahead of the raids.

News of the change in Hizbullah strategy came as Israel is trying to persuade the UN to strengthen UNIFIL’s mandate to give it the right to patrol the villages freely. “Hizbullah is moving into every town that it can,” a senior defense official told the Post. “This is in order to evade UNIFIL detection.”

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