This is not the first time reports have been received regarding Israeli attacks on Hezbollah weapons convoys.
However, this is not the end of the story.
At the same time, and seemingly not coincidentally, the IDF published – in English – a map of Hezbollah’s military infrastructure in Lebanon – marking 10,000 structures and underground positions the IDF has identified in recent years. The map’s publication on the morning of the second attack was intended to serve as a message not only to the international community, but also to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, as part of the efforts to discourage the Shi’ite alliance from retaliating over the attacks in Syria.
The IDF and Hezbollah have been waging this type of psychological war for years. Hezbollah repeatedly threatens that it has new abilities to attack Israel, including occupying communities or IDF posts close to the border and firing rockets at Haifa’s ammonia tanks.
On the other hand, the IDF reveals that it knows where Hezbollah’s “capabilities” lie, and that everyone knows their location is a breach of international law.
As part of this strategy, the IDF has published video clips of Hezbollah depicting its clearing of arms caches inside villages that exploded as the result of accidents, maps and aerial photographs of Hezbollah’s deployment in villages in southern Lebanon and much more.
After the civil war broke out in Syria, Israel sought to emphasize that despite the sending of Lebanese manpower to aid the war in Syria, the supply of Syrian weaponry to Hezbollah in Lebanon has not stopped.
Incidentally, Israel takes Hezbollah’s threats very seriously. Along the border with Lebanon, one can see the fortifications the IDF has built to protect the border communities and farmers.
Reports are constantly published in Israel regarding the Home Front’s readiness for rocket attacks, and the IDF frequently holds training exercises for such scenarios.
During a week when Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is about to emerge victorious in Aleppo, and the confidence among the Shi’ite alliance is on the rise, one might ask how the Shi’ite leaders will choose to react.
Will they not respond to the incidents and focus on northern Syria? Will they respond in a way that in their assessment will deter Israel from keeping to its red lines and allow them to continue transferring weaponry to Lebanon? Or will they respond mildly, merely to transmit the message that every Israeli action will be met with retaliation, or in other words, return to last year’s equation of action-reaction? The last two options might, in certain scenarios, lead to regional escalation.
The author, a major in the IDF reserves, served for 15 years in the military specializing in intelligence and holds an MA in Middle East studies from Ben-Gurion University. She is the founder and CEO of Alma, an organization specializing in research and analysis of Israel’s security challenges on the northern border.