Missile crisis still under control 

Source: Missile crisis still under control – Israel Hayom

Amnon Lord

By now, we can call these rapidly unfolding events the “Lebanese missile crisis.” The players are Israel, Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and Lebanon. On Tuesday, Lebanon inserted itself into the equation, when leaders of various factions convened in Beirut and made demands of Israel.

The demands pertain to the barrier Israel is constructing along the Lebanese border, and the borders of Lebanon’s territorial waters. Almost simultaneously, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot guided cabinet ministers on a tour of the northern border.

Perhaps counterintuitively, the declarations from cabinet ministers over the past week, threatening as they may have been, along with their very visible border tour, could in fact point to a willingness to manage the “missile crisis” in a manner that would not lead to a military confrontation. What Israel has gradually done in recent months – and in the past week more intensively – is make its position very clear. Officials in Israel view Iran’s efforts to build precision missile factories in Lebanon as evidence of its failure to transfer those weapons in convoys via Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drove the point home in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow a week and a half ago. The Russian president was told unequivocally that there are specific targets that at some point or another Israel will have to hit, similar to its actions in Syria. If a mistake occurs, these surgical strikes have the potential to spiral out of control and spark a conflagration. None of the sides want this missile crisis to result in a war.

However, Israel has an advantage. It has already voiced its position, and the border tour on Tuesday elucidated its message. If the Iranians do not take a step back on the issue of precision missiles and their production on Lebanese soil, they will essentially leave it to Israel to choose when the next round of fighting begins.

Another advantage Israel has is its well-established reputation in the region as the only power that sets red lines and enforces them. In this regard, the political and defense echelon’s policies have been a complete success. Therefore, Israel’s messages are credible; even the recent reports of an Israeli air campaign against Islamic State in Sinai serve to punctuate its deterrence messages.

The Russians visited Israel to rein it in. Now they need to move the Iranians. The impression left by the mutual border tours – one by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s apparent successor and the other by the Israeli cabinet – is of a bargaining ploy, not a process that has spun out of control.  Because both players are tied to the Russians, a military clash is reasonably unlikely. If Israel had a different prime minister in power today – one who flaunts actions instead of valuing dialogue – concerns would be far greater. According to the IDF’s recent assessments, we are not going to war.

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One Comment on “Missile crisis still under control ”

  1. wingate Says:

    150’000 missiles still under control ?

    I’m looking for serious stuff here – for bad jokes there are other sites….


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