Throughout last week’s days and nights fighter-jets thundered, military, law enforcement and civil defense forces maneuvered, sirens went off and citizens evacuated to safety – all part of a Israel’s nationwide exercise named “Turning Point 4.” During this large-scale, multi-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional and inter-agency exercise, governmental and non-governmental organizations tested the country’s readiness to defend the state and its citizens in case of war, focusing on the threat of intensive missile attacks.
Assurances were made by top officials that this exercise does not indicate any planned aggression by Israel. Most notable were comments made by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi, IDF Chief of staff. These statements, however, did not quell public preoccupation with impending war between Israel, Syria and Hezbollah.
Only God knows. But it would be correct to assume that if Israel destroys Iran’s nuclear facilities then the Iranians will retaliate with missile attacks instigated by Hezbollah. Several Israeli officials already declared that they will be compelled to respond with destructive force against Lebanon utilizing both aerial and ground operations . If Syria joins the fight in support of Hezbollah and Iran then the flames will consume its territory as well and full-scale war will break.
We could also surmise that Hezbollah may see an opportunity to make good on his repeated threat to deliver a qualitative strike against Israel, perhaps an assassination of an Israeli leader. This would be in revenge for the assassination of Hezbollah’s military leader Imad Moghnia by Israel and may function as the “match” that will inflame the region.
Events may play out an entirely different scenario. Israel may strike convoys transferring missiles and armaments from Syria to Hezbollah. The latter may again respond with ballistic missile attacks against Israel leading to a full-scale war.
Similar scenarios were on Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri’s mind when he met with President Barack Obama in the White House last Monday, especially when the president clarified that arms smuggling from Syria to Hezbollah violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701. When the president stated that such violations destabilized the region Mr. Hariri replied that he is aware that the “Middle East clock is ticking “and that if the situation is not contained rapidly it will result in eruption of hostilities and increased radicalization.
Last Sunday, a large event was held in the Israeli Arab town of Shafa-Amr in Centennial celebration of its incorporation as an independent locality. During the ceremonies, Israel’s President Shimon Peres declared that his country seeks peace with Lebanon stating that Israel has no quarrel with its northern neighbor. Public opinion, on the other hand, remains concerned with the possibility of War during the upcoming summer season.